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Volume 45 Number 26, September 9, 2015 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

TUC Congress 2015:

Necessity to Defeat Austerity and
Fight for a New Direction for Society

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

Necessity to Defeat Austerity and Fight for a New Direction for Society

The Shameful Position of Cameron on the Refugee Crisis

Refugees Welcome in Oxford

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TUC Congress 2015:

Necessity to Defeat Austerity and Fight for a New Direction for Society


The 147th TUC Congress is taking place at the Brighton Centre from Sunday, September 13, to Wednesday, September 16. As Congress 2015 convenes it is essential that the organised workers make all the necessary preparations to defeat the austerity agenda and march in step with the growing movement for the alternative to austerity. The necessity is to defeat austerity and fight for a new direction for the economy and for society.

The mass demonstrations against the Conservative government's austerity agenda following the General Election have shown the mood of resistance that exists in the country. As part of this there is also a TUC mass demonstration planned for October 4 in Manchester against austerity and the Trade Union Bill.

Delegates will come together to discuss motions submitted by the constituent trade unions that are grouped into five sections referring to the fight for jobs and a new economy, the fight for fair pay and a living wage, defending public services and welfare benefits, respect against bullying and diktat and a voice at work, the need for strong unions and TUC organisation. There will be a debate about the fight against the Trade Union Bill currently before Parliament and the campaign to oppose this attack on the rights of working people and their unions. The General Council theme announced for this year's Congress is “Great jobs for everyone”. The TUC says, “Economic growth might be back but millions of workers have seen the worst decline in real wages since Victorian times. The government looks increasingly out of touch with the concerns of ordinary
people, ignoring the damage to the economy too. It is against this backdrop that the trade union movement will come together, in Brighton in September this year, to debate, discuss and decide how we can take action and organise to defend the people we represent and set out a vision for a better way.”

However, this vision for a better way must be based on a new direction for the economy, and a recognition that workers constitute the future for society. These times call for the rejection of programmes that defend and promote someone else's agenda whether this be the Cameron government's, the monopolies', or that of any other force that opposes the public good and harms the social and natural environment. There is a very serious situation looming, whilst the ruling elite are talking about recovery which itself a cruel joke played on the workers. The financial oligarchy, the monopolies and their Conservative government backers are wrecking the economy with their “austerity” drive so that this gap between the rich and poor is growing as everything is done to fund the rich at the expense of society and the public good.

The new Trade Union Bill further confirms that there is no recognition of any rights of the workers, let alone recognition that the working class is the producer in a socialised economy. The Bill's aim at this stage is to prevent the workers from bringing their numbers and organisation into play in their resistance against the anti-social measures that they are trying to force through. The
Cameron government aims to present the trade unions as the ones who are abusing their power by striking to defend the public services and pensions. The Bill, along with all the trade union Acts, should be scrapped and the right to organise and workers rights must be recognised fully along with the rights of all.

The thinking and outlook of the organised workers' movement has to go beyond the problems that the government and the big corporations impose in terms of limiting productivity, jobs, wage rises and so forth. The fact that the government wants to deny the right of the workers to organise actually confirms that working people are at the centre of the creation of wealth of the economy and society and have the potential to protect their interests. The workers have to underline their place in charting a way out of the crisis and creating an alternative society by emerging as the force that has the answer to the problems facing a society presently at the mercy of the monopolies. This goes beyond the aspiration of simply being on the boards of directors, or influencing share holders, to one of actually being the decision makers in society. The workers must take up the issue of working class representation and democratic renewal, so that political forms and institutions serve working people and not the rich and powerful.


WWIE calls on the delegates to play their role in the challenge facing the working class to resist the assault of the monopolies. The TUC Congress 2015 must make a clear statement that it opposes the neo-liberal anti-social offensive, that there is a necessity for a new direction for the economy which opposes and reverses the wrecking of the manufacturing base, and the privatisation of the NHS and education. Rather the economy must serve the working class and people with the guaranteeing of jobs and a livelihood, decent pensions, guaranteed funding for social care for children, the elderly, the frail and vulnerable and those in need, including everyone who is differently abled. The iniquitous wrecking of society must be ended, along with the growing gap between rich and poor, the attack on social programmes in order to pay the rich and the entrenching of class privilege. The TUC must take a stand against the militarisation of the economy, the use of force to resolve international affairs, and for respecting the sovereignty and the right of countries to determine their own affairs without outside interference.

The times are calling for a new direction for society in which the working class and people are empowered to make the decisions. This involves challenging the domination of the ruling capitalist elite. The working class is the future – that must be the spirit of TUC Congress 2015.

