Socialist Worker

Respect campaigns against Tesco in Cambridge

by Tom Woodcock, Respect candidate in the 2007 council elections
Issue No. 2080

Resistance to Tesco has united people in Cambridge.

Tesco plans to open a store on Mill Road, claiming that this will provide a “community facility” and will “regenerate” the area.

The rent on the space Tesco wants was £22,000 a year, but they have offered £44,000.

This will push up rents in the whole area, meaning that only multinationals will be able to afford them.

Respect organised canvassing when Tesco was seeking planning permission and there is now a huge popular campaign against the supermarket.

There is a strong anti-capitalist element to the campaign – it raises questions about workers’ rights, the environment and quality of food as well as the effects on local traders.

There were 280 people at our first meeting, which kicked off a broad, united campaign. We had a march of 600 people a couple of weeks ago.

In the same area as the planned Tesco, hospital cuts have meant the closure of a dementia ward.

We are making the connections – less and less land is owned by the public and more and more by multinational corporations.

I think that a number of factors, including Respect standing in elections, have built confidence in the community and raised the political temperature.

The campaign against Tesco is now a major issue for Respect in Cambridge.

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