We attended the TUC’s Future That Works rally in London at the weekend, to stand with those that oppose the Tories’ relentless austerity measures, and to take a few photos of what went on. Hampered by injuries and fatigue, we maybe weren’t pumped into our usual revolutionary fervor, but I couldn’t help but notice it wasn’t just us that seemed subdued. There can be no doubt that the turnout was good (estimates range from 100,000 to 250,000 participants), there was a lot of good drumming, placards and chants – but that’s where it seemed to end. It’s not that the mood was defeatist, it was more that the methods were conservative and the aims watered-down. While there were many calls for a General Strike amongst protesters on the street, there was little in the way of direct action, anger or real dissent. I’ve noticed that TUC rallies tend to me more populist and ‘middle-of-the-road’ than Occupy and UK Uncut et al, maybe necessarily so, but the real revolutionary contingent seemed missing this time around. What with Ed “One Nation Tory” Milliband speaking at the rally, with what basically amounted to a watered-down version of the Condem’s view on cutting the deficit, and a march that seemed more like a procession – it did appear that the movement had lost a little momentum, and was beginning to settle for ‘the lesser of two evils’.
This seems particularly strange in the current climate, as austerity begins to bite across the globe, with riots, general strikes and murmurs of revolutionary ideas beginning to appear in Greece and other European countries, my initial thought was maybe there just isn’t an appetite for that sort of conflict here in the UK.
But, on doing some reading when I got home, about what went on running up to the march on the 20th of October, it seems that the TUC were complicit in making the march as passive as possible. Read The TUC collaborate with the Met to sew up October 20 for more info on this. Further commentary on how the TUC handed the Met a list of 150 “violent activists” – from Libcom.org
If the trade unions are pushing to get Labour re-elected, and want to improve their image with the powers that be in order to do so, then this sort of conformity is to be expected, and their ‘Future that Works’ amounts to nothing more than ‘we’ll shut up for a promise of slightly less austerity’.
Another good post from Libcom.org, on the ‘state of the movement’ seems to confirm my suspicions that the right wing of the left was laying down the rules of engagement on the 20th of October. Read it here.