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Unity! Communists at the TUC

September 2011

Scoop! Ed Milliband’s speech in advance

Unity! has obtained an advance copy of Ed Milliband’s speech to TUC delegates. Check against delivery. This draft was prepared before the spin doctors got to it Comrades, sisters and brothers, Our country is governed by a cabinet of millionaires and ruled by a cabal of bankers, bosses and bureaucrats. The main force that represents the millions of people in Britain who work for a living – and the millions who are denied the right to work – is represented here in this hall. My task as leader of the Labour Party – a party that, as Brendan reminded us yesterday, was founded following a TUC

decision – is to find a way to ensure that the interests of the people who create the wealth of our nations is expressed in government policy A Labour government under my leadership will repudiate the Tory LibDem policy of austerity and cuts. You cannot cut your way out of a recession. We will begin an irreversible shift in wealth and power from the parasitic rich to the working people. The banks and insurance industry will be taken into public, cooperative and social ownership. We will initiate a massive programme of job creation involving a strict control over the export of capital and massive investment in British

manufacturing, renewable energy creation, housing and infrastructure. We will legislate for the renewal of a progressive taxation system in which those who live off of profits, rent and interest will pay much more while those who live from the sale of their labour will see their taxes spent on a profound renewal of the welfare state. We will reverse the tide of privatisation. We will say to those who profit from the private finance initiative that any profits arising from such capital investment will be reinvested in public services and any assets created by such investment will stay public forever. continued overleaf

Sunday 2 October 2011 ★ Frances O’Grady deputy general secretary TUC ★ Matthew Collins Searchlight ★ Robert Griffiths general secretary Communist Party ★ Max Levitas Cable Street veteran ★ Bob Crow general secretary RMT ★ Kosru Uddin Labour Councillor ★ Julie Begum Swadhinata Trust ★ David Rosenberg Jewish Socialists’ Group ★ Gail Cartmail assistant general secretary UNITE 11.30am Aldgate East (junction of Braham Street and Leman Street). Nearest tube: Aldgate East: Rally: 1.00pm St George-in-the-East Gardens (off Cable Street).

Morning Star Meet the Morning Star TUC team? Lunchtime today at the Plough pub round the corner at 22 Museum Street.


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Unity! TUC 2011 Tuesday 13 September

continued We will not mortgage the future of our children. For us people will always come before profit. Rail, bus and air transport will be returned to public ownership and a national integrated freight transport corporation created. We will end foreign military adventures. Our armed forces are for the defence of these isles. We will not ask our service men and women to risk their lives and limb in defence of corporate profits or foreign despots. We will squeeze the profit motive out of the NHS. No child will receive a less privileged education than any other. Education will be free, fully comprehensive with private schools integrated into the state system. Equal pay will be enforced and no employer will be allowed to profit from discrimination. The balance of power and responsibility at work will shift towards the workers with a repeal of the anti union laws and a restoration of the right to take solidarity action alongside a vast expansion of worker participation in the management of industry, services and the public sector. A Labour government cannot do this by itself and I invite the millions of British trade unionists to join us in this endeavour. Accordingly we will introduce a system of one person one vote in the election of our leadership, in the formulation of our policies and in the selection of our candidates. Each individual trade unionist who demonstrates their affiliation to Labour through their union membership, each MP and MEP, each councillor and each individual member of a constituency party and socialist society will have just one precious vote. That is democracy. Thank you. ★ more Groucho on page 3

Jobs, growth and justice

by Bill Greenshields ‘... it is evident that the British people also expect and deserve a radical and plausible alternative economic strategy based on resolving the crisis while putting people’s needs for jobs, homes, decent pensions and secure living standards first. Congress believes that the heart of such a strategy must be a profound rebalancing of the economy, with a far stronger manufacturing element,’ says UNITE The People’s Charter – endorsed unanimously by Congress and by the Trades Councils TUCJCC – embodies in well researched detail that ‘radical and plausible alternative economic strategy’. It asserts boldly, ‘There is no need for unemployment or cuts to public services, pay, pensions or benefits. There is an alternative, meeting the needs of millions, rather than feeding the greed of millionaires.” It refutes the notion that some cuts, and some job losses are

