Solidarity 195, 2 March 2011

Working-class struggle and anarchism

Anarchism opposes the capitalist state. Some anarchists — primarily the anarcho-syndicalists, who on this issue have the same idea as Marxists do — identify with the working class as the force to defeat the capitalist state and create a new society; but most do not.

What to do for 26 March

The organisers of the TUC anti-cuts demonstration on 26 March have felt obliged to put out a statement that no, they are not actually banning placards from the march.

They couldn’t, of course. But unions are being asked to produce flags rather than placards. The stated reason is that people can take flags away with them, whereas placards generate a big clear-up problem at the end of the march.

Lambeth occupies

Around 300 people demonstrated outside and then occupied Lambeth Council chamber on Wednesday 23 February. They then held an anti-cuts meeting whilst the councillors scrambled around for a room to vote through £37 million in cuts.

When security and police refused to allow members of the public into the galleries and overflow rooms, protesters challenged them and then rushed into the Town Hall.

Hackney six put to the test

Six Labour councillors in Hackney, east London, have declared: “We would like to see local Councils across London leading the charge. They should refuse to adopt cuts budgets as a result of government enforced policies and produce Needs Budgets to show what should be funded”.

One of them, Ian Rathbone, announced at a Hackney anti-cuts demonstration on 23 February that he would vote against all cuts and called for the lobby of the council budget-setting meeting to be so big that councillors would not be able to get into the council chamber to vote for cuts.

BA ballot back on

After calling off its initial ballot over fears of a legal challenge from bosses, Unite has begun the process of re-balloting British Airways cabin crew workers for further strike action.

This strike is not over the job cuts and casualisation that sparked the initial action, but against victimisations and sackings that occurred during the course of the strikes. However, a strong strike could force concessions from BA boss Willie Walsh on those issues and possibly inspire workers with the confidence for a renewed fight on the underlying issues.

Scottish unions rally

Around 300 people attended the 26 February Scottish TUC anti-cuts rally in Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre. It would be unfair to be overly critical of the event.

If anyone from another planet had been in the audience, for example, they would doubtless have found the glittering array of eight platform speakers all saying the same thing in not particularly different words an illuminating event.

March against NHS cuts!

Activists will march against cuts to healthcare on Wednesday 9 March as the government presses ahead with the most radical restructuring and cuts package in NHS history.

500 jobs have already gone at local NHS Primary Care Trusts and unions estimate that 120,000 jobs could be under threat nationally. Across London, community health services such as district nursing face cuts of up to 50%.

Industrial news in brief

Train drivers on Arriva Trains Wales have taken strike action in a dispute over a number of issues, including pay.

Arriva drivers are amongst the lowest paid in the country, and ASLEF – one of the unions which organises the drivers – says they are paid substantially less than their English counterparts. The strike had a significant impact on services with only four scab drivers turning up for work.

Council chamber direct action

Following previous actions in Islington, Lambeth and Lewisham, London activists have taken more direct action against council meetings as councillors of all main parties push on with passing cuts budgets.

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