Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Against the UK Tory Party.

"Even more important in this period for showing that the State is not invincible were the two national miners' strikes of 1972 and 1974, the latter helping to bring down the Heath government. The Tories never forgot this resistance, and in the years of opposition that followed developed plans for taking on the working-class and its official organisations. For example, Nicholas Ridley, later a minister under Thatcher, was drawing up such a plan (to build up coal stocks and then provoke a strike) to crush the miners in 1978. Thatcher and Keith Joseph set up the Centre for Policy Studies, one of a number of think-tanks which laid the intellectual groundwork for an end to the mixed economy and in particular the installation of a "free market" in labour. This could only be achieved by making it as difficult as possible for workers to organise and act collectively, and in a series of acts this aim was pursued by such means as outlawing so-called secondary picketing and solidarity strikes. Yet another legal ploy was sequestration, the seizure of a union's assets, which was a key tactic used to attack the miners during the strike of 1984-85. This strike especially faced outright class war, and in the brutal alliance of Government, courts, police and the media against the miners was the conclusive answer to any fantasies that the State is a neutral arbitrator in the "national interest", or that the class struggle is an outmoded concept."

"Parallel to these policies of attacking working-class organisation (leaving aside the great limitations of unions, as the key point here is the Tory fear of them ) were others which tried to make workers more individualistic and consciously identified with capitalist social and economic organisation. One major way was by the selling-off of council homes to their tenants. Later came the privatisation of State-owned companies (oil and telecommunications being among the earliest ones) and freer movement of finance capital. For all that these measures might be sold as building a "property-owning democracy", the reality was that share ownership remained very much in the hands of the rich and of institutions, and homelessness grew."

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