‘inevitable’. It directly opposes the notion that the problem is that cuts are being made “too far and too fast’. It asserts that “the economic crisis is being used by a government of millionaires to turn back all the gains working people have made over the last 60 years in public services, benefits, pay, pensions, rights at work, job security and support for the most vulnerable.” ‘The Alternative’ – that half a million marched for – would shift wealth and resources irrevocably in favour of the working people and away from the tiny minority who own and control the nation’s wealth. And in this strategy lies its strength – but also its immediate weakness. The weakness lies in our own lack of confidence to directly challenge the political and economic power of that tiny minority, the capitalist class. The Labour leadership does us few favours, fundamentally in thrall to the capitalist system, with its leader passive in the face of the ruling class offensive. We challenge the power of the

millionaire class – workers all over the world are doing so. The Congress calls for co-ordinated strike action, reiterating similar calls from Congress 2010, need to be put into operation, with the full support and active participation of the TUC leadership – and we need to move to generalised strike action to bring down this government of millionaires. We all need to build the links between our unions and our communities – through Trades Councils and local anti-cuts organisations. Our alternative must have the fight for manufacturing and jobs at its heart. How about a national initiative against industrial closure and unemployment, with co-ordinated union and community action in towns and cities up and down Britain? Such a widespread programme of activity – petitions, demonstrations, coordinated strike action, occupations – would say loud and clear to government, and also to working people throughout Britain, that there really is an alternative. It would raise confidence… and would reflect the hard fact that no-one, no political party, no economic pundit, no media group, no capitalist monopoly will deliver “the alternative” for us. If we want Jobs, Growth and Justice, we, the working class – public and private sector, industrial and service-based, rural and urban – will have to make it happen relying on our organisation, strength and unity in our unions and communities – by challenging the power of the capitalist class, and all those who line up with them. If your union is not yet affiliated to The People’s Charter at national, regional and branch levels, make sure it does so soon – and lend your support to its determination to help make the alternative a reality. ★ Bill Greenshields is chair of the Communist Party and former president of the NUT


Unity! TUC 2011 Tuesday 13 September

A modest proposal for the media by Nick Wright An extra terrestial being beamed down from the planet Venus (otherwise known as the Morning Star) would be surprised to find that among the many billions of earthlings on this planet only a handful own and control a media outlet. On the evidence presented to the Commons select committee our alien might surmise that only liars could meet the job specification, although other

evidence suggests that pornographers might be eligible as might be fraudsters. The idea that one person, even one family or a small group of extremely wealthy people might own and control the principal means of global communication, production and distribution for millions of readers, viewers and listeners would seem, to an intelligent being from another planet, bizarre. The idea that, in the interests of these millions, media ownership should be subject to some measure of

regulation seems – to the media moguls – an insupportable infringement of their rights as property owners. The caring Venutian would relieve them of this anxiety and transfer all media into collective and co-operative forms of ownership. Starting with News International the government might get its own daily organ (The Times), the TUC might regain ownership of The Sun – younger readers will be surprised to find out that this was once a left wing paper in the control of the labour movement. Sky might be broken up with channels handed over to a federation of democratically constituted sporting organisations and regulated to provide free-to-air coverage of a comprehensive range of sports. The News of the World might be revived under the editorial direction of the Women's Institute, the TUC Women's Committee and the National Assembly of Women. The exceptionally privileged treatment accorded the readers of the Morning Star should be ended and they should be subjected to the same level of paid commercial advertising that readers of other newspapers are forced to endure. Short of these modest measures the proposals contained in the NUJ’s motion on media regulation seem eminently reasonable.

Groucho An effective speech Brendan, playing on divisions in the cabinet, counterposing the treatment of the rich compared to the working majority and the poor, skilfully weaving economic. political and social themes including a proper context for the riots. Good stuff. But, the limits of the acceptable are quickly reached. The critical division is not the IMF and World Bank versus Cameron’s cabinet. It is the working people of all lands versus the institution’s of capital, the IMF, The World Bank and critcially the European Union. Say it loud Brendan. Yoof. I see that the class-cuddle comrades of Unions 21 have migrated to less controversial territory with their Fabian fringe on Young Workers. Mind you I would have thought a more deserving home for Moscow’s missing millions might be the perennially poverty-stricken Young Communist League who actually do organise real young workers. www.ycl.org.uk

Nick Wright blogs at 21stcenturymanifesto

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Unity! TUC 2011 Tuesday 13 September

