BRING DOWN BROWN – GO FORWARD TO SOCIALISM! – demands News Line-All Trades Unions Alliance Conference

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A section of the 200-strong News Line All Trades Unions Alliance Conference on Sunday
A section of the 200-strong News Line All Trades Unions Alliance Conference on Sunday

Two hundred trade unionists and youth attended the News Line & All Trades Unions Alliance (ATUA) conference in central London, yesterday.

They discussed a resolution calling for action to bring down the Brown government to keep the Tories out and go forward to a workers’ government and socialism.

The resolution called for action to defend the NHS, education and council housing, and to end the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Moving the main resolution, ATUA national secretary Dave Wiltshire, said: ‘The rulers of the world are trying to resolve the world capitalist crisis by lashing out and smashing the gains of the working class.

‘This Brown government has launched attack after attack on the trade union movement.

‘It is trying to smash the welfare state and impose three-year wage-cutting pay deals.

‘At the same time as attacking the working class, it is showing itself as the bankers’ friend, paying £100bn to prop up Northern Rock.

‘It is closing pension funds and privatising education.

‘On its 60th anniversary, the NHS has never been in more danger.

‘Blair and Brown have achieved the almost impossible – they have made the Tories re-electable.

‘Is this government going to be brought down by the Tories, or, what seems to be Brown’s preference, replaced by a national government, or is it going to be brought down by the working class?

‘This is the key question.

‘The trade union bureaucracy is what is keeping the government in power.

‘Every struggle to defend jobs or hospitals, threatens the government.

‘We’ve seen the repulsive sight of the trade union leaders selling out struggle after struggle.’

He stressed: ‘The trade union bureaucracy is tightly bound up with this Labour government.

‘We are going to have to get rid of the Woodleys, the Hayes and the Prentices.

‘We must remove this leadership and replace it with a revolutionary leadership based on the working class with socialist policies.

‘Any bankrupt industry must be nationalised, any factory or hospital facing closure must be occupied.

‘The trade unions must have a leadership that will end all financial support for the Brown government and fight it.

‘This means calling a general strike and bringing down this Brown government and going forward to a workers government that will carry out socialist policies.’

Gate Gourmet locked out worker Lakhinder Saran said: ‘860, of us were sacked in August 2005, nearly three years ago.

‘Our union leader Tony Woodley said at first, we would all get our jobs back.

‘A few weeks later, he signed the Compromise Agreement, accepting redundancies and giving the company everything it wanted.

‘We are taking the fight into the union. We are determined to win.

‘We are fighting in the union for new leaders who will back the members.’

Hengride Permal, chair of the Chagos Islands Community Association, invited everyone to come to this morning’s picket of the House of Lords.

She said: ‘The government is appealing against the High Court decision that the Chagossian people were unfairly forced out by the British government.

‘The government is appealing for a third time, meaning if they lose tomorrow, they can’t appeal again.

‘We have been told we can go back to two small islands but we won’t fit.

‘We are still fighting for Diego Garcia, our main island, where the Americans have their military base.

‘We need to go back to our island and the government must compensate us for 40 years of suffering.’

Andy Worthington from legal charity Reprieve spoke about the struggle to release torture victim Binyam Mohamed from Guantanamo Bay.

He told the conference: ‘Britain had involvement if not in his torture, at least in his rendition.’

Bill Rogers, secretary of the North East London Council of Action invited everyone to join a march through Enfield on 26 July, saying: ‘We are not going to let them close Chase Farm Hospital.

‘We are going to occupy and we are calling on all the trade unions to support us.’

Other speakers included Vally Wilson, secretary SE London Council of Action; Nash Campbell YS National Secretary; Dr Raj from British Tamil Forum and News Line editor Paddy O’Regan and in personal capacity ; Anna Athow, BMA Council; Richard Kassir, Harrow CWU; Billy Colvill SE London CWU; Dave Davis, GMB convenor caretaking services Hammersmith and Fulham.