The News Line-All Trades Unions Alliance Conference held in east London on Sunday May 13th unanimously voted to carry into action the following Main Resolution:
BLAIR, Prescott, John Reid, Charles Clarke, David Blunkett, the main centre of the Blair government, have gone. They’re shortly to be joined by Health Secretary Hewitt, and no doubt Tessa Jowell.
They’re the victims not of some natural disaster, but of the determination of the Iraqi people not to have their country plundered and looted and by the British workers’ refusal to allow them to destroy the Welfare State, including the NHS and state education.
The three Blair governments were governments of betrayal of the working class, imperialist regimes that acted as US imperialism’s chief mercenary abroad, while at home they boasted that they were the party of the CBI, bankers and capitalists.
Blair has left capitalist Britain with more anti-union laws, more poor people, less manufacturing industry and an economy that is only being kept going with the greatest difficulty by allowing £1.4 trillion of domestic debt to develop and even encouraging it as the only way forward for British capitalism.
The demise of American capitalism, with the destruction of the US motor industry, the collapse of the housing market and the collapse of the dollar, has touched off higher and higher interest rates throughout the world, which immediately exposes all those in debt in Britain to bankruptcy and pauperism and threatens the jobs of all those remaining workers in manufacturing industry.
The disaster of the war in Iraq has seen inflation as far as oil and gas prices are concerned shoot through the roof. US imperialism’s determination to dominate the Middle East and the Gulf, and to invade Iran, will see to it that this trend continues.
All this has created impossible conditions for the Blair government, which first foundered and then broke up on the rock of the resistance of the Iraqi and British workers to the requirements of capitalism.
However, Blair’s partner Gordon Brown remains in office and shortly hopes to be prime minister.
The main trade union leaders are supporting his candidature, to their shame, despite his commitment to wage cutting and mass sackings in the public sector.
Rumours are currently being manufactured and retailed that everything is changing, that a Brown government will be completely different from a Blair government, and will give a new lease of life to the trade unions and workers’ jobs and their rights and liberties.
In fact, the opposite is the case. Brown was the chief enthusiast of the Blair government for the policy known as the Private Finance Initiative, which he took over from the Tories and developed with enthusiasm.
This allowed big business to make billions out of building hospitals to lease to the NHS and then make further millions through refinancing the original deals and also by privatising the workforces of the new hospitals.
His period in government has been distinguished as Chancellor by his struggle for an ever lighter regulation of industry, a product of which is the rising death rates in the construction industries, and an ever-lighter taxation of big business.
This has seen Britain become a paradise for big business and a worldwide destination for billionaires seeking to avoid high taxes.
Brown gave the bankers the right to decide interest rates almost immediately Labour took office in 1997, handing them the power to create hundreds of thousands of homeless people out of mortgage holders at the stroke of a pen.
His policy for the public sector has been no different: He is the Labour Chancellor that brought in the programme to sack 100,000 civil servants. He is the Labour Chancellor that privatises more and more of state-owned industry.
He is the Labour Chancellor that spelt it out to doctors, nurses, NHS workers, postal workers, local government workers and all public sector employees that their wage rises ‘must be kept to two per cent’, which is now less than half of the official inflation rate of 4.8 per cent – his policy is for organised wage cutting in the public sector for millions of workers, at a time when the cost of living is rising rapidly.
As far as pensions is concerned, he has played the leading role alongside Blair in eradicating final salary pension schemes and making workers work up to 10 years longer for inferior schemes which are being negotiated to replace them. These are Brown’s policies.
The worsening capitalist crisis makes the continuation and even the sharpening of these policies inevitable.
Brown has drawn up these policies and his government, and we are being told that his Labour government will be a government of ‘all the talents’, having members of other political parties serving in it! This must not be allowed to pass! .
The message of this All Trades Union Alliance conference to working people is that the ending of the Blair government is a huge step forward.
This job has now got to be continued and speeded up.
The attempts of the trade union bureaucracy to establish, defend and maintain a Brown government and its policies must be confronted and broken.
Workers inside the trade unions must insist that their wage awards be at least two per cent more than the official rate of inflation of 4.8 per cent. There must be no wage cutting.
The programme to sack hundreds of thousands of PCS and CWU members must be dumped.
The CWU is balloting for strike action on May 22. It must not fight alone.
We must demand that as soon as that action begins the trade unions must call a general strike and the whole working class must come out to support the CWU and bring down the Brown government to go forward to a workers government.
Workers in the trade unions must also take action to halt the privatisation of the NHS. Hospitals threatened with cuts and closures must be occupied and Councils of Action formed to defend them by organising industrial and all non-NHS workers to take strike action to support these struggles.
We haven’t dumped Blair to put up with his partner Brown, who yesterday, we repeat, did not rule out having Tories, even Cameron, sitting in a Labour government of ‘all the talents’.
The All Trades Union Alliance calls for the building of a new revolutionary leadership in the trade unions to organise action to stop the privatisation of state-owned services, to secure and develop the NHS free from private intervention and private capitalists, to defend state education and to restore council housing with a programme to build millions of council houses to solve the housing crisis and the enormous inflation in house prices that has put having a decent home outside the reach of most people.
These aims means the trade unions taking on the Brown government and bringing it down to go forward to a workers government.
The only alternative to this policy is to try to pressure Brown to stop being a bourgeois capitalist politician, that is for the leopard to change his spots, something which the leopard never does.
The present trade union leaders are not prepared to bring the Brown government down and to go forward to a workers government. Their policy is to mark time giving the Tories time to make their comeback to government.
A return of the Tories will see them make use of everything that the Blair-Brown governments have done to privatise the entire economy and abolish the Welfare State.
We repeat: the full strength of the working class must be used to bring down any Brown government and to replace it with a workers government that will fight for the interests of working people.
A workers government is a government that will bring in socialist policies, to repeal all anti-union laws, and expropriate the bourgeoisie to put an end to British capitalism and its crisis, by bringing in a planned socialist economy based on the satisfaction of people’s needs, not on turning bourgeois millionaires into billionaires.
Abroad, a workers government will withdraw British troops from the Middle East, the Gulf and Central Asia and ally itself with the oppressed nations and with the working people of the world in a struggle for socialism worldwide.
This will involve completely breaking from the alliance with US imperialism and publishing all of the secret deals and treaties that are being kept from the public gaze, which will show all of the dirty work that Anglo-US imperialism has been engaging in in the period since the end of the Second World War, and particularly since the invasion of Yugoslavia.
The Labour government of 1945 was forced by the anger of millions of returning soldiers to bring in a Welfare State, including the NHS, social security, council housing and benefits of all kinds.
The role of the Blair government has been to carry on the work begun by Thatcher to smash this Welfare State.
Brown will continue with this work, because modern capitalism is demanding a return – with its concept of globalisation – to its law of the jungle, dog eat dog, the lowest wages are the best wages mentality.
The time is here therefore for the working class to maintain the Welfare State here in Britain and to develop it through the only kind of political action that will do the job, that is a workers revolution to go forward to get rid of capitalism and go forward to socialism.