THIS week Tory prime minister Boris Johnson was forced to make a humiliating retreat over free school meals following a campaign led by the young football player Marcus Rashford.
As far as the Tories were concerned, the money spent on keeping 1.3 million kids from hunger was a waste, money that should be spent paying for the billions of pounds handed out to businesses to keep capitalism staggering on.
Starving the children of poor working class families had the added bonus in giving more ‘incentive’ for workers to get back to work regardless of the danger from coronavirus.
The Tories came spectacularly unstuck when the intervention of Marcus Rashford unleashed a tsunami of hatred from workers against a capitalist system that is quite prepared to see mass starvation of young kids in order to keep the bosses and bankers in profit.
The Tories, with their 80-seat majority in parliament, have treated the Labour Party leadership with contempt, secure in the knowledge that Kier Starmer only offers token opposition and poses no threat to the government.
Indeed, the Tories rely on Starmer and the Labour Party to keep the working class down, subservient to a parliament dominated by Tories, in the face of the most brutal and inhuman attacks on workers and their families.
What Johnson’s ‘U-turn’ proved was that far from being helpless the working class is much more powerful than the Tories. The only thing keeping them in power is the absolute refusal of the Labour and trade union leaders to bring them down.
However the Tories, who were forced to retreat over free school meals, have immediately turned to attacking pensioners. Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak is poised to end the triple-lock on state pensions on the grounds that it is unaffordable.
The triple-lock was introduced to protect state pensions by yearly increases according to the rate of inflation, average earnings or by 2.5% – whichever is largest.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic shattered British capitalism, poverty for both children and pensioners was at a record high with 14 million people living in poverty, including 4 million children and 2 million pensioners. After their defeat over starving children the Tories are now determined to starve the pensioners!
However, while Labour is busy in parliament propping up the Tories, the trade union leaders are working overtime to prevent any fight over the massive jobs and pensions massacre already taking place, and are actually calling on the Tories to save workers jobs.
In fact, unemployment benefit claims hit a record 2.8 million last month (more than double since March), far outstripping the one million rise recorded in the first year of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Every factory closure and industrial collapse leading to thousands of jobs being slashed, with pensions busted, has seen the leaders of the trade unions falling over themselves to offer up collaboration with the bosses in peacefully managing the jobs massacre.
Instead of organising the fight to defend jobs they have meekly requested to be allowed to sit on joint committees with the bosses to discuss severance pay.
Instead of unions fighting for jobs they are reduced to pleading with the Tories to ‘save’ jobs.
The only thing that concerns these trade union bureaucrats is to retain their own positions and bloated salaries by proving their commitment to keeping capitalism safe from the anger of the working class.
As Johnson’s defeat this week showed beyond doubt, this Tory government, along with the capitalist system it serves, is so weak that it only remains in power through the support of the Labour and trade union bureaucracy who refuse to fight for the working class.
Rashford has put the trade union leaders to shame. The Tories cannot be allowed to starve the pensioners by getting rid of the triple lock.
Workers must kick out their cowardly trade union leaders. They must be replaced with a new revolutionary leadership that will organise the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will expropriate industry and the banks and bring in a a socialist planned economy. This is the only way forward.