The announcement that the minimum wage is set to rise to £4.85 next predictably had union leaders, desperate for a reason to stick with Labour, claiming that in the fight against poverty the Govemment really is making a difference. They are deluding themselves; the minimum wage is not about ending poverty, it is set so low it merely legaises poverty wages. Labour see a low wage economy, in which the working class remain powerless, as the essential ingredient of a 'successful' 'free market' economy. Labour's inspiration is not justice or equality, but the USA, where the minimum wage has been in force for years and has done nothing to prevent the growth in poverty and obscene inequalities.
In September 2012, TUC Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for co-ordinated national action, up to and including a general strike.
As the first step towards putting this motion into effect, a conference took place in Liverpool on 26th January organised by Merseyside Association of Trades Union Councils. Tellingly, the conference received no funding at all from the North-West TUC.
Members of our SolFed local attended, with the aim of engaging with rank-and-file trade unionists and arguing in favour of working-class self-organisation and direct action against austerity. We distributed a leaflet which read:
On the day some of us met up at Charing Cross station, in every corner you could see union branches and anti-cuts groups from up and down the country meeting up in the concourse.
We arrived at the Embankment to a sea of banner and as wemarched we met both people we knew from round London and people from all across the UK. We met Welsh comrades who'd come over night or on the 5am coach which made us feel pretty lazy.
May 1st was, of course, Mayday, International Workers’ Day, held in memory of the six anarchists executed after the Haymarket riot, a protest in Chicago way back in 1886 over the 8 hour working day. Despite it falling on a normal working day this year, both London SF branches called an anti-Workfare roving picket through central London, as well as attending an electricians’ picket and, least interestingly, the official, Trade Union Congress (TUC) march.
The electricians’ picket – called by the Sparks rank and file group – was in response to employers trying to block rank and file activists from even attending the ongoing negotiations over the JIB agreement. We braved the bleak, grey early morning for a couple of hours befire retreating to a
café for a break and a caffeine fix.
On Sunday 2nd October, members of Solidarity Federation were amongst those who descended on Manchester to demonstrate at the start of the Tory Party Conference. 30,000 people took part in the march, and there was an occupation of Albert Square which at the time of writing is still ongoing.
See Liverpool Solidarity Federation's pictures of the demo here.
South London Solidarity Federation interview following events on March 26, in Central London translated into Portuguese by Agência de Notícias Anarquistas, a Brazilian-based activist news portal.
[As autoridades detiveram mais de 200 pessoas na seqüência dos protestos do "26M" (26 de março) em Londres contra as medidas de austeridade apresentadas pelo governo. A manifestação contou com a presença de mais de 500 mil pessoas, num desfile pelas ruas da capital que culminou com um comício em Hyde Park. Peter Wright, da organização South London Solidarity Federation, participou da manifestação e nos fala a seguir sobre a situação dos detidos.]
On March 26th, London saw people assemble to protest and take direct action against the government. Most of the people there were marching quite simply because their jobs, their services, and their livelihoods are under attack. This included those of us in anarchist blocs, though we also argued for a much broader perspective and recognition that capitalism itself was the issue, not just the current "ConDem cuts."
Arriving in London, members of the Liverpool Solidarity Federation headed to Kennington Park. We met up with other SolFed members, as well as members of the Anarchist Federation and other class struggle anarchists to form the Radical Workers Bloc on the South London feeder march.
Crisis in care - Sam, Sheffield
I work as a support worker for a private company that provides social care for people in Sheffield for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. The company I work operates across the city. According to government officials, cuts to public spending will not harm front line services, workers, or service users. The reality of the situation is that working conditions are getting worse, day services are closing down, and those paying for the support services are being excluded from any of the decisions relating to care they supposedly direct and influence.
Northampton Solidarity Federation joined the small protest in Northampton town centre today against the budget cuts. The protest was centred on the uk uncut protest and focussed on the contradiction between cutting welfare and services on the one hand whilst allowing the rich, and large businesses to avoid, legally and illegally, billions in pounds of taxation.
This discrepancy lies at the very heart of our economic system and the politics which go with it. When push comes to shove we see that all works for the benefit of the rich and the workers pay the cost. Welfare is cut: are tax avoiders chased, are tax loopholes closed? Bankers crash the economy with their greed for bonuses, are they chased down and held to account? Of course not: that's not how the capitalist system work:, run by the rich for the rich.