Socialist Worker

Activists ready to march on Tories’ conference

Police attempts to ban the march at the Tory conference are backfiring, reports Viv Smith

Issue No. 2219

A panel from trade unions and Right to Work addressed a packed meeting in London on Thursday of last (see article below) 
Pictures: Valerios Theofanidis http://www.valeriostheofanidis.comwww.valeriostheofanidis.com

A panel from trade unions and Right to Work addressed a packed meeting in London on Thursday of last (see article below)  Pictures: Valerios Theofanidis www.valeriostheofanidis.com


Support for the right of anti-cuts protesters to march past the Tory Party conference on Sunday 3 October in Birmingham is growing by the day.

The entire Labour group on Birmingham City Council has now signed the statement supporting the march, alongside trade unionists and campaigners across the city and nationally.

In a shock move on Friday of last week, Birmingham’s Tory council announced that they would not be allowing any protest to march near the conference or through Birmingham city centre on 3 October.

Representatives

March organisers, including representatives from the FBU and PCS unions and Right to Work, were in Birmingham to re-negotiate the route of the protest.

West Midlands police and the council scrapped the route agreed in mid-August.

Birmingham council, which is imposing a huge swathe of cuts across the city, clearly does not want to see a mass march by workers, service users and campaigners against the cuts.

But it is not putting people off.

Tony Kearns, the senior deputy general secretary of the post workers’ CWU union, told Socialist Worker, “CWU supports the demo at Tory conference.

“Our branches and activists will be there making sure the government knows its actions are a disgraceful attack on the most vulnerable in society and that people are not prepared to stand by and see their services scrapped.

“This millionaires’ government is sending us on a throwback to Thatcher’s cuts which devastated work and communities for a generation.

“It is quite clearly the politics of spite and hate. We’re prepared to fight for our schools, hospitals, council and postal services.

“It’s real people in real jobs who help the most vulnerable in society that government actions threaten and we’ll be telling their delegates that in Birmingham.”

Linda Burnip is the campaign co-ordinator for the Local Housing Allowance Reform Group. Her organisation is supporting the Right to Work demonstration. She said, “Disabled people will be descending on Birmingham on 3 October to tell all politicians that enough is enough.

“We are fed up with being vilified as scroungers by

successive governments.

“We are fed up with being unfairly picked on because we are seen as vulnerable and we want to make sure politicians know we will not accept these attacks on our lives any longer.

“As disabled people we can and will fight back, and we plan to start in Birmingham on 3 October.”

Paul Brandon, national chair of the Right to Work steering committee, said that campaigners are not prepared to be diverted into backstreets away from the gaze of the public and the media.

“We want to bring the anger over the cuts to the Tories’ doorstep,” he said.

“We marched past the Labour conference last year, why can’t we do the same ­outside the Tories this year?

“This protest is backed by a broad range of union branches and campaign organisations.”

Labour leadership contenders Ed Balls and Diane Abbott have backed the right to march.

In addition, Tony Benn and MPs John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Julie Hilling and John Cryer have signed the statement calling for justice.

Trade unionists and anti‑cuts campaigners across the country have also signed the statement.

For details of the protest and a list of supporters of the statement go to www.righttowork.org.uk


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