Our action programme for revolution in Britain
1. What we stand for
Revolution is an international socialist youth organisation. We are an organisation of young activists who are fed up with unemployment, war, poverty, cuts and capitalism.
We want to bring down Cameron and Clegg’s millionaire coalition and replace it with socialism.
The rich and powerful clique responsible for breaking up our public services, slashing benefits and leaving millions of us on the dole will not give up their wealth and property by being voted out. They are launching a class war to make youth and workers pay the cost of capitalism’s crisis.
We want to seize their assets and abolish class society with a socialist revolution. We know that the Capitalists won’t accept this, but will fight back using all their force. This is why we need a revolution. This is what we are fighting for.
2. We won’t pay for their crisis
Capitalism is a failing system. In 2007, this was suddenly exposed as an almighty crisis took place in financial markets across the world. Banks across Europe and the USA suddenly found that their immense wealth was based upon debts, which their clients could not pay back to them. In other words, the vast fortunes they supposedly owned didn’t actually exist in the real world.
The banks were deemed “too big to fail” and were bailed out to the tune of £trillions across the world. In Britain, heavily reliant on banking and finance, £1.3 trillion was spent bailing out the banks –between 70 and 100 per cent of the total wealth created by the whole of the country in a year.
Despite receiving these massive funds and in many cases although they were now owned by the government, they continued to pay their investors and top staff £billions in bonuses, whilst repossessing people’s homes and refusing ordinary people and small businesses credit.
As the economy seized up, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs, and unemployment rocketed. The reduction in tax income and the surge in benefits applications all added to the government’s already huge expenditure.
The capitalists and the super-rich across the world were quick to decide who should pay the cost of this great crisis. And the answer was everyone but themselves – the people able to afford it.
3. The millionaire coalition
So they rallied behind the party that would best represent them – the Conservative Party, the oldest party in British politics, born and bred on the playing fields of Eton, trained at the dinner parties of the elitist Bullingdon Club.
The millionaires made sure that the Tories had more than double what Labour had to spend for the general election of 2010, and more importantly, they made damn sure that the Tories made a decent attempt to dupe people with nice-sounding rhetoric about “big society”, “fairness” and “change”.
In reality they wanted to break up the welfare state with a package of cuts so severe they would take Britain back to the 1900s. They want to finish the job that Thatcher started, handing over state-run businesses to private companies, so that they could profit from essential industries.
But ordinary working class people, faced with the choice of fast cuts with the Tories or slower cuts with the Labour Party, who had bailed out the banks in the first place, still turned out in droves to weaken the Tory majority.
The Tories were forced to do a deal with their closest political friends, the Liberal Democrats, who would easily go back on all their election promises for a whiff of power in Whitehall. After all, although their party leader, Nick Clegg, was not a direct descendent of King William IV like Cameron, he was still a millionaire, and came from parents who owned a 20-room ski chalet in the French Alps.
Cameron and Clegg drew up a new manifesto together that would unleash hell on jobs, services and living standards. The Con-Dem coalition was born.
Job losses in the private sector since the crisis began – in financial services, retail and manufacturing – have caused the worst youth unemployment since records began. Over one million are now unable to find work. Among black youth, unemployment is over 50 per cent.
Condemned to leave school, college or university and face immediate unemployment, some analysts talk of the creation of a “lost generation” of young people – starting life with an empty CV that will be difficult to ever fill in a scramble for work.
Now the Con-Dems want to sack 500,000 public sector workers – estimated to cause a further 750,000 job losses when the impact hits the private sector.
This won’t “sort out” the economy – the truth is that these millionaires WANT unemployment to rise. That way they can pay workers less and make us fight each other for every job instead of fighting them.
1. Fight for every job, with strikes and occupations – no to all voluntary redundancies and position freezes, which are job cuts through attrition
2. The unemployed are not to blame! Benefits should be paid at the wage of your last job, or £9 per hour, whichever is higher
3. Cut our hours with no loss of pay, not our jobs – it makes no sense for some people to work 60 hour weeks, whilst others can’t find work
4. Tax the rich to fund a massive hospital, school and infrastructure improvement and building programme, providing the unemployed with decent jobs
5. Nationalise companies which try to close or lay off workers without giving compensation to greedy bosses. Run them under the democratic control of workers and communities
When the millionaire government came to power they decided to re-write history.
