The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Britain:
Hundreds of Thousands Demonstrate

Apr 4, 2011

The British Trade Union Congress (TUC) organized a national demonstration in London against the government’s austerity attacks on Saturday, March 26th.

Between 250,000 and 400,000 people participated, an amount not seen in a union demonstration since 1985. People came from all over the country, in more than 600 buses, dozens of special trains and countless cars. Seen in the demonstration were numerous young people, as well as young workers and the unemployed, college students and groups of high school students. Many demonstrators carried their own signs, against the bankers and unemployment, against cuts in public services and social protections, and some signs protested the war in Libya.

The demonstration was more marked by the participants’ satisfaction, seeing how many were there, rather than real anger. But there was also an overwhelming sentiment that the government attacks had gone too far and it was time to go against those who caused the crisis.

Some union leaders speak of new actions, even “coordinated strikes,” but without any details. They speak of an “alternative,” without spelling out this means the Labor Party. That means the initiative for the necessary working class counter offense won’t come from them.

Nevertheless, the British workers have made their voices heard, said what they had to say and showed their forces. The day these demonstrators spent in the better off neighborhoods of London forced the journalists to change how they write their stories. Since the defeat of the miners in the 1980s, the working class has been pushed to the forgotten pages of history, in the name of a coming “society without classes,” by the journalists who serve the interests of the ruling class.

Let’s hope the success of this mobilization gives the workers confidence in their capacity to face collectively the attacks of the bourgeoisie, and to go beyond the political calculations of the union leaders.