Socialist Worker

'Protests show that we can resist Tory austerity'

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans and Nick Clark
Issue No. 2454

Part of the protest in Sheffield

Part of the protest in Sheffield (Pic: Nigel Newton Smith)


A wave of defiance against Tory austerity is punching through the shock of David Cameron’s victory.

Large protests have taken place across Britain—and more are planned this weekend.

Over 1,000 marched through Cardiff and Sheffield last Saturday. In Lincoln around 100 people joined a protest organised by young members of the Green Party.

Four thousand people filled the streets of Bristol on Wednesday of last week. They were predominantly students and young workers.

Seven sixth form students organised the protest under the banner Bristol Against Austerity.

Megan and Rosie, two of the organisers, spoke to Socialist Worker. Rosie said, “We were angry about the result and wanted to something.

“We thought that we’d get a couple of hundred people, mainly our school friends.” Megan said, “We never expected 4,000 people to come.”

Megan and Rosie said the Tories’ win didn’t represent a shift to the right—and that protest could break them.

Rosie said, “They might have won a majority under our system—that I don’t agree with—but they didn’t win a real majority.”

Megan added, “Many of us aren’t 18 and couldn’t even vote. We’re not represented at all.”

PCS union activist Marianne Owens’ experience on the Cardiff march was similar. She told Socialist Worker, “It was really young and angry. 

“There were people there we had never seen before—it wasn’t just the usual faces.”

Campaigners in Cardiff have booked three coaches to the national People’s Assembly protest in London on 20 June.

In Manchester, up to 500 people attended a People’s Assembly public meeting on Tuesday of last week.

Enthusiasm

Manchester People’s Assembly activist Martin Empson told Socialist Worker, “The mood from the floor was angry and there was lots of enthusiasm for the demo. 

“People were queuing up to book seats on the transport.”

An anti-austerity protest was planned in Manchester and several other towns and cities across Britain this Saturday.

Martin said, “Manchester feels like there’s lots of stuff about to happen. We keep meeting people who are already going on 20 June or on the demo on Saturday.”

Activists in Newcastle report a similar experience.

North East People’s Assembly activist Simon Hall told Socialist Worker how a planned meeting of the 15-strong steering committee became a public meeting of 150.

He said, “There were quite a lot of new and young people there. You could see people were really new to it—but they wanted to do stuff.

“After the meeting we called a demo in town. In less than 24 hours more than 1,000 people said they were going to it on Facebook”.

Apart from “passing our exams,” Megan, Rosie and the others are planning to carry on campaigning against austerity. 

On Saturday they’re going to a local protest against taxes on tampons.

Rosie said, “We’re organising another demonstration on 8 July (budget day), but we also want to help people suffering under austerity in food banks and shelters.”

Ajmal, a student from Bristol who helped build the demo, told Socialist Worker, “People don’t normally talk about politics but they haven’t stopped since the general election. 

“This shows that young people are not apathetic—and that we will fight.”

Some 1,000 people attended a Radical Left General Assembly meeting to debate the way forward in London last week.

Local protests and the People’s Assembly demonstration on 20 June can be a springboard for wider resistance to the Tories.

Thanks to Gareth Hill


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News
Tue 19 May 2015, 16:20 BST
Issue No. 2454
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