Monday, 2 January 2012

Demonstrate against NHS privatisation - and Labour opportunism

The Liverpool branch of the Labour Party have called a demonstration against NHS reforms for Friday 27 January. Saving the NHS from privatisation is indeed one of the most important fights in the battle against the cuts, but the Labour Party will not be the saviour of our health service. This is merely another opportunity for the Party to exploit people's anger at what's happening for electoral gain.

On Liverpool City Council, the same branch of Labour that has called this demo are enacting cuts which are devastating services and sweeping away people's livelihoods. Their council leader, Joe Anderson, has called anti-cuts protesters "scum" and lied about being attacked when they protested against him and his council. Now, they are asking - without a hint of shame - that we "join Liverpool Labour Group Councillors & Members of Parliament" in order to support their campaign against NHS reforms. Even more absurdly, they add that "the NHS is only safe in the hands of The Labour Party."

The only aim of the Labour Party in this instance is to co-opt people's anger and make political capital out of it. Should we see a Labour government replace the current coalition, we will not see an end to the cuts or to the privatisation, and the belief that we will is an illusion which threatens to derail the real fight against the cuts. If they are allowed to claim ownership of this battle, all they will do is demobilise the working class to their own ends.

We did not get the NHS by voting Labour - we got it because the Beveridge Report reflected the very real fear of the ruling class that "if we don't give them reforms, they'll give us revolution." We will not save the NHS by voting Labour - we will save it by building a mass movement, based on direct action, that gives the government that same fear once again.

On Friday 27 January, join the demonstration. But don't demonstrate under the Labour banner to get the Tories out, demonstrate against the privatisation of the NHS - by Labour as well as by the Tories!

Demonstrate against NHS privatisation
Friday 27 January, Royal Liverpool Hospital, Prescot Street, 11am-2pm