Topple the government down! TUC needs to call a general strike now!

Liz Truss’ new conservative government, which was supposed to  bring order after the collapse  of Boris Johnson’s executive, has been able to surpass the previous incumbent in its ineptitude by bringing the British economy to the brink of chaos.

After days of a nauseating circus around Elizabeth II’s passing,  the political and social crisis strikes again whilst the labour strikes show no sign of abating- quite the opposite, growing and getting stronger.

British capitalism staring into the abyss

This is a consequence of the profound and irreversible decay of British imperialism. A decay which has resulted in the UK being replaced by India has the 5th strongest economy on the planet; to achieve a record annual trade deficit of 150 000 million pounds in 2021 (7.1% of the GDP); and for is exports to represent only 2% of world exports against the 9% they represented in 1950.[1]

A situation exacerbated by Brexit, which has made the UK lag back in the world markets, obstructing its trade with its main commercial partner- the EU- and showing that there is no way out the capitalist crisis through economic nationalism.

The UK has been replaced by India as the world’s 5th largest economy

It was in this precarious context and with a public debt which already comprises 100% of GDP, that Liz Truss has thrusted the government in a strategy so surreal it has put the British economy on the brink of collapse. After announcing a “rescue package” for “homes and companies” with a value of 150 000 million pounds, she took another step by announcing tax cuts which would take 50 000 million pounds of the budget.  Meaning a gaping hole of 200 000 million pounds on the public purse which would entail a critical, almost unsustainable debt to an economic already tittering in the border of recession.

In her plan there was a showcase measure: the biggest tax cut since 1972, massively skewed to bigger incomes, specifically reducing the tax on the biggest fortunes from 45% to 40%, which would mean a gift of at least 10 0000 pounds per person to the 660 000 richest people in the UK.

Pound sterling immediately took a nosedive, losing almost 20% of its value and reaching its lowest level since 1971. A critical situation, as it suddenly made imports much more expensive to a country which is increasingly dependent on them, as its significant commercial deficit shows.

This disaster forced an intervention by the Bank of England by buying 65 000 million pounds worth of debt, both to rescue the pound and to avoid the collapse of private pension plans  big part of British pensioners rely.

It got to such a critical point that the sustainability of British debt, with its finance costs increased to the level of Italy and Greece. [3]  The possibility of having to request a loan or “rescue” by the IMF was even discussed.

It is evident that the criticisms by the Bank of England and finance capital, and its demands to control the deficit are a means to impose new austerity policies against public services and the working class. This is the reason why the increase on military spending , which will more than doubl from 48 000 million to 100 000 million pounds wasn’t even mentioned. There is still money for the imperialist war in Ukraine!

This critical situation and the fear of an uprising due to the enormous social anger, is the reason why a new rebellion has broken out in the ranks of Conservative MP’s against their own government. It has forced Truss’ government to reverse some of its measures, but some others, such has the lifting of the caps on bankers’ bonuses, have been kept. The Conservative Party is still mired in the worst crisis of its history, a crisis that seems to have no end or solution.

We have witnessed a new rebellion of Conservative MP’s against their own government

Starmer and the Labour Party put themselves forward as the guardians of capitalism

In spite of a complete collapse of the tories and their successive governments, Starmer and the current leadership of the Labour Party is not even asking for Truss’ resignation.

In fact, apart from the scandalous tax cut to the richest, all other measures have been actively or passively supported by the current labour leadership. Measures that do not solve the rapid impoverishment of the working class and that mean a new torrent of public money spent to guarantee the profits of big companies.

An example is the ceiling placed in energy bills, which cannot go over 2500 pounds per years, in response to the forecast that it could skyrocket to 6000 pounds.

But how will the gap be filled? It is very simple- the government will pay for it, which means the British working class will pay for it, with an estimated 60 000 million pounds going from the public budget to the hands of private energy companies just in the next 6 months. A ceiling that, on top of everything, has doubled since last year, when it was 1200 pounds. On the other hand, a portion of the “rescue package”- 40 000 million pounds-will go straight into big energy companies which may face financial difficulties. These are the measures supported by the Labour leadership.

