In Gordon Brown’s last budget just before the 2008 financial crash, he declared that the state had effectively resolved the instability of capitalism promising “we will never return to the old boom and bust”.
Since then we have seen a banking collapse, 10 years of austerity, a flight from Europe, a pandemic, a war, a government inflicted fiscal catastrophe, a return to austerity and the promise of the longest recession in our history. All against the backdrop of mounting climate emergency.
Far from being resolved, capitalist crisis and the depth of their cycles are intensifying. The government tells the truth on one thing, it’s not just Britain. Capitalism’s crisis is global and it’s war against us all intensifies in equal measure.
The latest emergency budget presents a bill of £50 billion in cuts and tax hikes to workers and the poor already facing a 10% real term cut in living standards due to supply-driven inflation. This sum equals the combined war profits of UK gas and oil producers for this year leaving no doubt of the political and class nature of this choice.
That this is a war against our class, against all of us, is more evident day by day to people struggling to survive. 500,000 workers are actively in dispute or on strike at the moment with many more actions pending, not least amongst nurses and elsewhere in the NHS, the U.K.’s largest employer.
The need for resistance is clear but the need for planning and tactics clearer. Unless we link our demands, be they wages, conditions, housing or bills, social care, environment or benefits, we will be pulled apart and defeated piecemeal. Solidarity, unity and coordination are everything.
The slogan of the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign that “It’s time to turn anger into action” will be pissing in the wind if we abandon our own struggles at the first offer of talks as the RMT decided to do without consulting its members. The role of such truces is to break momentum and spirit.
If the RMT cave in now, it says ‘stuff you’ to the other transport workers, posties, nurses. If the bosses pull the rug, they risk ‘crying wolf’ when they call their members out again. This is why union leaderships and the Labour establishment TUC are a real and present danger to their rank and file members.
Strikers, activists and supporters should begin grassroots networking to develop alternative cooperation and decision centres away from union structural leadership to ensure solidarity is maintained and fragmentation avoided. Where possible, electing delegated liaison committees or councils for coordination and mutual support to bypass bureaucratic maneuvering.
It is clear that the Loyal Opposition Labour Party offers nothing but betrayal and commitment to more austerity. Or worse, plain anti-working-class racism to divide and defeat the threat of class struggle to Labour’s pretensions. Starmer say’s “…we’re recruiting too many people from overseas into…the health service.’ That’s why you won’t see him on a picket line then!
But it’s not about the Tories or Labour, it’s their rich greedy puppet master boss-class capitalists, managing their class war on the social, economic and military fronts across the globe.
Likewise, it’s not about transport workers, nurses, renters or migrants, but about us all. As an Albanian woman recently put it “They say there’s not war here, but there’s a big war. The economy is weak and prices are too high…we cannot live.”.