Hundreds of thousands are striking and marching for better pay. The thorny question of a political voice for this struggle is also on thousands of minds. The victory of ex-Tory Douglas Carswell for Ukip in Clacton, and the narrow shave for Labour in Heywood, have set many workers’ thoughts racing.
But a brilliant by-election result in Ireland has shown the potential for political earthquakes when a bold anti-austerity programme is put. Socialist Party member Paul Murphy has been elected to the Irish parliament for the Anti-Austerity Alliance. This ‘shock’ result, a rejection of all the main parties, makes Paul the third Socialist Party TD (Irish MP)!
This follows victory for Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger, and the stunning election of Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant to Seattle city council in the United States . These victories were the political expression of mass battles: against water charges in Ireland, and for a $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle .
In Britain, who can strikers and marchers vote for to champion their fight against low pay? Who will break the pay freeze? Who will fight for a £10 an hour minimum wage, as demanded by the TUC? OneNationLabour has not committed to renationalisation of the NHS or the energy companies. Instead it promises more benefit cuts – claiming it will be “tougher than the Tories”, and only an £8 an hour minimum wage – in 2020!
Hear Robin Clapp, Socialist Party South West regional organiser argue why the unions should stop supporting Labour and form a new workers party.