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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2010

Reject these brutal cuts

Build for a national trade union-led demo

Workers and their families marched to Trafalgar Square on the trade union backed Save the Welfare State and Public Services demo, called by the National Pensioners Convention , photo Paul Mattsson

Workers and their families marched to Trafalgar Square on the trade union backed Save the Welfare State and Public Services demo, called by the National Pensioners Convention , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

'There is no alternative to pain'. This is the deafening drumbeat of the capitalist politicians and media. David Cameron claims he has no choice but to take "tough" decisions and to carry out cuts that will "affect our whole way of life for years to come." It is the 'markets' - a few handfuls of unelected bond market traders interested only in their own mega-profits - that are demanding these vicious cuts which will ruin the lives of millions.

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party, deputy general secretary

The Socialist Party does not accept TINA - 'there is no alternative' to public sector cuts. Nor will millions of working class people. Over the coming months and years this government will face mass opposition to its plans to drive down the living standards of the majority.

Nick Clegg claims that this will not be a return to Thatcherism, when in fact it will be even worse. Clegg's comparison with Canada in the early 1990s says it all. In Canada the 'bloodbath budget', which the ConDems here are holding up as a model, led to public spending being cut by 20%. Thousands of nurses were sacked and hospitals closed. Hospital waiting lists soared, while infection rates went up as a result of hospital overcrowding. In education average class sizes shot up from 25 to 35. And after all that pain, Canada's deficit today is a new record high!

Whatever the example - whether it be Ireland or Greece today, or Canada fifteen years ago - it is clear that the coalition government sees the only road to a smaller public sector deficit being via the destruction of living conditions, jobs, pensions and public services of millions of people.

The government hopes that some form of farcical 'consultation' with the public will make the cuts more palatable - but it will be a 'no choice' consultation - like asking which leg you want to have amputated.

And this government is not alone. While New Labour argue for a slight delay in starting the cuts, Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown made clear before the election that they would also support cuts "deeper and tougher" than those carried out under Thatcher.

Internationally, the G20 finance ministers have responded to the sovereign debt crisis by issuing a communiqué calling for acceleration in the rate of deficit reductions, ie cuts.

But cuts are not inevitable. Just as Thatcher and her hated poll tax (where everyone had to pay a flat rate of tax - regardless of income) were defeated by a 18 million-strong mass movement, this Tory government can be forced to retreat by mass struggle.

As in Greece and Spain, many workers in Britain will refuse to accept that they should be the ones to pay for the crisis, even if they do not yet have a clear idea of what the alternative to the cuts is. So an essential role of socialists is to answer the lie that 'there is no alternative' to cuts, and explain what that alternative is, as is outlined in the editorial of The Socialist this week.

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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.

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In The Socialist 9 June 2010:

Reject these brutal cuts

National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference unite the fightback!

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Why public sector cuts are not inevitable

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