Starmer, in the recent Labour Party Congress, has christened himself has the champion of fiscal responsibility, stating that with Labour in power there will be “balanced budgets”: “Rachel Reeves and I have set out a framework for sound money. We’re determined to reduce debt as a share of our economy. Every policy we announce will be fully costed.” We already know what this means for workers.

Both Starmer and the current Labour leadership do not care at all about the mobilisations and strikes, about the social rebellion that grows throughout the country. They want to prepare themselves to govern “responsibly”. There is no shadow of a doubt that the ruling class has a safe protector on  a Starmer led Labour Party.

The current Labour leadership does not care about the mobilisations and the strikes. The ruling class knows it would be in safe hands with Starmer’s Labour Party

The uprising of the British working class continues- For a general strike!

In spite of all this, in spite of the wave of social chauvinism after the death of Elizabeth II, the rank and file of the British working class keeps building a true social uprising against the tories, its pro- multimillionaire policies and against the capitalist system.

On Saturday the 1st of October, tens of thousands of British people filled the streets in more than 50 cities, called by the Enough is Enough movement,  unions like RMT and Unite and civil disobedience movements like Don’t Pay.

These mobilisations have coincided with new strikes by railway workers, the more widespread until date, paralysing the whole country. And these will not be the last, seen as more strikes are predicted on the 5 and 8 of October. Weeks before, Liverpool dockers started a 14 day strike at the same time as dockers in the port of Felixstowe, the biggest in Great Britain and through which 48% of imports and exports pass through, were also on strike.

The strike wave which started during the summer continues spreading throughout and to other workforces, radicalising and bringing forth the militant methods of working-class struggle. That is the reason why the new government is pushing through its plans to effectively scrap the right to strike, planning to legislate to allow temp work companies the right to hire strike breakers when the workers in a company or sector are in struggle.

The engine that powers this rebellion is the profound social decay suffered by the UK, now brutally deepened by the imperialist war and an economic crisis which has made misers of millions of families: 7.3 million adults and 2,6 million children live in food insecurity; the wages have been suffered a real terms cut of up to 25% in some sectors since 2012; and public services like the NHS are in the brink of collapse. The situation gets worse by the day, with an out of control inflation that can reach 20% in 2023.

The time is overripe for a general strike, which would definitely end Truss and the Tories’ government with one fell swoop. The leaders of the TUC and the major unions which constitute it, like Unite and Unison, cannot keep ignoring this.

In the next TUC congress, postponed by death of Elizabeth II, resolutions to coordinate the strikes were going to be presented- but this is already happening!

Strikes are being coordinated from below due to the boldness, impulse and direct action of rank and file workers. We need this coordination to be transformed in a general strike. And if the TUC refuses to do it, Unite, Unison or combative unions such has RMT need to raise it with conviction!

The massive Enough is Enough rallies, organised by the more left-wing unions like RMT, social activists and parts of the Labour Left and many activists and members who supported Corbyn in his day, show that there is great potential. But we need to convert this force into action in the streets, propelling a wide and bold campaign for a general strike and denouncing the passivity of both Starmer and the TUC bureaucracy. No more excuses!

A struggle which needs a political programme that goes to the root of the problem, that confronts the capitalists and demands the expropriation of big energy companies and banks without indemnity and under workers control, in order to put them to the service of the interests and needs of the working-class.

We need to build a mass party of the working-class in England, Wales and Scotland, with a Marxist revolutionary and international socialism programme in order to build a fair society without misery or oppression. There is no other way.

[1] De potencia industrial a centro financiero: cómo ha cambiado la economía británica con Isabel II

[2] Among them 41 MPs.

[3] UK’s cost of borrowing on international markets overtakes Greece and Italy