All out behind Junior Doctors strike! – demands News Line Anniversary Rally

FOUAD SHAATH President of the General Union of Palestinian Students addressing the News Line Anniversary rally
FOUAD SHAATH President of the General Union of Palestinian Students addressing the News Line Anniversary rally

ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FIFTY workers, students and youth attended the rally to mark the 46th Anniversary of the News Line and the 75th Anniversary of the Assassination of Leon Trotsky on Sunday.

The rally was held in Oxford House, Bethnal Green, east London. At the end of the rally there was the showing of Five Broken Cameras, a film on the struggle of the Palestinian people.

Opening the rally, Bill Rogers, Chair of Chingford Aslef, said: ‘Tory Chancellor Osborne is carrying out massive cuts. It’s a revolutionary situation. Junior doctors voted 98% for strike action, yet the leaders of other unions, Unite and Unison are anxious to prevent the strike action escalating into a general strike.

‘Year in year out NHS workers haven’t had a pay rise in over five years. Junior doctors reflect the anger that’s built up. This government is engaged in a planned attack on the working class, it is like warfare. At our Aslef branch meeting last week we unanimously passed a resolution stating that Aslef will oppose the Trade Union Bill and call on the TUC to call a general strike to that end.

‘The branch also passed another resolution calling for a general strike to support the junior doctors. My branch is not special. The Tories and the ruling class are out to smash the Welfare State, what we need is revolutionary leadership in the unions. What’s required above all is a revolutionary paper and a revolutionary party to organise the working class to take power, bringing in planned production to replace the anarchy of capitalism.’

Libby Freeman of Calais Action said: ‘I founded Calais Action almost by accident at the beginning of August when I went over there and found lovely people. The refugees at Calais are not a swarm of animals, they are mainly running from imperialist war. This government is spending millions, not on helping people but on building fences to keep them out and is planning to spend billions more to bomb Syria.

‘There are people all over Europe giving up their daily lives to fight for the refugees. We have to fight this government who are completely turning their backs on them. People are freezing. Children are being burnt. There are 7,000 in the camp now. There was another fire at Calais yesterday, victims of a war they were not responsible for but which is now escalating. Giving aid is important but it’s also important to fight the government.’

Ian Hodson, president of the Bakers Union, said: ‘Congratulations on the 46th anniversary of the News Line. It’s important to understand the working class and its history. The Hovis strike was the first strike against zero hours contracts. After two weeks of the strike the company conceded and the 24 workers were given full time jobs. There must be no second class worker.

‘When the junior doctors go on strike it’s our duty to ensure they win. If the Tories win there will be no NHS. I agree with your call – all out behind the junior doctors strike. In America the fight for a living wage is also succeeding. A person working at 18 is entitled to the same pay as someone of 26. We are calling for an end to the youth minimum wage and for a £10 minimum wage.

‘We’re calling for a mass mobilisation against the trade union bill. If the call comes we will take part in a general strike to defeat the trade union bill. We have to come together stand together, fight together and when we do we will win.’

Young Socialists National Secretary Joshua Ogunleye said: ‘The News Line is a fighting force and a fighting paper in a fighting time. Two weeks ago students marched in London not accepting the Tory programme of destroying the welfare state. Capitalism is a system without jobs, education, no security, no future.

‘They are carrying out forced academisation, turning back time. They are forcing students into tens of thousands of pounds of debt and pushing the working class out of London. We have to get rid of capitalism. They are using racist rhetoric to criminalise international students. In the US the 15 dollars an hour youth are joining the movement against the police murder of black youths, in South Africa the youth beat back tuition fees rise and are demanding they are abolished altogether, in Palestine the youth are leading the 3rd Intifada.

‘We are walking in Comrade Leon Trotsky’s footsteps to smash the capitalist system. It is utterly bankrupt. We have to seize the opportunity. This is our moment. Enough is enough. Defend healthcare, defend education, defend all services, get rid of the system.’

Fouad Shaath, President of the General Union of Palestinian Students, said: ‘Before 1948 Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in peace in Palestine with no problem, but then the Zionists came. Israel tries to present it as a religious problem when they are supporting settlers attacking our children. Just this morning they killed a young girl. A few months ago they burned a Palestinian child alive.

‘The current intifada is led by the youth. I am a member of Fatah. I support the 3rd intifada. I’m from Gaza. The siege of Gaza is the forgotten story. Support the intifada. The Israelis shoot a boy or a girl and then throw a knife down and say they were going to kill us. Support the BDS movement to boycott the products of the settlements. Since I was born I have had no passport. I can’t even open a bank account. We really want you to support the youth uprising in the West Bank. Settlers and IDF soldiers work together and plan together to kill children. There is a direct link between the Palestinian cause and every single person on this planet.’

Dave Wiltshire, National Secretary of the All Trades Unions Alliance, said: ‘We shouldn’t allow this trade union bill to come anywhere near being passed. On Wednesday the Chancellor is to announce the spending review, another £20 billion of cuts. But even this won’t be enough. We haven’t seen anything yet. They want to shrink the state back to the 30s – known as the hungry 30s. The national debt is over £1.5 trillion, the only chance they have of paying it is to smash public services.

‘The Tories intend to close everything in the country and privatise the NHS out of existence. The junior doctors are not fighting over pay but in defence of the NHS. We have to get rid of this government and advance society. Demand the TUC leadership comes out behind the junior doctors and calls a general strike. That’s the only answer to the capitalist crisis today. There are no reformist solutions.’

Workers Revolutionary Party Assistant General Secretary Jonty Leff was the final speaker. He said: ‘The Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialist calls on workers in the trade unions to take their leaders to task immediately and if they will not offer full support to the junior doctors and join the action, to remove them and replace them with leaders who will. We repeat that the whole working class must stop along with the junior doctors and that the mass movement of the working class must be mobilised to win their struggle and to bring down the Tory government.

‘World capitalism is in its greatest crisis, i.e. its death agony. The working class movement, because of this situation, itself is gripped by a crisis of leadership, with the old leaders acting in every way to prop up capitalism how ever viciously it acts against the working people of the world. We are building the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists to lead the British socialist revolution. We urge you to join this struggle and to play your part in this and in the building of the Fourth International to lead the world socialist revolution to its victory.’