On 30th November (‘N30’) the UK will see the biggest day yet of strike action by public sector workers as part of a fight against the government’s austerity plans. Over twenty unions representing 3 million public sector workers will strike over government attempts to significantly increase employee contributions while reducing employer contributions to pension schemes, raise the retirement age, and drastically reduce pension pay-outs to workers. Workers in both the public and private sectors are facing similar job cuts.
This strike, as well as the square occupations and the recent electricians’ strike over pay cuts are part of a broader struggle against austerity sweeping across the world.
This austerity is a symptom of the economic crisis gripping capitalism, a crisis in which both business and the government seek to resolve by protecting capitalism at the expense of workers and the most vulnerable in society, the old, the sick, and the young. Youth unemployment among 16 to 24 year-olds current stands at over a million and like general unemployment is rising dramatically.
It is important that everyone supports the strike. The stakes are high. Failure to stop the government from imposing its cuts will worsen conditions for all of us.
However, a one-day strike will not be sufficient to stop these attacks on our living standards and jobs. We have to build a movement which is prepared to go beyond limited strike action or the aim of trade union officialdom to merely put pressure on the government; our aim should be to go beyond capitalism.
Capitalism is in a deep structural crisis. We are heading for even more economic downturn. Even the economics editor of the Financial Times is predicting that the current depression will be longer and deeper than the Great Depression of the 1920s and ‘30s. Our situation is going to become a lot worse unless we put a stop to capitalism and look for alternatives which take power from the banks, multinational corporations and the state and puts it firmly in the hands of the working class, through democratic communism – the self-management of workplaces and communities, and the abolition of wage-slavery.
We need to build the alternative now in our actions, through building rank and file control of strikes, horizontal decision making structures, people’s assemblies, and where delegates are needed they must be elected, accountable and recallable. Linking all in struggle from workers to unemployed to social and environmental campaigns, the list goes on in a mass movement that respects self-organisation but marches and strikes together.
« Cartoon by Edd Baldry – for more see heymonkeyriot.blogspot.com