For the two weeks leading up to the Trade Union Congress demonstration on October 20th, Cuts Café will provide a radical space in Central London to build resistance to these devastating cuts, and to explore the real alternatives to austerity.
It will be open for all of us who are affected, whether we are people with disabilities, women, migrants, workers, pensioners, students, unemployed… or anyone else not part of the privileged elite who are enriching themselves in this ‘crisis’.
By sharing this reclaimed space, we hope people working in their community, local anti-cuts, student, or autonomous groups, as well as the trade unions, will be able to collectively and democratically build positive alternatives with which to challenge the ‘politics as usual’ forced upon us.
This will be an opportunity for connections to form outside of those groups that we may already be involved with, and to reinvigorate the anti-cuts movement at the grassroots level.
Cuts Café, being part of a movement for creating equality and real democracy, will be organized without discrimination and, as much as possible, without hierarchy. We welcome you to come and participate in the running of the space.
If you or your group would like to facilitate a workshop or skillshare, screen a film, hold a discussion, or use the space in any other way please get in touch! You can also contribute by helping to provide some of the more material resources needed for the day-today running of the space, or just by coming down to share a bit of your time.
The AF urges people to support the demonstration being held next week as part of the on-going campaign to stop hospital closures.
Oct 6th- Saturday 2 pm Frank Banfield Park Fulham Palace Road
Stop plans to close Ealing, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex and Hammersmith Hospital A & Es.
The strike actions called by the trade unions on March 28th in a supposed response to the attacks on pensions have moved from a “day of action” to a complete farce. The leaderships of UNISON and the GMB had already decided on 12th January to start negotiating with the government over pensions and soon other smaller unions like Prospect, ATL and NAHT swung in behind them. The union leaders are trying to make us believe that this is somehow different to the deal that the government was already pushing, when it was exactly the same thing.
Days of action in the last few months involved hundreds of thousands striking and marching. The proposed action on March 28th is now involving fewer and fewer unions and in the case of the National Union of Teachers will only be on a London rather than a national level. Likewise the University and College Union will not only be striking at a London level rather than the national level as previously decided but will only involve post-1992 universities (former polytechnics etc) and further education colleges. The Public and Commercial Services Union will not be striking at all, as its executive called off strike action despite 90.5% voting to reject the government’s offer and 72.1% voting to support a programme of further action with other unions – the highest vote for action the union has ever had. Similarly the Scottish teachers union EIS also called off strike action despite a 73.5 yes vote for action.
The action by the unions in Britain is echoed in the worthless days of actions called by union centrals throughout Europe which in fact demobilise and defuse the anger of workers against the bosses’ austerity programmes.
Increasingly we as workers have to look to our own grass roots organisation, controlled by ourselves and not involving those who would sabotage our struggles. The grassroots self-organisation of electricians, organising in spite of the UNITE leadership, delivered a victory. We have to find new ways of organising against the increasingly savage attacks by the boss class. We have to do that as a priority and as a matter of urgency. We cannot rely on the union leaderships to do this, we have to rely on ourselves.
Anarchist Federation (London)
Perhaps as many as 3 million workers will be striking on November 30th in the biggest round of industrial action since 1926, with members of 24 unions represented. Alongside this will be various actions including occupations and demonstrations.
We think it is vital that the pickets be reinforced in the morning as soon as they start. This means not just those striking going down to the pickets but also pensioners, the unemployed and unwaged workers, students from schools, further education and universities. If you are a private sector worker then why not take the day off by phoning in sick and joining the actions? It is vital that the strike action is generalised, that is that as many people as possible are involved and support it. In addition unity has to be created with the electricians taking action on the same day and with the Occupy movement.
The TUC and the union leaderships are using N30 as a safety valve to head off the growing anger of workers. As such, N30 should be seen as merely a start with the need for further united and determined action. This means workplace assemblies and meetings uniting workers from different unions and from none to consider joint action. It means increasing coordination between workers in both the public and private sectors. It means wildcat strikes outside the control of the union leaderships. It means increasing coordination between those in work, the unemployed, pensioners and unwaged workers and school students, FE and sixth form students and university students. It means the setting up of coordinations of all these groups, linking action in the workplace with action in the neighbourhood and on the estates and at the job centres.
The government and its friends in the media will intensify their campaign to destroy this struggle through mockery, disinformation and downright lies, the threat of violence and finally the use of violence through the police. The student mobilisation on November 9th was an example of this. First of all threatening letters issued by the police to participants in previous actions and for which they had not even been prosecuted let alone sentenced, the threat by the police to use rubber bullets, the plainclothes snatch squads operating within the demonstration, the police kittling of the electrician, stopping them uniting their march with that of the students, and finally the demonstration as one huge moving kettle with a massive show of police force.
