After today’s great demonstration, we shouldn’t hear anyone asking, “What next?” The defeat of this illegitimate, unelected government will need much more than a series of demonstrations, important as they are. Such days must become landmarks within an ongoing, sustained campaign of action, co-ordinated across unions and communities writes People's Charter officer Bill Greenshields.

As the Tories and their LibDem bag-carriers accelerate the attacks day after day, week after week, we need to match them in determination, organisation and staying power… building  movements in every town and city, day-in, day out, week-in week-out. 
Only such a sustained movement with deep roots in communities, and with the trade unions at its heart can lead to the level of action necessary to put an end to the ConDems. When the TUC Congress agreed to examine the practicalities of a General Strike, it did so because the delegates recognised that such action is a necessary and urgent. The “practicalities” are not just about the logistics but about the mood of workers throughout Britain. We need to convince working people up and down the country – both union members and non members - that there is an alternative – as put forward by the People’s Charter – that we can resist the attacks, and that we have to move beyond protest to a strategy for winning.
So there is a great “battle of ideas” which will be reflected in the joint People’s Charter/Trade Unions Councils campaign “For Jobs, Skills, Industry and Public Services” to be launched in the new year. The ConDem attacks are strategic and coherent. Each one, whether on national pay bargaining, pensions, housing, health etc is a building block, a part of the whole. The People’s Charter and its principles and policies show that we need to fight back in the same way… not just one issue at a time in narrow and necessarily limited industrial disputes, but in a co-ordinated campaign for a strategic and coherent alternative. It’s the only way to beat them.
So, after the demonstration there needs to be no “waiting for the next one” or spurious demands to “name the day” for the General Strike. There needs to be consistent, imaginative and hard work done in communities throughout Britain to build an unstoppable movement “for a future that works” that won’t go away… and that will form a solid base of support for growing trade union action and civil disobedience.
If everyone on the demonstration today made a pledge to commit themselves, their time and resources to work with the trades councils and People’s Charter to build such a movement we would be well on our way… and the practicalities of the General Strike and the defeat of the ConDems would be clear to everyone, including the Tories… who might just lose their arrogant smirks.
Bill Greenshields
Trade Union Officer
The People’s Charter for Change
 
(TUC Support for the People’s Charter was reaffirmed at TUC Congress 2012. It is also endorsed by Scottish TUC, Wales TUC, Women’s TUC. Trade Union Council Conference. It has the direct support of 19 TUC affiliated unions, and a large, growing number of local Trades Union Councils)