Peter Taaffe Socialist Party general secretary:
“It is a human response to be sad when somebody dies. But many working class people will be celebrating her death because of the absolutely destructive and long lasting effect she had on the lives of millions of working class and poor people. She is seen by many as a kind of modern day Genghis Khan. Elected into office in 1979 she unleashed a ferocious assault on the living standards and democratic rights of working class people. Trade unions were attacked in order to clear the way for the destruction of publically owned industries and the driving down of wages and conditions.
The Socialist Party’s forerunner the Militant Tendency was at the forefront of fighting her rotten policies. We led the famous struggle in Liverpool from 1983-87 as part of the labour council that refused to implement cuts. That council mobilised a mass campaign of trade unionists and working class people in support of the council’s needs budget. That campaign won £60million from the government which was spent on building thousands of new council homes and new facilities for working class communities. One commentator lamented that Militant had given Thatcher a “bloody nose”.
In the late 80s and 90s early we led the struggle against the hated poll tax. This tax would have seen a duke paying the same as a dustman. We initiated the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Union which led the campaign that led to 18 million people not paying the tax. As a result the tax was revoked. Thatcher made it clear that she resigned as a result of the huge anti-poll tax demonstration on 31st March 1990, which was attended by 250,000.
Thatcher created a number of “mini Thatchers” not just in the Tory party but also in New Labour as well. Tony Blair was her heir just as Cameron and Clegg are now. They are carrying in her work and are in fact going even further than even she dared to go in the savaging of public sector jobs and services.”
Her true legacy is clear to see today in the policies of the ConDem government. They are today’s standard bearers of her neo-liberal ideas. On the day Thatcher has died the rich are about to receive a tax cut and working class people face a new assault in the form of the bedroom tax. At the same time we are seeing an unprecedented assault on jobs and services.”
Dave Nellist, Labour Party MP for Coventry South-West 1983-1992:
“The people I have sympathy for today are those working class people who’s lives have been blighted by her policies. The real tragedy is that while she may be dead herself her ideas are still alive and well in the form of the ConDem coalition and New Labour.
She was a determined fighter for her class, the 1% of very wealthy people at the top of society. The Socialist Party wants to build a movement that does the same for the 99%, working class people. We want to build a mass movement that will take the wealth from the super-rich and that dismantles the project she embarked upon. We want to use that wealth to provide jobs, services and a future for working class people.”
The Socialist Party of England and Wales (formerly known as Militant Tendency) is a campaigning, democratic organisation. We played a leading role on Liverpool Labour council in the 1980’s when it defied Thatcher and refused to implement cuts winning £60 million to spend on jobs and services in the city. We also led the struggle in the late 80’s and early 90s when 18 million people nationwide refused to pay the hated Poll Tax. We fight against all attacks on the rights and living standards of working class people.