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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2000

Take Over Rover

Don't Subsidise Big Business

TONY BLAIR has said he will "work night and day" to save Rover jobs. This is a turn around from last month when Labour said they were powerless to stop BMW selling the plant to asset-stripping venture capitalists Alchemy.

Now, the collapse of Alchemy's bid has seen New Labour left with more egg on its face than Anne Widdecombe. BMW, however, warn that the Phoenix bid has until 16 May to finalise a sale or the whole Rover operation will be shut completely.

Why Blair's dramatic change of heart? Is it because over 100,000 jobs are threatened or because 27 vulnerable Labour seats are close to Longbridge? Is it because Labour is experiencing an electoral meltdown after being discredited by its fiasco of handling the Rover crisis and other matters? Is it because Labour has been shaken by the massive anger that is building up against it because it has done nothing to improve the lives of millions of working-class people, despite its promises at the last election? Or is it because workers are threatening industrial action at Ford if sackings go ahead?

Of course it is all these things which New Labour are now worried about. But Blair and New Labour have made plenty of promises before which they haven't delivered. Remember their education and health pledges, which they later backtracked on? Remember their pledges to end poverty, which has actually widened under Labour?

After their electoral hammering New Labour can be forced to make concessions, particularly if workers get organised and take action against those capitalist firms threatening redundancies. This is the language of working-class action that Blair and his cronies will sit up and take notice of.

But even if they make concessions and give the cash assistance that Phoenix are hoping for - like the 100 million they recently gave to keep British mines open - that won't be the end of the matter. These concessions can only be temporary solutions unless workers' action goes further and forces the government to stop subsidising the bosses and nationalise the car industry and other firms threatening sackings, under workers' control and management.

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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.
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In The Socialist 5 May 2000:

Take Over Rover

Oppose Hague's Asylum Lies

May Day Protests

Teachers refuse to cross the performance pay threshold

Tackling the propaganda

Capitalist restoration and the struggles of the Russian workers


 

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Related links:

Rover:

triangleObituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

Labour:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary

Car industry:

triangleNationalise Ford to prevent closure

triangleUnions must fight and demand nationalisation to save thousands of car industry jobs

triangleCar workers strike at BMW in defence of pensions

BMW:

triangleBosses' pensions robbery

trianglePensions strikes continue at BMW

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