26 March: day of hope

March 27, 2011 at 10:52 pm (capitalist crisis, Cuts, Johnny Lewis, labour party, unions, women, workers, youth)

The anti-cuts march in London Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Well, it was a bloody good turn-out (at least half a million) and proof that when the official trade union movement makes a real effort it can still put on a good show. Some comrades have complained that the mood was too “carnival-like” and not “angry” enough. I know what they mean, but I think we can build on that spirit of good-humoured optimism and turn it into the basis for a union-led coalition against the cuts, involving the voluntary sector, disability groups, women’s organisations and local Labour Parties.

I called the march “a good show,” and so it was. I don’t use that term in a disparaging sense: the numbers and the atmosphere were great. But it musn’t be just a one-off exercise in letting off steam before the TUC and the bureaucrats return to business as usual. We need to take the enthusiasm of the march, and the new forces it attracted, into local anti-cuts committees or where they don’t yet exist, use the momentum of the march to set them up. In particular, we need to send our people into the Labour Party to demand that the leadership opposes all cuts and that Labour councils refuse to implement cuts.

Calls for a general strike (SWP), even of the “one-day” variety (Socialist Party) are at present unhelpful. But we need to be looking for opportunities for action and encouraging the unions that will be affected by public sector pension cuts, and the TUC general council,  to prepare for co-ordinated industrial action (which can be done legally over that issue).

26 March has not transformed the political landscape in Britain – it was never going to! But it has given our movement a shot in the arm and drawn thousands of new people into political activity. We must ensure that this opportunity isn’t squandered.


  1. Mikey said,

    “we need to send our people into the Labour Party…..”


  2. jim denham said,

    Comrade Paul writes:

    I also saw the pro-Gaddafi people as we turned right by Big Ben and they had some Stop the War placards – an amalgam we should not let the kitsch left forget.


  3. lost said,

    ive been looking back at some posts,so this reply is made intentionally soem time after the events described.

    now that soem of the heat and fury has gone after the cuts demonstartion in march,im wondering-and these are serious and not rhetorical questions-what is wrong with the call for ageneral strike?why do we(whoever we are)still hanker after resolution mingering or indeed anything else inside the labour partyour unions remain important because however bureaucratised,they still connect workers at a whole range of levels and can still facilitate(allow) action and change.so what role the labour party in 2011.we end up tailing them-i want the whole bakery not just a few more crumbs that the condems offer.and i want the bakery to make things we need and want,not just what the capitalist class allows us.anything less is not acceptable

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