Above Photo: From the protest demo in London on November 5. via Socialist Worker.
The ongoing cost of living crisis marked by soaring inflation and the political crisis with back-to-back resignations of Tory prime ministers have left Britain reeling.
On Saturday, November 5, over 15,000 people marched in London to protest the policies of the Tory government that have failed to tackle the soaring cost of living crisis and its attack on working class sections and social movements. The protest demonstration was called by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, trade unions, including the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), National Education Union (NEU), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unite the Union, Trade Union Congress, and ASLEF, and groups such as Stand Up To Racism, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and Keep Our NHS Public. Political parties including the Communist Party of Britain (CPB), Young Communist League (YCL-Britain), and MPs from the Labour Party also participated in the protest. The people marched under the banner #BritainIsBroken and expressed solidarity with the ongoing workers’ strikes across the country. They also demanded that the Tory government resign and call for parliamentary elections.
Countries across Europe, including the UK, have plunged into crisis and chaos due to an acute energy shortage triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war as well as profiteering by multinational oil distributors. Prices of food and fuel continue to soar across the country, making it extremely difficult for working class sections and low income families to make ends meet. Additionally, the continuing political crisis with back-to-back resignations of Tory prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have resulted in misrule and failed policies.
Workers under the leadership of unions like RMT and CWU are continuing to strike across the country, protesting austerity and layoffs. However, the incumbent Rishi Sunak-led government has been indifferent to the workers’ demands and carries on with war mongering and attacks on refugees entering the country.
Prior to the mobilization on November 5, People’s Assembly Against Austerity had demanded cuts to the profits of energy companies instead of cuts to workers’ wages to combat the cost of living crisis. The group called for taxing the wealthy in order to fund social care and social security and end ‘fuel poverty’. It also called for the nationalization of rail, mail and water, lowering of energy prices, scrapping anti-union laws, measures to mitigate the housing crisis, and an end to outsourcing and privatization of the National Health Service (NHS) and other public services.
While addressing the mobilization, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said, “Today, thousands have mobilized on the streets to fight back against 12 years of cuts, division and destruction. We have wasted too much time already delaying transformative change. We cannot afford to waste any more.”
On November 6, Roger McKenzie, the international editor of MorningStar, told Peoples Dispatch, “There are some commentators who are saying that the cost of living crisis in the UK is taking place because something has gone wrong. This is simply untrue. The fact that while people are struggling to put bread on the table, heat their homes and actually keep a roof over their heads, the energy companies are making record profits tells you all you need to know.”
“It’s not an accident! The system is rigged in favor of the rich so they can continue to exploit the working class. The system is working exactly how it is supposed to work. The working class in the UK have said enough is enough and are striking for more pay and for job security!” he added.