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Communists at the trades council conference

2009

Unity Vote No2EU! A million signatures for the People’s Charter The People’s Charter for Change aims to challenge big business power, ensure decent jobs and homes for all, enhance our public services, promote social justice and help safeguard the planet. Help win a million signatures for the Charter. Go to www.the peoplescharter.com

SIGN UP FOR THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER BRITAIN is in the grip of an economic crisis. So is the world. Every time there is a slump the politicians and financiers seem mystified as to how the system has failed. But boom and bust is the way it works. It's not stable. When the economy grows, banks, corporations and speculators, driven only by greed, gamble other people's money in their global casino. When they lose 'confidence' in their profit making schemes and panic, the bubble bursts and we

pay the price. Redundancies throw hundreds of thousands on to the dole. Savings are lost. Homes are repossessed. Pensions lose value. Workers are put on short time. Wages and conditions are cut. Public services are slashed. Government is spending billion of pounds of our money bailing the banks and big business out of their crisis. It's not right and we didn't vote for it. Those £billions are our money. And our children’s. We

want that money better spent. We have launched a People's Charter. It sets out what must be done to get out of this crisis and put the people first, before the interests of bankers and speculators. We need one million signatures to show we mean business. So sign and support the Charter - on line, at work, in your community. Together we can get the changes we need. Can we do it? Yes we can! www.thepeoplescharter.com/

The European Union is an antidemocratic alliance of monopoly capitalism and its states. No2EU—Yes to Democracy is contesting the June 4 European elections as a coalition of trade union, socialist and progressive forces to oppose the EU’s probig business, racist, militarist and anti-trade union agenda. It will be taking the anti-EU battle to the BNP fascists across Britain. Go to www.no2eu.com

Charter flags Based on the colours carried at the 1848 Charter demonstration in Kennington Park. www.communist-party.org.uk

Daily paper of the left 60p


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unity trades councils conference 2009

A clear fighting lead from the trades council movement can mobilise the working class following six months that have exposed the fundamental contradictions of the capitalist economic system argues Pete Middleman

People before bank profits Robert Griffiths The New Labour government has so far pledged £1,300 billion to rescue the banks and money markets. That’s twice the level of total government spending in a whole year, ten times the NHS budget and 15 times the spending on education. It’s the biggest bail-out of capitalism by the state in Britain’s history. Workers and their families, young people and the unemployed, will be paying the costs for two generations. But the bankers and politicians will escape without charge—if we let them. That’s why Britain’s Communists call for a Left Wing Programme of measures to tackle the financial and economic crisis in the interests of the vast majority of the people: ★ Take the whole banking and financial system into public ownership and provide help homeowners, small businesses and productive industry.

★ Restore gas and electricity prices to their January 2008 levels and take the energy sector into public ownership, under democratic control. ★ Invest in non-nuclear renewable energy including storage and transmission. ★ Tax the rich and big business profits, close down all tax havens under British jurisidiction. ★ Boost pensions, social benefits and the national minimum wage, enforce equal pay for all women. ★ End minimum wage discrimination against young workers and replace tuition fees with maintenance grants. ★ Outlaw mass redundancies in viable enterprises and take failing industries into public ownership. ★ Stop all privatisation measures, take coal and the railways back into public ownership. ★ Launch a massive programme of eco-friendly public sector housebuilding. ★ Scrap the £74 billion postTrident nuclear weapons plan. continued on back page

Our unions must take the lead C ASINO capitalism manifested in unfettered, deregulated financial markets, property and commodity fetishism, subprime lending, over reliance on personal credit, debt, overproduction and unemployment are crises predicted by Friedrich Engels one hundred and fifty years ago. The question for the organised working class now is, having been through this cycle time and time again, how should we react to promote the interests of our class? The estimated £1.3 trillion sticking plaster for the UK economy will “cost” every British household almost £3,000 each year until 2020 in repayments alone. That figure is dwarfed in social terms by the true cost of increased unemployment, crime, ill-health and social exclusion. Of course, some of us will feel the pinch more than others. The Labour Research Department last month reported that

company Director’s pay is still bucking the trend. Oil and Tobacco barons continue to regularly post pay rises between 48% and 64% at the top of the pay league taking the top Royal Dutch Shell executives earnings to between £2.8m and £4.5m a year. Twenty-two directors received pay increases in recession busting double percentage figures. Meanwhile, Office for National Statistics figures reveal that average weekly earnings for the wider economy fell by 5.8% in February with the private sector particularly hard hit. The public sector will not escape the recession. We can expect attempts to privatise institutions beyond Royal Mail, the Land Registry and the Royal Mint. Yet there is another way. In the aftermath of the Second World War, Britain’s debt, as a percentage of GDP, was much higher even than today. That period coincided with a progressive Labour government embarking upon the most significant redistribution of wealth the country has seen. The welfare state was created and a massive social housing


