Red Youth and CPGB-ML members attended this years Durham Miners Gala and distributed 4,000 copies of our free sheet to trade unionists and workers. Our free sheet declared what is obvious to all but those who wear blinkers “British workers demand Brexit… TWICE!” Despite the desperate efforts of Labour party remoaners the workers at the gala were overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit, and it was great to be amongst and speak with so many comrades and friends who shared our sentiments on this question.
Speaking from the platform, many well-meaning but misled Labour voters were dismayed to hear Jeremy Corbyn insist that a ‘Tory’ no-deal Brexit must be opposed because it threatens jobs. Has the EU protected workers’ jobs for the last forty years they asked each other. Has it stopped capitalist enterprises shedding workers in the quest to maximise their profits? Was it standing in the way of the slow destrution and privatisation of the welfare state before the 2008 financial crisis hit? Has it in any way hindered the vicious austerity that has been cutting Britain’s remaining public services and public-sector jobs to the bone? The economic crisis that is decimating jobs is an inevitable feature of capitalism, and is affecting the entire capitalist global economy; it didn’t arrive on the scene because British workers voted to leave the European Union.
This year’s Durham Miner’s Gala saw thousands upon thousands of ordinary working class men and women descend on Durham to celebrate working class history and culture. It was clear from the overall mood of many who attended that sections (a minority but conspicuous by it’s presence) of the labour movement are finally beginning to wake up to the reality that cuts must be opposed no matter who tries to introduce them, that the working class needs to move to promote it’s own interests and not those of a small aristocracy of labour who continue to try their very best to link the interests of the working class with those of imperialism.
Despite the organisational stranglehold still asserted by Labour Party bosses over the event – there were plenty of examples of working class people who would have no truck with Labour or Tory arguments for cuts. The appearance of Ed Milliband on the stage was met with an apt banner, provided by one of our most militant and class conscious unions the RMT, the banner was pulled by a small aircraft across the sky. Circling the old racecourse it read “No ConDem cuts – No Labour cuts”.
Down on the racecourse itself others unveiled banners which exposed the hypocrisy of the likes of Miliband:
A major cause of disorganisation amongst workers has been the confusion spread by social democrats over the real nature of the capitalist crisis, which they present as a temporary blip to be sorted out by the next Labour government via ‘sensible’ cuts and some economic pump-priming. But nobody should doubt the scale of the crisis we are entering, or believe that it is just being ‘talked up’ by the Tories to scare us.
Behind the debt crisis that is undermining the US economy and tearing Europe apart lies a deep-seated overproduction crisis that has been brewing for over three decades. More commodities have been produced globally than can be sold at a profit on the market – not because the world’s needs have been met, but because people just cannot afford to buy them.
The problem is further aggravated when capitalists, desperate to beat the competition, slash wages and reduce the workforce, thereby further reducing the masses’ spending power and adding another twist to the spiralling crisis.
Break the link
The good news is that the same capitalist crisis is also chipping away at the material basis for opportunism, since the ruling class can no longer afford to spend so much on buying off its opponents. The time is ripe for the working class to move from cynical mistrust of the Labour traitors to a confident assault upon their stranglehold over organised labour.
While our unions are tied to the imperialist-affiliated Labour party, we will not be able even to fight the cuts, never mind organising to overthrow the whole rotten system that brings poverty and war in its train. This years Durham Miners Gala was the honourable exception to the usual TUC-inspired and controlled austerity protests. Protests that winge on about fighting the cuts but do everything in their power to ensure that working class people don’t lift a finger against the cause of the crisis and the leadership who protect the interests of the rich.There is one abiding slogan that should be embraced by every class-conscious worker as we enter the next stage of battle against the cuts: