Save Port Talbot: Communists Hit the Streets in Britain!

Port Talbot

Tata’s decision to close its Port Talbot steelworks will devastate the town. With no lead coming from the trade union tops, the communists have launched a campaign for workers to get organized, occupy the plant, and demand its full nationalization.

Tata bosses recently confirmed they are closing both the blast furnaces at Port Talbot, with the loss of almost 3,000 jobs.

Since then, communists from across South Wales have come out to campaign for what we see as the only real way to end Tata’s misrule and save the town: occupying the plant and demanding it be nationalized wholesale.

Starting this initiative was a no brainer. The lack of action from the union leaders has left a lot of people demoralized. Where there’s inaction from the top, the ranks must step into the breach.

Anger on the street

The communists came out in droves to organize stalls to try and reach local people and get their opinions. We discussed with them the ideas of occupying the plant in order to fight this closure and demanding its full nationalization.

To get this campaign off the ground, we are organizing an open meeting on Sunday, February 11, where we can discuss the way forward.

On the whole, we had a positive reception. It shows that under the despair, there’s a lot of anger. Even some who were unsure how they felt about the word “communist” still wholeheartedly agreed with the plans and ideas we proposed.

Hearing about people’s anger towards the government, the lack of action of MPs, and how Tata will destroy the whole town’s future has hammered home what is at stake here.

Meeting and talking with local workers and explaining our ideas was very fruitful, since so many are at their wits end with Tata. To them, nationalization is the only thing left to do. It just makes sense!

On the doorstep

Door knocking, while something that comrades were either completely new to or rusty at, went smoothly on both days too. It became very easy to have conversations with people and get their thoughts and opinions.

One person we talked to when door knocking told us, “what we need is a revolution.” We couldn’t agree more! Another person we met on the street told us, “they [Tata and the politicians] are all corrupt and are just in this for the money.”

A lot talked about how it’s good to see people get out there and try to do something. A little encouragement goes a long way—and again, it demonstrates that the workers have largely not been asked their views!

We even got some local shops to take flyers to show to customers and to help spread the word. By the end of the first day, we had easily gone to around 100 houses and either had a response and a conversation or spread the word with our flyers.

Time to fight

Sunday saw us back out on the campaign trail. We also hoisted our banner, which was made by an amazing comrade in one night, across a local bridge. In fact, as soon as it was up, we immediately got cars beeping in support, which just shows the mood in the town!

Port Talbot isn’t dead yet; there is still a fight to be had. There are plenty of examples of what can be done, from the Harland and Wolff shipyard occupation in the North of Ireland to the GKN workers in Italy. Both of these fights have prevented robber-baron bosses from having it all their own way.

If we want to save steel in Port Talbot, then we need to think big like they did.

If you want to help or hear what we have to say for yourself, then come to our meeting on Sunday, February 11. It’s now or never for our town, but if we fight back now, we can still save it.

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