We need a lot more than a pay rise
“Hardworking workers who work hard at work.” That’s all we hear about from politicians – Labour, Tory or LibDem (remember them?). But the attack on our living standards goes way beyond the workplace. There’s the bedroom tax and benefit cuts for a start. We need a lot more than a pay rise. And focusing on wages ignores the attacks on those who can’t work, or whose work is unpaid.
The social wage – benefits, pensions, the NHS – is under attack like never before. Last year, food banks provided 20 million meals – 54% up on 2012. The situation is obviously desperate. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, sixty per cent of planned cuts have yet to be implemented and the situation will get a lot worse over the next few years.
A to B to where?
So here we are again, on another A to B march. It’s always good to remind yourself that you’re not alone in opposing cuts and attacks on living standards. But ask yourself, did any of the previous A to B marches change anything? The million strong demo in 2003, did it stop the illegal war on Iraq? Did the huge demonstrations in March 2011 and October 2012 stop the cuts? Did they hell! No, in all instances, government carried on as before.
What is needed is imaginative action at local and national level. Action like the mums from Focus E15, who have fought displacement and eviction, stood up to their Labour council, and shown what can be done by ordinary people if we stick together and fight to win.
This will mean blockades, occupations and other forms of direct action. It will mean building campaigns and movements where decisions are not made by leaders or celebrities but by the people affected. It means making links with other people fighting cuts in their areas. But more than anything else, it means getting stuck in and not relying on politicians and leaders to do it for us.
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