Gaza, inflation, Assange … Where are the trade unions?

While crime after crime is committed against the people, those who should be organising the resistance are doing nothing.

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Free speech an illusion

As we come together for International Workers’ Day 2024, Julian Assange is suffering his twelfth year of persecution by the British legal system for the ‘crime’ of enabling important truths to enter the public domain.

British workers have the power to end this travesty and to have Julian freed, but the trade union movement has not even tried to mobilise them to do so.

It has become clear since Nato launched its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine that the European powers are dependent on US military power to protect their position as privileged looters of the world, and Julian’s case has underlined how closely our rulers identify themselves with US interests.

British politicians and judges have bent over backwards to subvert their own laws and processes in order to persecute Mr Assange, who has committed no crime and is being subjected to a slow-motion judicial lynching for purely political reasons.

Even the National Union of Journalists has failed to organise in defence of free speech and journalism. It seems that NUJ members in the corporate media prefer being paid to amplify ruling-class lies than standing up to protect the integrity of their profession. Prefer helping to produce propaganda aimed at fooling the people and protecting the warmongers to telling the truth.

The Assange case has also revealed that ‘free speech’ in Britain is an illusion – a right that exists only so long as anyone whose information might expose the status quo has no ability to reach a wide audience.

Genocide in Gaza

Another crime that British politicians and media are helping to facilitate as we gather this May Day is the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The people there are enduring the eighth month of a brutal all-out assault that is clearly aimed at wiping out everything necessary to sustain life.

And this latest horrific escalation is not the beginning of the story: this is the 76th year in which people have been systematically murdered and dispossessed for the ‘crime’ of being Palestinians in Palestine.

British workers have the power to stop this crime too. Our government and media are up to their necks in blood from the Gaza genocide, but they couldn’t continue if workers refused to let them.

It is workers who make and move munitions for Israel, workers who put Israeli goods and warmongering media on supermarket shelves, workers who write, print and broadcast the lies our rulers tell to justify and normalise their support for these terrible crimes.

Inflation out of control

And then there is the crime that no worker in Britain can avoid confronting: what is euphemistically referred to as the ‘cost of living’ crisis. This May 2024, just as last month and the month before that, workers in Britain will find themselves a bit poorer and a bit less able to cope.

The results of this are well known: we have a horrendous housing crisis, with huge numbers of people sofa surfing, bunked up with relatives, or paying exorbitant rents to live in overcrowded, damp and dilapidated conditions.

Child hunger and fuel poverty are at record highs. One quarter of Britain’s children now live in poverty, with millions going to school hungry and returning to a cold house.

The trade unions are once again missing in action. A mass campaign demanding urgent measures to address the crisis could and should be organised.

Most of the families sinking into poverty have at least one and often two working parents. Many others are unable to find work through no fault of their own. Why are workers paying the price of the failures of the capitalist system, when they did nothing to create the problems? On the contrary: ours is the class whose labour creates all new wealth in the world!

These crimes against the people all stem from the same ultimate cause: the capitalist system of production and its global expansion into the imperialist system of economic looting and military domination.

Every war is aimed at bolstering this system of capitalist-imperialist wealth extraction and control, in which the monopoly hedge fund financiers of Wall Street and the City of London hoover up wealth while the masses of humanity work harder only to become ever poorer and more desperate.

A new world is being born

But it is a universal law of history that oppression breeds resistance. You can only keep the masses down for so long before their indignation explodes into action.

Around the world, things are changing. People are fighting back, and a new world is in the process of being born.

From the Donbass to Palestine, from Niger to Yemen, from Cuba to Korea, people are struggling for liberation and the right to peaceful development and prosperity. And the more they work together, the more they are winning – and exposing the weakness of the imperialist bloc in the process.

Despite throwing everything they had at Russia, Nato has achieved nothing through its European war except the death of a million Ukrainians and the strengthening of the anti-imperialist bloc. Yet western politicians repeatedly refer to their criminal wiping out of a generation of Ukrainians as a ‘good investment’.

Across west Africa, popular governments are forcing an end to French and US domination, taking back control of their economies after centuries of colonial looting.

In the middle east, the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and the Yemeni resistance in the Red Sea have shown that the west-backed settler-colony of Israel has no way to continue to exist as a supremacist regime, despite having the full support of the entire imperialist camp.

Change is coming and another world is not only possible but necessary.

Workers in Britain must organise themselves to be part of that change, and to make sure it comes sooner rather than later. Every day that imperialism continues to exist is a day when people die unnecessarily from war and from poverty. It is another day when the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

Workers have nothing to gain from helping this state of affairs to continue and everything to gain from its end. We need to join our struggle for a decent life at home with the freedom struggle of the oppressed abroad into a mighty torrent that will end the bloodstained era of capitalist-imperialist superexploitation for good.

Capitalism isn’t working.
Fight for socialism!