‘This is the generation that is going to end capitalism!’

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Workers Revolutionary Party General Election candidates in front of their banner (from left) ANNA ATHOW, GABRIEL POLLEY, JOSHUA OGUNLEYE, FRANK SWEENEY, MATT LINLEY and JONTY LEFF
Workers Revolutionary Party General Election candidates in front of their banner (from left) ANNA ATHOW, GABRIEL POLLEY, JOSHUA OGUNLEYE, FRANK SWEENEY, MATT LINLEY and JONTY LEFF

THE WRP held a 150 strong rally at the end of the London Sertuc (TUC) May Day march from Clarkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square.

May Day rally chairman Bill Rogers said: ‘All over Greece today, there are protests, rallies and strikes. It’s a huge development. As the News Line says in its May Day manifesto, the only way out for the Greek workers is to carry out the socialist revolution.’

Workers Revolutionary Party General Secretary and WRP election candidate for Luton South, Frank Sweeney, said: ‘This is an historic May Day.

‘Capitalism has set out in one country after another to make the working class, the poor and the peasantry pay for the economic collapse, to keep capitalism afloat.

‘We send our warmest fraternal revolutionary greetings to the working class of the world that is beginning to realise its strength and has taken the road of revolution.

‘As revolutionaries in Britain we send our warmest fraternal greetings to the besieged people of Palestine.’

He said that the plan of imperialism in the Middle East to occupy Iraq and steal its resources was being defeated, and similarly in Afghanistan.

‘It is a huge crisis for imperialism,’ he said.

Speaking about the general election, he said: ‘When they say things like they’re not going to touch front-line services, they’re lying through their teeth.’

‘When their candidates say they’re against privatisation of the Post Office or the NHS, it’s lies.

‘We are standing in this election to build up the WRP. We are going to fight and provide a leadership for the socialist revolution here in Britain, as part of a Europe-wide revolution and as part of a world revolution.’

Gabriel Polley, WRP candidate for Norwich South, said: ‘Whoever gets into power will make savage cuts.’

He added: ‘To make a revolution happen in this country we need to build the leadership of the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Young Socialists.’

Joshua Ogunleye, Camberwell and Peckham WRP candidate, said: ‘The YS and WRP is standing young candidates as a statement that young people’s future means a lot.

‘We’re entering a big struggle. Students are fighting for their education and they recognise a leadership is needed.

‘This system is in no way providing resources for youth to grow.’

He added: ‘We say scrap the immigration laws.

‘We have to organise a leadership that will bring down these banks.

‘The best thing we can do is go out and tell people our policies.’

A message of greetings was read out from the Workers Revolutionary League, the Soviet section of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Sacked Gate Gourmet worker Parmjit Bains, the next speaker, said: ‘Workers face more and more pressure and our purpose to come to May Day is to tell people that our union leaders betrayed us when we were fighting for our jobs in our company.

‘Not only union leaders, union solicitors didn’t work properly for us.

‘We are waiting for our hearings in the court. Let’s see what will happen.

‘If all workers unite then definitely we can win our fight.’

Anna Athow, WRP candidate for Enfield North, said: ‘This is a very revolutionary May Day.

‘The capitalist system is in crisis worldwide and all it can offer is poverty, dictatorship and war.

‘Enfield used to have a large belt of factories but all of them have closed.’

She continued: ‘The £20 billion cuts to the NHS are very visible in Enfield, with the plan to close Chase Farm Hospital. People are very angry about this.

‘We call for occupation to prevent it being closed.’

She warned the cuts were a ‘prelude to bringing in an insurance-based system and turning it into a system like they have in America.’

She concluded: ‘We salute the working class of the world and we’re resolved to build up the WRP and get rid of this capitalist system once and for all.’

Matt Linley, WRP candidate for Feltham and Heston, said: ‘I think I speak for all comrades in the Young Socialists: we’ve got something to be proud of because we’re standing up for a real future for youth.

‘The campaign in the media is aimed at hammering it into youth that they’re worthless and won’t achieve anything.’

He continued: ‘In west London there are a lot of struggles.’

He said Hillingdon Hospital is threatened with closure and added: ‘It’s the closest hospital to Heathrow and if it closed the nearest hospital that could cope with a crash at Heathrow would be Paddington. That’s how much they care for people’s lives.’

He said: ‘The struggle we’re waging each day is changing our branches, changing our members and changing our potential. But there’s more work to do, there always is.’

Paul Lepper, WRP candidate for Streatham, said: ‘I’m very proud to be speaking on this historic May Day.

‘I see here the beginnings of the party that’s going to lead the struggle for socialism.

‘The choice is clear: it’s socialism or barbarism.’

He urged: ‘We need to build the party, to intervene in all these struggles.

‘There’s a huge unemployment crisis in Streatham and millions of pounds are being cut from Lambeth College’s budget.

