In the next period, the trade union movement will face many battles. To prepare for those battles the unions must be democratised from top to bottom, with all negotiating officials being elected and on the average wage of those whom they represent. Experience shows that we cannot rely on the Assembly to deliver improved living standards or a lasting peace and a decrease in sectarian division, but we must instead rely on our own strength, both industrial and political.
Working class people need strong trade unions that are prepared to fight to defend members’ interests, but unions are just one weapon. After all, it makes no sense to fight day in, day out against the politicians who are cutting our jobs and services, to fight them on the picket lines and on protests but then, as soon as an election comes around, to stand aside and let them be re elected so that they can start their attacks all over again!
Workers need to develop a second weapon: their own political party – a mass party which attracts support by posing a socialist alternative to the right-wing economic policies of the Assembly and which seeks to overcome sectarian division, not cement it.
As it has become increasingly clear that New Labour no longer represents working people in any way, a number of important developments have taken place. Trade unions such as the Fire Brigades Union and the RMT have broken from New Labour and the PCS has established a political fund and is discussing the way forward. Motions to disaffiliate from New Labour now come up regularly at most other union conferences.
Trade unionists have come together across Britain to form a left electoral group. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), backed by other prominent trade unionists and the Socialist Party (linked to the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland), is standing in the general election in a limited number of seats, targeting New Labour cabinet ministers in particular.
This is a limited electoral challenge but a very important development. It will put down a marker for the future, when social upheavals and class battles prepare the ground for the emergence of a credible new working class party.
The Socialist Party intends to raise the question of the need for an independent political voice for working class and young people. We welcome the recent comments made by ICTU Deputy General Secretary Peter Bunting, about the need for the trade union movement to discuss taking steps to form a political voice for workers. This needs to be developed with some urgency. If NIC-ICTU were to put its weight behind the call for a new party it would have a dramatic effect on the ability of working people to resist the cuts of the Assembly.
Free Ainur Kurmanov
Ainur Kurmanov, a member of the Socialist Party’s sister group in Kazakhstan and a well-known campaigning journalist, is currently imprisoned for the “crime”
of organising a picket outside a bank.
The picket was organised by the opposition social movement ‘Kazakhstan 2012’ which has united working class people across the country in opposition to the huge attacks on their living standards. Ainur was jailed because of his vocal opposition of this dictatorial regime.
Show you solidarity by sending e-mails of protest to the Kazakhtsan authorities demanding the immediate release of Ainur.
Government (Akimat) of Almaty city: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Prosecutor of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
Please send copies of your protests to:
email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Socialist Party
All the parties in the Assembly Executive are committed to implementing major attacks on working class people. This year the Executive is to cut at least £400million from public services. These cuts are set to rise over the next few years and will result in thousands of job losses.
This is because these parties accept the logic that working people, the unemployed and the elderly must pay the price for the economic crisis which was caused by the super-rich bankers, speculators and greedy capitalists.Instead of taking action to save jobs, such as the Visteon plant in Belfast, the MLA’s in Stormont decided to stand by and allow the factory to shut, losing valuable, highly-skilled jobs for the people of Belfast. These jobs could have been saved if the factory had been taken into public ownership under working class control. But this runs in complete contradiction to the Executive’s right-wing agenda of privatisation, cuts and handouts to big business and the wealthy.
Socialist opposition needed
Working class and young people have no voice in the Assembly. We need to build a political alternative that says NO to cuts to our services, NO to job losses, NO to wage cuts, NO to water charges and YES to making the wealthy pay. The Socialist Party stands for the full unity of working class people against the attacks from the Assembly and the bosses and against all forms of sectarianism, racism, sexism and homophobia. We stand for fighting and democratic trade unions, with the regular election of all full-time officals who should be paid the same wage as members.
Capitalism is incapable of providing decent
jobs and homes for people ie. the basic needs of people. It is a system which puts profits above all else. The Socialist Party stands for a democratic socialist society where the wealth in society is publically owned and organised by working class people to provide for people’s needs. If you agree with us, then contact us today and join us