Militant demonstration in London

Saturday 26th March was a historic and proud day for all working people of Britain. Almost a million people marched through the streets of London protesting against the cuts to welfare and public services, corporate bail-outs, and wars of aggression in the Middle East and South Asia.  Central London was brought to a standstill by students, pensioners, trade unionists, anti-war protesters along with masses of working people marching in solidarity.

Saturday 26th March was a historic and proud day for all working people of Britain. Almost a million people marched through the streets of London protesting against the cuts to welfare and public services, corporate bail-outs, and wars of aggression in the Middle East and South Asia.  Central London was brought to a standstill by students, pensioners, trade unionists, anti-war protesters along with masses of working people marching in solidarity.

The march stretched for miles from the Embankment to Hyde Park with a continuous flow of protestors walking shoulder to shoulder from mid-day to the evening.

The atmosphere was electrified by militant music and roaring slogan shouting such as “We want Peoples Power”, “We can topple governments too,” “Cut wars, not public services,” “Money for public services, not corporate bail outs,” and many more.

Working people are building their opposition and are determined to resist these attacks on their livelihood and rights
The key points to the cuts are as follows:

  • £81bn cut from public spending over four years
  • 19% average departmental cuts
  • extra welfare cuts, including changes to incapacity, housing benefit and tax credits
  • £3.5bn increase in public sector pension employee contributions
  • Rise in state pension age brought forward
  • 7% cut for local councils from April next year
  • Permanent bank levy 
  • Rail fares to rise 3% above inflation from 2012

The huge cuts are hitting the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest. The Government pledged that the poor and vulnerable would be protected from the spending cuts. Yet in the cuts to housing benefit announced in last June's budget, we have already seen nearly a million of the poorest households will lose an average of £624 a year – leaving them facing serious hardship and potential homelessness.

The departmental cuts will increase social inequality, making higher education and quality healthcare a privilege instead of a right. They will force 82,000 families out of their homes. Child benefits are to be slashed and rail prices being hiked. 
Jobs and livelihoods are directly threatened, from those who depend on quality public services, and from those in the private sector whose jobs are as vulnerable to the cuts as anyone working for a local council. They will hit the poor and those on middle incomes the hardest.  Cuts to frontline services will affect people with little or no money, leaving young people with either little or no support.

The Government deliberately chose to meet 80 per cent of its target by spending cuts, and not by tax. And that means making British society even more unequal. There is £25 billion of tax avoidance by the super rich.

Working people are being hit from all sides, losing jobs, pay increases, services and chunks of their pensions, while paying more for all the basic costs of living. Reports have revealed that high street prices rose at the fastest rate for 20 years last month, while families suffered a record fall in their disposable incomes. Half of UK households have less than £5,000 of net wealth, so have almost nothing to fall back on. The cuts would reduce government employment by 490,000 workers The biggest overall cut is in local government at a cumulative rate of 27% by 2014-5.

Financial institutions continue to receive billions of pounds of public money in bailouts. The National Audit Office (NAO) review said the UK public so far provided help totaling £850bn. During the financial crisis, the UK government nationalised Northern Rock and took stakes in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group in return for bailing them out. In October 2008, when the Treasury rescued HBOS – which was bought by Lloyds – and RBS, their combined balance sheets were worth £3tn, twice the UK's annual economic output. Financial institutions face a funding shortfall next year as existing borrowing ends, forcing them to look for another £13 billion a month or £156bn a year, the New Economics Foundation (Nef) warned in a report into the banking sector.

One of the pretexts used for the cuts is to reduce the national debt which stood at 842.9 billion pounds in September 2010. Historically the national debt has increased during wars. Britain has participated in wars of aggression in the Falklands, the Balkans, Iraq and in Afghanistan.

Money is borrowed from the public purse to finance these unjust wars and the beneficiaries are the capitalist merchants of death. They rob the rich resources, cheap labour and enrich themselves from lucrative contracts for war equipments as well as reconstruction following destruction of the countries subjected to invasion.

Monopoly capitalism uses war to further enrich itself and try to control the oil and other rich resources of countries facing wars of aggression.  20 billion has been spent on the unjustified wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan is costing £4.5 billion a year. David Cameron says British troops will be there at least till 2014.

Money should be used on people’s needs not unjust wars.

Immediately what is required is increased funding in social programs, which cannot be called a cost by the government, cannot be called reckless public spending, but is an investment in society.  It is not just that a way must be found to curb government public spending to bring it in line with its income through taxes, or that taxation on the other hand must be increased. The issue is who produces wealth and who expropriates the fruits of labour?

The working class is the producer of wealth through the application of their labour to natural resources and adding value. The wealth created by the working people is that asset which is being squeezed and maximum share expropriated by monopoly capitalists to ensure maximum rate of growth for them at the expense of working people. Government policies assist this aim on behalf of the rich, by allowing prices rises  to outstrip wages and hence reducing real income, cutting public and welfare services and spending public money on  wars benefiting oil companies, giant  banks and  corporations.. The crisis is caused by the capitalist system  as erosion of peoples real income results in reducing  ability of the people to buy the goods produced. Repeated crisis of overproduction are inherent to capitalism. The burden of  this  crisis is passed onto the shoulders of working people through  policies to  safeguard the financial interests  of their masters,  the ruling monopoly capitalist class. A new Society must be created to guarantee the people’s rights and well-being of the majority. The   orientation of the economy must serve the needs of real producers of wealth and not the greed of the financial oligarchy and monopoly capitalist class in power.

The experience of workers of our country, and of workers of other countries across the world shows that the as long as workers remain tied to the parliamentary system, parliamentary politics with its sham democracy, they will not advance. The governments that come to power through this multi – party parliamentary system, whether in Britain, or US or the European countries, are governments of the capitalist class and can only do the bidding of this class. It does not matter which party comes to power under which label or flag,  as the experiences of successive governments led by the Labour party, the Conservative party or any coalition of mainstream parties serving the interests of  monopoly capital – their corporate sponsors.  The workers have seen that the activity of various leaders in unions in supporting the Labour government in the name of opposing the Tories leads to sowing confusion and the weakening of working class struggles. This enables the capitalists to intensify the exploitation of workers and consolidate their rule.

Some sections in the trade union movement follow the line of their parties, particularly the Labour party; try to restrict the struggle of workers within the parliamentary frame work – that is to mobilize workers to bring another set of capitalist parties to power in the name of "pro-worker policies", which is nothing but an illusion. They refused to raise the slogan dear to the workers – the necessity to take this struggle forward, build a movement to establish the rule of workers and other toiling sections to create a new society. A society which utilises the wealth produced by toiling people to continuously raise their material and cultural standards. The real alternative is: a society in which working people exercise real democracy in self governance and are empowered to set the agenda, make decisions in shaping policies affecting their lives with mechanisms to implement them.  A new society offering a life of security and prosperity for all.    

Build a united movement to create a new society!
Reproduced from the Ghadar International, March 2011 

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