May Day Demonstration London 1st May 2015

Report by Laurence Humphries, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), Britain, 3.5.2015,

The annual May Day demonstration in London on 1st May always starts from the Marx Memorial Library which has a collection of books on Marxism. The March of 15,000-20,000 people always marches onto Trafalgar Square where there are speeches by trade union bureaucrats and others.

The March is always organised by the South East Region of the TUC. There were a number of political tendencies present as well as trade unionists representing the different trade unions in Britain. There were banners from the RMT Newham Trades Council Unison, PCS, the NUT and other trade unions. There were many other international banners from various political tendencies around the world, including the Iraqi Communist Party, the Worker Communist Party of Iran, Iranian Solidarity Committee, the Turkish Communist Party, and a number of Kurdish Groups marched as well. The Frontline Socialist Party of Sri Lanka had a banner with a number of young comrades.

There were a number of British leftist organisations who had stalls. The biggest and most numerous were the SWP and the Socialist Party. There were also various small groups from Socialist Appeal and the AWL, there were other sporadic small groups selling their papers including the Spartacists and several Anarchist organisations.

The Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) marched behind a banner of Josef Stalin and there were also a number of Turkish, Greek and other Stalinists. It is the only time that they march and show their colours.

We then marched from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar square with many slogans being shouted in several languages. There were many young comrades on the march especially from the south, including Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran Iraq and Pakistan.

Reformist Speakers

When we arrived at Trafalgar Square we met many workers in the PCS Trade Union who are on strike at the National Gallery. The first speaker was Paul Novack, Assistant General Secretary of the TUC. He stated that we are stronger in the global movement nationally and mentioned the heroic battle of the PCS workers at the National Gallery which is right next to Trafalgar Square.

The next speaker was Mary Turner, President of the GMB, who mentioned the closing of our maternity and A&E Units and the consequence for workers and their families. She mentioned the support of Ricky Tomlinson who was jailed as one of the Shrewsbury building workers.

Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union and a leftist, spoke about the May Day marches in Istanbul in Turkey. He hoped that the election would be the end of appalling attacks on public services. Interestingly none of the bureaucrats mentioned the Labour Party by name and insisted that politics was not be used in a Trade Union March. Wrack further said that these attacks will continue and austerity will be the policy of whoever is elected on the 7th May. He reminded everyone that working people are paying the price for this crisis with the rich getting richer. The housing crisis has meant that housing has become the playground of the super-rich. He said as a Socialist he believed in a truly democratic society and the necessity to organise the fight back.

Candy Unwin, the suspended shop steward from the National Gallery, said that PCS workers at the National Gallery had been 23 days on strike. The gallery management was trying to privatise services and make it only for the super-rich. We need a wider audience, she said. All the management want is events for bankers or corporate sponsors. This privatisation hopefully will be got rid of next week. She said her members had voted to escalate the strike. We want an end to austerity. She said we are not going to have an anti-austerity government.

A speaker from Kurdistan spoke about the role of Kurdish fighters against what she called the ISIS gangsters and she saluted the victory at Kobane. What we want, she said, was a Revolution. On the 7th June there is to be a general election in Turkey and she wanted a victory for the HDP, the Democratic Party in Turkey, and to remove the AKP government in Turkey.

Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, talked about the attacks on his members in the London Underground where they are planning to shut ticket offices and get rid of our staff in Network Rail. We need a national strike throughout the country. He said that he had lived under a Labour government and they hit working people very hard. We should strive for a new Workers Party.

Mark Serwokta, General Secretary of PCS, another Leftist called for a vote against austerity. He claimed whoever wins this election we are going to have a fight for a welfare state. We need solidarity with the unemployed and the disabled. We need a decent welfare state to end the benefits sanctions. He said the trade union movement has failed to stop austerity. We need to take strike action against the public sector as well as the private sector. He saluted the strikers at Bromley, Barnet and Barking. We must stand up against privatisation. He saluted his members at the National gallery and said the result of the general election should stop privatisation or we would escalate the strike. He said there would be a 30th May Demonstration in support of Candy Unwin, the sacked PCS Steward at the National Gallery, and the other PCS members who are on Strike. He finished by saying that we need to win these disputes against austerity.

Hot Air Speeches

Most of these bureaucrats who spoke exhibit a lot of hot air and nothing else. Both Serwokta and Wrack have been involved in public sector strikes over pensions, pay and conditions. Both these leftists have called off strike action and caved into government demands. The role of the trade union bureaucracy as always is to capitulate in front of capitalism. They are always looking to have crumbs from the masters table. Their history is littered with betrayals and cowardice. Both left and right bureaucrats are part of the capitalist state and are always ready to blame workers when the situation does not improve. Serwokta is typical of the bureaucracy who blames workers for not fighting against austerity.

The RCIT has pointed out time and time again that the crisis of leadership in Britain is the main question. Serwokta in his speech denounced benefit sanctions but does not think that he has responsibility in this matter. Many poor and unemployed claimants have sanctions issued against them by members of Serwokta’s Union the PCS in the Department of Work and Pensions. If he feels that sanctions by the government are wrong he should persuade his members not to operate the sanctions regime. To date he has done nothing .This speaks volumes about the character of the trade union bureaucracy in Britain today.

The RCIT Britain calls all revolutionaries in this country to join us in the struggle to build a revolutionary workers party as part of the new world party of socialist revolution which will be the Fifth Workers International!

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About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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