‘We support the strike and will be out there again when they go out on strike again.’

He added: ‘We say nationalise the banks. It’s forward to socialism or we’re going to be dragged backwards. We can do it.

‘We need to bring more people into the party, particularly young people. It really lifts the party.

‘This is the generation that’s going to end capitalism once and for all. This is our time.

‘We need to build the party and have a future that’s going to be better for us all.’

The final speaker was Jonty Leff, WRP candidate for Manchester Central.

He quoted the Greek dockers’ leader who told the BBC that Greece is in a state of ‘permanent revolution’.

He added: ‘This is a crisis election. The ruling class is desperately seeking a form of rule to bring in these cuts and they can’t do it.

‘They’re looking for a different form of rule and they want to form a National Government, backed by the police and army – they’re talking about ending the Welfare State. That’s why it’s time for revolution in Britain.’

He concluded: ‘What we need is a leadership to smash capitalism and take the working class to power.’

The WRP and Young Socialists rally was in contrast to the attitude of the trade union leaders to the 5,000 strong May Day march, on which union banners were few and far between, with none of the national trade union leaders speaking at the Trafalgar Square rally.

Despite this, many young people still turned out and there was a contingent of more than 100 youth and workers marching with the WRP and YS banners, led by the WRP election candidates.

Rohan Smith, 18, from Brixton, was with the WRP and YS contingent and said: ‘We need change. We need equality. I’m going to vote WRP, for Paul Lepper, in the general election.’

Dan Clatworthy, a young graphic designer, said: ‘People’s right to work is the main thing.

‘I took it for granted I could move to London and come and get a job.

‘I got a job and it was all going smoothly and when I got made redundant I couldn’t find work and suddenly realised there was competition for jobs, it wasn’t a right that you had.

‘Everyone should have the right to work.

‘I am against the New Deal schemes that make youth work for nothing.’

Richard Stevens, from Brixton Young Socialists, said: ‘I’ve come to march because I believe in what we stand for – we should bring socialism in and kick out capitalism – and also to defend the hospitals and defend council housing and keep pensions.’

Kerry Roberts, 19, and Daniel Franks, 19, from Essex, said: ‘We believe in everything that the WRP and YS are saying – defend the NHS, youth are not criminals, stop the war in Afghanistan and save all public services – and we’ve joined the WRP and the YS.’

Baran Dilegelem, 20, was with the contingent from the Day Mer centre, and said: ‘We need free education so all the social classes can be educated, not only the “first class’’ people.

‘We need socialism and not just in the UK but all around the world.’

Steve Hedley, RMT regional organiser for London Transport, said: ‘We’re marching because it’s International Workers Day and we’re marching in opposition to the capitalist system and because we want to overthrow it and replace it with a socialist system.’

He said the RMT was ‘absolutely’ for re-nationalisation of the rail industry.

Patrick Ward was with the banner of the United Campaign Against Police Violence.

He said: ‘We were set up after the G20 protests last year where police killed Ian Tomlinson and we’re here to make sure people can exercise their right to peacefully protest without the long baton-wielding arm of the law interfering.’

Dennis Lenihan, a member of the PCS civil service union staff, said: ‘I’m marching for international workers solidarity and to say no to cuts that the three main parties are putting forwards.

‘We want an alternative solution to the financial crisis.

‘We want to ensure tax evasion and tax avoidance is stamped out.

‘I support the resistance of the Greek workers to the IMF.’

Diego Almeida, from the Latin American Recognition Campaign, said: ‘We’re launching a campaign for the recognition of the Latin American people.

‘We want our rights, to be respected.’

Francine Koubel, from the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, said: ‘Shaker Aamer is the last British resident in Guantanamo.

‘We want him free and to close Guantanamo.’

At the Trafalgar Square rally there were cheers for a call for a 24 hour public sector workers general strike from UCU EC member Sean Vennell.

He told the rally: ‘Cuts in education have already begun, it’s a massacre.

‘One million young people can’t get places in university. It’s a disgrace.

‘On May 5th, we will be taking strike action at 11 colleges and three universities.

‘Join us on May 5th. Whoever is elected, we will fight you to stop these cuts.

‘The trade unions in this country could learn a lesson from our Greek brothers and sisters.

‘We need to organise a public sector 24-hour general strike to defend public services.’

PCS deputy general secretary Chris Bough warned: ‘We have to challenge the panoply of anti-union laws.’

The meeting was also addressed by SERTUC secretary Megan Dobney, Kiri Tunks of the NUT, Thierry Schaffauser GMB sex workers branch president, RMT president Alex Gordon and Tony Benn.

There was no speaker from the biggest public sector union, Unison, and none of the main trade unions’ leaders were present at the rally, not wishing to rock the boat for New Labour on the eve of the election.