‘TODAY the greatest crisis ever of the capitalist system is driving forward revolution in every country, as the workers of the world decide that they will not pay the bill for the crisis of the capitalists and the bankers and that this system must be brought to an end, and humanity go forward to socialism.’
Jonty Leff, Assistant General Secretary of the WRP and News Line editorial board member, was addressing over three hundred workers and youth at the News Line 42nd Anniversary Rally on Sunday.
The rally, which also marked the 71st anniversary of the assassination of the co-leader of the Russian revolution, Leon Trotsky, began with a march from Whitechapel to Bethnal Green in East London.
Dozens of youth led the march, waving red flags and chanting: ‘We won’t pay tuition fees – Education must be free!’ and ‘Workers, students, youth unite – Forward to a General Strike!’
Leff continued: ‘The alternative to socialist revolution is unthinkable – wars to restore colonialism and redivide the world and civil wars to drive the working class back to the 19th century.
‘While we meet, the Egyptian revolution is rushing forward, the revolution that overthrew Mubarak is accelerating as the Egyptian workers and youth demands cannot be satisfied under backward capitalism.
‘We have to build, we have to launch sections of the Fourth International in every country to provide revolutionary leadership and mobilise the working class to put an end to the capitalist system through socialist revolutions.
‘The future of humanity rests on establishing world socialism, putting an end to the competing capitalist nation states and establishing a world socialist republic where production will be planned to satisfy people’s needs and capitalism will be observed by curious crowds in exhibitions of primitive societies at the Natural History Museum.
‘Today we celebrate Trotskyism. It is 71 years since Trotsky’s assassination. He lived and died waging the struggle for a principled revolutionary leadership to take the whole of humanity forward to the victory of the world socialist movement.
‘This Wednesday will be the biggest strike since the general strike of 1926 and it will be a general strike, despite the union leadership.
‘Our demands will be crystal clear, there is no plan B, there is no regulating the banks, or reforming capitalism.
‘This government will not be pressurised to change course as the union leaders claim. This government must be brought down.
‘The working class has to take matters into its own hands, not just in Britain but over the whole world.
‘We have to build the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists with a real urgency.
‘We have to build up the News Line rapidly, it is our sharpest weapon. We have to organise the socialist revolution!’
Opening the rally, chairman Frank Sweeney said: ‘The News Line was launched in September 1969. There have been numerous efforts to try and shut it down. Now it is now coming in to its own.’
All Trades Unions Alliance National Secretary Dave Wiltshire was the first speaker at the rally.
He said: ‘Trotsky, on his deathbed, said he was confident of the victory of the working class, the only class that can advance humanity.
‘There has never been a situation like today, there is no parallel in history.
‘In this country the coalition government can do nothing but attack the Welfare State – everything is up for privatisation.
‘If you want to see the future of Great Britain just look at Greece where the bankers have been put in charge, where they are cutting people’s electricity and jailing trade union leaders.
‘We meet in a very special time in history. Next Wednesday’s strike is certainly going to be the biggest strike in Britain since the General Strike of 1926. Capitalism cannot give a single concession.
Wednesday’s strike has to be transformed into an all out indefinite general strike.
‘The issue of the day in front of the working class is going forward to power. We must build the leadership that is going to lead the British Revolution and the revolution all over the world.’
Tanya Paton from Occupy London Stock Exchange (LSX) said: ‘We have a banner – “Capitalism is Crisis”. It’s at an end, it has nowhere to go, it’s unsustainable.
‘The uniqueness of Occupy is that it is a movement fighting to find a way forward. The governments have failed us. We will occupy the whole world.
‘Occupy is amorphous. Everyone is included in the 99 per cent. I say to the one per cent watch out we are not prepared to pay for your crisis.’
Issa Chaer, speaking for Syrians in Britain said: ‘I have two hats. I am an academic and I absolutely support the fight for free health care and education in Britain.
‘To relate this to Syria, there is currently free health care and education in Syria.
‘The uprising of peaceful demands for reforms has been hijacked by people in France and Britain who used to be capitalists in Syria.
‘These people do not want the interests of the Syrian people. Now there are armed militants who have infiltrated in Syria.
‘We are on the eve of sectarian war in Syria supported by the governments of Britain and France.
‘Yes we want reforms in Syria, but we want peaceful reforms. We don’t want Apache’s and war planes.’
Anna Athow from the BMA General Council said: ‘Under the Health Bill private companies will make huge profits out of the work that was previously done by the publicly provided primary care trusts, which are being dismantled.
‘Huge corporations will decide what services will be provided and where.
‘But the BMA council meeting last Thursday passed a resolution completely opposing the Health Bill and deciding to organise a campaign against it.
‘This is a significant change of policy from the main doctors’ union, which previously backed parts of the bill.
‘The hierarchy did not want to change policy, but the pressure from the membership, the sharpening of the crisis in the NHS, and a struggle inside the union to defend the NHS, gave rise to this change.
