The bomb attacks on Thursday 7th July were despicable. 55 people died, and many more were injured.
This was an attack on us at work, and on our passengers going about their daily lives. The bombers killed innocent civilians, members of London's diverse population.
Heroes and Villains
Tube staff responded brilliantly: leading people to safety, comforting the injured, dealing with the crowds. We pulled together in solidarity - something these vicious bombers know nothing about.
Tube workers were heroes. We hope that this is remembered next time we strike, when we are usually cast as villains.
Our colleagues in the emergency services are also heroes. Despite their life-saving role, the Fire Service is getting rid of fire engines in central London, the Ambulance Service struggles with underfunding.
Safety Before Haste
This time, the bad guys are the bombers rather than the bosses. But we can't trust management with safety. The unions caught them out trying to cut corners in a rush to get the service up again, including:
- asking people to carry out checks they were not qualified for;
- asking drivers to drive trains that had not been properly checked;
- trying to extend the shuttle service without securing the route;
- saying that trains can run without radio.
The bomb sites will be treacherous for some time, with asbestos, vermin, poor ventilation and damage making a hard and gruesome task even harder. We need to take all the time it needs to make it safe.
Scrap These Rosters
LUL is trying to introduce new stations rosters which cut staffing levels. The company must now abandon them. Under these rosters, there will not be enough staff to deter terrorists, do thorough security checks, evacuate stations or trains, or help people away from danger and towards medical help. These cuts could cost lives.
Beware of the company seeing an excuse to withdraw our 35-hour week. No way!
The bombings also show that we need guards back on the Tube.
Racism and Liberty
The BNP and other bigots are using the bombs as an excuse to target Muslims. We will see a rise in racist abuse at work.
We are a multi-ethnic workforce. We must stand up for ourselves and our workmates. Don't let bombers, or racists, divide us.
Blair will use public anger to push through his plan for ID cards. Remember - Spain has ID cards, and they did not stop the Madrid bombings.
Clampdowns on civil liberties or immigration will not prevent terrorist attacks, but will persecute innocent people.
We have been dealing with security threats for years. Before al-Qaeda, it was the IRA. But al-Qaeda - and those influenced by them - are different.
You might deplore the IRA’s tactics but still have sympathy with their aims. Not these bombers. They are not allies with bad tactics, they are our bitter enemies. They are fighting a ‘jihad’: a holy war.
When we call them 'Islamist', we do not mean Muslim religious observance. We mean a political movement to establish an Islamic state - with Sharia (Islamic) law, no democracy, no rights for workers or women, no freedom of sexuality, speech or religion.
Not all Islamists are suicide bombers. But Islamism is an anti-working-class, anti-democratic movement, which often uses or supports violent repression. The Islamist 'resistance' gangs in Iraq regularly carry out murderous attacks.
Who Is To Blame?
Britain's involvement in the Iraq and Afghan wars helped to make London a target. But that does not take blame away from the bombers.
US/UK foreign policy has pushed people towards supporting al-Qaeda. But its terrible, murderous politics are its own responsibility.
Off The Rails opposes Tony Blair's government - its privatisations, its attacks on workers and trade unions, its sucking up to the rich, and its wars. Its policies contribute to a world in which war and terrorism threaten ordinary working-class people.
But Tony Blair did not plant those bombs. Islamist jihadi-terrorists did.
Should Britain withdraw its troops from Iraq in response to the bombs?
Here at Off The Rails, we opposed the war. We want the occupation to end and Iraqis to rebuild a free, democratic society.
But we can not let the bombers decide the policy on Iraq. If troops are pulled out from Iraq, it should be when, and because, that is the right thing to do, not because of intimidation by al-Qaeda.
The best way to stop the terrorists is to undermine them where they are strong. In Pakistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq and elsewhere, there are trade unionists and socialists who are fighting for a decent society against both the Islamists and the US/UK warmongers. We should support them.
We respond to this attack as workers and trade unionists - we abhor this violence, and stand up for diversity, democracy and freedom. Working-class solidarity can see us through this awful time. We are cannon fodder for no-one's war and no-one's jihad.