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Communist Bulletin

Communist Bulletin

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Published by Chris Strafford
Special May Day bulletin printed by Manchester Communist Students
Special May Day bulletin printed by Manchester Communist Students

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Published by: Chris Strafford on Jul 26, 2010
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Communist Bulletin
A May Day publication by Manchester Communist Students free/donation
Capi tali sm i s on lie  suppor t  - Le t s pull  the plu g
Join Communist Students at www.communiststudents.org.uk
Whatever the make-up of the new government, all of the parties are committed to deep cuts in publicspending. Schools, Colleges and Universities are just some of the institutions being targeted for cuts,with both Labour and Conservatives hinting at raising top-up fees so they can further withdraw state fundsfrom education. The future for students, workers and youth looks bleak unless we move into action inunity with the rest of the working class against the austerity measures. Only Marxism has the strategy for victory writes Chris Strafford.
The crisis is not the fault of some greedy bankers like thepoliticians and opportunist left would have you believe, theproblem lies in capitalism itself. The entire capitalist systemis in crisis and it is not just some cyclical crisis that the pro-capitalist apologists want us to believe, this is a crisis of thesystem itself and as the continuing debt crisis in the euro-zone shows, we are not out of it by a long shot. Capitalism asa system is historically in decline as the contradictions withincapitalism are increasingly solved by short-term measureswhich are in fact increasingly counter-productive and trans-formative of the system itself. Capitalism is sick and decay-ing, it is like a person life support. The law of value is beingreplaced by organised forms such as monopoly, nationalised
and regulated entities, increasing bureaucratisation and the domination of capital by nance capital, which is inher 
-ently parasitic.The solutions on offer from most of the Left are just radical sound-ing versions of social democracy. They usually pose get richquick schemes and short-term opportunism instead of a long termapproach to win the working class to the programme of social-ist revolution. Communists however pose a completely differentapproach and a completely different society. Whilst the struggle
against the coming austerity measures will be the dening politi
-cal battle of the period we will not to fall-in behind some left wingtalking trade union bureaucrat but argue that we need to organisethe working class into a combat party of the working class. Such
a party would ght in workplaces, campuses, communities and
industries and that decisions on action such as strikes are decided by mass-meetings which would smash the
anti-trade union laws. The workers movement will have to ght to take these struggles beyond the barricades of bureaucrats, careerist ofcials, the judiciary, the repressive state forces and ultimately capitalism itself.The left needs to take unity seriously. We have to ght for unity around the programme of Marxism, not warmed-upLabourism that has failed us so many times and led us from defeat to defeat. Look back at the last fteen yearsyou will nd the rotting corpses of left unity projects destroyed by sectarianism, opportunism and an inability to
forge a credible programme for revolutionary struggle. The dead ends that so much of the left is intent on goingdown again and again will get us nowhere. The struggles we are facing, the disintegration of capitalism, ecologi-cal disaster, creeping authoritarianism and imperialist slaughter all point to one solution. A long term approach toimplant socialist ideas and organisation into every workplace, every campus, every community and every struggle.
For working class power and socialist revolution! 
As we go to press, MMU UNISON are holding a ballot of their members to take industrial action. If theresult is as expected then we could see a series of strikes from as early as May 13th, this is in responseto the announcement of 127 job cuts at the university. Keir O’Gorman looks at the issues.
Much can be made of Vice Chancellor John Brooks’ £250,000 annual salary, the 7% increase in his pay packetlast year, the increase in the number of highly paid managers, the development of new sites, the £1.3 millionbudget surplus for the year 2009-10 and how the cuts were announced before Alistair Darling’s 2010 budget.
However, as communists we should not be brought into
the trap of blaming ‘greedy bosses’. Alongside essential
demands such as the democratisation of universities,
elected and recallable ofcers on a skilled workers’
wage and mass meetings to hold responsibility for deci-
sions, we must also point out that it is Mr Brooks’ roleto manage one rung on the ladder of capitalism. Duringthe latest of capitalism’s inherent crisis, the economy
dictates that the working class must pay, if the currentmanager fails in their task then another, more compe-tent member of the petit-bourgeoisie would be found todo the job for them.Historically it can be seen that the working class cannot
win a struggle conned to the union framework, recentvictories at Ford-Visteon and the Lindsey Oil Renery
were achieved by workers operating outside of their 
trade unions and spreading the struggle, indeed union ofcials played a reactionary role in both disputes. Like
wise the CWU union, ‘sold out’ their members, during the national postal dispute this year.Despite the declaration of the intended redundancies in November, it is 5 months later that we are seeing the
possibility of strike action, due to Tory (now Labour) anti-union laws, this has served to replace the initial anger evident amongst workers with demoralisaiton.
UNISON is the Labour party’s second largest donor and does not wish to cause disruption which could see Gor 
don Brown forced out of ofce and the loss of their political inuence. At recent demonstrations called by workersat ManMet, regional full timers ordered that only ofcial union reps were allowed to wield a megaphone and theywere instructed to conscate those brought by trouble makers.
There has also been a shocking lack of co-operation between trade unions at the neighboring universities where
