Socialist Party books and pamphlets

A Strategy To Defeat The Cuts

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Step up the community campaigns - organise, demonstrate, occupy!

Most campaigns to save local services rightly start with petitions and meetings. To win, however, usually requires further action.

There have already been local examples of community campaigns succeeding, such as hospital campaigners in Redbridge London who by demonstrating and campaigning have forced the local trust to back off - at least for now - from closing their local A+E.

Or the parents in Kirklees, Yorkshire, who stopped their children's school becoming an academy by organising a petition but also by threatening to stand for the council and to picket the school if it became an Academy.

Across Europe all kinds of bold and innovative methods are being adopted by the anti-cuts movement. In Greece over a million people have refused to pay the motorway tolls; just getting out of their cars to push the barriers aside.

In Britain, students have used occupations as an important strand in the struggle against fees and in Manchester swimming pool users are already threatening to occupy their local pool to prevent it closing.

Many similar campaigns will develop.

A mighty struggle

Rent strikes will also be on the cards as housing benefit is cut and social housing rents increase. A mighty struggle to defend the NHS is required.

A movement of benefit claimants is urgently needed, as the vicious cuts literally drive those worst effected to despair.

All of these movements and more are essential and inevitable, but to maximise their effectiveness they need to be linked to building a mass movement against the cuts in general, and in particular to the enormous potential power of the organised working class in the trade unions. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, has said that "the days of protests being solely about unions going on strike are over" and has welcomed "peaceful civil disobedience".

We agree, but only if community campaigns and civil disobedience are an addition to, rather than a replacement for, strike action.

When community campaigns and workers unite together, they can win big victories. One local example of that is in Renfrewshire, Scotland where 60 teaching jobs were to be cut.

Over 1,000 local people demonstrated against the cuts and, given confidence by the size of the demo, 96% of teachers voted for strike action.

The cuts were immediately withdrawn!

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