In the News June 23
Workers’ Mass Rallies
March and Rally in London, England Says “We Demand Better – Enough Is Enough”
On June 18, thousands of people marched through the streets of London and held a rally in Parliament Square, demanding action from the government to combat the cost-of-living crisis. They demanded better living conditions, real pay raises and a living wage for all, a ban on fire and re-hire schemes, decent sick benefits and an end to racism at work. They demanded that energy profits be taxed so that people can pay their bills, a boost in union bargaining rights now, and many more changes that would ensure rights and dignified living for all.
The day of action was organized by the Trades Union Congress, with workers of many sectors taking part. Students, anti-poverty organizations and others also participated. An organizer for a housing charity in London told the press: “We’ve got residents who are coming into our offices who are choosing between feeding their own kids, not themselves, their own kids, and paying rent and heating. That is just not a choice that anyone should have to face, you know, in the fourth biggest economy in the world.”
In its June 18 edition, Workers’ Weekly, online paper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), writes:
“The working class and people are intensifying the struggles in the face of the assault on their rights, the laws against the working people’s right to organize, and the rights of the whole of society. Working people are saying that enough is enough, and today is evidence that they are on the march to defend their rights and the rights of all.”
Workers’ Weekly denounces the government’s talk of “levelling-up” and the promise of a “high-wage economy” as a farce and a fraud. The cost-of-living crisis is intensifying, while the government, on behalf of vested interests, tells workers to be “sensible,” it says. “It appears that ‘levelling-up’ means that the likes of the royal family and other billionaires can live off the wealth stolen from working people in this country and the colonies, while speaking from their golden thrones or their landed property in fraudulent costumes that the government will, surely, do something to tackle this cost-of-living crisis.
“Yes, the claims of the working class are just, and workers will not be lectured to as to what is in the country’s interests while private vested interests of the rich are at the heart of government, a government which has no moral scruples beyond the interests of the financiers and oligarchs.”
Workers’ Weekly writes that social programs, health and education are also in crisis, while again it is the private interests that reap literally billions of pounds from the crisis, most notably the COVID-19 crisis, while working people are the ones who care, who have shown an amazing sense of responsibility for the health and welfare of the ill, the vulnerable, the old and infirm.
“The cures which the government is proposing are worse than the disease. The rich are the ones benefiting from the soaring energy, petrol and food prices, and austerity, militarization and raising interest rates are causing devastation for society as a whole,” it writes. “The workers are not a special interest group, as the government maintains, for example with the rail workers. They maintained their responsibility during the pandemic. Today they are demanding their rights and taking up responsibility for the future of society.”
Opposition to the racism of the state is a key task that working people are taking up, says the paper.
“The hollow promises to recompense the Windrush generation  are exposing this racism, which is running rampant with the inhuman treatment of refugees and those seeking asylum from the warfare and destruction that the powers-that-be have for generations been fomenting. This brutal treatment cannot be accepted for any human being.”
Workers’ Weekly points to the need for the workers, while putting forward their demands to the government to take action to drastically improve the living conditions of the people, to speak out and collectively and individually elaborate their solutions, empowering themselves as a workers’ opposition to the Westminster parties, which have formed a cartel to keep the people out of power, and stir up passions and divisions amongst them. The need is for workers themselves to take steps to become worker politicians, so that they can speak in their own name, says the paper.
“There is an alternative, there is a path out of this crisis. The future lies in the fight for the dignity of labour and the rights of all. Let our struggles give us confidence to take this path, to stop paying the rich, to apply the wealth that workers produce to investing in social programmes rather than benefiting marauding financial oligarchs, militarization and marching in lock-step with the United States when it comes to the conflicts that imperialist globalization is causing.
“A modern economy can be made to serve the people’s interests. It is not beyond our control. What is required is a new direction for the economy and the control of political affairs in the hands of working people.”
1. The Windrush generation refers to the people who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973. The name ‘Windrush’ derives from the HMT Empire Windrush a military transport ship which brought one of the first large groups of Caribbean people to the UK in 1948. As the Caribbean was, at the time, a part of the British commonwealth, those who arrived were automatically British subjects and supposed to be free to permanently live and work in the UK. However, it was revealed in 2017 that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens, many of whom were from the ‘Windrush’ generation, had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights, being falsely labeled as “illegal immigrants/undocumented migrants.” Faced with widespread condemnation by the people, the British government announced in 2018 that it was commissioning a “Windrush Lessons Learned Review” and issued a so-called action plan in 2020. Justice has not been done yet, there is still a huge backlog of cases to be resolved, the claims take months to resolve and the compensation is insultingly small. The reason is to be found in the racism of the British state and ruling class which keeps detaining and deporting the migrants it deems to be undesirable, even under such tragedies as the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Photos: Trades Union Congress)
Workers’ Forum, posted June 23, 2022.