Britain’s national debt was huge – but this apparently had nothing to do with the £1.3 trillion bailout packages, or the historic global economic crisis that had taken place.
No, it was the “bloated public sector”, a legacy of the “mess left by Labour” who had spent too much money on “gold plated” public sector pensions and services that ordinary people rely on.
The Con-Dems have set themselves the task of destroying public services, reducing council spending by over 30 per cent, cutting pay and pensions across the board and privatising services that we rely on by selling any profitable parts to big business while starving the rest of cash.
1. No to every single cut, unite to defend every service, institution and industry
2. Demand Labour councillors vote against the cuts, campaign against the cuts and propose and set no-cuts budgets
3. Build a broad movement of youth, workers, pensioners and migrants – entire communities to fight the cuts
4. Build committees of action in each town and city to link up all people fighting the cuts in their area
5. Build a coalition of resistance that can link every local struggle into a national fight against the cuts
6. Stop privatisation. Nationalise all private public contractors without compensation
The Liberal Democrat election manifesto promised to make education free. The Tories said they would not cut Education Maintenance Allowance.
But when they got into power they decided to:
- Abolish EMA
- Raise the cap on university fees to £9,000
- Cut higher education funding by 50 per cent, and in the case of arts and humanities teaching grants, by 100 per cent
- Force comprehensive state schools into academies through loss of funding.
Above all they wanted to make university a training ground for business, and only for the rich. We must stop their plans with direct action, occupations and strikes.
Build an indefinite national education strike of students and workers together to fight for:
1. Free education for all, living grants, abolition of student debt for local and international students
2. No to all the cuts
3. Kick out fat cat managers – schools, colleges and universities to be controlled by students and workers Education institutions should not be run like capitalist enterprises, with bosses who earn hundreds of thousands of pounds
4. Nationalise city academies without compensation. No to “free schools” and religious schools – for education, not indoctrination
5. Build education assemblies in every town and city with delegates from every institution to coordinate and organise action and fight to generalize them into broad-based action committees
6. Organise an independent students’ union which campaigns within the NUS for the defence of education but also works independently, to fight with the NUS where possible, and fight without it where necessary
7. Knowledge accessible to all – open up the universities
8. Join with education unions in struggle and workers fighting against every cut
Trade Unions are very powerful bodies, as they represent the largest organisations of the working-class. Historically they have played a major role in the struggle against capitalism and its excesses.
In Britain today over 6 million workers are members of trade unions. Despite an enormous potential for action, however, trade unions are often restricted by both internal and external restraints.
The leaders of the trade unions are often paid hundreds of thousands of pounds per year. They have little in common with their members, and their massive salaries mean that they are cushioned from any attacks on their members. An army of appointed officials and a lack of genuine internal democracy bolsters their position and attempts to stifle dissent.
Key to the role of the union leaders is negotiating between rich bosses and poorly paid workers. But to follow this strategy through indefinitely, at a time of an almighty offensive by the bosses, often means desperate pleading for the tiniest crumbs at the expense of their members.
Complementing these leaders is a set of anti-union laws, which make political strikes and solidarity actions illegal. The courts and the police use these laws against striking workers, trying to limit the success of strikes and picket lines.
1. For the right to join a union, and for union recognition in every workplace
2. ‘One out, all out’ – delegate based cross-union strike committees in every workplace, town and city to serve as the basis for workers’ control over production.
3. Union leaders and officials to be paid the same as their members, and replaceable at any time.
4. Build a rank and file movement across our unions that can work with the leaders where possible, and without them where necessary
5. The unions need to go on a massive campaign amongst young people in the workplaces, the schools and the streets – to create a consciousness of the importance of being organized. This is necessary to revitalize the unions
6. The unions need to fight for unity between the unemployed and those who work. This means raising the slogan ‘The right to work – jobs for everyone’ and setting up union sub-organizations for the unemployed
7. Demand the unions fight for an increase of the minimum wage to that of the EU recognised living wage level of at least £9 an hour for all workers
8. General strike
The way to take down this government is for everyone suffering under it to strike together – literally. Tunisian workers demonstrated the power of the general strike, using the tactic to bring down the hated dictator Ben-Ali.
