We start 2011 with a government both weak and vicious, a coalition of the desperate. The question for workers is whether we can lift our eyes from the consequences of their viciousness and see how weak they really are.
Our needs as a class, the needs of Britain, are for industry, for manufacture, for energy, for construction – for the resources to feed, clothe and house us. The government offers only cuts, taxes, oppression and political chicanery in an attempt to stay in power for just a little longer.
Workers in too many industries have stood on the sidelines and seen destruction continue. Yet those that have fought with skill and unity have preserved their relative strength vis-a-vis the employers, such as the London ambulance workers. Some, like the BBC journalists, have drawn a line in the sand; would that others did so too. Some, like the engineering construction workers, have changed the political debate in Britain through their fight for British jobs for British workers – one of the seminal struggles of the past few years.
Now those same engineering construction workers are locked in battles across the country to defend their terms and conditions, and fighting back – see the article on page 6. More strategically, their pressing issues – and they are mirrored across Britain’s industries – are the training of future workers, and a national plan for their industry, energy.
We are the many, they are the few: so reads a student banner pictured on page 9. But so long as we stand to one side and fail to capitalise on our strength and their weakness, we will be left bemoaning cuts but not fighting for a future. There is a future for Britain, but we will have to seize it ourselves.