Increasing mass actions on a decentralised basis and increasing unity can thwart these threats. Remember, on N9 taxi drivers were able to blockade central London causing a traffic grid-lock. We must remember our own power. As workers we can stop the trains, the buses, the tube, the workplaces. We can block the streets and squares. We can halt their shows of police force, we can halt their plans to cut services, wages and pensions. We have the power to finish with this corrupt society and create another based on equality, solidarity and human dignity. Let’s step lively in that direction!
Short URL: http://wp.me/pSk69-1S
The student protests hit the headlines before Christmas with the media focusing on the ‘violence’ and the ‘terrible shock’ given to members of the Royal family. Attention was taken away from the real issues that face both students and the rest of us. The facts are being hidden behind a smokescreen of lies. It is important to see the difference between what the government and media would like us to believe and what the facts are.
Lies : Causes
- too much spent over the years on public services
- wasteful bureaucracy
- large public sector pensions
- welfare scroungers
- The main drain on resources is not public services but the fact that:
- the government bailed out the banks with billions of pounds of public money
- the government has been waging costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for decades
- There is a large bureaucracy, largely made up of supporters of various political parties, who have managed to get ‘jobs for the boys and girls’ in various quangos at both national and local government level, but this is not going to be the main targets of the cuts.
- A few of the top civil servants may get large pensions but most public sector workers do not. The pension they do get is some compensation for the generally low wages that public sector workers earn.
- The Daily Mail devotes a lot of energy to ferreting out the odd example of someone managing to get huge amount of benefits which they in no way deserve. The point is that the vast majority of people on benefits are desperately in need. In terms of ‘scroungers’, the Royal Family costs the taxpayer much more than people on benefits, not to mention all the corporations who don’t pay the taxes that they are supposed to.
Lies: The Solutions
The solutions are presented as the only way.
- Cut public services, in particular education
- Cut jobs in both local and national government
- Reduce pension benefits and make people pay more for their pension
- Drastically reduce welfare benefits
- Raise taxes on people’s spending
- Massively increase the amount students pay for university and reduce benefits for 16-19 year olds
- The cuts will cause big reductions in people’s income; they will spend less and make an economic recovery even more difficult.
- By cutting back on education, and youth services in general at a local level, the government is in the process of creating a massive problem for the future. After decades of telling young people from working class backgrounds how important education is, they are now giving the message that it is only for those who can afford it. Universities are preserving their research status at the expense of students and their education. The top universities will still get the students because they tend to take students who can afford to pay, but other universities will be in crisis. How many young people will flood on to the job market at 16 rather than going on to do A levels and then to university?
- The amount of savings to be made are very small compared to savings that could be made by stopping the war.
- Those who were the cause of the crisis in the first place, and who can most afford to pay, are being let off the hook. Banks are now making huge profits again and their directors as well as other company directors continue to award themselves large pay increases and pensions and make sure their companies avoid paying taxes.
The Way Forward
The main message given out by local councils and employers is that there is nothing that can be done. It is a bitter medicine that has to be swallowed in order to get Britain through the crisis.
As shown above, this is complete rubbish and this is the message that the students have brought to our attention. They are not about to ‘bite the bullet’, but are fighting back. We know perfectly well that there are other alternatives- there is plenty of money around- just not in our hands. And the government is making sure that soon we will have even less. So whether it is in your community or at work, no matter what the political party in charge, the message has to be NO! We won’t pay for your crisis!
Anarchist Federation (London) London@afed.org.uk BM Anarfed, London, WC1N 3XX
Budget Day on October 20 will certainly bring the announcement of new cuts. There are a number of anti-cuts actions coming up around London to support.
1. October 18th. Eve of budget march called by the Haringey Alliance for Public Services. Assemble at 5:30 at Wood Green Library for the march to the rally at the council meeting, Civic Centre at 6:30. Visit website: http://www.hapsnews.net
2. October 20th. Budget Day marches. NUS assembles at ULU at 4:30 and Camden Trade Council and others march from Lincoln’s Inn Fields at 5:00. Marches will converge on Downing St. These marches seem to be organsied by the Coalition for Resistance which has been set up by some ex-SWP members. Nevertheless, it is important to support this with an anarchist block.
3. October 23rd. RMT march from their headquarters in Charlton St, assembling at 11:00 to march to TUC headquarters.