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The case for socialism (2013 version)

Socialist Party books and pamphlets

The case for socialism (2013 version)

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For councillors who fight cuts

Labour councils across the country are graphically demonstrating the pro-capitalist character of Labour.

They have all implemented the government's austerity policies. Faced with cuts in local authority grants from central government the response of every single Labour council has been to express sorrow about having to carry out cuts, but then to carry on regardless cutting jobs and services and taking the poorest to court because they cannot pay their council tax or rent as a result of the benefit cuts.

We do not accept that councils have 'no choice' but to destroy the lives of the people they represent.

Labour councillors, and unfortunately some trade union leaders, are spreading the myth that it would be impossible for any council to refuse to carry out cuts, and would result in the government immediately sending in officials to run the council, but this simply isn't the case.

Many councils have reserves and prudential borrowing powers that mean they could initially set a no-cuts budget that would satisfy the government's 'legal requirements'.

But in any case the legal powers the government has to act against councils which defy it are less today than they were in the 1980s, when 20 Labour councils set out on the road which they are all refusing to consider today.

Yet the cuts are far more brutal than under Thatcher, and will result in the virtual annihilation of many local authorities.

Even in the 1980s it was only Liverpool and Lambeth councils which took the struggle through to its conclusion.

Liverpool, however, despite being left isolated by the Labour leadership, was able to win 30 million from the government.

Liverpool city council was backed to the hilt by workers in Merseyside, with regional public sector general strikes organised in its support.

Any council which took the 'Liverpool road' today would be enormously popular. By contrast, all those councils which are implementing cuts will be hated for doing so.

In the May 2014 council elections TUSC will be campaigning for as many anti-cuts candidates to stand under its banner as possible, in order to provide an alternative to the axe-men and women, whether in the town halls or in Westminster.

This is vital preparation for the development of a mass party of the working class, which is likely to come into being beyond the general election.

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