TODAY at 9am the TUC General Council is discussing a motion from the Prison Officers Association (who have no right to strike) that urges the 2012 Congress to consider the practicalities of a general strike against the government’s austerity programme.
The TUC’s general council was split down the middle on this motion when it met on Thursday 6th September.
When the vote was taken it was 16-16, with the TUC’s outgoing general secretary, Brendan Barber, as one of his last actions on behalf of the ruling class before quitting office, voting against, and with the GMB leader, Paul Kenny, sitting on the fence declining to use his chairman’s casting vote.
The key clause of the motion states: ‘Congress accepts that the trade union movement must continue leading from the front against this uncaring government with a coalition of resistance taking coordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike.’
The POA is dead right. Now is the time to call the general strike when the coalition is presiding over the crisis of capitalism and pauperising and literally starving millions of families in this country, on behalf of the bosses and the bankers.
These reactionaries are now becoming increasingly arrogant, as they consider that they are going to get away with reintroducing the conditions of the 19th century.
Yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph main article featured the demand of the new ‘Minister of Business’, Michael Fallon, that there be an end to ‘the politics of envy’ and that capitalists should be treated like ‘Olympian champions’.
This is not funny. With the country ruined at the hands of the bankers and the bosses this Tory leader, speaking for all of them, is demanding that these failures, responsible for the current economic catastrophe should be ‘treated like Olympians’ and allowed to continue living like kings while their ‘subjects’ suffer.
These are modern Marie Antoinettes, of the ‘Let them eat cake’ variety.
These economic wreckers and their bankrupt system, cannot be allowed to get away with heaping the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the working class, the youth, the elderly and the poor, while lecturing them that they have got to show due respect, if not adulation, for their persecutors.
The TUC must now stand up and fight for the workers and the youth or forever lose their leadership of the workers’ movement.
The unions must bring millions out on October 20th to march against the coalition and its austerity measures.
But this mass demonstration cannot be the end of the matter, and be reduced to a grand gesture. It must just be the beginning of the end for their coalition.
This is what the General Council of the TUC must tell the likes of Brendan Barber. He cannot be allowed to decide the fate of millions before he quits the movement to take a job with the capitalist media or the capitalist class.
The TUC General Council must carry the POA motion, and the Congress must show the Tory-led coalition that its days are numbered by naming the date for the commencement of an indefinite general strike, after the October 20th mass demonstration.
And if the Tories and Labourites start screaming that capitalism is too weak and bankrupt to withstand a general strike and a challenge to its austerity measures, the unions must tell them that this is just another expession of the fact that it must go, and be replaced by socialism, because its crisis can only lead to bigger and bigger disasters and catastrophes for the working people of the world.
There is no doubt that this is the time to take action. Pass the POA motion, call the general strike, bring down the coalition, go forward to a workers government and socialism.