UK against austerity

“The real enemy?” Why we should reject left unity as a concept

A number of pieces have been written recently on “unity” amongst the left and the ways we can achieve that. What follows are the reasons I reject left unity as a notion and the kind of real unity that the workers' movement needs – and, to a large extent, already has.

I've written about this previously in relation to specific issues, both here and here.

Unity and solidarity with claimants should be practical, not just theoretical

With attacks on claimants and the unemployed escalating, campaigners and trade unions have made numerous calls for “unity” between workers and the unemployed. But too often, this “unity” is a purely theoretical one. How can we go beyond words to build a practical basis for solidarity across our entire class?

One of the most high profile examples of this unity of words is the joint statement signed by the PCS Union, Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.

Free standing column

“FREE STANDING COLUMN” - This A5, double-sided photocopy from the student protest on November 30th 2010 was the first thing produced by the group that was later to become Deterritorial Support Group. Some of the strands of ultra-left rhetoric are clear but it has a much more tabloid tone. The drop-shadows remained. The term “Wolf-Eyed replicant” to describe Nick Clegg may have been coined by China Mieville.


Healthcare workers: where we stand-fighting on two fronts

NHS workers strike against pension cuts on November 30, 2012

Basic overview of the terrain that health workers defending their terms and conditions is being fought on; Fighting both their employers, as well as a supine and complicit trade union bureaucracy. Written by a Solidarity Federation/Anarchist Federation dual carder and Unison steward working in Healthcare.

UK health workers find themselves under the biggest attack on wages and terms and conditions in living memory.

Liverpool Against the Cuts occupy Liverpool City Council chamber

While delegates from Labour councils across the country met at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool, likely at public expense, to discuss how best to implement cuts while keeping their council seats under the banner of “Austerity With Fairness”, members of Liverpool Against the Cuts, Birmingham Against the Cuts and comrades from across the country decided to forgo a police pen outside the Convention Centre in favour of occupying the council chamber inside the Town Hall, making it, temporarily at least, the People’s Chamber.

A group of activists gained entrance to the building and the chamber without much trouble and proceeded to drape banners and place placards around the room. Simultaneously, this statement was released online explaining the reasons for the occupation.

Rejecting the compulsory jobs guarantee and the left's work ethic

A look at Labour's compulsory jobs guarantee and the problematic narratives that inform the debate around both it and unemployment in general.

Few regular libcom.org readers will, I imagine, need it explaining why Labour's recent proposal for a compulsory jobs guarantee is a crock. However, as is often the case with Labour policies, it is being pushed as something “left” by certain people.

Benefit envy without benefit - Junge Linke

Junge Linke discuss the government's mobilisation of benefits envy as part of its assault on living standards.

The government is undertaking a massive impoverishment programme, part of which is to cut housing benefits.

Give up classtivism: Why class struggle is long, boring and hard work

The recent decision by Starbucks to attack its workers’ conditions (cutting paid lunch breaks, sick pay and other work benefits) in response to public pressure to pay its tax bill – public pressure partly generated by direct action organisations like UK Uncut – has highlighted ongoing concerns over the effectiveness of “Tax justice” campaigns and their relationship to class struggle organisation.

The recent decision by Starbucks to attack its workers’ conditions (cutting paid lunch breaks, sick pay and other work benefits) in response to public pressure to pay its tax bill – public pressure partly generated by direct action organisations like UK Uncut – has highlighted ongoing concerns over the effectiveness of “Tax justice” campaigns and their relationship to class struggle organisation.

Where next in the fight over civil service pay and conditions?

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has announced that it will ballot in the new year for renewed industrial action against government attacks on civil servants and public services. But will this really mark a departure from the stagnant campaign we've seen thus far? What can rank-and-file workers do to push away from the prospect of managed defeat?

It has now been over seven months since the last coordinated industrial action over public sector pensions. In the interim, the issue has died and for most of the union members involved in the dispute the consensus is that we lost.

Tax justice, austerity and class struggle

The recent furore surrounding Starbucks has once again pushed the issue of tax dodging and its relation to austerity into the limelight. But it has also brought into sharp focus the problem with calls to “pay your tax” being divorced from questions of class struggle.

Ahead of the October 20 “Future That Works” demonstration in London, it was revealed that the multi-million dollar coffee chain Starbucks has paid no tax in Britain for three years.