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Much done – but far more to do

Nurses picketing The Christie Hospital, Manchester in January during their pay fight. Photo Workers.

Workers have made remarkable progress in the past year in asserting the interests of the class. Yet we need to do more – defeating anti-union laws, and moving from action on pay to fighting for the future of industries and services.

This means saying no to the plunder of skilled workers from countries that desperately need them – and asserting the need for independence.

It means saying no to backsliding into the orbit of the EU. And no, too, to foreign wars, intervention, and – crucially – NATO membership.

Workers who look elsewhere for protection do so at their peril. There is always a high price to pay for surrendering responsibility. Do we not believe that people in Britain are capable of progress? Those who say we are not have lost belief in themselves and their class.

It is the British ruling class which must look abroad in the face of the strength of the working class at home – to the EU with its devotion to the capitalist freedoms across borders and above all to the USA, which preaches democracy yet denies it to people everywhere.

And there is great danger too in supporting interference in other countries. Aggression abroad by our ruling class will come back to create oppression here. It’s as necessary to resist calls for foreign adventures as it is to take action for our industries and services. 

The pretext is always that one group or another needs protection or that the rulers somewhere are becoming too aggressive. The reality is that such wars are fought for military and economic domination, against any country that dares to challenge capitalist domination – or just appears to.

And now with terrorism carried out by Hamas in the name of Palestine and brutish retaliation by the Israeli government – the British government trails shamefully behind the US in opposing a ceasefire. Weak and divided, it abstained in the UN Security Council vote. The newly resurfaced David Cameron says “too many” civilians have been killed – as if he has in mind an acceptable number of deaths.

People ask on seeing war and suffering, “What can I do?”. The answers as a working class are clear. Demand that Britain stays out of all these conflicts. Demand it spends money set aside for arms in those places (bringing more destruction) on rebuilding – and defending – Britain. And the toughest call is to demand withdrawal from NATO. That alliance does not serve Britain’s defence.

The best actions workers in Britain can take for themselves and for workers everywhere is deal with the abject failure of our ruling class, and run the country for our needs. Stop focusing on elsewhere. Stop foreign adventures and war. No to NATO. The fight for a future is at home.