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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2020

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

Mitie strikers at Sellafield with copies of the Socialist, 7.6.19, photo Robert Charlsworth

Mitie strikers at Sellafield with copies of the Socialist, 7.6.19, photo Robert Charlsworth   (Click to enlarge)

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party general secretary

The coronavirus crisis has led to the upheaval of every aspect of society. After it, nothing will remain the same.

It has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class - including NHS, transport, retail, and refuse workers - who are essential to keeping society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to try and cope with the crisis. The number of hospital beds, for example, has more than halved over recent decades.

And as the economy plunges downwards, by a predicted unprecedented 15% in one quarter, it is primarily the working class that is paying the price, with almost half a million being forced to claim Universal Credit in one week alone.

Desperate to prevent a mass revolt against the developing economic catastrophe the Tory government, along with capitalist governments worldwide, has been forced to intervene into the economy on a huge scale. It has ripped up its 'austerity is necessary' mantra, carrying out policies that just weeks ago were denounced as socialist.

The Tories, of course, do not carry out such policies in the interests of the working-class majority, but in order to prop up capitalism - a system driven by making profits for a few, not meeting the needs of all.

Without doubt, in the aftermath of the corona crisis, the Tories and the capitalist class will try to make the working class pay for it, setting out to claw back what has been given.

After a decade of being made to pay for capitalism's last crisis, and in the midst of an ongoing economic crisis that looks set to be worse than the one before, the working class will ferociously resist such an assault.

The ideas of socialism began to be repopularised over the last decade. In the period after corona there will be opportunities to win mass support for a fundamental socialist transformation of society.

Socialist programme

The Socialist Party's coronavirus Workers' Charter in a window in Leeds, photo Iain Dalton

The Socialist Party's coronavirus Workers' Charter in a window in Leeds, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist has consistently put forward the need for such a transformation: arguing for the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers' control and management in order to begin to develop a rational socialist plan of production - as the only means to harness all the science and technique created by capitalism to meet the needs of all and protect the planet.

Throughout our history, first as the Militant newspaper and since as the Socialist, our paper - and our party, the Socialist Party - has linked the struggle for socialism to the day to day battles of the working class to defend and improve its living conditions.

We have played an important role in countless struggles, including leading the mighty 18 million-strong movement against the poll tax thirty years ago which successfully defeated the tax and forced the 'Iron Lady' Maggie Thatcher out of office. The class battles on the agenda in the coming years, however, are set to dwarf all that we've experienced before, and will provide greater opportunities to put the case for socialism.

We therefore urgently appeal to all of our readers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal in order to make sure we come out of the lockdown ready for the stormy events ahead. Inevitably, the lockdown is preventing many of our normal means of selling the Socialist and raising funds.

Please give all you can to help compensate for those difficulties and to enable us to continue producing the Socialist throughout the lockdown.

This is vital not only for what is going to come after the lockdown, but also for the battles taking place during it. Tory ministers may be breaking the habits of a lifetime and praising workers, but - despite their claims to the contrary - they are not acting in the 'national' interest. There is not one single national interest but different class interests. Ultimately the Tories are acting for the capitalist class.

It is vital that the working class has an independent voice to defend its own class interests, just as much in times of crisis as at other times. Unfortunately, the majority of the leaders of the trade union and labour movement have made concessions to the pressure of the capitalist class to unite behind the government.

In contrast, on the ground a number of unions have reported increased membership, as workers look for a means to defend themselves during the crisis. They can find that in the Socialist by reading our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', which sums up a programme to effectively combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.

A workers' paper

You can also read countless reports of trade unionists - Socialist Party members and others - that are in the frontline in their workplace, leading fights to prevent layoffs, to increase pay or staffing levels, or for better health and safety measures. And, of course, you can read about the battles within the trade union movement to demand that the union leaders nationally take the same fighting approach.

The corona crisis is not only a health crisis; it has triggered a profound crisis of the capitalist system. It has also demonstrated the central role of the working class in running society.

Armed with a socialist programme they are also the force capable of ending this sick capitalist system and building a new democratic socialist society that puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.

The Socialist has a vital role to play - please donate to help us do so.

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Thank you!

Unite Lancashire Community NW/11500 branch has donated 100. Branch secretary and treasurer Jim Leigh said: "We hope this will go a little way in helping the Socialist newspaper navigate through this crisis."

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 1 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

NHS workers speak out: austerity has left us unprepared

Schools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

Councils must use resources now for emergency response

NHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

Scandalous conditions in food distribution centre

Coronavirus news in brief


World War Two

All in this together? The 'Blitz spirit' myth


What we think

PPE, tests, full pay - for all now

Labour must resist 'Covid coalition': Workers need their own voice and party

Emergency legislation: Trade unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests


Food supply and the coronavirus crisis

Capitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative


Workplace news

Key workers should make bold demands

Essential workers deserve more

Working in Mike Ashley's empire: After lockdown we won't forget how we've been treated

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

Working from home during the pandemic

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

Refuse collection workers strike


Benefits

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders


Campaigns

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

Building the Socialist Party


Readers' opinion

Going viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis


 

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