As a response to the success of the March for the Alternative – where at least half a million people showed their opposition to the government’s cuts agenda – right-wingers have organised a “Rally Against Debt.” Due to take place on 14th May, this is a gathering of support for the attacks on ordinary people.
It is telling that the rally is endorsed by the likes of Tory MP Daniel Hannan, who told TV pundits in America of his hatred for the NHS, and the Taxpayers’ Alliance. In essence, it is the privileged and elite crying out for increased hardship to fall on the working class so that they can be better off. Whilst Cameron and Clegg tell us we’re “all in this together,” this is the crowd who sneer and gloat at every job loss and every cut.
The name, “Rally Against Debt,” is also misleading. The government programme that these people are cheerleading – from increased tuition fees to a slash-and-burn approach to welfare – will see household debt for most people skyrocket.
Already, ordinary workers are saddled with debt. The past 30 years have seen the percentage of GDP that goes on wages shrink rapidly. In real terms, even most effective pay rises of the past few years have been pay cuts when measured against inflation. Whilst the rich have gotten ever richer, the rest of us have had to turn to credit to make up the shortfall or just to make ends meet. As those at the top steal the fruits of our labour to line their own pockets, we are forced to borrow it back and pay obscene interest rates on it.
With the recession and the banks, bailed out by the taxpayer, tightening the rules on borrowing, this has only gotten worse. The credit rug is being pulled out from under us when there is nothing to replace it because the government promoted it as the only game in town whilst our wages shrank.
Those attending the Rally Against Debt – from Tories and Liberal Democrats to the Taxpayers’ Alliance and so-called “libertarians” – are protesting not only for this to continue, but for every safeguard that working people have against it to be ripped away and torn down.
This only proves that this latest round of cuts (like those that have seen us through the past three decades) are not “inevitable” or “necessary.” They are the ideological choice of yet another government in the pocket of the bankers, the bosses and the super rich. They will make life so much harder for public sector workers, private sector workers, the old, the young, the unemployed, and the disabled – in other words that broad cross-section of society represented on the March for the Alternative.
By contrast, the Rally Against Debt is representative of those groups that have an interest in attacking us. They are a minority in society, but they are the powerful minority who exert great control over government policy. No matter how the media spin it, their message must be rejected and we must continue to fight for the alternative to the cuts.