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Austerity

Austerity

  • Schools, not bonuses

    The government's drive to wreck education continues. In Doncaster, the council has a hit list of seven schools that it wants to close, but the local community has other ideas.

  • The fight for our libraries is a fight for our future

    New Cross OccupationNothing blows a hole in the well spun Tory propaganda like their decision to close libraries. The hollow promise to defend frontline services is shown to be an utter lie.

  • Throw the book at Con-Dem cultural vandals!

    Ed Miliband has rightly called the Con-Dems’ decision to close up to 350 libraries ‘cultural vandalism’. He got the phrase from children’s author Alan Gibbons who has achieved widespread support for his work in building a national campaign to oppose library closures, The Campaign for the Book.

  • Lindsey German: Russia Today news interview on resistance to Europe wide austerity

    Lindsey GermanLindsey German interviewed on international TV station Russia Today about the Britain's student rebellion and the wave of resistance to austerity sweeping Europe.

  • Violent minority - cartoon by Chris Bird

    cartoon by Chris BirdCartoonist Chris Bird's take on the actions of a violent minority guilty of wrecking property and endangering human life in the pursuit of a political agenda rejected by the majority of voters.

  • Protest Works

    At school our history lessons teach us that single individuals can change the world. The lesser told story is how mass action fells governments, prevents wars and wins democratic rights.

  • Legitimate Protest or Mindless Violence? Clare Solomon debates with Tory MP Roger Gale

    Gale MP and SolomonUniversity of London Union president Clare Solomon debates with Tory MP Roger Gale on the Jeremy Vine show on: How do we view the student demonstrations? Were they a reawakening of political activism or just mindless violence?

  • Wanted: A Strong and Independent BBC

    The BBC's deal with the ConDems will see their budget cut and puts their role as a public institution in jeopardy. Despite its faults, we must defend the BBC from cuts and fight for its independence, argues Des Freedman.

  • Best days of your life? Children and the cuts

    children living in povertyUnless your parents are wealthy, today is not the time to be a child in Britain. All children deserve to feel safe and secure, be fed and clothed, have adequate housing and receive a good education. Not much to ask you might think, but certainly too much for the ConDems to deliver.

  • The Phoney War is Over: Time to Build the Resistance

    The phoney war is over. George Osborne’s Spending Review is the beginning of the real campaign. The battle-lines have been drawn. This is about more than economics. It is about values.

  • Don’t Let Gove Hijack History

    The Con-Dems have a dream of one nation united by a common national story. Their attempts to co-opt history teaching to this end must be stopped.

  • Defending science and resisting the ConDem cuts

    Science ProtestorsSaturday's demonstration was the first national demonstration organised by scientists, in defence of science, for decades. The size of the protest against threatened spending cuts is a measure of just how serious that threat now is.

  • Fighting the cuts and building the alternative

    Cameron cleaverThe massive public spending cuts being forced through by the Coalition are an attempt to make us pay for the failure of a system run for the benefit of a rich and powerful minority. We need to organise to resist the cuts and overthrow this system.

  • A united front against the cuts?

    I've written a short introduction to an important concept in left-wing political strategy: 'Socialists and the united front', now up at Counterfire. I've limited myself to the emergence of united front strategy in the years following the Russian Revolution of 1917, rather than attempting a sweeping history of its application over nearly a century.

    My own little contribution was designed to accompany a very illuminating archive piece already on the site: The united front and the Comintern by Duncan Hallas. My article hopefully provides the context needed to fully comprehend the landmark events Hallas wrote about.

    It is also, however, prompted by a particular contemporary development: the emerging Coalition of Resistance is, like most examples of united fronts since the mid-1920s, a small-scale operation (at least for now) compared with the socially convulsive movements of the Comintern era. It is, nevertheless, an example of tapping into a widespread desire for broad unity in the working class to develop an active coalition on the central political issue of our times.

    For revolutionaries, like me, this means working with people who largely accept reformist ideas and solutions. Unfortunately we revolutionaries are much smaller in number than the major Communist movements of 90 years ago, but the principles remain the same.

    The urgent priority for everyone now is to forge broad opposition to the savage cuts pursued by the ConDem coalition. It would be sectarian for revolutionaries to remain aloof from a project designed to increase co-ordination and effectiveness of our campaigning, or to limit themselves to their own established, narrow front operations.  

    It would also, though, be a mistake to simply tail-end larger forces, like the Labour Party or the TUC, in the misguided belief that such timidity and caution is a necessary part of unity. If we wait for them to act, we could be waiting a long time.

    It is necessary for revolutionary socialists to work with others, typically on the political left, who also embrace the need for decisive action and a dynamic response - who are willing to show a little flair and initiative. Those who do not lead are destined to follow, lagging behind instead of shaping events.

    For Lenin and Trotsky there was, as Duncan Hallas explained, a simultaneous need to build revolutionary organisation, and expand the influence of radical anti-capitalist ideas articulating opposition to the system as a whole and advocating socialist alternatives. It isn't a choice between broad campaigns or socialist argument - instead, the 'battle of ideas' takes place in the context of developing activism and resistance with people influenced by reformist ideas.

    This remains true today. The growing opposition to austerity will provide revolutionary socialists, in organisations like Counterfire, opportunities to unite with others in common struggle - and, at one and the same time, creates an audience for discussions about how we abolish economic crisis, inequality and injustice once and for all.

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  • Marxism and the crisis - a strategy for the left

    An image of graph illustrating economic crisis superimposed over one of Marx's face.

    John Rees looks at the left's analysis of the crisis and outlines a strategy for resisting our rulers attempts to make us pay for it