‘IT IS our international duty to organise the overthrow of the capitalist system here in Britain,’ WRP General Secretary Frank Sweeney told the 100-strong Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists May Day Rally in Kensington Memorial Park, west London on Saturday afternoon.
Sweeney said: ‘This May Day we especially send support to the Palestinian people who for seven decades have refused to bend the knee.
‘The Palestinians have stuck to their principles and kept their national identity intact. Their resistance has now created a revolutionary situation within the Zionist state of Israel. Forward to the Palestinian revolution. Create a Palestinian state, where Muslims, Jews, Christians and anybody else can live in peace.
‘Greetings to the workers of Myanmar where the revolutionary situation has developed and where the economy is bankrupt. Overthrow the military junta and forward to a socialist revolution.
‘And greetings to the workers of Russia and China and the eastern states, struggling against their Stalinist leaderships.
‘The contradictions of capitalism are exploding everywhere and all over the capitalist world workers will not accept permanent mass unemployment. If capitalism is saying it can no longer afford healthcare it’s time for capitalism to go.
‘The difference between victory and defeat is if there is a trained Marxist leadership.
‘The capitalist economy is bankrupt with so-called zombie companies everywhere. There is no peaceful way for capitalism to come out of this.
‘The working class is expected to foot the bill, but the working class is pushing forward and the ruling class is terrified.
‘The ruling class is conscious of its weakness, but the working class is not conscious of its strength.
‘In France last week, 20 retired generals warned of being over-run by Islamist terrorists and called for a coup, but what is really terrifying the French ruling class is the organised working class.
‘Here the Tory government, with its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is preparing to bring in a police military state. They know the workers won’t accept what they are foisting on them.
‘The 500 sacked at British Gas last month were the most principled workers and the GMB leadership has betrayed them. It’s similar with Unite at Heathrow, where 20,000 jobs have gone, with 25% pay cuts for the rest and they’re doing the same on the buses.
‘Whether or not Johnson said “let the bodies pile high” is irrelevant. That’s what the Tories and the capitalist class that they represent actually think.
‘Capitalism is on a downward spiral. The working class is stronger than capitalism, but revolutionary leadership is decisive.’
Sweeney concluded by quoting from the conclusion of ‘The Transitional Programme – The death agony of capitalism and the tasks of the Fourth International’ by Leon Trotsky: ‘The Fourth International, already today is deservedly hated by the Stalinists, Social Democrats, bourgeois liberals and fascists.
‘There is not and there cannot be a place for it in any of the People’s Fronts. It uncompromisingly gives battle to all political groupings tied to the apron-strings of the bourgeoisie.
‘Its task – the abolition of capitalism’s domination. Its aim – socialism. Its method – the proletarian revolution …
‘Workers – men and women – of all countries, place yourselves under the banner of your approaching victory.’
News Line Editor Jonty Leff told the rally: ‘In every country in the world this May Day, workers are marching for victory against imperialism, but this is a year like no other. This year capitalism is in its biggest crisis ever.
‘It is not that the coronavirus pandemic caused the crisis, but what it has done is speed it up rapidly.
‘The system is bankrupt. All over the world banks are on the verge of collapse, economies are up to their eyeballs in debt, drowning in debt, industries are shut, millions of jobs have gone.
‘Revolutionary struggles have broken out in every country across the world, Indian farmers have risen up against Modi. The US is in a state of civil war with protests every day over police killings. They kill daily.
‘Israel has stepped up its war on Gaza with its biggest ever bombing raid after Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, shouting death to Arabs. Students are battling the police on the streets of Athens in Greece.
‘The British rulers have borrowed and borrowed until they are drowning in a sea of debt – £2.14 trillion and it’s pay-back time.
‘That is what fire and rehire is all about. Fire the lot, sack the lot and rehire those that will sign a new wage-cutting contract.
‘Capitalism must be overthrown. The Tories must be kicked out and the force to do it is the working class, the only class that can shut this country down in six minutes with a general strike.
‘We are building the Workers Revolutionary Party and Young Socialists to build the revolutionary leadership to lead the working class to take the power and bring in a workers’ government.’
British Medical Association member Anna Athow said: ‘We have had the NHS for 70 years and we have the expertise in this country to have prevented the Covid pandemic, but the Tory government was too busy following its privatisation agenda and looking after big business.
‘Next week, on 11th May, the Queen’s Speech is going to announce a new health bill. It’s about turning the NHS into a version of American accountable care, which is provided by health insurance companies making monstrous profits.
‘In the new bill NHS England is going to hand over NHS funds to giant Integrated Care Systems, which are business entities that are instructed to move care out of hospitals, making cuts for the government and profits for themselves.
‘This handing over to the sharks is called collaborative commissioning.
‘The new bill must be scotched. The entire trade union and labour movement must make sure of this. This Tory government must be brought down and replaced by a workers’ government and socialism.’
College of North East London University and College Union (UCU) Branch Chairman Chris Anglin said: ‘Public sector workers are enduring increasing exploitation and being treated with total contempt. The 1% pay offer to nurses and other NHS staff is really a 10% cut.
‘In further education things are similar. Most staff are on zero hours contracts or fixed term contracts and strikes are arising around the country.
‘The universities are private corporations and they are ratcheting up the exploitation. Staff members are looking physically ill they are being made to work so hard.
‘Crooks are running national education, making millions. Academies are businesses. They are amalgamating colleges, making them 50,000-strong. We have to nationalise education. We need a socialist education system in a socialist Britain.
‘It’s just like what they are doing to the health service. In my area, in Islington and Camden, they recently sold off 49 GP surgeries.
‘The issue is that the trade union leaders must be forced to call a general strike, bring down the government and go forward to a workers government.’
Jacqui Haynes, Lancaster West Grenfell community campaign, told the rally: ‘There has been no justice and we don’t accept it. The cladding nightmare continues, with leaseholders now at the forefront.
‘2022 will see us dropped like a hot brick. But you are standing in the midst of a resilient community, a community left in unaddressed trauma. We have been fighting till we are blue in the face.
‘Four years on and RBKC (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) are still resisting. We don’t accept their power or their justice.
‘We’ve got to hit them where it hurts. Now we have to move into action. We have to be masters of our own destiny.
‘Send those responsible to jail. They murdered our people and remain unnaccounted for it.
‘We are here because we don’t accept their justice. We don’t accept it and we won’t accept it. Now we need unity in action.’
Ahead of the rally, local resident and fulltime carer Pamela Francis told News Line: ‘No-one has been held to account for Grenfell so far and that’s got to change.
‘The businesses and the politicians put the cladding on Grenfell for no other reason than to make it look good, but it was a lethal coating.
‘The politicians are responsible and they still want us to vote for them. They must be joking!’
Local youth worker Alex Kellier said: ‘I live across the road from Grenfell and I was there on the night. It was hellish, everything was red, it traumatised us all.
‘There’s a community consciousness and in many ways it united us. But still there is a lack of leadership and that has to be resolved.’
Walthamstow worker Jason Johnson said: ‘I believe the ultimate source of all the maladies in the world is the parasitic capitalist system.
‘The Labour and trade union leaders are doing their usual dissembling, seeming to have divided loyalties, but they don’t really as their masters are the capitalist system itself.’
Roehampton University student Christie Dave said: ‘I’m very angry about hospital cuts and closures. It’s affecting a lot of people healthwise. There must be justice for Grenfell. Those responsible must be held to account. They must be tried and jailed.’
The rally concluded with a powerful rendition of The International.