Across the world governments of all shades are being forced by the crisis of capitalism to pursue policies of austerity and attacks on the working class.
In Britain this has taken the form of real terms cuts to pay and welfare support; an increase in precarious employment and cuts to public services. Economic stagnation is set to last decades and, under the current plans, by the time the austerity programme has been carried out Britain will be spending as small a percentage of its GDP on public services as it was in 1938. Living standards for ordinary people in Britain have not fallen this fast since the 1860s.
Meanwhile this year’s Sunday Times Rich List noted the largest annual increase in the concentration of wealth by the richest people in Britain that has ever been seen. MPs are now claiming more in expenses than they were at the time of the expenses scandal in 2011 and are now set to give themselves an 11% pay rise. They say there is no money to fund disability allowance, child benefit and the NHS, but they find money to go to war in the Middle East.
As a result, on Monday 13th October NHS workers will be going on strike, on Tuesday 14th October local government workers and FE staff will be going on strike, and on Wednesday 15th October Civil Service workers will go on strike. Finally, on Saturday 18th October the TUC has called a day of action with demonstrations in London and Glasgow with the slogan “Britain needs a pay rise”.
This student union resolves to offer practical support and solidarity to the upcoming strike action and demonstrations. It resolves to encourage students not to cross picket lines and to join the workers on the picket lines themselves. It further resolves to encourage students to attend the TUC demonstrations and resolves to contact the local trades council to coordinate coach or other travel to London/Glasgow for students and workers.
Finally, this student union resolves to continue to work with trade unions and the labour movement to ensure that these strikes and demonstrations are part of a broader strategy to escalate the class struggle, with the next step being to call for a general strike in Britain. Austerity is all that capitalism has to offer and it is the role of the organisations of students and the working class to fight for a socialist system that guarantees us a future.
-Passed unanimously by the MSF