Defend Public Services through a general strike


ON THE day that MPs were voting on going to war once again in the Middle East, a very senior civil servant made it crystal clear that the war against the working class in Britain is also never-ending and is about to be stepped up.

Sir Bob Kerslake, the outgoing head of the civil service, warned that public sector cuts will continue for another five years regardless of what political party forms the next government.

Kerslake told the think-tank Institute for Government: ‘Suffice it to say that under any government, we face up to a further five years of austerity in public sector spending.’

In fact, Kerslake is guilty of blind optimism if he thinks that public services face just five years of ‘painful’ cuts. George Osborne, has already pledged a regime of permanent austerity under British capitalism – austerity that has as its aim not just more cuts but the complete destruction of every single public service.

British capitalism is gripped by the biggest crisis in its history, drowning under a massive national debt which has reached £1.4 trillion and which is increasing every day through the huge interest rates payable on the debt.

If it is not to default on these repayments, it must not just cut public expenditure on public services and the Welfare State, it must end them completely.

So far 40% of jobs – one million posts – have been lost in the public sector as part of the coalition’s budget deficit reduction plan.

With the bulk of government expenditure concentrated in the NHS and education, this has led to hospital and school closures on a massive scale, while vital services like fire have been cut down, with fire station closures taking place around the country on almost a daily basis.

But this is still not enough to pay back the national debt run up through pumping over a trillion pounds of public money into stopping the banks collapsing as a result of the world banking crisis of 2008.

The future, as far as the bankers and capitalists are concerned, is for Britain to be forced down the road they have tried to impose on Greece, where the IMF, EC and European Central Bank are insisting on the privatisation of all public services, selling off every public asset in order to pay back the bail-out of bankrupt Greek capitalism.

The Greek workers have fought back and resisted these attacks despite the treachery of the Stalinist and reformist trade union leadership.

In Britain, the working class are equally determined to fight to save all public services including the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the welfare state, the NHS.

The only thing holding them back from bringing down this hated Tory coalition is the outright refusal of the trade union leadership to take any action to defend these services in the only way possible – through a general strike.

At a time when the government is hated by the overwhelming majority of workers and the middle class, the only thing keeping it in power is the refusal of the trade union leadership to call a general strike to bring it down.

Instead, they seek to restrict the movement to one-day strikes and protest marches coupled with pleas for workers to wait for the election of a Labour government in the hope it will be ‘better than the Tories’.

Miliband and Balls gave their answer to this at the Labour Party conference where they pledged to follow the Tories in paying off the deficit at all costs – just as Kerslake insisted they would have to.

The way forward for the working class is clear – with capitalism at its weakest and forced to wage war on the working class at home and abroad, there has never been a better time to bring down the government and replace it with a workers government that will go forward to socialism.

This requires kicking out the old treacherous trade union leaders and replacing them with a new revolutionary leadership.