Over 1,000 people packed into Friends Meeting House in central London on Thursday for a rally of resistance.
The meeting opened this year’s Marxism festival.
Socialists, activists and trade unionists packed into the hall, which was decorated with banners from striking unions and anti-cuts campaigns.
Many had spent the day on picket lines. This brought a fighting spirit to the hall.
Nicos Loudos brought greetings from Greece. He said, “The movement from Egypt is sweeping through Spain into Greece. Greece has seen a massive radicalisation. We’re not thinking about how to fix the system, we’re thinking about ways to overthrow it.”
Striking London teacher Jess Edwards said, “Who can now say that the working class in this country is dead?
“They say strikes are for Greece. But we have more in common with Greek workers than we have with Tory toffs. We’re fighting for the future.”
The room rose to cheer Kemal Abu Aita, the founder of Egypt’s tax collectors’ union, as he stood to speak.
“Greetings from the Egyptian people and the revolution,” he told the rally. “We knew there was an alternative—a globalisation of the people who make things in society against the globalisation of the system.
“The smell of freedom from the Egyptian revolution is something leaders the world over need to take notice of.
“Your strike shows that workers will not pay the bill for the economic crisis—those who made it will pay.”
Sixth form student and NUS executive (pc) member Ruby Hirsch also spoke and said, “I was proud today to see British workers walking like Egyptians.”
Judith Orr, the editor of Socialist Worker, said, “We have to escalate. We want a different world—we want a socialist society. That seems more possible today than it has for a long time.”
Marxism continues until Monday. For more information and a timetable go to www.marxismfestival.org.uk