MARGARET Thatcher was ignored by the bourgeoisie for 23 years after she was put out of office by the Tory leadership in 1990. This was when her disastrous attempt to bring in a Poll Tax started a revolt on the scale of the original 1381 insurrection. She has now been rediscovered after her death by the same ruling class that dumped her.
The wall-to-wall hysterical adulation in the press and all the media has put the much derided North Korean adulation of Kim Il Sung far into the shade.
The common cry of the worshippers is that ‘she saved us’ from the trade unions, and a country that was ‘out of control’.
In fact, the rediscovery of the ‘great leader’ is rooted in the present political and economic crisis, and the campaign that has been launched by the Tory-led coalition to go much further than even Thatcher dared, and carry through the privatisation of the NHS and the destruction of the Welfare State.
The adulators are trying to summon up the ‘God of Battles’ to stiffen themselves in the face of the feeling which grips the ruling class, that it is going to need ‘saving’ once again.
In fact, Thatcherism and civil war against the trade unions was the response of the British ruling class to the early 1970s. This was when Heath called an election on who should run the country only to find that the trade unions won.
All of Heath’s anti-union laws were ripped up as the working class proved that the situation was rotten-ripe for getting rid of capitalism. However, the Labour and trade union leaders would not do it.
This created the situation for a ruling class counte-revolution. The Tory leadership was changed and Thatcher imposed, using the huge oil wealth of the North Sea to bankroll a planned counter-revolution to smash the NUM and the trade unions.
The strike was provoked and lasted a year. The miners fought with huge heroism. Miners were killed on the picket line, and scores were jailed after major clashes with the state.
More important to the ruling class than even the police and the state forces was the General Council of the TUC. It refused to call a general strike. However, it was still touch and go. ‘Margaret Thatcher – the Downing Street Years’ records under ‘Mr Scargill’s Insurrection’ Thatcher’s dismay when NACODS, which legally supervised pit safety, voted for strike action.
Thatcher writes of the vote: ‘This was very bad news. Throughout the coal strike events swung unpredictably in one direction then another . . . and I could never let myself feel confident about the final outcome.’
Of the TUC she writes: ‘David Basnett, General Secretary of the GMWU and Ray Buckton, General Secretary of Aslef, had a private meeting with Peter Walker in which they revealed their desire for the TUC to play a role . . . Apparently, the TUC was proposing to put to the NUM and the NCB the idea of a return to work . . .’
Instead of calling a general strike to bring down the the government and go forward to socialism the TUC sold out another huge opportunity to smash capitalism. The same betrayal was carried out of the year long printers struggle.
Thatcher then brought in new anti-union laws and launched the Poll Tax, and was brought down by the massive revolutionary response throughout the country. Those who are now worshipping Thatcher drove her out of Downing Street in tears, to save themselves.
Thatcher’s legacy is a UK that is run by bankrupt banks, that has no basic manufacturing or energy producing industries, that is dependent on foreign producers, and is so bankrupt and broken that it cannot give the working class and the youth a future.
Its ruling class is now mounting an even more desperate class war to smash the Welfare State and the NHS. This will meet a massive revolutionary response. What we can learn from Thatcher and the British ruling class is the use of absolute ruthlessness, in carrying out what is necessary to secure the future of the working class and the youth. We must build up the revolutionary party, so that when the opportunity presents itself, as it will, the working class will be mobilised to overthrow British capitalism and imperialism!