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Austerity

Austerity

  • Sparks protest: calls for "all out!" on N30

    "All out!" was the rallying cry at the latest early-morning protest by construction workers.

  • Sparks dispute: what the future holds

    Construction bosses have thrown down the gauntlet to the workers. Now is the time to respond with decisive action, write Steve Kelly and Russ Blakely in this statement.

  • Occupy London protestors join sparks’ picket

    sparks protestConstruction workers protesting against wage cuts were joined by activists from Occupy London on the picket of Balfour Beatty's construction site at Blackfriars.

  • Occupy LSX: The 99% are here to stay

    Capitalism is crisisThe 99 per cent are here to stay. 24 hours after occupying the space in front of St Paul's Cathedral, Occupy LSX have put in place an impressive infrastructure designed for a long-term occupation.

  • Careworker testimonies: the privatised future of the NHS

    Marienna Pope-Weidemann spoke to NHS care workers battling the disastrous re-ablement scheme that puts market imperatives ahead of the needs and interests of the most vulnerable in our society.

  • Construction workers demand escalation in fight against pay cuts

    Sparks and CoR"Unite, get off your arse" was the message to union officials at last night's angry meeting in Conway Hall as around a hundred construction workers met to discuss their response to attacks on pay and conditions.

  • Blocking the Bill

    Two thousand people occupied Westminster Bridge in protest against the proposed changes to the NHS.

  • Construction workers: we need to raise our game

    Resistance is growing across the construction industry but we need to ramp up the pressure on employers through continued demonstrations involving larger numbers of people, argues Stephen Leadbeater.

  • Student solidarity with… squatters?

    Conservative plans to criminalise trespass have wider repercussions than outlawing squatting. Whether it's an unintended side-effect or a deliberate fringe benefit, imagine the future of protest without occupations.

  • Sparks Uncut: construction protests escalate with Oxford Street blocked

    Construction workers brought part of Oxford Street to a standstill this morning in protest at the decision by construction bosses to rip up the current agreement on wages, terms and conditions.

  • Suspended for dropping a banner

    Yesterday, Edd Bauer was released on bail after ten days in a criminal prison, for the crime of unfurling a banner. Today, his employers at Birmingham Guild of Students unilaterally suspended him from his job.

  • European emergency: build the resistance at Europe Against Austerity conference | London October 1st

    Greek protestorsAs stock markets fall and governments seem powerless to stop another crisis Counterfire urges all its supporters to build the Europe Against Austerity conference in London on October 1st.

  • Pensions battle: unions plan united strike on 30 November

    United strike action by over a million public sector workers came a step closer today, as Britain's three biggest unions announced strike ballots over government attacks on pensions.

  • Sparks fan the flames

    The construction workers campaign spread today with pickets taking place in London, Manchester and Newcastle, calling on workers to take action against eight companies tearing up the national working agreement.

  • Interview: the Left Bloc and resistance across Europe

    Portugal’s Left Bloc will be participating in the European Conference Against Austerity in London on 1 October. Jorge Costa spoke to Feyzi Ismail about the crisis and the need for Europe-wide mobilisation.

  • Darcus Howe’s timely insurrection

    It's not from the reporters and well-heeled media pundits where you can find insight into the London riots, but from the people they are obliged to interview, argue Joe Glenton and Jo Gough.

  • Politicians - condemning the riots from a different planet

    FE student Amy Addison-Dunne argues that most politicians live in such a different reality, their opinions on the riots can be of little value.

  • Police killing sparks Tottenham riot

    Tottenham riot Eyewitness report from last night's Tottenham riot where Police killing of a local father of four and social problems - including high unemployment - form the background to an explosion of anger on the streets.

  • Global crisis, global solution

    The United States is veering towards a debt default, Cyprus looks set to be the fourth Eurozone country requiring a bailout and the UK economy is now more or less flatlining. The solution to the global crisis requires international resistance, argues Kate Hudson.

  • Suicide rates rise across Europe as unemployment grows

    Sad faceBBC News has a revealing report on new research findings showing the link between economic crisis and mental health, specifically the rise in suicide rates across Europe during 2007-09.

  • Striking the streets on J30

    London J30 protestThe hugely successful strikes and protests showed the potential to build a movement that uses the organised and collective resources of trade unions to involve workers who aren't in a trade union at all - students, pensioners, unemployed people and every section of society.

  • Support the pensions strike - build the movement against cuts

    On StrikeThe UK’s biggest co-ordinated industrial action for decades takes place on June 30th - everyone who opposes the cuts must support the strikes - and help make them part of a European wide movement of direct action in resistance to austerity.

  • Teachers: large vote for strike shows mood to resist

    The 92% vote for strike action in the NUT isn’t just a victory for teachers - it should inspire others to take action. NUT member Nick Jones looks at the background to the vote and why it represents a mood to resist government attacks.

  • 30 June: a day for the whole movement

    March 26th familyWhether ballot results are in, or unions still await them, it is becoming clear that Thursday 30 June will be a nationally co-ordinated day of strikes opposing public sector cuts. It is shaping up to be a decisive test for the movement argues Alex Snowdon.

  • Who are the real spongers?

    Benifit Fraud posterGraphic showing the vast scale of the Bank bailouts compared to estimates of benefit fraud for the last ten years

  • Trade union membership and the working class today

    picketsAs public sector unions prepare for a day of coordinated strike action in defence of pensions on June 30th Alex Snowdon looks the state of the union movement.

  • Defend Leeds Childrens Heart Unit - Stop all NHS Cuts and Privatisation

    Leeds SOS logoThe Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds faces closure as part of a rationalisation exercise - with services being transferred to Newcastle or Leicester. John Westmoreland argues that no child should be forced to travel miles to receive treatment.

  • The Battle of Stokes Croft: an account of the riot

    A first hand account of last night's dramatic riots and police aggression in Stokes Croft, Bristol.

  • 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