Socialist Worker

What do we do after councils pass cuts?

Simon Hester from Haringey Alliance for Public Services looks at the continuing fight in his borough

Issue No. 2242

People have protested in many parts of Britain against their councils’ plans to make massive budget cuts, which would devastate lives.

Campaigners have occupied council chambers, marched and lobbied councillors. But still every council, including Labour ones, has voted through cuts with little official opposition.

This has led some people to ask how to keep the movement going as the cuts are implemented.

Across Haringey, north London, we are organising for a mass turnout on the TUC demonstration on 26 March. Haringey Alliance for Public Services (HAPS) is printing 50,000 postcards for door-to-door leafleting and stalls the weekend before the demonstration.

A huge TUC demo will feed back into the local area and give people confidence to resist the cuts.

The local government Unison union branch is discussing potential strike action against compulsory redundancies. The UCU lecturers’ union is preparing for a strike at the College of North East London.

Hopefully this will spread and escalate. We will need to leaflet every workplace we can on the Monday after the demonstration arguing for action.

But the potential is far wider. HAPS is initiating Haringey Youth United on Friday 8 April, trying to bring together youth groups from various communities against all cuts.

We expect the benefit cuts to start affecting claimants and tenants soon and we are preparing campaigns against evictions.

Some 43,000 households in Haringey claim council tax and housing benefits.

There have been large protest meetings against NHS privatisation with more planned. We are planning direct action to defend threatened services on the point of closure, including occupations.

A local Turkish/Kurdish community centre has agreed to act as an organising centre for unemployed people. A local African-Caribbean radio station, SLR Radio, is publicising and interviewing activists from all the campaigns on Tuesday nights from 10pm.

In today’s volatile political climate it is vital we seek unity across ethnic minority groups to build a class-based response.

We are preparing with the explicit understanding that all our campaigns are linked and any one of them could ignite mass resistance.

Hopefully the TUC demo can unleash determined action like strikes and occupations. There’s a lot at stake.

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Sat 12 Mar 2011, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2242
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