"Philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point however is to change" - Karl Marx

This blog is my interpretation, I will do everything I can to change the world along those line

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Outrage at the council revelations

Originally written for the Socialism in RCT blog

SP member of the ponty anti-cuts demo
On March 17th an article appeared on the WalesOnline website explaining that far from being in huge debts Rhondda Cynon Taff council actually had a £2 million surplus. This is the same council who only weeks ago, threatened the entire workforce with dismissal unless the excepted worse pay and conditions, the council claimed they had no other choice but to do this in order to balance the budget and many workers have signed the new contracts through fear of loosing their jobs.

The fact that this Labour council has forced through these savage cuts to the pay and employment conditions of its 10,000 strong work force whilst maintaining a surplus of £2 million shows exactly how sincere the Labour Party is to opposing cut backs!

The revelation of this surplus highlights the betrayal of the Labour councillors, who shed crocodile tears over the cuts they voted for whilst all along leaving the council with an incredible surplus. In reality it just confirms what we already knew - Labour don't represent us anymore!

It is true that whilst there is a surplus currently of £2m but cuts in wages have 'saved' the council £5.6m leaving an obvious gap of £3.6m. This does not mean that cuts have to be made, rather on the contrary this presents a real alternative to fight and defeat the austerity measures driven by central government.

The council could use the current surplus as a temporary measure in order to avoid the cuts for now. This would make the council extremely popular amongst the workers and the community in general. (A far cry from the harsh reality of the feelings towards the council at the moment) The council could then use this popularity to build a mass campaign throughout the county to defend the council against any attack from the Assembly or Westminster and to demand the money necessary for all the jobs and services needed within the area.

If the council was willing to set a 'needs budget' - a budget based on the needs of the area, rather than based on the forced cuts budgets of central government, then they would easily gain mass support - and rightfully so from whole sections of working class people in the area. This is exactly what happened when the Liverpool council did this in the 1980s. If the council was to do this then the Socialist Party would through it full weight behind the councillors to defend them and the budget from attack.

Unfortunately, we feel that this scenario is extremely unlikely. We saw 13 years of a Labour government committed cuts and privatisation of public services and where they are still in power, in the Assembly and in councils they are willingly carrying out cuts today. In Cumbria the Labour councillors are even in a formal coalition with the tories! If that doesn't demonstrate whose side they are really on then nothing will. The Labour Party has shown itself to be a party fully committed to rolling back the welfare state.

This is why the Socialist Party will be standing in the Welsh Assembly elections and next years council elections as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, standing on a platform of opposition to ALL cuts and for a united fight back to defeat this government. If you are interested in getting involved with the election campaign in RCT then you can contact us here.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

RCT Socialist Party launches a blog

Earlier today Rhonndda Cynon Taf Socialist Party Launched a blog called Socialism in RCT. Below I reproduce the statement relased by RCT Socialist Party regarding the blog.


Why we have launched this blog

As the economic crisis continues for millions of ordinary people around the country and internationally, the rich get richer and ordinary working class people are made to pay the price shown by the obscene profits and bonuses paid to bankers and other corporations.

The media, government and all the major political parties are constantly telling us about Tina - There is no alternative.We are told that this was all unavoidable, that it was the international markets and governments who had no control over this. We are told that this could not have been predicted, but these are all the lies which are constantly fed to us..

None of this was inevitable, Karl Marx pointed out over 150 years ago the inherent contradictions of capitalism, the constant and unavoidable cycle of boom and bust. It was not just the capitalist markets which caused this either. The deregulation of the banking sector around the world by governments, in the case of Britain by the Thatcher government, and maintained by New Labour over their 13 years in office made it possible for the 'elastic' to be stretched further to create an ever growing credit bubble. As with an elastic band the more it is stretched the harder it will snap and this has all been made worse by the de-industrialisation of Britain, the loss of manufacturing jobs and the replacement by service sector jobs has meant the British economy is extremely dependant on the finance sector which has plunged us further into crisis.

When they tell us there is no alternative this is just a big con trick. Whilst £billions have been given to the banks in a bailout, huge bonuses have been paid out, huge profits have been made and ordinary people like us have been forced to pay the price with job cuts, wage cuts and freezes, cuts in pensions, higher tuition fees and cuts in pretty much all public services and benefits. On top of this council tax is set to rise as is the cost of living.

With high levels of unemployment there are nearly 1 million unemployed young people who are also having the door to higher education closed in their face.

We should not have to and we will not accept this. The banks should be fully nationalised and run democratically in a way where the profits can go into funding the NHS, education and other public services and not the other way around as the government is currently doing. We could scrap the war in Afghanistan, the replacement of the trident nuclear weapons systems and end the financial scam of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) which allows private companies to make huge amounts of money out of providing public services at a lower standard.

The government could also start collecting the £120 billion tax per year which is avoided or evaded by the rich every year but instead the government is proposing to cut staffing numbers in HM revenues & customs making it almost impossible to close the tax gap. These are public sector workers who actually bring in revenue which shows that this is definitely an ideological attack on the public sector are the services working class people rely on.

Many people both in Britain and around the world are beginning to wake up to this reality and have begun to fightback in various ways, be it the recent student demonstrations and university occupations in Britain, the mass demonstrations and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East or the mass movements developing in Wisconsin in the United States just to give a few examples. There are of course already some fantastic websites already covering these events which we fully support such as the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI - International organisation of which the Socialist Party is affiliated) website and of course both the Socialist Party and the Socialist Party Wales websites.

We are also facing attacks on our communities. The Labour led Rhondda Cynon Taf council recently sent out section 188 notices to its 10,000 strong workforce, which threatened them with the sack if they did not sign new contracts which would ensure that the workers loose on average between £2,000-4,000 per year! On top of this the council has proposed a rise in council tax by nearly 3%!

The Labour council say they have no choice because their budget has been cut, but they do have a choice. The council should refuse to implement the cuts and instead set a needs budget (a budget which meets the real needs of people in the area) and follow the heroic example set by the Liverpool council in the 1980s. They could do this by using the council reserves for now, whilst building a mass campaign amongst trade unionists, community campaigners, students and young people to support the council and demand the necessary funding from central government. This is exactly what they did in Liverpool and they won! If every Labour council in the country did this then it would bring this ConDem government crashing down.

There is a real choice for the council, they can either implement the tory cuts or the can stand by working class people and refuse to make us pay for the crisis. If they did this then RCT Socialist Party would give our full support to the council. Unfortunately we think that this is unlikely to happen so we should stand anti-cuts candidates at next years council elections.

Since its inception Socialist Party members have participated in and helped to build RCT Against the Cuts and bring along to it a strategy to defeat the cuts and we will continue to do so. There is a real need for a political alternative to workers and youth, who will people in RCT vote for when the Welsh Assembly elections come around this May? The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are attacking us from Westminster and the Labour Party is attacking us from the council chambers. Plaid Cymru are attempting to present themselves as an alternative but where they are in power they are making huge cuts themselves, such as in Cardiff council.

We need a real alternative and that is why RCT Socialist Party will be standing in the forthcoming Welsh Assembly elections in the South Wales Central regional list as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which is committed to opposing all cuts.

It is for all these reasons that we have made the decision to launch this blog. In order to comment and analyse events and to offer a strategy and tactics for the way forward for workers and youth in RCT. Look out for regular updates here. It doesn't stop there, we have also launched a facebook page RCT Socialists and you can follow us on twitter @RCTSocialists

Don't stop there join the Socialist Party and help us fight for our future.

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