Socialist Worker

Jeremy Corbyn's mass rallies are a focus for anger—let's turn it into resistance

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2466

Jeremy Corbyn meets supporters outside the rally in Leeds

Jeremy Corbyn meets supporters outside the rally in Leeds (Pic: Bob Peters/Flickr)


Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign showed no signs of losing momentum as thousands turned out to his election rallies across Britain last week.

Around 2,000 people filled the conference hall in Leeds last Saturday. 

That morning, another 450 people came to a meeting organised by the Aslef train drivers’ union in Doncaster. 

Trevor Jones, who was at the meeting, said, “It had a bit of a feeling of the Scottish referendum about it.

“People want to hear something that’s different from the bunkum that they’re used to hearing.”

A thousand people attended an outdoor rally at a cricket ground in Bradford last Friday—which had been relocated as the original indoor venue was far too small.

Many of those going to Corbyn meetings said he represents a challenge to austerity—and a refreshing change to mainstream politics.

Several hundred people turned out to see Corbyn speak at a Kurdish community centre in Haringey, north London, last Sunday.

Health worker Ciara told Socialist Worker the rally was her first political meeting.

She said, “I joined Labour to vote for Jeremy. Labour hasn’t really attracted young people like me. It didn’t inspire people to get involved in politics.

Hope

“But now Jeremy is willing to stand up for what he believes in it gives people hope.”

And Michelle told Socialist Worker, “I have always been Labour.  But recently I have voted Green as I haven’t seen much difference between the Conservatives and Labour.

“Now Jeremy Corbyn is the only person I have seen who is really standing up against austerity. Everyone else want to make the economy recover by attacking the poorest.”

On Thursday of last week another 1,000 people went to a Corbyn meeting in Norwich, where there was an impromptu street meeting for the extra 100 people who couldn’t get in.

The size of the meetings shows the potential that exists to build a mass movement against austerity.

Activist Andy Bremmer, who was at the Leeds rally, told Socialist Worker, “We knew there was going to be a lightning rod for the movement. But no one expected it to be the Labour Party.

“Most people are just gobsmacked that Corbyn’s campaign has been as successful is it has. So people are thinking on their feet. It’s just ‘Let’s get Corbyn elected’.”

That potential can’t be allowed to simply dissipate inside the Labour Party. But we can argue to turn it towards the TUC demo outside the Tory Party conference on 4 October.

Ciara said, “It’s wonderful to see so many getting involved in the left like they are in other parts of Europe.”

Thanks to Neil Terry, Trevor Jones and Tim Knight-Hughes 

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