Issue 225 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published December 1998 Copyright © Socialist Review
The Action Programme proposed by Socialist Worker connects with the economic crisis, Blair's inability to offer a solution and discontent within the Labour Party over lack of democracy. Wherever it is raised, from factories facing closure to Labour Party wards, the programme fits like a glove.
With unemployment now on the rise, to demand a reduction in working hours, with no loss of pay, would create over a million new jobs. New Labour's policies over the minimum wage, trade union rights and continuing cuts to services have angered many who would not have expected to see Labour compromise over such issues.
Everywhere the Action Programme is raised it connects with the needs of ordinary people. At a conference of CWU postal workers, 145 delegates put their names to the programme and many have promised to raise it at union branches and workplaces. In Islington, where the council is trying to push through cuts of £60 million, youth workers, parents and local people supported the Action Programme, linking up the fights against cuts. In east London local demands have been added such as the scrapping of the Millennium Dome to pay for welfare and calling for a march on Downing Street. After the successful ballot against privatisation of council houses in Tower Hamlets, the Action Programme is now being discussed with the local Labour Party. At a meeting in Alun Michael's Cardiff constituency 51 Labour Party members signed the programme.
New Labour has no answer to the threat of recession. Blair and Brown back the sentiment in Eddie George's claim that unemployment in the north is a price worth paying. In this situation the Action Programme raises a different strategy and demands that jobs and services are defended.
The Action Programme can become a common programme across the whole working class. By confronting the policies and priorities of New Labour, we can gain confidence to resist the bosses forcing workers to pay for the growing economic crisis. Each struggle in every workplace or against local council cuts and privatisation, against school and hospital closures, can be generalised into questioning in whose interest society is run.
For copies of the Action Programme call 01732 863237 or write to PO Box, 1 Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5ZQ