It is not enough for the anti-cuts movement to be a defensive, responsive movement. It is not enough to point out the flaws in the arguments for austerity (as the False Economy website does so brilliantly).
If we are going to have a world worth living in, we are going to have to merge together the agendas of the anti-cuts movement, the green movement, the labour movement and the peace movement.
We are already arguing for productive investment and fair taxation instead of austerity. We are already arguing for climate jobs and green technology instead of runaway climate change. We are already arguing for decent employment and pension rights instead of insecurity and inequality. We are already arguing for a culture and economy of peace instead of a military-industrial complex.
When we put these concerns together, they form a mutually-reinforcing, coherent vision for increasing equality and democracy (inside and outside the workplace), for converting military industries into socially-useful and climate-friendly production, for transforming society. Making this vision a reality is going to require new kinds of organising and collaboration, much of it uncomfortable, some of it international.
The alternative is disaster.
As Peace News went to press, arms manufacturer BAE Systems (formerly British Aerospace) had just failed to complete a merger with its European rival EADS. BAE now looks vulnerable to a takeover as its two major strategic gambles – focusing solely on arms production and on the US market – have failed, and the EADS merger, which could have reversed these blunders, has also failed.
Workers at BAE face an insecure future. What would give them a more secure future would be if BAE Systems were converted to socially-useful production, with government imposing long-term production agreements which involve all levels of the workforce (see the Lucas Aerospace diagram in the paper version of this issue).
If the British government committed itself to investing in BAE to help move us towards a green, socially-useful future, that would good for workers, good for local communities, good for the environment, and good for the economy. It would be good for peace.