National Sections of the L5I:

After Truss - now for the rest

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BREXIT HAS claimed its fourth prime minister in six years. Liz Truss promised “growth, growth, growth” — and the markets replied “no, no, no”. Her attempt to “get Brexit done” was done for within just 44 days. She bequeaths a bitter legacy of rising prices, bills, and interest rates.

The spectacular collapse of the government ought to be followed by a general election. But the brief experience of Truss Unchained has left the Tories facing electoral oblivion. That’s why, for the second time in a year, they are choosing the prime minister themselves.

The UK might have a prime minister chosen by a few hundred MPs as soon as Monday. By Friday we will know who has won the dubious privilege. In any case the programme will run as previously advertised by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The implosion of the Truss experiment has ushered in a new age of austerity. Both Labour and Conservative are united in the demand for “responsible government” that can take the “difficult decisions” to “restore confidence” of the markets. We know what that means: public spending cuts and pay restraint to protect the profits of the banks, the monopolies, and the speculators.

Hunt will announce the bankers’ budget on 31st October. The new government will be a weapon of class war in the hands of the banks and financiers against the working class. The TUC, trade unions, and wider working class movement must mobilise protests and walkouts on budget day to oppose the bosses’ offensive under the slogan: ‘we won’t pay for their crisis—Tories out!’

This government will be completely illegitimate. But defeating its anti-working class programme and forcing it from office will take mass resistance. We must not give the Tories any more breathing space to reorganise themselves. They have already been given too much by the stop-start tactics of one or two day strikes during the summer. We must not allow the need for an election to be used as an excuse to demobilise the action. Now is the time to press our advantage. The unions must sound the advance across every front of struggle. All-out indefinite strike action for every claim can paralyse the government and force an election.

Millions of workers would rightly vote Labour to kick out the Tories. But that would only be the start. What the markets did to Liz Truss’ government they will do in double quick time to a Labour government that stepped out of line. That’s why Keir Starmer has already put workers on notice that he is committed to Labour being “the party of sound money” – not money in workers’ pockets.

The cost of living crisis won’t be suspended during any election campaign — and neither should the struggle over pay, jobs and conditions. We must not give an inch in the fight against the profiteers who are lining their pockets while workers go without.

That means organising the rank and file in the unions to take control of their disputes, unionise the unorganised, and build councils of action in every town and city to unite the pay disputes with a campaign for pro-working class measures: controls on rents and prices, public ownership of the utilities and transport, a £15 an hour minimum wage, a four day week with no loss of pay, and confiscation of the billionaires’ fortunes to fund public services under workers’ control as part of a democratic plan of production.

This is the way to mobilise our class power to drive the Tories from office and put ourselves in the strongest position to force any future Labour government to break with the bosses.