Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Reflections of a TUC Marcher from Leeds

There is something a bit dismal about marches like one the TUC organised on Saturday. Hundreds of thousands turn out expecting not to be taken notice of. Their particular calls to save whatever service they most dread losing are but complaints to the wind. The TUC have hitched their wagon to the Labour party and it is headed along on the capitalist free-way. There must be some cuts, so who knows who will keep more of their share, and who will be ditched? How can solidarity survive? So the TUC demand is for 'jobs and growth'? The only way to create jobs in this way of thinking is to secure investment from capitalists and provide them with nice dividends. As if to make this more respectable the TUC are calling for 'a million green jobs'. Those who are excluded from this arrangement might wonder why they don’t call for full employment. Unions have always struck me as self-centred special interest societies, with career bureaucrats who cannot be entirely trusted. They do a lot of good in their way, but do not seem to aspire to provide any fresh thinking, or speak for the whole of society as any self-respecting organisation of 7 million should have the cojones to do. After the bank bail out and the credit boom, they should be trying to articulate some conclusions about the monopoly over money creation and the very selective availability of it for those who control it. There does seem to be unlimited availability of money for specific abstract functions but a scarcity for vital functions. The function of money as a means of exchange can therefore be challenged. By calling for full employment such a challenge is made. To borrow from Ann Pettifor, we can afford whatever we can do. Work is central to this argument, because it is the work that creates the wealth, not the wealth that creates the jobs. We simply have to identify the work that needs doing, and manage the demand in the economy to make sure the jobs are created. That might mean reducing taxes, or increasing central government spending, or allow local government to borrow or even create currency. Who can deny that the benefits of full employment would be enormous? If the TUC wanted they could plan this, get the Labour Party to endorse it and then get it on the international agenda. It would be a start.


Anonymous said...

Yet more dreary "Fight the Cuts!" nonsense. Anarchists are supposed to believe THE STATE in all its manifestations, both local and national, is an authoritarian incubus sucking the life-blood from an otherwise healthy human society; an unnecessary and unwelcome imposition. Our role as anarchists is to at all times expose its sinister role and work to undermine and ultimately destroy it. Where aggression and confrontation seems inappropriate we can, at least, create independent alternatives in the long-term hope of undermining it. However, most so-called anarchists in Britain seem more interested in fighting to uphold the status quo, to defend state-employment and its hierarchical obedience to serving the interests of the elites.
It's time for a bit of independent-minded anarchist thinking. Even Lenin knew how to make an omelette ("first break the eggs", surely we realise that you can't destroy the State without making a rather considerable number of cuts?
My suggestion? "More Cuts Now!"
Christopher Draper

Anonymous said...

Surely, it must have occured to you Mr. Draper that while the cuts might diminish the role and scope of the state, it will not do away with it. As the post-war welfare state gets dismantled on a piecemeal basis, the major beneficiaries of Camerons 'Big Society' will be big business - not civil society - who will step in to provide many of the functions that hitherto were provided by the state and local government. I don`t think for a moment that Cameron has any intention of putting himself or his cronies out of a job even if they finish up as sincecurists. You make no mention of capitalism or the mutually beneficient symbiosis that exists between the two. Although there was very little welfare provision in Victorian or Edwardian England, the state still existed and it was not unknown for people to starve to death. As Kier Hardie said of Edwardian England: "It was paradise for 30,000 and hell for 30 million".