A general strike here in Britain could shut down the country, making it impossible both for the bosses to profit, and for the Con-Dems to rule. Union leaders are calling for ‘coordinated strikes’. This is a step forward, but not enough to bring down the government, and leaving control of the strikes in the hands of the union leaders would allow them to stop the strikes at any time.
1. Every union should bring forward ballots for strike action; strike now, and strike together!
2. ‘One out, all out! Strikes need to go beyond just coordinating. Cross-Union strike committees with representatives from all unions in dispute should be formed to stop our leaders selling us out
3. Link our demands – if unions strike together, they don’t go back to work until every union’s demands are met
4. We should build up towards an all-out, indefinite general strike, with unions, communities, youth, pensioners and the unemployed all on the streets together
9. Youth Oppression
Young people are particularly exploited under capitalism. We are often forced to do the most menial jobs for the lowest pay of anyone in the workplace. All too often we are the first to be laid off when a boss wants to increase their profits. Now millions of us are unemployed, the bosses try to make us work for free in return for a couple of nice-sounding sentences on our next CV.
When young people hang out in the streets or around shopping centres, we’re portrayed as ‘hoodies’ and ‘yobs.’ Dispersal Orders and ASBOs are used to break up groups of people and criminalise behaviour if we don’t buy enough to justify our presence.
1. Low pay, no way! Abolish age-segregated wages, benefits and end internships and ‘free labour’ schemes
2. No more dispersal orders or ASBOs. Fight for the right to free association
3. No to second-class citizenship; we want to be able to choose where we live and who with; what education we receive; and whether or not we want to work
4. We need a government program to create more youth centres, and free access to leisure, sports, and entertainment facilities. These centres and facilities should be run democratically by groups of workers and service users
5. No criminalisation of young people, no laws against consenting sex
6. No parental or religious restrictions on sex education in schools
Under the previous Labour government, racism was stoked by politicians and the media against Asians, Arabs and Muslims, to justify both the profit-driven ‘war on terror’, and the disastrous effects of privatisation for working-class people. Asylum seekers were to blame for lack of council housing, Muslims were responsible for violence. The bosses and the war-mongers were off the hook.
With the Con-Dem cuts expected to impoverish workers, throw millions on the scrapheap, and cause social havoc, the Tories will try to ensure that asylum seekers and ethnic minorities become the scapegoats for their crimes, fanning the flames of racism, bolstering the fascists of the BNP and EDL, and dividing the working-class against itself.
1. Unemployment is not caused by immigration! Citizenship for all. End border controls
2. No racist scapegoating by anyone, including the government, racists and fascist parties, the media or employers
3. Mass organised community self-defence against fascist attacks from the BNP and EDL. For an Anti-fascist Defence League to protect our streets and protests. For a workers’ united front to tackle racist lies in every community.
4. Fight against the government’s tactics of divide and conquer between ethnicities and nationalities
11. Sexism and homophobia
As Tories slash public spending on vital services and welfare, women in particular will feel the bite, taking two thirds of the cuts, being forced in to the caring role of looking after sick relatives, children etc. The Tories are determined to drive women back into the home and drive back the progress of women’s liberation. Cameron & co. want to strengthen the “nuclear family”, meaning LGBT communities will be vilified as ‘abnormal’ and ‘unproductive’.
They are cutting funding from important services, such as Haven, Rape Crisis centres and women’s’ refuges that help women victims of violence.
1. Free childcare for all, paid for by taxing the rich and bankers
2. For a woman’s right to choose – free, safe abortion at her discretion. Fight for an end to attacks on abortion rights and defend and extend free contraception to all
3. Equal pay for equal work
4. Massive investment in refuges and other women’s’ centres. If the government tries to cut them, occupy to ensure these vital services remain open
5. Organise against homophobic attacks
6. No discrimination based on sexuality – for the right to marry, to become ordained, take up any job, give blood, etc.
7. Education on what it means to be LGBT in schools, including in sex education
12. Imperialism, War and Capitalism
Over the past decade, Western countries have faced major problems extracting enough wealth from the rest of the world. They turned to the age-old remedy of invading poorer nations to take control of their economies. The Labour Party did this under the guise of the ‘War on Terror’.
