The next step: using our full collective force to stop them! & “Because of women, life, freedom!”

 The next step: using our full collective force to stop them!

Train drivers were out on strike at the time of writing.  PM Truss and Co and the dozens of journalists hanging on to every ministerial word on the final day of the party conference couldn’t ignore this: their trains back to London weren’t running.  But they certainly didn’t want to mention it, nor discuss the reasons why workers across the whole economy are taking industrial action over their pay and conditions!

    Politicians truly live on another planet. Whether from the Truss Party or the Labour Party…  now posing as the “real party of business and fiscal responsibility”.  Its ratings may be a record 38 points above the Tories (aka ex-party of fiscal responsibility, business, etc., etc.,), but they’re not racing ahead because of enthusiasm for Starmer and Co., but because Truss and her malignant growth coalition are so bad.  Especially after Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng crashed the pound and sparked the Bank of England’s new Quantitative Easing spree to try to rescue pensions; not to mention its latest interest rate rise, which has thrown mortgages into crisis! 

    Nevertheless, after making one minor U-turn on her £43bn tax cuts, Truss got away with claiming that she “acted” to “help people get through winter” with her measures limiting the average household energy bill to £2,500 - “more than any other leader in the EU”!  That’s not true, of course. Even France’s Macron limited the rise in cost for households to 4% and then semi-nationalised the energy company, EDF.

    Anyway, for Truss to mention the EU isn’t wise.  Her sacred economy’s negative growth of 4% is down to leaving it!  So “grow, grow, grow”, Truss has a lot to make up for!

    To do so, there’s every indication that she won’t increase Universal Credit in line with inflation for the majority of claimants.  Home Secretary, Suella Braverman may be a caricature of far-right views (she said it was her "dream” to see a flight deporting migrants to Rwanda by Christmas!), but she’s now a mainstream politician, and calling for cuts to UC for all those who can go out and “get another job”!  Indeed, why not twist the knife in the wounds of the 41% on UC who’re working as many hours as they can, juggling kids and/or caring, and who need to resort to food banks?!  Then there are the cuts to public services to come...  800 jobs are already going in the Department of Work and Pensions…

    However, all these reactionary policies could be rendered harmless, if the working class used the full collective force of the current wave of strikes, to push back against the capitalists and their government.  The bosses are all holding out together against paying wages above inflation and revoking their cuts.  Yet railway workers, dockers, postal workers, BT engineers, teachers, civil servants, council workers, nurses, doctors - almost every category of worker - is either already taking strike action or preparing to do so.  Of course using the “full collective force” of the working class means organising it.  That’s the next step.

 “Because of women, life, freedom!”

For three weeks now, Iranians have been on the streets braving the repressive forces of the state to protest against the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini, at the hands of the notorious “morality police”.  They beat her around the head until she was comatose, for not wearing her hijab modestly enough; she later died in hospital.  The protests are the biggest in many years.

    In fact women have risked jail and death in the fight for their rights ever since they were turned into 2nd class citizens after the revolution in 1978-79 was hijacked by Islamic fundamentalists around Ayatollah Khomeini.  Today the fundamentalist regime is doubling down once more, under pressure from the US, following the re-imposition of sanctions under Trump.  But it is the population which pays the price for this, as the laws to keep everyone in his or her place – to keep social peace – are tightened.

    Iranian young people do not seem deterred this time, by the brutality of “supreme leader” Khamenei’s shock troops.  Young women have danced in the streets and burnt their hijabs!  And the protests are growing, despite the estimated 80 protesters who have been killed so far and the several thousands who have been arrested.

    One of those put in prison is Shervin Hajipour, whose song “Baraye” has become the anthem of the protest, with young schoolgirls singing it in their teachers’ faces, ripping off their head scarves and running out of their classrooms shouting “death to the dictator”.  The demonstrators sing it together on the streets.  “Baraye” means “for… because of...” and the lyrics are taken from internet posts which say why people are protesting: for women, life, freedom; for the overthrow of the regime!  The working class here in Britain can take inspiration from them!