“After a decade of slash and burn austerity, and a pandemic which saw in excess of 150,000 deaths alongside a massive transfer of incomes from the poorest to the wealthiest, we’re now seeing colossal attacks on working people.”
By Sam Browse
On Saturday 10th December, activists, politicians, and trade unionists from across our movement will come together for the Arise Conference, ‘Solidarity, Struggle Socialism’. As the Government reels from crisis to crisis, the event could not be timelier.
After a decade of slash and burn austerity, and a pandemic which saw in excess of 150,000 deaths alongside a massive transfer of incomes from the poorest to the wealthiest, we’re now seeing colossal attacks on working people as the cost of living soars and the Tories propose “eye watering” Austerity 2.0.
Instead of addressing the real causes of the crises engulfing the UK – profiteering, declining wages and conditions, under-investment, and our exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices – the government is turning the clock back on climate policy, lifting the ban on fracking and increasing oil exploration in the North Sea, all while it pursues a hard right foreign policy agenda, ramping up military spending and the nuclear stockpile.
To push through this anti-worker, anti-climate agenda, they’re seeking to divide us with a “war on woke” that scapegoats migrants, disabled people, LGBTQ+ people, trade unionists, Black Lives Matter and climate activists, alongside attacking our right to protest and the right to take industrial action to safeguard pay and conditions.
The left must come together to oppose this onslaught. At Arise Festival, we are happy to have worked with Labour Briefing, Momentum, Save Our Socialists, Tribune, CLPD, No Holding Back, the Morning Star, Labour for a Green New Deal, Labour CND, Labour Women Leading and many others – and vital campaigns such as the People’s Assembly, Stand Up to Racism and Stop the War.
December’s conference is a chance to continue that work and make the case for the socialist solutions to the crises, such as controls on prices; public ownership of energy, water, transport, broadband, mail, the NHS, social care; homes for all with a mass council house building programme; a real industrial strategy and Green New Deal to create decent jobs, ending austerity for good by investing in our future, and much more.
While the Government are in crisis, we cannot wait for an election to fall into our laps. Over summer, we saw the fightback begin with a wave of strike action to defend pay and conditions. It’s time to build on that momentum, bringing our campaigns together to demand, as one, the socialist solutions so desperately needed.
- The “Solidarity – Struggle – Socialism” Conference takes place at Conway Hall 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL on December 10th. A range of speakers from our movement including John McDonnell MP; Sarah Woolley, BFAWU General Secretary; Richard Burgon MP; Mick Whelan, ASLEF GS; Nadia Whittome MP; Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts; and many more. Register and find out more here.
- You can follow Arise Festival on Facebook and twitter, and see what events they have coming up here; as well as listen to the Arise Festival podcast on Spotify.
- This article originally appeared in Labour Briefing (Co-operative) magazine and is reproduced with permission. Subscribe by sending a £20 cheque with your address to ‘Labour Briefing Co-op, PO Box 78639, London N16 1LA.