Unite private and public strikes
Saturday, 18 February 2012 05:30

As the sovereign debt crisis continues across Europe and poverty and unemployment deepens in Britain imperialism is pushing towards further wars in the Middle East. Imposing an oil blockade on Iran and threatening to attack Syria the US and the EU urged on by Israel are intensifying tensions and the spin to legitimate military attack grows daily.

The need for working class internationalism now is critical. New levels of struggle have emerged over recent years with mass movements in the USA, Russia (see middle pages in this issue), the Middle East, Europe and other areas where the working class and youth face tremendous tasks. But above everything is posed the need to build the struggle on an international basis.

Internationalism is beginning and can be seen in the occupy movement, the campaign for Palestine and the embryonic attempts to link European workers in struggles against the EU. All unions should put internationalism on the agenda, a workers and democratic internationalism, not the internationalism of the banks.

The world’s main leaders talk of new wars in the Middle East while deepening the war against the workers in their own countries. Service closures, job losses, benefit and pension cuts in the UK and across Europe are increasing to unsustainable levels and will not end under capitalism.

British workers can see what is happening in Greece after years of cuts. The Troika of the EU, the IMF and European Central Bank now want more cuts in the minimum wage, cuts of between 20% to 30% in private sector wages and more pension cuts. They want profit and demand misery. Greek GDP fell by 11% from a year ago, while over 20% of all adults and 50% of the youth are out of work. The cuts prevent any recovery but the EU is terrified of Greece leaving the Euro. Meanwhile multinationals prepare for Greece to exit the Euro.

The EU (led by Germany and France) violates Greek sovereignty by demanding that all the main parties agree to carry out austerity whoever wins the next general election. The Greek parliament has agreed to binding and irreversible spending cuts, yet they admit that the crisis will continue to 2020 and beyond.

Greece and all European countries will only survive by fighting these dictates, by leaving the Euro and European Union and building the struggle for a workers Europe and socialism.


As this years planned cuts in council services show the cuts will not stop under the current government or under a Labour government. As services are destroyed anger grows against the impunity of the city and its bankers because these are the very people who enriched themselves while helping to crash their system. It is they and their governments who are the ones impoverishing millions across Europe.

Almost 13 million people are living in poverty in the UK including 3.8 million children, 2.2 million pensioners and 7.2 million working age adults with London having the higher proportion of people living in poverty.

The only thing the bankers are trying to save is their profits and their system. It is in such a fragile state that the British government threatens war abroad and looks to find ways of repressing the movements in Britain. Above all they attack the youth who occupy areas of cities, lobby city councils against the cuts and take to the streets in protest. They are terrified of a joint struggle of youth, unions and communities against cuts and wars.

This is the background to the sell out by the Unison, GMB and ATL leaderships over the pension robbery since the November 30 strike. They go along with the Labour Party line that cuts are necessary and that there is no alternative, like the government and the bankers they want workers to pay the debt.

Other unions such as the NUT, PCS and the FBU are preparing for strike action to defend pensions in March. They should link up with the private sector unions and the youth. All trade unionists should help build the movement and condemn and fight to remove all the leaders who broke their mandate to strike.

The only response to their betrayal is to fully support further strike action in the public and private sectors, and to support the youth in struggle and help to link together youth and workers and prepare for the construction of a new Europe that fights together against a system that can only bring misery and destruction to the majority. The debt is not ours.

It is essential that workers do not ignore the build up of war against Syria or Iran. The anti-war movement should be galvanised uniting with the working class across Europe who are already fighting the austerity plans with general strikes, occupations and mobilisations. The fight against debt and austerity and the fight against war should come together, as cuts and war have the same source - capitalism trying save a disintegrating system.

• Don’t pay their debt!

• Strike to defend pensions in March!

• Unite public and private strikes!

• Unite across against cuts and war!

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