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Proletarian issue 24 (June 2008)
The truth about Labour: war crimes, pay cuts and privatisation
This speech was delivered from the Bectu conference floor by the delegate moving the Labour disaffiliation motion. No further debate was allowed.
Labour in government is getting away with what the Tories couldn’t. If Thatcher was still in government and making these cuts, we would all be out on the streets!

The Labour government has committed horrendous war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has removed civil liberties, enacting draconian, fascistic ‘anti-terror’ legislation.

The Labour government is trying to push the burden of the economic crisis onto working people.

We are witnessing the privatisation by stealth of all our public services, from the BBC to the post office, our schools, universities, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals, and the not-so-stealthy privatisation of our social housing.

We’ve seen round after round of attacks on public-service provision, as well as on the pay, pensions and conditions of public-sector workers.

Just when unemployment and mortgage repossessions are escalating, Labour wants to introduce a ‘contract’ that will give councils the power to evict unemployed council tenants.

Two things are stopping us from fighting effectively against these attacks. First is the Labour affiliation of the trade unions. Second is the plethora of anti-worker legislation.

Labour affiliation stops the unions from freely fighting back against cuts imposed by a Labour government.

Fear of anti-worker legislation stops unions from fighting effectively when they do try to take a stand.

The law stops spontaneous action by workers; it stops solidarity action; and it puts in place lengthy procedures that sap the resolve of workers, making them feel impotent and helpless.

Combine those morale-sapping procedures with a Labour government that the unions insist is ‘the best workers can get’, and people end up feeling utterly demoralised and helpless.

But we do have the power to stop attacks on pay, pensions, conditions and public services.

If we are prepared to defy unjust laws, we can make them unworkable, just as we did with the unjust poll tax.

Recently, 2 million French workers took to the streets to defy the government’s proposed anti-worker plans. Their unions didn’t send them all home to wait or the ballot forms! They won – and they weren’t all taken to court for taking illegal action!

These are not academic questions: if we don’t start fighting in earnest soon, we will all find ourselves very much worse off.

When we wake up to a world where we’re paying medical bills for every doctor and hospital visit ...

When we’re paying school fees on top of the university fees already demanded ...

When the BBC and the Post Office have been dismantled ...

When joblessness also means homelessness ...

When the wars abroad continue to escalate ...

... and Labour has presided over it all ...

Then we might find it’s a bit late to finally acknowledge that Labour is as much a party of big business as the Tories.

One of the earlier speakers said that “Nothing is forever.” Well that includes the Labour link.

I move that we disaffiliate and start the fight-back today!





Dirty tricks at Bectu conference over anti-Labour motion

[Link back to article]

Read the original motion text (scroll down to AP15).

http://www.bectu.org.uk/about/conf/conf0112.html#ap
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