Following the political earthquake, building the movement is vital. Now it can really reshape politics
We are living in a period of great political turmoil. The election results meant that nearly 13million people voted for the most left-wing manifesto ever. There is a desperate need for change. Theresa May has no credibility as prime minister since her disastrous election campaign where she lost her majority in parliament. Support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is growing, according to polls.
But while the government is weak and feeble, and deeply internally divided, it is carrying on with its attacks on working class people. It is planning to continue austerity policies, which means millions of us will suffer worsening health services, cuts in education, appalling housing and vicious attacks on some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. Meanwhile, they will do nothing to redress the inequality between rich and poor in Britain, which is one of the worst in the world.
Many people want to stop them getting away with these brutal policies. Those of us who want a more equal, socialist society have to act now to end neoliberal policies, kick this rotten Tory government out and bring about real change. This isn’t going to happen without a fight. The rich and powerful and those politicians who support them will do everything they can to hold on to power and to use that to attack the poor and working people.
Take the fight to the Tories
Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters can do a lot to fight for these sorts of policies, but they do not yet have a majority in parliament. The onus is on us to take the fight to the Tories in every way that we can. We know that change in society is achieved through people campaigning and fighting to alter injustice. We have to do this now, with movements and campaigns which take to the streets and can force the government out.
The mass People’s Assembly demonstration is a great start. Within the space of two weeks, it has mobilised tens of thousands, got the backing of most major trade unions, and seen coaches filled from across the country. But we need more than one demonstration, given that there is the constant pressure of privatisation, of continued council cuts, of falling wages and zero-hours’ contracts.
We know that lots of campaigning in the election for Labour came from junior doctors and nurses, from teachers, especially in the NUT, from housing and anti-cuts campaigners. Every single one of these people need to keep organising, both because another election need not be far away, and also because it is only such actions that will protect people from the ravages of neoliberalism now.
We must also take these campaigns into the workplace. Everyone should join a union, try to organise at work and put demands on their employers for a wage rise – public sector workers have suffered an effective pay cut in recent years. There are a number of strikes planned or taking place, and these workers deserve the maximum solidarity from all of us.
Students should demand an end to tuition fees. They are forcing young people to take on a lifetime of debt before they start working, and so deter many working class people from going onto higher education. Corbyn has pledged their abolition, and this should be a demand students everywhere put on their own universities.
The Tories are desperately hanging on to power, in alliance with the nearest thing in the British parliament to the US Tea Party, the bigoted and reactionary DUP. They know that the likely outcome of any election would be a Labour majority. No wonder they claim that no one wants another election! They have to feel the maximum pressure inside parliament but also more importantly outside. There can be no business as usual for a party which has no legitimacy but which continues to try to govern on the most reactionary policies.
That means if they are still in office in October, there has to be the most massive protest during Tory party conference in Manchester in October. We need housing, NHS and anti-war campaigners, striking workers and students determined to get a free education, on the streets and making clear we don’t want them in office. They have to go.
This is our time: millions are waking up to the injustices the many face at the hands of the few. If we unite and fight together we can kick them out, and begin to challenge rule by the rich and powerful.
More articles from this author
- Extinction Rebellion: a movement recharged
- Israeli elections: apartheid or apartheid-lite
- The kids are still alright: the climate fightback continues
- What happens to Julian Assange has implications for us all
- What's to blame for knife crime?
- Strike to demand action on climate change
- Algerian uprising ousts President Bouteflika – and it isn’t stopping there