Fringe today 12.45pm Unite | Reconnecting Britain | Len McCluskey Unite; Owen Jones, author of Chavs: the demonisation of the working class; Aditya Chakrabortty Guardian; Tom Watson MP; Kingsley Abrams Brixton Radisson Kenilworth Hotel,

Winning working class power

5:30pm Trade Union Coordinating Group | A Strategy to Defeat the Cuts Matt Wrack FBU; Mark Serwotka PCS; Bob Crow RMT; Christine Blower; Sally Hunt, UCU; Steve Gillan, POA; John McDonnell MP. Chair: Jonathan Ledger, Napo Bloomsbury Hotel, Refreshments 6pm Campaign for Labour Party Democracy | Unions and Labour - Defending the Link Richard Ascough GMB; Jon Ashworth MP; Ann Black LP NEC; Sam Gurney LP NPF; Billy Hayes CWU; Carol Hayton LP NPF; Becky Hodgson LP NPF - Youth Rep; Diana Holland Unite and Labour Party Treasurer; Kevin Hopkins MP; Christine Shawcroft LPNEC; Liz Snape UNISON. Chair: Peter Willsman CLPD Plough Pub, Museum Street (opposite the British Museum) 6:30-7:30pm Amnesty International and UCU Egypt: Empowering women at work and in their unions Nawla Darwiche, Sally Hunt, UCU and Kate Allen, Amnesty UK Human Rights Centre, Amnesty UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC1A 2EA. Refreshments 7pm NUJ, Unite and Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom | The Emperor Has No Clothes - Murdoch's Media Empire from Wapping to Hacking. NUJ Headland House, 308 Grays Inn Road, London. Kings Cross tube. Buffet and wine provided

by Anita Wright Demonstrations and strikes are a constant feature of resistance to capitalist society, but they often proceed in isolation from each other and fail to confront the system itself. What is needed to overthrow this cycle of booms, busts and wars orchestrated by a minority of business barons – an arrangement dominated by financial speculators and millionaire politicians who steal the wealth produced by the labour of others? Two fundamental, interlocking elements are needed if statemonopoly capitalism is to be challenged successfully. First, a coherent alternative economic and political strategy has to be developed that inspires and unites the organised working class and progressive movements. Second, a popular, democratic anti-monopoly alliance to pursue such a strategy – an alliance that is sustainable and unstoppable. Progress towards socialism requires our movement to learn from disparate industrial and community battles that take

place, and work to unite a mass movement in which the organised working class is the leading force. Such an alliance must take account of the conditions in Scotland and Wales, with their own distinctive politics. However, most capitalist monopolies are owned and controlled at the British level, and key political power is exercised through the British state. It is essential to strengthen the unity in the labour and progressive movements built up across the three nations of Britain. To be effective, such a strategy must have at its heart a left-wing programme of policies that promotes the interests of the working class and the majority of ordinary people. The class struggle has several inter-related fronts – economic, political, ideological and cultural. A left wing programme must address these areas. The economic objective must be to protect and improve living standards for working people and their families based on full employment in a modern, productive, balanced and sustainable domestic economy.

The People’s Charter for Change, the Charter for Women and the Charter for Youth all contain policies that set out the first steps in this process. They lay the basis for more advanced policies to be developed by a left-wing government committed to curbing City domination of the economy. This must entail taking the financial sector and key industries into democratic ownership, imposing controls on the export of capital and ensuring that Britain can pursue a foreign policy independent of the US and the European Union. This, alongside establishing a progressive taxation system, would make it possible to fund the massive investment needed in public services, housing and manufacturing, and to develop an integrated, publicly-owned transport system and safer forms of energy production. In order to expand democratic rights and popular participation in every form of struggle the repeal of all anti-democratic, racist and anti-trade union laws, abolition of the House of Lords, the renewal of local government and progress towards a federal republic including a parliamentary chamber for England is needed. Policies to promote the values of collectivism, co-operation, multiculturalism and solidarity, encouraging the development of a people’s, democratic culture are needed. Media monopolies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and the values of monopoly capitalism must be broken up. Winning working class power is a process. Our movement needs not dogma nor wishful thinking but a strategy. ★ The new edition of Britain’s Road to Socialism can now be ordered from the Communist Party at Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD for £4 (plus p&p £1) www.communist-party.org.uk


TUC 2011 UNITY Special Tuesday