Over 2,500 people have signed up for the People’s Assembly in London on 22 June—part of a groundswell of bitterness and anger against austerity.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is one of its organisers. “I am delighted that the efforts of the People’s Assembly to challenge this government’s socially destructive and economically illiterate austerity programme are gathering pace,” she told Socialist Worker.
“With the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warning that tax rises, swingeing welfare cuts and wage freezes will push over seven million children below the breadline in the next two years, it’s time to expose the lie is that there is no alternative to austerity.”
The Assembly has published a new plan of action for the autumn. It proposes a national day of civil disobedience and a day of coordinated local demonstrations in the early autumn.
It also calls for working with trade unions to call a national demonstration in November.
“There are real, big, radical alternatives,” said Caroline, “but very few people articulating them in parliament or in the media. That’s where the People’s Assembly comes in.”
Transport has been booked from across Britain. One coach will bring civil service strikers and bedroom tax campaigners from Sheffield.
“Everyone felt it was a really good initiative to bring people together and build the fightback,” said Fran Postlethwaite, assistant secretary of Barnsley NUT teachers’ union—which voted to send ten delegates.
“People that don’t normally go to meetings or conferences were putting their names down straight away at the meeting.”
More people have signed up in Bristol since a local People’s Assembly was hundreds strong. Unite the Resistance is sending a coach, with the support of union branches.
Socialist Huw Williams reports, “So far anti bedroom tax campaigners from two estates are booked up. Trade unionists are coming from Weston-Super-Mare, where the hospital is being sold off and its A&E department downgraded.”
The Assembly is an opportunity to bring together everyone who has had enough of the Tories’ attacks. Its proposals can feed into mass opposition to the Tories in the autumn.
Unite the Resistance has called a protest at the Tory party conference. Unite the union is now also calling for people to protest on the day. The two major teachers’ unions are talking about a national strike.
What happens after the Assembly will depend on the debates that take place about what sort of resistance is needed to stop the government.
“Every activist needs to get there.” said Huw. “We need to make sure that the words from our union leaders are turned into action.”