‘TROTSKY wrote about the prospects of the European capitalists uniting Europe,’ Dave Wiltshire, National Secretary of the All Trades Union Alliance told the YS/WRP meeting in Brighton on Monday afternoon, following their successful lobby of the TUC (Trades Unions Congress).
Wiltshire said Trotsky described the European capitalists as ‘a gang of murderers tied to a single cart’ and insisted that only the working class could unite Europe and form a Socialist United States of Europe.
Wiltshire told the meeting: ‘The current bureaucratic abortion, masquerading as a united Europe, must be smashed up by the working class with socialist revolutions.’
He continued: ‘We live in incredible times – the biggest political crisis for 200 years, witnessing the proroguing of Parliament for five weeks to facilitate Brexit.
‘John McDonnell (Shadow Chancellor) on the Andrew Marr Show, called for a temporary Caretaker Coalition government with the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats – led by Corbyn – to re-negotiate a Brexit deal. He wants a referendum and is telling workers to reject Brexit and go for Remain!
‘In (TUC general secretary) Frances O’Grady’s speech yesterday she said it was TUC policy to stay in the EU … to “protect workers’ rights”.
‘The TUC did publish its report warning about going back to Victorian times, but what has the TUC done about this?
‘It just says: “We must stay in the EU”.
‘A bit of history now. Up till 1987, the TUC was opposed to the EU, as a “bosses club” and campaigned against it.
‘Then Jacques Delors (President of the European Commission at the time), addressed the TUC, and talked about the “Social Charter” to guarantee workers’ rights.
‘The only specific mention was of the right to holidays, and for workers to sit on the boards of Works Councils of the employers. The TUC grasped at it. This policy has not saved a single job, just provided a cushy living for those on the boards.
‘The Luton car plant was closed seven years ago. Workers occupied a Vauxhall building. The Trade union leaders said it was terrible. It turns out they agreed to this decision the year before at a European Works Council. They collaborated with the bosses.
‘And EU legislation provided the justification for privatising British Rail and the Post Office.
‘The European Court ruled recently that health services across Europe are to be regarded as “economic activity” rather than social provision, so private company Virgin can sue a CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) for not awarding it an NHS contract. In Germany, a private hospital sued a public hospital claiming it was “unfairly subsidised”.
‘The working class is not an “oppressed minority”. It is the majority – the biggest in history. It is a powerful force.
‘We have to mobilise the working class to bring down this government. And leave the EU on 31st October.
‘A workers’ government will expropriate the bosses and bankers, and workers will have control over a planned socialist economy.
‘The Labour Party is bound hand and foot to the EU. The EU is on its last legs. The Italian state is bankrupt in a doom-loop with its banks.
‘The German economy has gone into recession. France imposes austerity which is fiercely resisted by the Yellow Vests, and UK workers are likewise fighting austerity since 2010.’
‘The banking crash of 2008, kicked off by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, was salvaged by Gordon Brown and other leaders by bailing out the banks with state money. The working class has paid for this since 2010 under the slogan: “We have to balance the books” with cuts to everything and pay freezes and pay cuts.
‘It is this world economic crisis that is driving the whole thing forward. The ruling class of Britain has to decide to become either the “vassal state” of the EU or the US. This is the weakness of British imperialism.
‘The only force that can resolve this crisis is the working class, through bringing down this system with a socialist revolution. It’s a necessity today.
‘Julian Assange shone a light on that future, otherwise, Capitalism solves its crises through wars. We have had two world wars.
‘They say: “the EU is a force for good” – say that to Yugoslavia or Libya which was bombed by France and Britain.
‘As Trotsky said of the European bosses, they are “a gang of murderers tied to a single cart”.
‘These bureaucrats must go. Every service, every hospital must be defended by occupations and strikes. The full strength of the working class must be used in a general strike – NOT a government of National Salvation.
‘There must be a workers’ government and socialism.
‘We have to build a new leadership.’
The first speaker was Joe Brack from the Julian Assange Defence Committee.
He said: ‘We are concerned about freedom of information and the press and the rule of law.
‘There has recently been an advert saying “Are you mission ready?” regarding innovative equipment solutions across the globe and the world.
‘It is the top search item on Google. This is about the London Excel Fair where there is an exhibition on International Defence and Security.
‘There is panic in Downing Street. There are debates about No Deal or Theresa May’s deal. Parliament is stuck. The press don’t know what to do. There are minute by minute reports of the goings-on in Parliament.
‘The real action and policy, respecting arms and ordnance, intelligence and international relations, is taking place with regard to export licences to countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and others. Julian Assange interrupted this supply, and challenged the weapons being used to slaughter people in these wars – 90% of whom are civilians.
‘He exposed what goes on with helicopter gunships funded by the UK and US.
‘Wikileaks got information from Chelsea Manning (who is still inside because she would not attack Julian).
‘As a result, Julian Assange is locked up in Belmarsh prison for 22 hours a day in solitary confinement.
‘He has no human rights. His American lawyer is prevented from contacting him. The charges against him are trumped up. The Swedes have not charged him with evading extradition. This is a travesty of British justice.