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Fighting For the Rights Of All

The Shameful Position of Cameron on the Refugee Crisis


The Prime Minster’s statement to the House of Commons on Monday, September 7, on refugees demonstrated that he and his government are completely out of touch with the sentiment and values of the vast majority of people in Britain. It also demonstrated that any measures that the government may take in regard to refugees from Syria will be undertaken as part of the government’s overall aim of regime change in that country. In this regard it was not at all accidental that the Prime Minster’s statement on refugees was followed immediately by the announcement of the assassination of two British citizens in Syria and the likelihood of more assassinations in the future. Indeed the Prime Minister used both statements to argue the case for more military intervention in Syria, on the basis of Britain’s “self-defence” and hinted that the government would soon again bring this matter before parliament.

David Cameron’s statements have been based on the premise that the government’s aim of regime change in Syria is entirely just and that it is the government of Syria that is responsible for the emergence of the so-called ISIL, rather than Britain and its allies that present themselves as the “friends of Syria”. But the fact is that both the major conflict in Syria and ISIL have been exacerbated beyond all proportion as a consequence of the intervention of Britain, the other big powers and their allies. It is they who have fuelled the civil war, directly and indirectly created the conditions for the emergence of ISIL and created the current crisis that has led to millions of displaced people and millions of refugees.


As the Prime Minister made clear, the British government is one of the major funders of the refugee camps on the borders of Syria, just as it is one of the major funders of the opposition to the Syrian government, and it is from these camps that it intends to admit 20,000 refugees, and that this is not immediate but is ludicrously over the next five years. And even this has been wrung from Cameron kicking and screaming, as he made it clear that the government does not “believe it is right to take part in the European relocation quota because we think that a better answer for Britain … is to take people directly from the camps. In that way we will not encourage more people to make this perilous journey.” As was pointed out during the Commons debate, Germany has taken in 10,000 refugees in one day.

The government's approach will make no difference to the numbers in the camps, already well over 3 million, nor the numbers of refugees fleeing to Europe, over 300,000 already this year, and Cameron was adamant that the government would not enter into any wider EU agreement regarding refugee quotas. It was also evident that the government had only set aside minimal funding from its “aid” budget for these plans. As Cameron stressed on numerous occasions, “aid” is something that must be used in what he referred to as Britain’s “national interest”. And in the debate he insulted Caroline Lucas's pledge on behalf of the people of Brighton and Hove as being very willing to accept more refugees provided the government guarantee the funding, as it must, by saying, “I notice that Brighton is very keen to be generous with other people’s money.”


The Prime Minister also had no concern for those seeking refuge from other countries, labelling all those not originating from Syria as “economic migrants” who were “seeking a better life”. It was clear from his statement that those seeking refuge from the consequences of the government’s military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya were not in any way connected with Britain’s “national interest” and were not therefore the subject of the statement. The government takes no responsibility for those who are the victims of the consequences of neo-liberal globalisation, or Britain’s economic and political intervention in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.

Cameron and his government must be condemned for their stunningly callous indifference to human suffering that is the consequence of the global intervention carried out by successive British governments and their allies, as well as a consequence of neo-liberal globalisation. They must also be condemned for the cynical use of the refugee crisis as a means to further the aim of regime change in Syria. The government must be held to account for these crimes.

The people of Britain and many other countries are showing what it means to uphold enlightened human values in the 21st century, what is required is a government that also upholds such values. It is the task of the workers and all progressive people to continue their struggles to establish such a government, a government based on the sovereignty of the people, an anti-war government. It is this empowerment of the working class and people which will fundamentally resolve the global catastrophes which a social system which is a blight on humankind is giving rise to.

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Refugees Welcome in Oxford


Close to 2,000 people gathered in Oxford on the afternoon of Sunday, September 6, to proclaim "Refugees Welcome" in opposition to the inhumane stance of the government regarding the refugee crisis. The lively crowd gathered for the rally on the ancient Catte Street, flanked by the buildings of colleges and the Bodleian Library.

Organisers called the demonstration "historic". Not only was it the first such action in Britain in response to the present crisis, it was one of the largest protests in the city since the time of the invasion of Iraq.

The event was organised by a number of concerned individuals, including the authors and environmental activists Mark Lynas and Chris Goodall.

"This is the most spectacular thing I have ever seen in Oxford," Mark Lynas told the rally. "I'm so proud to call this city my home."

Author Mark Haddon, an invited speaker at the demonstration, said: "This shouldn't even be a matter for debate. Human beings are being murdered and tortured and driven from their homes in hundreds of thousands. Slamming the door and hoping Germany will look after them is beyond shameful."

The organising is set to continue, with the creation of a Facebook page and a spirit for further action.

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