The government is pursuing a one-sided war against working people – Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union

“We have to hold an alternative vision; for a world where the where the wealth of the world is used for all humanity not merely to serve the profit needs of a tiny few.”

By Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary

This afternoon we have heard of the breadth of the struggles facing our class; the struggle of workers for wages; struggles to defend our public services; struggles against the cost of living crisis; and the struggle to defend our right.

We have lived through an appalling two years of pandemic. Covid has exposed the huge class inequalities in our society here and across the globe. The handling of the pandemic has been a crime against the working class and the poor. More than five million have died worldwide and more than 176,000 here, while billionaires and big business have seen their profits soar or their interests proposed up by taxpayers.

In the Fire Brigades Union we have been campaigning, along with others, for almost five years to expose another atrocity – the Grenfell Tower disaster. In that case, we have also seen the role of governments – including Labour governments – to privatise and de-regulate so as to allow corporations to boost their profits at the expense of public safety.

We have heard of the threats to Boris Johnson. He may not last long. But if he goes he will be replaced by another Tory, equally ruthless in pursuing their interests. Because what we have is class government pursuing an almost one-sided class war against working people.

So we need to respond as a class – in all our difference and diversity – but united nonetheless. We need to respond in all these struggles others have spoken about.

Regrettably, we cannot ignore the weaknesses on our own side. Millions of workers look to and vote for the Labour Party, the party created largely by trade unions. But in Parliament we do not see the opposition needed. Instead we see a war, not on the Tories, but on ordinary Labour Party members. There is an unprecedented witch-hunt in an attempt to destroy the left so as to make the Labour Party entirely safe for the system. We need to unite to challenge that also.

Finally, I want to say a few words about the alternative we offer while building our struggles together. We have to hold an alternative vision; for a world where the where the wealth of the world is used for all humanity not merely to serve the profit needs of a tiny few.

We need to set out a challenge to the rule of profit and of the billionaire class. We need to offer hope and a future for all. Yes we need a Green Transition but to achieve that will require a Red Transition, putting resources in the hands of the majority. That’s the case for a different, democratic, rational and socialist future.


  • Matt Wrack is the General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). This article is an adapted version of a speech given at the Arise Festival #JohnsonOut rally on January 29th. You can watch it in full here.
  • You can follow Matt Wrack on twitter here, and the FBU on Facebook and twitter.
Matt Wrack FBU Gen Sec photo credit: Mark Thomas/ Fire Brigades Union

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