Steve Ryan reflects on the prelude to the upcoming day of co-ordinated strike action by public sector trade unions, due to take place on the 30th of June.
So its official, the big strike on June 30th is on. Already the excitement is palpable with Scrota all over the news, twitter and face book full of delighted civil servants, all changing their profiles to reflect J30,
The left reflects this mood, with calls to generalise the strike, throw a sickie, wild cat etc on the day
All this IS good. It WILL be the biggest strike for decades, and it IS clear it is now as predicted in previous articles pushing the big unions into action.
As such as communists we support the day and should do everything to build solidarity with it and ensure mass pickets on the day, general assemblies, stunts , sickies, walk outs wherever we can.
Equally though some sober reflection need to be given to the unfolding events, The turn out in the ballots wasn’t great , the Tories still have support in the polls, and there is a real division growing between public and private sector workers.
A few observations are needed
1) Not enough has been made of the state of the private sector in terms of pay pensions etc, The unions representing them have been criminally quiet or acquiescent, It is up to us to begin to highlight these problems and assist the forging of links with public sector workers
2) Anti cuts groups need a positive rebrand and must be federated for co ordinate action by communist. They must be re built as community solidarity organisations linking all workers, pensioners , unemployed and students
3) Something bold is needed to really challenge the state . Ideas might be mass non payment of fuel bills (look at the inflated costs, it is estimated will soon be 75% of a pensioners income )
Stunts are needed to really get over the extent of the cuts. How about filling your supermarkets trolley then calling the manager and putting say 5% back to reflect reduction in spending power. If 20 or so did this in one place it would have an effect. Make sure the press was there. Equally refusing to pay for food etc in shops as no money might have an effect!
4) The paucity and timidity of the left in the last decade or so has left self organisation weak. This needs rebuilding patiently but urgently. Networks of militants need setting up to agitate for action across work places and to set up strike committees , Every opportunity to strike or take industrial action should be vigorously pushed,
5) Propaganda must be upped to make the case for communism. Part of the problem out there is that many workers hate the condems but see no alternative. That needs building again urgently
These are ideas , there are many more. They are though urgently needeed as J30 has the power to galvanise or disenchant workers. Moreover after J30 there is a worrying lull until the autumn when further action is threatened. Moreover the anti cuts action is coming in waves, students, civil servants etc, those waves can grow or diminish, it is up to us.