The TUC has announced today that it will be holding a “national demonstration” against the cuts next March. I think this adequately describes exactly why so few people have any confidence in trade unions any more. In a week in which we have seen the biggest cuts to jobs in decades, the biggest attacks on the public sector ever, one would think that the TUC would have no choice but to call for a general strike of all workers. But no, instead we get a demonstration in six months time. Can someone please explain to me what the fucking point is?
In recent weeks we have seen riots in the streets of France at the increase in pension age. We just roll over. In the last year we saw riots in the streets of Greece at a dwindling economy. We just ignore ours. The TUC has always been reformist but it is one of the few organisations in a position to actually allow workers together to take a stand. This latest proposal is not just pointless but an insult to all workers, who should rightfully expect the umbrella body of unions to defend the rights of the generality of workers. When it can’t even do that it no longer has a function.
It is of course encouraging to see the more on-the-ball unions already striking. The Fire Brigades Union are out on strike today but unless people think bigger, unless the unions get their act together and do more than a bit of shouting next March, the response to these cuts will remain one of acceptance and demoralisation. This we cannot afford.