‘WE ARE meeting today in a period where the world crisis of capitalism has reached the point of explosion,’ All Trades Unions Alliance National Secretary Dave Wiltshire told the 100-strong News Line Anniversary Rally on Saturday.
Opening the rally at Haggerston School in Hackney, east London, Wiltshire said: ‘Welcome to this meeting celebrating the 52 years since the foundation of the News Line and to mark the 81st anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Russian Revolution and founder of the Fourth International – the party of world socialist revolution.’
‘Ever since the international banking crash in 2008 capitalism worldwide has attempted to keep its banking system, its industries and companies from bankruptcy by simply printing worthless paper money.
‘The entire world capitalist system today is kept from drowning only through massive debt financed by cheap money thanks to the printing presses of the central banks and near zero interest rates that kept this debt just about affordable.
‘None of this money came to workers – it went straight into the pockets of the speculators and bankers and into the hands of the corporate shareholder who made billions on paper out of this crisis.’
He continued: ‘Capitalism is seeking to solve its crisis by dumping it on the backs of workers – driving the working class back to the starvation conditions of the 19th century.
‘But the working class is not a defeated class that will tamely submit to having its lives destroyed to keep capitalism from collapse.
‘On the contrary, across the world workers and young people are rising up against a system that provides no future except poverty and war.’
Wiltshire continued: ‘In Britain every single ballot for industrial action over wages has recorded overwhelming votes in favour and a determination not to submit to the fire and hire policies of the bosses.
‘The only thing holding back the workers from the throat of this Tory government is the refusal of the TUC leadership to call any unified action to bring it down.
‘It is this issue of leadership that is the most vital question for workers today. The working class is the most powerful class in history – the only class that can put capitalism out of its misery and advance humanity to a socialist society.
‘But this requires a new revolutionary leadership that fights for polices that will bring the consciousness of the working class into line with this historic task.
‘It was to build this leadership that Trotsky devoted his life to and the reason why the News Line was launched 52 years ago.
‘Today we stand on the very eve of the socialist revolution in Britain and worldwide – we must use this meeting not just to celebrate the past but as a crucial part in building the revolutionary party for the struggle to put an end to capitalism, a struggle that is not some time in the future but is taking place today.’
Ian Hodson, President of the BFAWU (Bakers Union), told the News Line rally: ‘This is my second time speaking at a News Line rally and it is a pleasure to be here.
‘These past few weeks have seen a huge upsurge in anger about so many people being homeless, so many using food banks. The reason is because the system is broken.
‘Politicians have never furthered our aspirations. We often hear Westminster politicians blame the working class itself for unemployment, low pay or homelessness.
‘But it was never, ever, an Eastern European or any other worker to blame for workers failing to get a home, a job or decent pay.
‘The Tories started the selling off of council houses and Labour never reversed it. It is about class.
‘There are now strikes all over the country, fighting fire and rehire, fighting zero hours contracts.
‘Recently the only policy put forward by the trade unions at the Labour Party Conference was for a £15 an hour minimum wage and the Starmer leadership fought it, and vowed to oppose it.
‘Nobody should be earning less than £15 an hour. We have the right to a decent standard of living, pay and a home.
‘We left the Labour Party, that we founded in 1902, because if they are not going to fight for our class they are not going to get our money.
‘We in the Bakers Union stand in solidarity with all striking workers and the whole working class.’
Bill Rogers, Aslef Chingford, told the rally: ‘The railways were nationalised in 1948, a big step forward.
‘The Labour government with a massive majority brought in the Welfare State, including the nationalisation of the railways.
‘It was progressive and developed a terrific centralised transport system.
‘The Tories were always out to smash it,’ Rogers continued, pointing to ‘the Beeching cuts of 1963, when two-and-a-half thousand stations were closed – half of the network … then John Major privatised the railway in 1994 …
‘On London Underground Aslef has put strike action to defend pensions to ballot and there was a 99% vote for strike action on LU, a huge upswell in anger.
‘They are bankrupt. Capitalism can’t take us forward. The current leadership in the TUC is running scared, they want to give in. The only way forward is a general strike. The ruling class has to be smashed.’
Alison Mason, from the Julian Assange Defence Campaign, told the News Line 52nd Anniversary rally: ‘I went to the Labour Conference in Bristol with the sign “Free Julian Assange, Jail Keir Starmer.”
‘There have been recent revelations of a CIA plot to kill Julian Assange. 32 officers attested to it. The British agreed to be the shooters. Mad Mike Pompeo admitted it.’
She continued: ‘During his time in the Ecuadorian embassy Julian was surveilled to the greatest degree, including the use of heat nanowave meters through the roof of the embassy.
‘They stole all of his belongings, they openly admit to wanting to kill him.
‘As Julian said, we are the last free people and we have a duty to fight back.
‘The reason they persecute Julian so much is because of his revealing so many of their crimes and because of his warnings against their plans, their attacks.
‘They want to keep him in jail, locked down, silenced, while they slowly murder him.’
She concluded: ‘The News Line is an awesome newspaper, it’s absolutely incredible and it has helped the cause of Julian in a number of ways.
‘Happy Birthday News Line!’