by Ken Ferguson • Both Trump and May rode to power on a tide of resentment from millions of working people cast aside by a tiny elite of bankers and speculators who made billions while jobs and communities were trashed.
The ground for this resentment was laid by New Labour and the US Democrats desertion of working people unleashing a tsunami of speculation leading to the 2008 crash followed by years of cuts and austerity.
Here in the UK, the assault on working class people was launched by Thatcher whose central aim was to break union resistance and turn the economy away from one of industrial production to a city based speculators casino.
That’s what lay at the heart of the epic confrontation with miners which saw the power of the state and courts unleashed in a war on the NUM and the introduction of the most severe anti union laws in Europe
Alongside the privatisation of key industries such as electricity, telecoms and railways the Tories, ably assisted my their media allies, undermined any idea of solidarity extolling the cult of individualism in which money trumped all.
However the real tragedy was that in response to this, Labour, instead of standing with working people, adopted the neoliberal ideology wholesale spawning the Tory-lite New Labour which placed the needs of speculators as top priority.
But the boasts about having created a new prosperity through pampering the city bankers turned to ashes as the entire edifice fell apart in the 2008 crash.
Billions were poured into the coffers of the greedy bankers while millions suffered and continue to suffer austerity’s diet of cuts, sackings, insecure jobs, low pay and creaking health and council services. In reality the bankers got the cream and the majority picked up the (massive) tab.
This desertion of millions of working people and communities on both sides of the atlantic has allowed the odious racist Trump and hard right Tory May to pose as friends of working people while slashing services and imposing austerity. In Europe their victories have boosted racists and fascists such as Le Pen.
In the dire politics we now confront with its heady mix of racism, anti-union attacks, insecure work, low pay and climate change denial protest is essential to, for example, halt Trump’s state visit but beyond demos, action is vital to meet the challenges facing Scotland’s working class.
As the Voice has long argued urgent action on the real issues facing Scotland’s working class majority needs to be fought for now to win gains, defeat austerity and offer a credible alternative to the populism which in reality menaces us all.
Some of these key demands include:
• £10-an-hour minimum wage rate for all now
• End austerity and cuts in jobs and services
• Scrap anti union laws
• Public ownership of rail and buses to curb the profiteers and put passengers first
• A massive programme of council home building for rent. Housing needs to be for use not for profit.
But alongside these key battles, we also believe that winning an independent Scottish republic would greatly strengthen the fight for a just and sustainable future for working people.
However if a second referendum is to be held and won then it will need to be based on a bold vision of change and justice, not simply the narrow pro-business issue of the EU and its single market.
Fighting for change on urgent everyday issues and making the radical case for independence in a Scottish socialist republic are two sides of the same coin and both are urgent as our part in a wider movement by which the Trumps, Mays and Le Pens can be defeated.