‘To defend the NHS we must keep what we have. We must mobilise to defend every District General Hospital, GP surgery and community service and resist these £20 billion cuts.
‘Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield is at the centre of this fight.
‘A heroic struggle has taken place there over the past five years, involving the whole community, from residents, the local council, campaign groups, and above all, the North East London Council of Action, to keep the hospital open.
‘Health Secretary Lansley and his privateer friends have named Chase Farm Hospital as a test case.
‘There is only one way to keep all services at the hospital running and that is through physical occupation.’
Joshua Ogunleye Young Socialist National Secretary said: ‘Young people are experiencing first hand the huge effects of the world slump and the massive attacks on their education, their jobs and their lives.
‘They are angry at the constant attacks and are fighting back all over the world.
‘Youth in Egypt are fighting daily against the military regime which has proved more vicious than Mubarak and have reoccupied Tahrir Square until this regime is brought down.
‘More and more are descending into the Square and will not go away in spite of being brutally attacked with tear gas, water cannon and more – 60 have been killed so far and thousands injured, but they will not give in.
‘Egyptian youth have given heart to the Palestinian youth to rise up against Zionism. They have courageously fought the military Zionist forces and will not stop until the state of Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital, is achieved.
‘In the UK this year we saw a nationwide movement of youth last August, from Tottenham to Liverpool, rise up and take to the streets against this repressive capitalist system.
‘This system cannot offer anything progressive for young people.
‘The crisis is evoking revolution, we are on a revolutionary upsurge.
‘The state is arming itself to the teeth to take on young people.
‘They have abandoned stop-and-search and replaced it with stop-and-shoot.
‘Young people are uniting with older workers, we are joining with the strike on Wednesday.
‘We are fighting for a future and building a leadership to win.
‘They are scared of us and so they should be. They have every reason to fear that which they can not control.
‘We are organising to bring down this government.’
Richard Sheridan, Chairman of the Dale Farm Residents Association, said: ‘I come from an Irish ethnic minority and I was born in Britain, I’m not proud to say.
‘I have negotiated with Basildon Council for seven years to find a peaceful solution to the situation at Dale Farm.
‘I have liaised with all of them, but all to no avail and now 92 families have been deprived of a home and their children have been deprived of an education.
‘Basildon council has a duty to provide 62 sites, but they are resisting it.
‘The police led the eviction at Dale Farm and it was a brutal eviction. Now we’re all homeless.
‘This government has to be changed because the people have not been given a fair crack of the whip.
‘It is very wrong what they have done to us. My little boy isn’t able to go to school because he has no permanent address.’
A statement was read out from Gate Gourmet sacked worker Parmjit Bains.
She said: ‘Right from the beginning our union officials knew that Gate Gourmet were going to bring in casuals on August 10 2005 to do our jobs and they never said a thing.
‘We went to work as normal that day and then our union leaders got us all sacked. 800 workers were sacked.
‘Gate Gourmet had been bought by Texas Pacific, a ruthless private equity company, and were ready for a showdown with the workforce in order to cut wages and conditions.
‘The union leaders dumped us and walked away. We joined a trade union because we expect it to fight for its members.
‘We remain members of the union and our cases are going to the High Court. We want leaders that back their members, not those who use left words while behind our backs do deals with the bosses.’
Bill Rogers, Secretary of the North East London Council of Action said: ‘It has been five years since we set up the North East London Council of action through the railway union ASLEF’s chingford branch.
‘We have had petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of Enfield residents to save the hospital, a number of mass marches of thousands through the centre of Enfield town, monthly pickets, every single month outside the front of Chase Farm Hospital.
‘But the only way to defend Chase Farm hospital or any hospital that is threatened with closure is through a policy of occupation.
‘To go in to the hospital, occupy and keep it running.
‘We went down to Occupy London Stock Exchange outside St Paul’s and I addressed one of the general assembly meetings.
‘We got an extremely positive response from the St Paul’s occupiers over our policy of occupying Chase Farm hospital.
‘During my speech when I addressed the occupiers I said “we are going to occupy Chase Farm Hospital, are you up for it?” The crowd gave a resounding “Yes”.
‘And that is a tremendous vote of confidence in our policy to occupy Chase Farm.
‘What they are introducing with the Social Care Bill is the privatisation of the NHS.
‘It is great that the BMA voted to oppose the bill this past week.
‘Twenty billion pounds is to be taken out of hospital care and given to the privateers.
‘Health Care Assistants are being given the job of nurses.
‘You need District General Hospitals with all their expertise to treat all ailments, they want to smash District General Hospitals to force people in to the private sector.
‘The only way to defend all services is to occupy hospitals, schools, libraries, factories, anything that faces closure.
‘We need an indefinite general strike to bring in socialism.
‘Join our march on the tenth of December at 1pm in Enfield as a prelude to occupying Chase Farm.’
At the end, the entire rally stood up and sang The Internationale.