The Manchester People’s Assembly drew over 700 people in the biggest rally against austerity seen in the city. It is part of the build up to the national People’s Assembly in London on 22 June.
Writer Owen Jones said, “We need a coherent alternative” to Tory austerity. “The People’s Assembly gives people hope, a home for people who want to fight back,” he said.
He was cheered when he explained how “the housing crisis is caused by greedy landlords charging extortionate rents” and how “housing benefit would not be needed if wages were higher”.
Comedian Mark Steel destroyed the Tory arguments with biting humour. “So it was the poor people who caused the world banking crisis!” He was also critical of Labour, saying we have organise the fightback ourselves.
Ameen Hadi, an officer in Salford City Council Unison (speaking in a personal capacity), invited the assembly to join the demonstration called by Unite the Resistance at the Tory conference in Manchester on 29 September.
Tenant Maria Brabiner received the biggest applause when she said, “I want to wake up and hear Ed Miliband say that a Labour government will abolish the bedroom tax.”
She launched an open letter calling on Manchester’s Labour leader to oppose evictions due to the bedroom tax, which was signed by over 400 people.
Speakers who addressed hundreds at a packed Newcastle rally last week included Owen Jones, Terry Edwards of Gateshead Unison and disability campaigner Gail Ward.
Over 300 overwhelmingly young people attended the Sheffield meeting. Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance welcomed the call for a united campaign.