Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Tony Benn and 73 others: 'The time to organise resistance is now'

The Guardian's Comment is Free has just published this:

'It is time to organise a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government's budget intentions. They plan the most savage spending cuts since the 1930s, which will wreck the lives of millions by devastating our jobs, pay, pensions, NHS, education, transport, postal and other services.

The government claims the cuts are unavoidable because the welfare state has been too generous. This is nonsense. Ordinary people are being forced to pay for the bankers' profligacy.

The £11bn welfare cuts, rise in VAT to 20%, and 25% reductions across government departments target the most vulnerable – disabled people, single parents, those on housing benefit, black and other ethnic minority communities, students, migrant workers, LGBT people and pensioners.

Women are expected to bear 75% of the burden. The poorest will be hit six times harder than the richest. Internal Treasury documents estimate 1.3 million job losses in public and private sectors.

We reject this malicious vandalism and resolve to campaign for a radical alternative, with the level of determination shown by trade unionists and social movements in Greece and other European countries.

This government of millionaires says "we're all in it together" and "there is no alternative". But, for the wealthy, corporation tax is being cut, the bank levy is a pittance, and top salaries and bonuses have already been restored to pre-crash levels.

An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear "deterrent" by cancelling the Trident replacement.

An alternative strategy could use these resources to: support welfare; develop homes, schools, and hospitals; and foster a green approach to public spending – investing in renewable energy and public transport, thereby creating a million jobs.

We commit ourselves to:

Oppose cuts and privatisation in our workplaces, community and welfare services.

• Fight rising unemployment and support organisations of unemployed people.

• Develop and support an alternative programme for economic and social recovery.

• Oppose all proposals to "solve" the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating.

• Liaise closely with similar opposition movements in other countries.

Organise information, meetings, conferences, marches and demonstrations.

• Support the development of a national co-ordinating coalition of resistance.

We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm), at Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.'

Signatories include: Tony Benn, Caroline Lucas MP, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bob Crow (general secretary, RMT), Mark Serwotka (general secretary, PCS), Jeremy Dear (general secretary, NUJ), Mark Steel, Salma Yaqoob (Respect councillor), Ken Loach, Lindsey German (convenor, Stop the War), John Pilger, Kevin Courtney (deputy general secretary, NUT), Paul Mackney (former general secretary, NATFHE), Iain Banks, Lee Jasper, Clare Solomon (President, ULU), Nick Broomfield.

See the Facebook group and website, both launched today.

See HERE for video recordings of speeches by Tony Benn, Caroline Lucas and others at May's Can't Pay Won't Pay rally.

See HERE for my ideas about strategy for defeating the cuts.


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