The Working Class Must Take Up Defence of the Rights of All

Workers’ Weekly Internet Edition (Reprint)

TUC Congress 2013

As the TUC Congress 2014 convenes, it is essential that the organised workers make all the necessary preparations to defeat the austerity agenda. This agenda, being implemented by the Coalition government, is an agenda which has everything to do with capital-centred thinking and action, and ensures that neo-liberalism is implemented throughout society. It is an agenda to push through the programme whereby the whole of society is geared to paying the rich. It is backed by an outlook which defends the owners of capital, and does not even recognise the rights of the working class and their claims on society. It does not recognise that the working class is the producing class, a class which produces all goods and services within the socialised economy, a class which produces all value.

To break through this outlook, to break with what is holding back the organised workers’ movement, the challenge facing the TUC and the working class is to assert their own programme based on resisting the assault on their rights and on organising to defend the rights of all, to defend the claims of all human beings on society for health, education, a livelihood, and everything a modern socialised society is capable of producing. As a crucial step, the organised workers must fight against the disequilibrium imposed by monopoly capital. Their dignity demands to fight against all attempts to blame them for the crisis, to call them a “cost of production”, to drive down their wages, to dictate to them – that is, the vast majority of society who are workers involved in production and services – that to save the economy, the claims of capital must take priority. The opposite is the case: to build a human-centred economy fulfilling the needs of the people, what is required is to rein in ever more progressively the claims of monopoly capital.

The May 2015 general election will be an arena of struggle for the working class. That is how the workers should view it. They cannot accept to be marginalised from political life. It is the workers themselves who have the solution to the political and economic problems, not just of the day, but to the deep-seated crisis which even in its “recovery” phase brings no benefit to the working class and people. They must take up for solution ending the state arrangements that cause so much destruction and wrecking to the national economy and to the social programmes such as health, education, retirement pensions and so on.

The trade unions have been facing the effects of this crisis of the capitalist system. They have been responding with the aspirations not only to defend their members, but to defend the interests of all workers in society. All members of society have the demand that a right to livelihood be guaranteed. The organised workers’ movement has to be forward-looking. In fighting for the public good, for the well-being of society, the working class can and must take the lead, organise so as to unite as one, being conscious that the future of a human-centred, caring society is at stake.

Because of the destruction of the national economy, its manufacturing base, and the refusal of the powers-that-be to recognise not just the rights of the workers, but the rights of all, the TUC on behalf of the trade union movement has really no option if it is to do its duty but to set its programme on the basis that there is a necessity for a new direction for the economy and for the whole of society. This is as true in the fight for the right to health care and education, for instance, as it is for the fight for a self-reliant, non-parasitic, human-centred national economy.

If the workers themselves are determined to sort out what is what, they will see that they have the ability and power to turn the situation around and move forward to a society where they themselves set the agenda and empower the people to be the decision-makers. The fight is on in the here-and-now to oppose the dictate of Westminster and the demands of the owners of monopoly capital. Every fight is necessary to put a spanner in the works of the juggernaut of “austerity” and the neo-liberal programme.

Everything cannot and must not be subordinate to the profit-making motive, which disregards the well-being of the people and the role of the working class, and destroys the economy. Instead, the working class must inscribe on its banner the defence of the rights of all, and set its sights on dictating that the society must serve its members, not be geared to cut-backs, privatisation and paying the rich. The organised workers’ movement has the power to rise to the occasion, to participate in the 2015 election to defeat the austerity agenda, to elect candidates who stand for the alternative, and to open a path to the independent programme of the working class.

For a New Direction for the Economy!
Build the Workers’ Opposition!
All Out to Defend the Rights of All!

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