Here is the text of the leaflet which Socialist Alternative will be handing out on the June 18 Trades Union Congress demonstration in London. To view the PDF, click here.
- 18 June must be only the start of a mass working-class movement to end the cost of living crisis and kick out the Tories! This must involve coordinated and escalating strike action across the public and private sectors going into the autumn, and well-built for mass solidarity protests
- Unionise! For a mass drive, led by Unite and all fighting unions, to organise the unorganised. Build the struggle for a 15% pay rise to help workers meet the real cost of living. Demand a £15 an hour minimum wage to help end the scourge of poverty pay now
- Build the international fight for socialist change – for a society based on public ownership, workers’ democracy and solidarity against all forms of oppression. Unite workers and youth in struggle – fight Tory racism, defend women and LGBTQ+ people, demand refugee rights and an end to war
Over one third of families had cut back on food even before the energy price increase hit. Eight million adults had already fallen behind on at least one household bill.
Nobody is going to turn down £650, but Rishi Sunak’s one-off payment doesn’t solve the problem of how we pay our bills and feed our families month after month. Working class people and families can’t take any more – we won’t.
That, along with decades of pay restraint, an escalation of fire and rehire and other brutal assaults by the bosses, is the background to the raft of strikes and potential strikes we can see on the horizon over the course of this year.
Transport workers in the RMT, postal workers in CWU, teachers in the NEU, civil service workers in the PCS, and many more are all either planning action or preparing for ballots. Today’s demo has to be a springboard to escalate and coordinate that action.
For a Summer and Autumn of action!
This should be organised by the TUC. But we won’t be held back by the reluctance of the TUC leadership to act. Those unions with mandates or live ballots should lead the way in a coalition of the willing.
There is clearly the potential, with a clear lead and organisation, to have millions of workers out together in the autumn, building on a summer of strikes by those unions with mandates already.
Such action could show the real power of workers by bringing society to a standstill, and would act as a beacon to all others looking for a way forward to fight for decent pay and conditions – from health workers, to those in currently mainly unorganised sectors like hospitality.
It can make clear that the Tories plans for further draconian attacks on the right to strike will not be accepted.
It can also spur on other struggles that workers are involved in, like those to defend tenants against eviction, to save local public services, or against racism, misogyny and LGTBQ+phobia.
This demo could be the start of a period of mass struggle which can force this hated Tory government from office.
Political alternative needed
Of course, Johnson and his cronies – with their approach to Covid, Brexit, Partygate and Ukraine – should by all rights have been long gone by now. The main reason why they are clinging on is the total lack of any real opposition to them within parliament.
The burning rage of today’s demo, and of the strikes we are beginning to see, finds no reflection on the Labour benches. Instead they echo the worst and trail behind the best of what this government has to offer.
So desperate is Starmer to prove himself a safe pair of hands for capitalism, that his policies have many times offered the working class fewer crumbs from the table than Johnson and Sunak.
We need a new left party, based on the struggles of working-class and young people which are so clearly on the agenda in the coming months.
But what kind of programme should be fought for by such a party? What type of alternative is the potential burgeoning movement we are building going to put forward?
Socialist Alternative calls on those attending the 18 June demo to continue to organise, to coordinate and escalate the action from above and below, and most importantly to join with us in the fight for a socialist alternative to the poverty, suffering, crisis, war and oppression bred by capitalism.
Build fight for socialist change
As part of International Socialist Alternative, which organises in over 30 countries, we are fighting for the total transformation of how society is organised. The world’s richest eight people own as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the global population.
While the huge bulk of wealth and power lies in the hands of such a tiny few, the working-class majority will never be able to control resources in a way that can tackle the big crises of our time.
A socialist world – based on working-class ownership and democratic control of the major corporations and industries – would allow production to be planned to meet the needs of all rather than the profit of the tiny few.
Only on that basis can we make heat-or-eat cost of living crises a permanent thing of the past.