This is the latest form of imperialism, a system where the highly-developed capitalist countries take charge of large sections of the world through economic, political, and military control. They then open up the conquered territories and allow their own multinationals and financial institutions to ruthlessly exploit those territories’ people to a much higher degree than they would be able to in their own countries.
With the current economic crisis making profits even less stable and new competitors such as China rising to challenge the traditional imperialist powerhouses, we can expect an upturn in wars of conquest across the globe.
REVOLUTION stands in solidarity with all peoples and groups fighting imperialism, and calls on British workers to defeat British imperialism.
1. Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan now! Close the bases. Freedom for Palestine
2. Victory to the resistance. We support the right of all people to fight back against all forms of modern imperialism, privatised globalised agendas and the state’s economic motives and call for a fighting unity of all forces
3. Use direct action and strikes to stop the war-machine! Not a penny or a person for imperialist wars
4. Soldiers should have the right to democratic organisation within the army, and should be able to refuse the orders of their officers
5. Soldiers should not have to serve a minimum of four years in the military
6. To defend all international revolutions, national liberation struggles and revolutionary situations and oppose imperialist intervention into them
13. Defend the Environment
Capitalism’s never-ending search for profits means that as a system it cannot end the destruction of the environment. Some bosses can make some money from going green (or appearing to), but many environmentally-disastrous industries and practices are too profitable to be abandoned by the system as a whole.
The BP oil spill in Mexico, the shutting down of Vestas (the only factory which produced wind turbines in Britain), and the failure of all major international climate conferences show that the capitalists don’t care about the future of this planet.
Only the workers and poor of the world have an interest in ensuring its’ survival. The planet should be under the control of the many that depend on it, not the few who exploit it.
1. Punitive fines and strict controls for the corporate polluters. Stop the wreckers from profiting from their crimes
2. A major investment in alternative energy, and a planned shift away from an economy based on fossil-fuels. Take the wealth of the oil companies and use it to invest in wind, air, and solar power
3. No more Green Wash! Stop the carbon credits system which prevents poor countries from developing
4. We need a free and comprehensive public transport system, paid for by taxing the rich
5. Factories in the car industry threatened by closure must be nationalized and reorganized to produce vehicles for public transport, all monitored under workers’ control
6. All imperial nations have to carry out unconditional cuts on carbon emissions of at least 30% by the year 2020
7. Fight to stop the mass privatization of Britain’s forests
14. The state
As students and youth took mass action against the government over tuition fees, cuts and the abolition of EMA last year, we were subjected to extreme police brutality.
Capitalism has always relied on force and violence when political arguments fail.
The police, the judiciary and the army are not elected by anyone. Yet when workers take strike action, it is these judges that determine whether or not a strike is ‘legal’, the army that governs foreign countries under occupation and the police who can attack, beat and even kill protesters with few repercussions – as the murder of Ian Tomlinson showed during the G20 protests.
1. Build up organised self-defence teams of youth and workers to protect our demonstrations. No to repressive police tactics: tear gas, kettling, rubber bullet and water cannons
2. Build democratic and accountable workers’ militias to contest the power of the armed core of the state; the police and the military
3. Self-defence is no offence; no to politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment
4. For democratically elected judges, on the wage of the average worker, recallable at any time, with equal representation from oppressed groups
15. Revolutionary youth movement
Young people show at every turn that they can be the hardest and most radical fighters against capitalism, war and poverty. Young people should be organised into an international revolutionary socialist youth movement, deciding its policies through democratic meetings in every country and international delegate meetings.
REVOLUTION recognises that young people are an oppressed group within society, and that oppression continues even within working-class and progressive movements. We need to be able to organise independently to have a voice within the movement, to be able to educate and organise ourselves, and to raise the issues which are all-too-often ignored by older workers and their organisations.
We fight to establish Revolution groups in every school, university and workplace to organise young people in the struggle for socialism.
16. Revolutionary party and Fifth International
But young people alone cannot beat this system – it is the workers of the world who allow the economy to work and who have to consent or be coerced into being ruled over by the capitalists– that is why we fight for the formation of revolutionary parties in every country, with the explicit aim of fighting for the abolition of capitalism globally, and for international socialism.
There is no national road to socialism. We need to create an international party of the working class and fight for it to adopt a revolutionary programme.
There have been four international parties formed in working class history. Now is the time to form a new, fifth, revolutionary international.