Friday, 10 September 2010

The Taxpayers' Alliance - an alliance of capitalists and scabs?

According to the Telegraph, the Taxpayers' Alliance has seen its membership grow by 70% to 55,000 people. It has also been seeking advice from FreedomWorks, a Washington-based organisation connected to the US Tea Party movement. At the least, these developments should raise a few eyebrows.

Like the Tea Party movement, the Taxpayers' Alliance is a grouping of conservative/pseudo-libertarian right-wing reactionaries. On its website, it claims to be about "committed to forcing politicians to listen to ordinary taxpayers." In reality, it represents the interests of the more privileged sectors of society and the agenda of at least one segment of the ruling class.

This is evident in the fact that the rhetoric used by the organisation - for example, on welfare reform (PDF) - is almost perfectly in tune with that used by the conservative government and the Daily Mail.

Another case in point is its attitude to trade unions. It has strongly attacked facilities time for trade union reps in the public sector, claiming that the arrangement costs taxpayers £85m per year. The potential cost-benefits, from negotiation which prevents strikes to representation which resolves disputes before they reach employment tribunals, isn't examined. Funny, that.

But, for all that, they remain another right-wing lobby group amidst many others calling for a tune to which the government is already dancing. The real problem arises when their opposition to workers and trade unionists - i.e. the real ordinary taxpayers - becomes physical. Which it is seeking to do.

In yesterday's Guardian Matthew Elliott, founder of the TPA, said this;
You could say our time has come. Take the strikes on the London underground this week and how much they annoyed and inconvenienced people. Couldn't we get 1,000 people to protest that?
Perhaps they could. They'd certainly get a lot of take up from the scabs of this world, braindead, class-traitor scumbags that they are.

This would be a great boon for the government, able to emulate America by obfuscating class war with a manufactured culture war. Thus would an army of the ill-informed take on the government by attacking their fellow workers and shoring up the state that is attacking their livelihoods.

In response, the working class need to rebuild the culture of mass participation and solidarity that once defined the labour movement. Our picket lines need to be brimming with people fighting for their livelihoods, not staffed by six "official pickets" whilst everybody else uses the "day off" to go shopping, as is often the case at present.

If we can't do that, then the emergence of a "British Tea Party" would be a crushing defeat. We cannot allow that to happen.