‘Law enforcement dragged him illegally from the Ecuadorean embassy. The judges gave him a maximum sentence for failure to surrender.
‘The UN rapporteur on torture said the treatment meted out to him by the US, UK, Australia and Ecuador amounts to mental torture and they are denying him the basics of the “Human Rights Act”.
‘Will Johnson be taking away these human rights?
‘We thank you the supporters and the Young Socialists very much. It is good to lobby TUC delegates and get them up to promote freedom of the press.
‘Thank you from the Julian Assange Defence Committee.’
Ken Kirk, from Sussex Defend The NHS, explained he was a local NHS campaigner aiming to provide the audience with information about the NHS, ‘to help with your campaigning.’
He gave a quote from campaigner Sally Ruane pointing out that the NHS is not just about healthcare needs, or promoting health, but is profoundly moral because the NHS is about fairness and addressing need, without relying on the ability to pay. ‘It is not about profit but about service.’
Kirk said: ‘The Tories hate the NHS, and since 2010 have been starving it of funds. Even the Kings Fund – not a radical think-tank on health studies – showed that the NHS requires 3-4% increases in funding each year just to keep up with population growth, ageing, and with modern medication and equipment, just to “stand still”.
‘Under Tony Blair the budget went up to 7% of GDP approaching the EU countries’ average. After 2010, the budget has only increased by 1% per annum, which does not meet need, which is why trusts have large deficits.
‘The UK spends a smaller proportion of its GDP on health than other advanced countries.
‘After the Health and Social Care Act 2012, some people say that the NHS ceased to exist, as the Health Secretary no longer has the duty to provide comprehensive healthcare for all. Clinical Commissioning Groups were put in charge of commissioning care in their areas, supposedly giving “control by local people” but in fact, CCGs are told what to do by NHS England.
‘The infamous Section 75 obliged CCGs to put contracts out to tender on the open market.
‘Privatisation is a disaster, a medical disaster and a financial disaster.
‘The NHS is too big to privatise just like that. So they are breaking it up into lumps and dividing the whole of England into 44 areas. The STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) provide the plans – and then become Accountable Care Organisations … Oh No … they have a new name; “Integrated Care Systems.” This includes social care.
‘The aim is to bring in American ideas. Deficits will not be allowed (Brighton has a huge deficit). Each area has a budget, which must not be exceeded. There must be rationing of operations, such as common procedures like contractures in the hand and cataract operations.
‘We have to campaign against Accountable Care.
‘There has been no primary legislation for this. It is done surreptitiously with minor adjustments to regulations.
‘They don’t want people to know. “It’s no business of yours”. There is no accountability.
‘They talk about “seamless cooperation” but really ICSs (Integrated Care Systems) are public-private partnerships, working to rigidly capped budgets. They deny care, and use “personal health budgets”.
‘The NHS Strategy Unit claims that “service integration moderates healthcare costs”. In fact, they are creating commercial rewards for the deliberate rationing of care.
‘We must oppose “Integrated Care” and “Demand Management”. It’s a withholding of healthcare to save money.
‘Primary Care Networks get GP practices together and cover over when surgeries fail, as if this is a local responsibility.
‘My message is “Explain the perils to our NHS”.’
Train driver Bill Rogers (ASLEF ) said: ‘The radio this morning said that the TUC wants a law to outlaw class discrimination. But workers’ oppression is not like racism or sexism. The working class is oppressed and the source of all profit is from the labour that workers carry out.
‘Last week the TUC produced an interesting report, reminding us that 3.4 million workers have insecure jobs, that 1.5m workers are self-employed and earn less than the minimum wage, that the worst pay freeze for 200 years is taking place now, and that one in five families have unsecured debts of around £15,000.
‘Frances O’ Grady, Secretary of the TUC, says that workers are being pushed back to the Victorian age. She has just been appointed to the Bank of England. She promotes the solution that workers should have a place on the boards of companies. But they would always be a minority. It’s a form of corruption.
‘We see it in this Brexit. We say Quit the EU on 31st October 2019.
‘The vote by workers to leave in the 2016 referendum put the cat amongst the pigeons, and created turmoil everywhere. The Tory government is split. The Labour Party is split. Corbyn is for Remain. Johnson talks about a “vassal state”.
‘The EU does not guarantee any workers’ rights. No, it doesn’t. They privatised the railways using EU Directive 91/440. There are EU rules to prevent the re-nationalisation of services like the railways, water and electricity etc.
‘The Roscoe racket, flagged up by the RMT, shows why it’s time to take back control of railway rolling stock – ‘a train ran from Liverpool Street to Southend with a door open. They don’t want guards on trains. There have been strikes about this for three years. They are trying to raise the productivity of labour, to make more profits.
‘We need a new leadership. The O’Gradys are rotten to the core.
‘The TUC should be organising the defence of Harland and Wolff, the last proper shipyard, and to defend all jobs in the car industry, steel etc.
‘We need a new leadership. You can’t have capitalism without so-called “discrimination” that is, oppression of workers.
‘We’re for smashing the EU. For a United Socialist States of Europe. We’re not nationalists, but internationalists.’