LAST Saturday thousands of steel workers and their families marched in the North-East to stop the closure of the Redcar Corus plant. The closure will mean 2,000 workers losing their jobs, along with 20,000 workers who depend on the plant in one way or the other.
Marchers included workers from the local port and Teesside’s chemical industry, as well as from the Corus plants in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, and Rotherham and Stocksbridge, South Yorkshire.
So dire are the prospects that managers took part in the march alongside workers since Redcar and the surrounding area depends on the plant.
Leading the march were some of the leaders of the Unite, GMB and the Community trade unions.
They remain chained to the Brown government, and restrict themselves to pleading with that government for financial aid to support industry, knowing full well that the only businesses that the government is prepared to guarantee are the banks.
These leaders are bankrupt. They refuse to call and fight for the renationalisation of the steel industry, despite the fact that they know that the working class is strong enough to force such a measure through.
They are reformists who oppose the working class using its full power in a revolutionary way to defend its wages, jobs and basic rights.
They have become so used to working along with the employers that they now cannot kick the political habits of a lifetime, and are working night and day to defend the Brown-Mandelson government from the anger of the working class.
The TUC leaders all agree with the Unite trade union leaders that ‘nationalisation is not appropriate in the present situation’.
The last thing that they want to see is the steel plants occupied and a national struggle unleashed to secure the nationalisation of the steel industry.
But this revolutionary tactic is the only way to defend the jobs of tens of thousands of steel workers, and also workers in the motor car and other major industries.
The policy of the trade union leaders is pathetic. They tell workers to make big concessions to ‘save industries, so that when the recession’s over you will be able to start again’.
Now a whole plant is to be closed. And it will be followed by many others, nationalisation is the only answer.
Steel workers, motor car workers and aircraft workers such as the BA workers must kick their union leaders out and bring in leaders who are prepared to fight for nationalisation to defend the jobs and the living standards of the working class.
However, they must start the struggle to defend their jobs now.
They must form councils of action in all of their areas, bringing together all the local trade unions and community organisations.
These councils of action must organise the occupation of the steel and other plants and initiate a national campaign for a general strike to secure the nationalisation of the major industries and the banks, under workers’ control.
The working class is stronger than the bosses and stronger than even the capitalist state.
It must be organised for action to remove the trade union leaders who will not fight, and to bring down the Brown government with a general strike.
Workers must bring in a workers government that will nationalise the major industries and involve the whole working class in drawing up an economic plan for the building of the basis of a new socialist society.
Capitalism must be deposited into the dustbin of history by a socialist revolution.