In the bloody savagery of the government’s attacks is a chance to build a true mass movement, writes Robert Griffiths, CP general secretary.
THE Tory general election victory means that the ruling-class attack on people’s living standards, public services, the welfare state, the trade unions and democratic rights will be stepped up.
The bedroom tax will continue and the privatisation of education and the NHS — especially in England — will accelerate.
But as the demonstrations in London and Glasgow today confirm, there is also massive opposition to Tory policies.
We should take heart from the fact that the Tories won little more than one-third of the poll (37 per cent) on May 7. In fact, only one adult in five in Britain (19 per cent) voted for them, after taking into account all those who either don’t register or didn’t vote.
So there is plenty of potential to build a mass movement to pile the pressure onto Prime Minister Cameron and his cronies — and force their wafer-thin majority government into crisis as soon as possible.
Of course, this begs the question of what could replace it. The Labour leadership contest should provide some indication of whether that party can be won back to left and progressive policies, which is all the more reason to back the candidature of principled left MP Jeremy Corbyn.
In the meantime, Chancellor Osborne’s so-called emergency Budget on July 8 will provide the next big opportunity to rally people against his vile attack on the unemployed and disabled — and to project our progressive alternative in the People’s Manifesto which proposes among other things:
• Higher taxes on the rich, City speculators and corporate profits;
• Increased pensions, benefits and wages to combat inequality and boost economic demand;
• Investment in council house building, public services, manufacturing and green energy;
• Public ownership of energy, transport, postal services and the banks;
• Repeal of racist, anti-trade union and other anti-democratic laws;
• A foreign policy based on the need for solidarity and peace.
The People’s Assembly needs to be broadened and taken into every local community across Britain. Everyone who opposes austerity, cuts and privatisation should be made welcome — except for racists and fascists.
Potential supporters should not be driven away by childish slogans, or by an ideological “blood and urine” test which admits only socialists.
Within the People’s Assembly at local, regional and national levels, we need the trade unions to play a major role, helping to build a mass movement with their organisation and resources.
We should all do what we can to help strengthen trade union organisation — including local trades councils — not least to resist a fresh round of anti-union laws.
The teachers’ unions and the Anti-Academies Alliance should be supported in their campaign against a new rash of anti-democratic academies and free schools across England (subsidised with lots of free public money for the business and religious interests which run them).
Like a renewed anti-bedroom tax movement, they can help strengthen and draw solidarity from the People’s Assembly.
Women will continue to be hit hard as single parents, carers and low-paid workers by Tory attacks on social benefits, tax credits and public services. They can join and build the National Assembly of Women, a long-established and now resurgent campaigning body for progressive change, and a founding affiliate of the People’s Assembly.
Tory plans to renew Britain’s costly, unusable and immoral Trident nuclear weapons system have the support of most Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs. Only a militant mass peace movement, with CND playing a leading role, can stop them.
Then there’s the possibility of defeating Cameron and his crew in the EU referendum to be held before the end of 2017.
The EU is a fundamentally anti-democratic, pro-austerity, pro-big business club increasingly linked to Nato’s aggressive military expansion. It is run by the unelected EU Commission, the unaccountable European Central Bank and the anti-trade union European Court of Justice.
That’s why the Tory Cabinet, most of big business and the City of London will be campaigning for a Yes vote to keep Britain in the EU. They will be joined by the Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru and — unless Jeremy Corbyn is elected — by the Labour Party leadership.
While the Tory right and Ukip campaign against the EU for all the wrong reasons, the Communist Party will be joining with the Labour left, far left and progressive Green forces to put the left-wing, democratic and internationalist case against the EU.
In doing so, we will be campaigning in solidarity with workers and their families in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Ukraine and elsewhere who are resisting EU policies.
And we will be opposing the pro-big business Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated in secret by the EU Commission with the US.
There is no reason why we should wait until the Tory regime’s five-year term of office comes to an end. Such parliamentary fatalism is as unnecessary as it is defeatist.
Once a government loses two consecutive votes of confidence in the House of Commons, it has to resign and — if no replacement is backed by a majority of MPs — a new election has to be held.
We should work to challenge and remove the Tories from today. To adapt an old slogan: workers and peoples of all lands unite — we have nothing to lose except the chains of a Tory government and the EU!
Rob Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.