Saturday, 4 April 2009

occupations for jobs, schools and housing

Workers occupy at Ford Visteon after being told their jobs are slashed (with no redundancy pay). Parents in Glasgow occupy in order to keep open two primary schools threatened with closure. Defend Council Housing activists occupy a flat in Lambeth, in protest at the council's policy of selling off council housing.

If you thought the occupation tactic came to an end with the end of term - and the culmination of the inspiring series of student occupations for Gaza - then think again. We have clearly turned a corner - increasingly there's a willingness to take militant direct action, whether it's in defence of council housing, schools, jobs or the victims of Israeli aggression. It is a sign of the times.

It is also significant that we've witnessed the demonstrations at G20 in the last week. The Put People First demo gave us a glimpse of the unions' strength, the potential for a serious response to the economic crisis. We need to go much further - with the kind of industrial resistance seen in France and Greece - but it was, however tentatively, the beginnings of the idea that we can build a movement around the crisis.

The protests midweek indicated the start of a resurgence for anti-capitalism, a mood that was also in evidence on the march last Saturday. But this time around there's the prospect of anti-capitalist ideas and mobilisations appealing to a much wider audience than we had around Genoa in 2001, due to the widespread disgust at the bankers and the impact of recession.

So, we live in interesting, unpredictable times. We can't know exactly how things will turn out, but there are things we can do now: build a militant anti-capitalist movement, raise solidarity with every group taking direct action to protect jobs and services, and start shaping a mass movement - in the unions and beyond - resisting the return of mass unemployment. This last task - a modern-day National Unemployed Workers' Movement or Right to Work Campaign? - may be the most challenging. But it's also possibly the most urgent and necessary.


  1. Good post. Link to these sites -

  2. People Not Profit! Enjoyed this post. I have been at the occupied schools today - and will be there tomorrow. Please post messages of support on their websites (see Plot Tracer's comment).