|The News Line: Editorial
Monday, 6 March 2017
100,000 march as trade union leaders fiddle while Tories burn NHS!
SATURDAY’S 100,000-strong march to defend the NHS from the accelerating Tory drive to destroy it showed once again that the masses are ready to do battle to defend the greatest gain of the working class – the NHS – brought in in 1948 by the Attlee government, after millions of soldiers, just returned from six years of war, insisted that life had to get better quickly or there would be a revolution.
It was the threat of revolution that brought about the NHS, the welfare state, mass council house building and free state university education. The only way that the NHS can be successfully defended is through carrying out that same threat, by organising a general strike to defend the NHS, and developing it into a socialist revolution to smash the Tories and to put an end to the threat of privatisation, by putting an end to capitalism, bringing in socialism in its place.
However, Saturday’s march was boycotted by the TUC leader O’Grady who has seen to it that the standing resolution carried at the 2012 TUC Congress to ‘consider the practicalities of a general strike’ has been removed from the TUC agenda.
Instead she has been working with PM May and the bosses to try and end the rail strikes defending rail safety, by stabbing the RMT in the back, an operation that, to their credit, Aslef drivers refused to have anything to do with.
However, the Unite General Secretary, McCluskey, did address the rally at the end of the march. He insulted the intelligence of the listening workers by stating: ‘Our message to the private health companies is a rude keep out! Our message to the Tories is, you bailed out the banks, now bail out the NHS.’
Everybody knows that the drug companies need a lot more than a message to drive them out of the NHS, and that it is farcical to demand that the Tories bail out the NHS. PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, also addressing the rally said: ‘I wouldn’t be here today without the NHS. Migrants keep our NHS afloat…We’re against cuts, closures and privatisation. Like health workers, civil servants have had seven years of wage cuts. NHS and all public sector workers deserve a decent pay rise. It’s long overdue, the TUC and all the unions must campaign against pay cuts and take action together.’
The issue is why hasn’t he demanded at the general council of the TUC that O’Grady be sacked, and that a general strike is put back on the agenda and called to defend the NHS and the working class as a whole.
Dave Ward, CWU General Secretary also spoke up saying: ‘We must take back control of the NHS, the railways, the postal service and the workplaces. Tony Blair said rise up the other week. But we’re not going to rise up over the EU – we’re going to rise up over the NHS.’ The CWU must now show the way!
Malia Bouattia, President of the National Union of Students, who has been under heavy attack from the right wing did speak up and did call for action. She stated: ‘NHS reforms mean handing it over to big business. For the Tories it’s all going according to plan. They want to undermine our health service. This government is undermining our health service.
‘It’s not enough to demand Hunt and May go. We’ve got to send them all packing. If health workers strike we must take to the picket lines with them and strike for as long as it takes – students and health workers together.’
In fact she spoke for the country’s youth who hate capitalism and the way that it is returning them to the conditions of the 19th century.
Nurse, Danielle Tiplady, also spoke for the working class saying: ‘Cutting bursaries means we’re down 23% and 40% of nurses are heading for retirement. It’s dangerous. On Wednesday they are making a pay offer to nurses. They had better lift the 1%, if not it will be a step too far. If I had my way it would be strike, strike, strike. Come on nurses, together we will rise, because we count.’
The NHS and the Welfare State, along with council housing and decent wages and conditions were only won by the threat of revolution. They can now only be defended by revolution itself, that is through the trade unions organising the occupation of hospitals threatened with closure and a general strike to defend them and to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government and socialism. This is what must be done!
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