Leaflet distributed by the CWO at recent strikes and protests happening around the UK.
Pay and pension cuts, redundancies, fire and re-hire, health & safety violations, precarity, evictions, anti-protest bills… The attacks are varied but they all point in the same direction: as always, it is the working class who will bear the cost of the crisis.
Depending where you get your news from, you might say it’s just the fault of the pandemic, neo-liberalism, the Tories, Brexit, migrants, a global cabal, or whatever. But the truth is, for decades now capitalism – the global system we all live in, based on production for profit and wage labour – has been struggling to find profitable avenues. It has gone from crisis to crisis, in the process undermining our standards of living, dismantling the health care system, resorting to divide & rule tactics, and creating all kinds of tensions on the international stage. Which brings us to where we are today.
Sector-by-sector, workplace-by-workplace, our class has been fighting various battles in a wider unacknowledged class war. It might be nurses in the NHS, bus drivers in Manchester, university staff in Liverpool, Rolls-Royce workers in Lancashire, electricians in Gateshead, couriers in Plymouth, British Airways workers in Heathrow, the list goes on. Resistance on the economic front is a start, but we have to understand what it is we are fighting against, and ultimately what it is we are fighting for. We need to link each and every struggle to the perspective of a different society. We need organs of struggle which can unite workers beyond the divisions of nationality, race, gender, ability, profession and union affiliation enforced on us. In the past, including the very recent past, workers created mass assemblies, strike committees and workers’ councils for this very purpose. The way it worked was: recallable delegates responsible to the shop-floor, not shady deals done behind closed doors! It’s no guarantee of success, but it means struggles remain in the hands of those actually on the picket lines.
And ultimately, we need a new social model which does not put production in conflict with human needs, the health of our species and the planet. We call this communism, but it has nothing in common with the various state formations previously or currently claiming the label. We need to build a political organisation, not a parliamentary party in the old sense, but an international reference point for all workers. One which can set out an alternative and how to get there.