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United we are rock – divided we are sand

Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers Union (BFAWU) writes for the Don’t Leave, Organise blog

Politics is not just about Parliament or the leadership of parties. Politics is about our everyday lives and the way we choose to either build a better future or accept the status quo. For many of us parliamentary politics is alienating and strange – something that is done to us rather than for us. Politicians don’t speak our language and rarely talk about the reality of our lives. So, it is only by working people standing up and raising our voices that politicians will take our views seriously.

We are stronger when we do that together – united we are rock, divided we are sand, as the saying so rightly puts it. No matter what our identity, no matter our gender or our race, what unites us is our class. The Covid-19 crisis has taught society that those workers, previously described as “low skilled” are in fact the most valuable when it comes to protecting your family and mine. Key workers are not low-skilled – but for far too long they have been low paid. And that distinction is becoming more widely understood.

This crisis has also demonstrated that humanity is connected. You depend on me and I depend on you. This crisis has exposed what many of us already knew – the system is not fit for purpose. We need a new way, built on fairness and equality. We cannot go back to business as usual and we must not allow those that carried the burden of Austerity to shoulder that burden again.

Our NHS – a shining example of socialist principles delivered for the many – was built out of the idea that we are all valuable, we all deserve respect and dignity. Covid-19 has taught us that we need to rebuild a Labour Party and a movement that actually reflect these values – where we elevate and support each other to win together. No single individual or group has all the answers but by coming together and creating the space to develop our ideas we can build a movement that represents all of our interests. So don’t leave, organise!

It’s only by standing together and taking action together that we can build a society worthy of our frontline heroes. It’s only by standing together and taking action together that we can make the changes needed to say never again. Never again should our heroes be called “low skilled”. Never again should we be unprepared for a crisis on this level. Let’s do this together. Stay and organise.