unity trades councils conference 2009

Keep our public services public

building programme was launched. Yet, we should not expect a similar response from the neoliberal cuckoo’s currently occupying the Labour nest. At least not without a concerted struggle through all the institutions of a movement which we, and those who have gone before us, have worked so hard to build. This weekends National Trades Councils Conference in Eastbourne is one such opportunity to continue the fight back. If we are not vigilant, these events have a habit of turning into two-days of everybody agreeing with each other followed by 363 days in which not much happens. This year, with a Tory Government on the horizon, things may just be different. All progressives have a duty to ensure that it is. British trade unions are in a unique position with a single trade union centre – the TUC and with a party formed by the unions to represent them in parliament. The current economic and political crisis throws out a challenge to the whole trade union and labour

movement. Individual unions and the TUC itself have got a range of policies that are directly opposed to the direction of New Labour. This years Trades Union Conference agenda reflects that range of policies. But two stand out in terms of impact. First, despite the reverses at Scottish and Wales TUC, it remains the policy of a number of English Regional TUC’s to support the Peoples’ Charter. Motion 2 (Merseyside) should therefore be supported and the predictable cries of “Splitter’s Charter” should be safely ignored. There is, however, a political choice to be made between Brown’s steady-as-she-sinks approach, which guarantees a trouncing in next month’s Euro election and next year’s general election, and a unifying, campaigning document that could enthuse the mass of alienated former Labour voters by attracting a million signatures and serving notice on the government that an alternative way exists and must be tried. The task is to build a tidal

wave of public opinion that will either force Labour to change direction and save its electoral bacon or lay the basis for a united labour movement fightback to frustrate the Tories and work to deliver a government that would put principles and people before private profit. Support for The Charter is a good start. For the first time this conference will send a resolution to Congress in September. There is an obvious attraction in selecting Motion 2 if passed but caution should be exercised as a defeat at Congress, if the old loyalists roll out the votes, would represent a set back and should be avoided. More worthy, is Motion 8 (Tyne and Wear) on defending TUC Unemployed Workers Centres. In the midst of a crisis which will rival the recession of the darkest Thatcher years it is vital that our movement responds in the same way as it did 30 years ago. This is a unifying motion with positive practical actions which nobody can argue are unnecessary. Pete Middleman represents Merseyside TUC

The Lisbon Treaty and the EU’s privatisation agenda represent a significant threat to working class communities and to the services we all rely on. The renamed EU constitution forces governments to hand public services over to private corporations – that means handing fat cats control of railways, schools, postal services, energy and even social services across Europe. Under Article III-147 of the EU Constitution: “A European framework law shall establish measures to achieve the liberalisation of a specific service”. That provision remains in the Lisbon Treaty. This commitment to ‘free competition’ enshrined in successive EU treaties was the main reason that Tories originally supported the EU. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher signed the Single European Act in 1986 to establish a single European market and John Major agreed the Maastricht Treaty, which created the Euro, the European Central Bank and tied European economies into a ‘Growth and Stability Pact’ that squeezes public investment in public services. The current economic crisis was created by these discredited neo-liberal policies yet, under the Lisbon Treaty, they become constitutional goals. We should be defending public services in Britain not allowing bankers and eurocrats take them over in order to make money for big business in Europe.

Vote No2EU - Yes to Democracy to defend public services such as Post Offices and the NHS and to renationalise our railways and develop manufacturing in Britain.


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continued Such a 10-point programme would make deep inroads into the wealth and power of the monopoly capitalist class. It would put us on the road to socialist revolution. The future of humanity is socialism The banking and other monopolies always strive to maximise profit. That results in periodic crises of overproduction, made worse by the world-wide 24-hour capitalist casino in stocks, shares, commodities, currencies and financial derivatives. It also means that capitalism periodically destroys jobs and enterprises, devastating local communities and even national economies. Globalisation is just a new phase of imperialism. It means freedom for the capitalist monopolies to rampage across the world in their drive for super-profits. And that means more speculation, corruption, super-exploitation of workers and the environment, military production and war. Capitalism cannot and will not resolve the most fundamental problems of humanity: ★ Nearly two billion people are under-nourished, causing a child to die of hunger or disease

every 7 seconds. ★ More than one billion people have no access to safe water supplies and two billion lack adequate sanitation. ★ One billion people susbsist on less than $1 a day, while one billion workers are paid less than $2 a day. ★ The top seven imperialist powers spend $1,000 billion a year on weapons but only $73 billion on non-military aid to the Third World. ★ Carbon-based fuels are rapidly being depleted, while nuclear power produces supertoxic waste and material vital for nuclear weapons. ★ Global warming and climate change are already devastating people’s health, agriculture and local communities. Only socialism can ensure the future of humanity That means public ownership and democratic control over production, with planned use of scarce resources. It means full employment, social justice and an end to the huge inequalities of wealth within and between countries. It means democratic power in the hands of the working class and the people generally. Robert Griffiths is general secretary of the Communist Party and is the lead No2EU candidate in Wales

Question everything

Communist University of Britain 6-8 November 2009 London www.communist-university.com www.communist-party.org.uk www.ycl.org.uk www.solidnet.com www.21stcenturymanifesto.wordpress.com www.morningstaronline.co.uk

Pamphlets from the Communist Party £2.50 each from www.communist-party.org.uk or CPB Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CRO2 1BD


Unity! Trades Council Conference 2009