cuts are also taking place. Nevertheless, management will see this as an opportunity to do away with a number of union militants at MMU, they have repeatedly been refused rooms in which to hold public meeting and havebeen told that their number of part time reps will be reduced from 3 to 1. Management’s aggressive tactics and
the bullying culture they employ in the workplace appear to be paying off as a number of workers have already
taken the opportunity to jump ship by accepting ‘voluntary’ redundancies.The Students’ Union, occupied by Labour, Liberal and Tory hacks has been expectedly passive. Despite RobBoardman, president of the Union and a card carrying Labour member commenting that although as a member of a trade union he has his ‘sympathies’, he has failed to come out in support of strike action.The new academic year will see a fresh set of independent greens occupy the union executive and I think it willbe important for socialists at MMU to pressure them into radical action.
See http://tiny.cc/eq8co for more info.Get active and get involved - Join Manchester for Jobs and Education campaign group
Fight for every job at MMU
We need unity and action against the cuts now!
 You can get involved by emailing us at manchestercommuniststudents[at]googlemail.com
Ronan McNabb asks what avenues are open to the working class to defend themselves against these at-tacks and ultimately in the struggle to overthrow capitalism?
For the past two years we have been living with the reality of capitalist crisis with the biggest attacks on living
standards since the 1980’s through mass layoffs, attacks on pay and conditions, spiralling unemployment, cuts
in services and attacks on claimants. With no sign of the crisis easing and all parties vying to undertake a pro-gramme of cuts larger then that of the Thatcher government as soon as the formality of the general election isover. While this does indeed paint a bleak picture of the shape of things to come, it would be fatalistic to believe
that there is nothing that can be done to resist these attacks. In fact there have been inspiring, although limited
developments in the recent past that point in the opposite direction. There have been encouraging signs in the
series of strikes that occurred recently such as the Visteon factory occupation, the strike movements in the oilindustry that originated at the Lindsey oil renery and strikes at Royal Mail. During the course of these struggles
there have been obstacles and traps used by trade unions and the capitalist state to blunt their effectiveness and
keep them within the connes of legalism and the trade union framework.In the past six months, court injunctions have been used to stop strikes happening at First Bus, Network Railand British Airways (BA). The court decided that there were irregularities in the ballot procedure, stopping theBA strike at Christmas time. This effectively ends the possibility of legal strikes, especially considering that oneof the reasons for the court injunction on the strike on the railways was it would have a ‘negative’ impact on the
public interest. The increasing impossibility of legal strikes is interesting because these procedures for ballotingwere made compulsory by the Thatcher government to stop workers making the decision to strike in mass meet-ings, where solidarity is strongest and force workers to make the decision to strike as individuals like voting inparliamentary elections. Accompanying this were the laws that made the autonomous action of workers through
secondary picketing and solidarity strikes illegal. Now the ruling class is placing restrictions on ofcial trade
union actions due to an increasing reality that in order to stabilise the economy they might have to shut down thevery possibility of industrial action at all, thus reducing trade unions to the role of those in the old Stalinist andFascist regimes of ensuring labour productivity targets are met and more generally enforcing capitalist order on
the shop oor.
Trades unions from their inception were not revolutionary organisations, they were formed as defensive organi-zation of the working class that negotiated the terms and conditions for their members. However as moderncapitalism developed to the point we are at today, where monopolies and state capitalism (i.e. a tendency for the
increased role of the state in the management of capitalism) dominate the world economy. It is no longer the
case that individual companies compete with each other for dominance in the marketplace and where the statenow acts as a national capitalist and protector of the national economy. Where previously workers in one com-pany could withdraw their labour and outlast their boss, because his competitors would be a threat. This situationof free competition is over.Simultaneously there has been a trend to integrate trade unions into the structure of the capitalist economy,where they participate in national state planning through the industrial relations apparatus and other institutions.Thus adopting the role of managers of labour agreements, once signed their task is effectively that of policing
the workforce. Making sure that employers and more importantly workers live up to their ‘obligations’. Unionsprevent strikes, not cause them. By and large unions are successful in preventing the damaging and costly forms
of workers resistance such as strikes, but also go-slows and absenteeism. To summarise my basic argument is
that trade unions as legal, permanent, mass organizations wedded to the state, can’t support secondary actions,never mind initiate it and they can’t politicise struggles.The tasks for all militant workers and revolutionaries is to ght for a political perspective that says that workers
need to struggle outside and against the union machinery, in order to effectively defend themselves and developthe consciousness and organisation that will be necessary for the working class to overthrow capitalism. As well
as forging the struggle for a to a single unied communist organisation. It is also important that workers who
agree with this perspective organise in networks of militant workers, to defend the perspective that strugglesshould be controlled by workers through mass meetings and revocable strike committees and act as a militant
presence in the workplace to argue for the extension of struggles when they arise.
Can trade unions defend workers?
Our struggles must not be held back!
Want to discuss these issues? Go to www.communiststudents.org.uk

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