Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Alternative People's Meeting posted by Richard SeymourIt's one thing to have seen this crisis coming, and to have understood roughly why it was happening. Now that it's upon us, with the full horror emerging day by day, with headline after headline announcing massive job cuts, stagnant or falling wages, the threat of deflation, closures - its overwhelming and exhausting and terrifying just keeping up. Every day, it seems, somewhere else has officially slid into recession, and unemployment numbers rise. And there's always some jerk calling for huge public spending cuts - the Tory press is filled with this nonsense which, aside from being hateful and destructive for those depending on public service provision, is an unbelievably stupid idea when we actually need an economic stimulus, not to deflate the economy further. I don't even think British capital is up for massive spending cuts at this point. So, it becomes essential that we do something, build a movement to press our needs and demands, register dissent and create new alliances. This is the sort of thing we need to get us off the ground:
One important feature of meetings like this, which will be happening up and down the country, is that an argument is taking hold among union leaders - and it is sure to be filtering down to substantial layers of the rank and file - that we can't resist job cuts and pay freezes and closures precisely because the economy is in such a parlous state. This is nonsense, yet it has arguably contributed to a number of recent betrayals by union leaders who have reneged on strike pledges. Obviously, there is a great deal of pressure on the bureaucracy from the Labour leadership, with the usual combination of small carrots and big sticks. So we need to get together to hammer out our ideas, think through what we want to achieve, disseminate those ideas and give people the confidence to resist. That confidence is what will make the difference between lean years, and years of successful struggles. Anyway, if you're in London, you might want to come along.