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The News Line: Feature TUC CONGRESS CALLS FOR AN ‘ALTERNATIVE TO AUSTERITY’ – but refuses to call for a workers government or the struggle for socialism
Sefton Youth Service workers on the 500,000-strong TUC demonstration on March 26 last year against the Coalition cuts
THIS year’s TUC Congress next month is meeting at a time when all of the basic rights and gains of the working class are under savage attack.

This is by a coalition that is determined to make the working class pay for the bankers’ and bosses’ crisis.

The coalition’s full domestic agenda is to privatise the NHS and the Welfare State, abolish the benefits system, including Housing Benefit, introduce local low pay agreements and abolish national trade union negotiations.

The coalition sees millions of youth as slave labourers to be made to work for their meagre dole and to be used to break the power of the trade unions.

The working class and youth are looking to this TUC congress to provide leadership and answers about how to deal with this historic crisis of capitalism and go forward to socialism instead of being dumped back into the 19th century.

There are a number of important resolutions on the preliminary agenda which starts with A future that works campaign section.

This opens with P01 Austerity and the alternative from Unite.

It states: ‘Congress rejects this government’s economic programme of austerity, which has caused a double-dip recession and a stagnant economy leading to the deterioration of living standards for ordinary people.’

It notes the bourgeois economists are opposed to the austerity programme and says that ‘Congress recognises the role of government in delivering an economy that works for ordinary people and serves society.’

It doesn’t call for a socialist solution to the crisis of nationalisation and a planned economy to get rid of capitalism.

It merely calls for ‘an alternative economic strategy that provides for growth, jobs and fairness’ and lists of bourgeois demands that include:

‘i – an end to the cuts that are sucking demand out of the economy

‘ii – sectoral and regional re-balancing of the economy

‘iii – an active industrial policy that supports manufacturing, makes strategic use of government procurement and helps develop a greener and more sustainable economy

‘iv – investment in infrastructure including affordable and social housing, transport and energy
‘v – preservation of the welfare state

‘vi – reform of the banking sector to work for the real economy, greater democratic control of financial institutions and the establishment of a National Investment Bank

‘vii – tax justice, ensuring the rich pay their fair share through clampdowns on tax avoidance and evasion and the introduction of a Financial Transactions Tax.’

The resolution refuses to note that Labour has pledged to severely cut the indebted economy but at a slower rate than the Tories and makes no proposal for action.

The Unite union which supports Miliband makes no call to bring down the government and pretends that everything can be put right under capitalism which all workers know is a farce.

P02 Public services and employment, from Unison raises the important issues of defence of public services.

It states: ‘Congress believes that increasing unemployment, and particularly youth unemployment, is a deliberate policy aim of this government, as evidenced by the record number of public sector job losses, at 730,000 double the initial 2010 coalition prediction.

‘Budget cuts, job losses, regional pay and privatisation will add to unemployment and weaken the prospects for economic recovery; they will prevent the public from accessing the services and infrastructure this country needs for a future that works for everyone.

‘Congress rejects the idea that the UK public sector had in recent years become “too big” or inflated with unproductive “non-jobs”.’

However, after correctly condemning the attacks on jobs and public services, Unison wrongly characterises them as merely ‘ideological attempts to reduce the size of the state’ as if there was no capitalist crisis at all.

The motion slams the coalition for attacking the Welfare State ‘as summed up by Beveridge in 1944’ but has no proposals for action to defend it.

Continuing to ignore the capitalist crisis, the motion calls on ‘the General Council to continue to:

‘i – campaign vigorously for its economic alternative

‘ii – fully defend public services and reject the privatisation agenda

‘iii – strengthen manufacturing policy

‘iv – endorse progressive taxation and all measures against tax avoidance and evasion

‘v – promote fair pay and decent employment.’

This motion goes out of its way to avoid any embarrassment for Miliband such as discussing the struggle for socialism or getting rid of capitalism as the only way to defend the gains of workers.

The next resolution P03 Challenging austerity from the PCS, which has a record better than most in defending its members’ pensions does call for strike action but limits its objective to the ‘alternative’ under capitalism.

The motion states: ‘Congress recognises that the government’s austerity policies are making the UK economic situation worse.

‘Congress notes that since the coalition government came to power unemployment is higher, growth lower, and living standards are falling.

‘Congress believes that cuts in public spending make no economic sense.

‘Congress condemns the government for the hardship suffered by millions of people losing their jobs, local services or receiving cuts in their pay, pensions or benefits, and for deepening inequality in our society.

‘Congress believes that the scale of the cuts and increased privatisation will fundamentally undermine our public services.

‘Congress therefore opposes all cuts to public services, jobs, pensions and pay.

‘We support all campaigning activity for an alternative to austerity.

‘Congress calls on the Labour Party leadership to support our campaigns and specifically to reverse its misguided support for the government’s public sector pay policy.

‘Congress congratulates trade unionists on taking strike action over public sector pensions on 30 November and 10 May.

‘Congress believes that further coordinated action is necessary to win concessions from the government.

‘Congress instructs the General Council to:

‘i – prioritise building for the 20 October demonstration – to make it the largest anti-cuts protest in UK history

‘ii – support coordinated strike action against cuts in pensions, pay and jobs this autumn

‘iii – step up the campaign for an economic alternative based on growth, investment, redistribution of wealth and fair taxation

‘iv – support campaigning groups taking action against cuts, including UK Uncut, Disabled People Against Cuts and the Occupy movement.’

A motion from the POA that will get up the noses of the TUC and Labour bureaucracy, calls for a general strike to be discussed.

P05 Resisting austerity measures states: ‘Congress welcomes the Future that Works demonstration on 20 October 2012 and recognises this as being an effective platform and foundation to resist the damaging austerity measures that are damaging the very fabric of our society in Great Britain.

‘Further, Congress recognises that after the demonstration there needs to be a strong voice from all TUC affiliated unions to protect public and private sector workers, the unemployed, our children, the elderly and all those in our society who are vulnerable.

‘Congress accepts that the trade union movement must continue leading from the front against this uncaring government with a coalition of resistance taking coordinated action where possible with far reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike.’

• to be continued


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