by Ken Ferguson, editor, Scottish Socialist Voice
The Voice, the only socialist paper written and edited in Scotland, has been at the heart of the democratic, political, social and environmental struggles since our foundation in the ’90s.
We’ve hosted forums on topics ranging from housing, Brexit, independence, the economy and much else, while our pages have been proud to carry reports and analysis of struggles in these and many other areas.
Our latest event is a Zoom rally entitled ‘From Crisis to Change’, which aims to confront the issues of sackings, pay cuts and health and safety generated by the Covid crisis, with the contributions from workers in key sectors including rail, BT, food and retail.
However, we also intend the event to chart ways to take us beyond the essential struggles of today towards an alternative which seeks not a “New Normal” but a “Different Normal” which, through a socialist green new deal, creates skilled, well-paid jobs and puts the needs of people and planet before profit.
Speaking at the event will be: Sarah Woolley, General Secretary of the Bakers’ Union; Sean Sweeney, New York-based Coordinator Of Trade Unions For Energy Democracy; Mandy Marshall, RMT union rep and Scotland-London Caledonian sleeper worker; Tam Dewar, CWU Scottish Organiser (personal capacity)’ plus further Trade Union and Scottish Socialist Party speakers tbc.
Workers are being made to pay a heavy price for the Coronavirus crisis and the underlying systemic economic crisis of the capitalist system.
With job losses, wage cuts, attacks on sick pay, and anti-union victimisation, as we’ve seen with the sacking of Usdaw convener Richie Venton.
The extension of furlough until March could mark a timetable for further assaults by the government and profiteers.
As workers fight to defend their lives and livelihoods, we need to build a powerful movement to demand an entirely different normal, which abandons the poverty, inequality, exploitation and environmental desecration of the ‘normal’ we have suffered before and during the pandemic.
This Public Rally will have a panel of speakers who link the immediate struggles to defend workers’ rights with a vision of what we need the organised working class to forge in struggle as our future.
Nothing is guaranteed about the future; it will be shaped by struggle. Struggles between the profiteering elite who want to restore profit margins by slashing jobs, wages and conditions and continued trashing of the planet—and the working class majority who stand to gain most from a society based on meeting real needs not profits.
At the heart of this must be democratic public ownership of key sectors and clean green production that could create at least 150,000 new jobs in Scotland. A socialist, green recovery plan—a socialist green new deal.
We are honoured to have union leaders, union activists on the frontline, and the New York-based coordinator of TUED, which combines major unions in 17 countries in pursuit of a Just Transition to green energy production that defends and enhances the jobs and livelihoods of workers—as well as building towards a society based on the needs of its people and our planet, not the greed of polluting multinationals.
We need to build the forces to bring about the change urgently needed—not surrender to the onslaught on workers’ lives and livelihoods cooked up by the billionaires, big business and their hired governments.
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