United Kingdom: General strike and new left alternative

The economic and social crisis raises the need for a unified response from the working class. The Tory and Labor Parties have expired. A new left wing and anti-capitalist political alternative is needed.

By Julio Santana – ISL, UK

A month ago there was a historic transport strike, the likes of which had not been seen in the last thirty years, called by the National Union of Railway, Maritime and Transport Workers. The measure was continued on July 27, in the middle of the summer holiday season, with a new 24-hour strike that paralyzed the national train service and the London Underground. We are proud to have actively supported promoted solidarity with the strike.

The struggle continues

Workers are resisting companies’ attempts to lay off staff to cut costs. They continue to demand job security and a wage increase in line with inflation. The Tory government is also responsible for what is happening, since it hinders the presentation of a wage offer in accordance with the needs of the workers. The example of struggle is so great that other sectors are debating doing the same as the rail workers in August. For example, the Unite union announced the possibility of a strike for wages at Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port.

The underlying problem is capitalism

After twelve years of Tory austerity, with salaries frozen for the last two years, it is very clear who is paying the consequences of the crisis: the poor. Meanwhile, large companies continue to get rich around the world, even with government subsidies that ultimately come from the taxes we all pay. Then the working people cannot pay for electricity or gas. They want us to believe that everything will change with a new prime minister. But that is a lie, because the underlying problem is the intrinsic rapacity of the capitalist system.

Neither one nor the other

After the fall of Boris Johnson, the Tory Party will elect a new prime minister from among MPs who are further to the right and willing to apply austerity measures on the workers and the people. The Labor Party argues that, for there to be changes, we must wait for the following elections. They are totally removed from the needs and urgencies of the people. You cannot sow expectations in either of these two parties. Both support the reactionary political regime and the capitalist system of exploitation. The immediate situation poses a challenge: to propose a unified response of the working class to the transport strike, the economic crisis and the bourgeois political disaster.

First answer: Higher wages and nationalization under workers’ control

The Labor Party banned its members from supporting the transport strike and ‘forgot’ about its nationalization proposals. Exactly the opposite must be done: support the strikes and nationalize the privatized companies, placing them under the control of their workers and users. No one can better manage operation of these companies than the people who operate and use them every day.

Second answer: General strike

Inflation has reached 9.4 percent and the increase in the cost of living reaches levels that have not been seen for decades. Salaries are not only insufficient for the rail workers, but also for the entire working class. The crisis of the capitalist economy, the consequences of the war in the Ukraine and the disasters of the government and the bourgeois opposition do not offer a better perspective. The accelerated deterioration of living conditions is provoking the reaction of the labor movement. For this reason, the unions must call for a unified measure of strength in defense of wages and workers’ rights.

Third answer: New left alternative

The fighting tradition of tens of thousands of honest Labor supporters must not continue to be falsified in the service of defending a system that only brings poverty and marginalization. We must break with that party that does not represent the interests of the working class and make way for a new anti-capitalist and left wing political alternative. One that supports the workers’ and people’s struggles; with a program for the capitalists to pay for the crisis, for the workers and socialism to rule. We in the International Socialist League in the United Kingdom are at the service of these tasks. We invite you to fight together for them.