The opening rally of Marxism 2015 thundered with applause from up to 900 people this evening, Friday, as strikers addressed the Institute of Education’s Logan Hall in central London.
With London’s transport network gridlocked by a united Tube strike, Aslef union rep Unjum Mirza said, “It was an enormous day today—not one train moved.”
Migrant workers sacked by Sotheby’s auction house, Barnet Unison union branch chair Helen Davies (pc) and National Gallery workers who’ve struck for 46 days also spoke.
Victimised National Gallery PCS union rep Candy Udwin praised the support that had kept their fight going. She said, “It shows that there’s a mood in this country to fight.
“Since the election new people have been joining demonstrations, there’s a taste for strikes and direct action and when people fight they get support.”
Two of the “Glasgow Girls” who campaigned to save their classmate from deportation spoke about the attacks on asylum seekers.
Amal Azuddin said, “Even though David Cameron and Theresa May actually joined a dawn raid, even though there are still detention centres, I have hope that we will win.
“As long as we united, we will never be defeated.”
Refugee activist Pinar Aksu, who was detained in the notorious Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, led chants of “Say it loud, say it clear–refugees are welcome here.”
Jenny Sutton who stood for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in Tottenham, north London, talked about the need for an alternative to the Labour Party.
Panos Garganas, editor of Socialist Worker’s Greek sister newspaper Workers’ Solidarity, was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of “OXI”, the Greek for no. And Unjum donated a solidarity collection from striking Tube workers.
He talked about how workers had stood up to the European ruling classes’ blackmail and the role played by the revolutionary left in Greece’s referendum
Panos concluded, “Winning the No vote was an an important political victory, but it wasn’t the end of the road.
“Workers in Greece will have to resist to make the ruling class respect the way they voted.”
Amy Leather from the central committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) said, “The theme of Marxism is ideas for revolution–we need to make those ideas a reality.
“That’s not just about waiting for the glorious day. It’s fighting on all these issues to make a difference now.
She appealed, “Join us in the battles we face today and for a world without austerity, racism, sexism, war and oppression.”
Tickets are available at the box office. For the timetable and more information go to marxismfestival.org.uk