Tony Benn: the time to organise resistance to this government of millionaires is now!

Submitted by dalcassian on 5 August, 2010 - 3:12 Author: Tony Benn and 73 others

We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight

It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government's budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers' profligacy.

The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.

Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.

We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries.

This government of millionaires says "we're all in it together" and "there is no alternative". But, for the wealthy, corporation tax is being cut, the bank levy is a pittance, and top salaries and bonuses have already been restored to pre-crash levels.

An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear "deterrent" by cancelling the Trident replacement.

An alternative strategy could use these resources to: support welfare; develop homes, schools, and hospitals; and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public transport, thereby creating a million jobs.

We commit ourselves to:

• Oppose cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services.

• Fight rising unemployment and support organisations of unemployed people.

• Develop and support an alternative programme for economic and social recovery.

• Oppose all proposals to "solve" the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating.

• Liaise closely with similar opposition movements in other countries.

• Organise information, meetings, conferences, marches and demonstrations.

• Support the development of a national co-ordinating coalition of resistance.

We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm), at Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.

Signed by 74 people, including the following:

Tony Benn

Caroline Lucas MP

John McDonnell MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Mark Serwotka, general secretary PCS

Bob Crow, general secretary RMT

Jeremy Dear, general secretary NUJ

Michelle Stanistreet, deputy general secretary, NUJ

Ken Loach

John Pilger

John Hendy QC

Mark Steel

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary NUT

Cllr Salma Yaqoob

Ashok Kumar, VP education and welfare, LSE student union

Paul Mackney, former general secretary NATFHE/UCU

Clare Solomon, president ULU student union

Lindsey German, convenor, Stop the War Coalition (personal capacity)

Sean Rillo Raczka, chair, Birkbeck College student union, and mature students' representative, NUS national executive

Comments

Submitted by AWL on Thu, 05/08/2010 - 17:42

It appears that Counterfire have set up a new project, called "Coalition of Resistance", on the back of the above Tony Benn Guardian article (which has, I am told, "gone viral").

This coalition (website here: http://coalitionofresistance.wordpress.com/) has got a lot of impressive names, and demonstrates that Counterfire leader (ex-SWP supremo) John Rees has certainly got as good contacts in medialand and among leftwing MPs as the current SWP leadership does. Their website also looks very nice.

This "coalition" appears to be a carbon copy of Right to Work, although it might have a distinct, Counterfire "flavour" - i.e., it might be more 'movementist'; use the internet more creatively; and its meetings might be less boring than the RtW ones, which are endless parades of union tops saying things about militancy which they don't really mean.

But what is it going to achieve? How will it actually aid the development of a rank-and-file movement in the unions? How can it do anything more than give students and some trade unionists an interesting public speaker event or two to go to? The advertised "organising conference" is going to be in early November - surely organising should be happening now? Giving the conference such a long run-up looks more like Counterfire are trying to organise an impressive-looking rally for their tendency than actually attempt something new in the workers' movement. The fact that this initiative was launched as a 'viral media event' doesn't bode well, either.

Ed Maltby

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