As Enough is Enough launches, the working class are fighting back

Mick Lynch speaking at launch event for the Enough is Enough campaign

Organised workers are on the move. After years of stagnancy, UK trade unions are starting to ramp up activity again. Needless to say, there’s been little help from the Labour Party. But the waves of strikes are unmistakeable signs of rising working class militancy.

The increased popularity of trade union leaders, such as the RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch and Unite’s Sharon Graham, suggests the post-Corbyn hangover is easing.

At the launch of the Enough is Enough campaign on Wednesday 17 August, Lynch told the audience: “The working class is back”:

Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough (EIE) is a new force in the class war. Its supporters include a number of socialist MPs, such as Zarah Sultana and Liverpool’s Iain Byrne. The Tribune, Acorn and the Communication Worker’s Union (CWU) are also backers. EIE has five demands:

1. A real pay rise
2. Slash energy bills
3. End food poverty
4. Decent homes for all
5. Tax the rich

Its orientation appears to be social democratic, evidenced by many familiar faces from the Corbyn era being on board. Interestingly however, as The Canary recently pointed out, EIE does not appear to be calling specifically for the nationalisation of privatised utilities.

EIE has also been notably endorsed by former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who tweeted his support on Wednesday 17 August:

So there are positive signs. But as The Canary‘s Steve Topple has pointed out, there needs to be an increased emphasis on particular marginalised groups – not just workers:

Don’t Pay

The Don’t Pay campaign came onto the scene earlier than EIE. It has a narrower aim and different politics. Since an energy crisis for working class people is looming large, Don’t Pay is encouraging people to refuse to pay their energy bills as a form of direct resistance. As The Canary reported recently:

Analysts now say that the price cap could hit over £3,600 by January 2023. This is a 158% increase since October 2021, when the cap was £1,400. This could leave around 30% of all households in the UK in fuel poverty.

Don’t Pay’s website lays out a plan to address this. They will demand a reduction in energy bills, and get people who have joined the campaign to cancel their direct debits from 1 October if the first demand isn’t met – but only if a million people pledge to join them.

It’s worth pointing out that, with 1 October rapidly approaching, at the time of publication Don’t Pay has only collected 108,752 pledges according to their website. This might be a matter of a lack of working class confidence to resist directly by non-payment. Or maybe it’s a case of the message not cutting through on the intended scale.

The level of interaction between EIE and Don’t Pay is hard to gauge. However, it’s difficult to imagine serving MPs publicly backing an action which could be deemed ‘illegal’.

Don’t Pay’s politics are quite different from those of the more reformist EIE. Direct action of this kind seems to suggest a more libertarian or anarchist, bottom-up ethos. Understandably for a group of its kind, the founders do not have a public list of organisers or backers.

The class war

While these two groups share a lot of ground, they appear to come from very different traditions. This is not to say that they are now, or inevitably will be, in conflict. Just as other parallel social struggles have complemented each other, Don’t Pay and EIE could drive each other on. This would be similar to the way striking miners and gay rights activists, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, or the Hillsborough and Bloody Sunday families have complemented each other.

The movements to seriously improve working class confidence and power need to be big, diverse, and fierce in the pursuit of their aims – and led by the working class. With the Labour Party effectively deceased, it must be hoped that Don’t Pay and EIE are the first signs of a new and energetic movement of workers.

Feature image via YouTube/ Novara Media

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  • Show Comments
    1. Despite the popularity of the RMT’s Mick Lynch, he has little to offer the working class of Britain. In response to Grant Shapps’ Daily Mail-supported manifesto clearly aimed at destroying workers’ already-limited power to use withdrawal of labour, Lynch said: “So I don’t know what Grant Shapps is up to. I don’t think the employers really know what he’s up to. And I don’t think the officials at the Department for Transport know what he’s up to.”

      Really, Mick? Is it not clear enough for you? Bring back Arthur Scargill, who saw the Tories’ assault on the miners as the plan for all workers which it was.

      1. He was replying to questions specifically about the RMT strike. He cannot give a lecture on class politics every time he is asked a question. Nor did Scargill. It is in discussion with working class people that both made it clear they are/ were involve in a wider class struggle.

        Scargill give the best lecture I have heard on class violence to a 10,000 strong rally of miners wives and partners in 1985 and every word was understood in its effect on them and their communities but when Scargill tried to widen his struggle by forming the Socialist Labour Party it failed in the usual sectarian bickering and was rejected by most workers including his most loyal NUM members as it was too much of a jump from the reforms they wanted to revolution.
        .
        Lynch’s united front approach with a minimal set of demands flexible enough to include both reformists and revolutionaries and the mass of working people who just want a decent life. That broad approach has mobilised hundreds of thousands and has a membership larger that all other political parties in the UK.

        It is through the fight for reforms and the solidarity we learn working together on these broad demands that in the long run could lead to the formation of a new militant reformist party to replace Labour. That is a possible next step but only if we can hold Enough is Enough together and learn to work together and crucially remember our real power is in the workplace and communities and the daily struggle and not a parliamentary vote every four years. I live in hope……..

        1. When Mick Lynch calls on workers to support Sir Keir Starmer, the former DPP knighted for his role in putting Julian Assange behind bars, he is not helping us. The National Trust has a membership of millions but that doesn’t make it a threat to the ruling class. Certainly, we in the working class have to get together – but for what?

    2. Dont think Stevea Topple was at the same meeting as me. Every speaker raised the need to link unions with social campaigns and include all the working class That is the whole purpose of Enough is Enough ! To break the isolation of one from the other The working class obviously encompasses all the groups Steve mentions. It should not need to be stated at the end of every sentence like some left wing religious litany. Lynch actually mentioned support for non trade unionists who are standing up and fighting back as at Amazon.

      Read the demands of Enough is Enough. It is pretty clear that they apply to union and non unionists,able,disabled,old,young,in work or not,apart from 1. which may not directly apply to some but obviously does indirectly. How on earth can Steve claim the other 4 dont?
      1. A Real Pay Rise.
      2. Slash Energy Bills.
      3. End Food Poverty.
      4. Decent Homes for All.
      5. Tax the Rich.

      The last thing we need now is some sectarian nitpicking when we are facing the fight of our lives and a great opportunity of a united front of all progressive forces in building a fighback . Enough is Enough of sectarianism Unite and fight

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