Thousands of people have gathered in massive anti-Tory rallies across Britain just after Liz Truss became the new prime minister. Over 1,200 people rallied in Glasgow on Wednesday and some 800 rallied in Norwich the previous night to hear speakers from the Enough is Enough campaign.
It’s a powerful reminder of the new mood of resistance generated by the cost of living crisis swinging a wrecking ball through working people’s lives.
At the Scottish rally, strikes formed the centrepiece of much of the most well-received speeches from the platform.
Roz Foyer, Scottish TUC union federation general secretary said, “Workers are realising politicians aren’t going to change things unless we force them to. My message to every worker in Scotland is this—your struggle is our struggle and the STUC will be there to help you win because that’s solidarity”
Huge cheers rippled through the cavernous Old Fruitmarket venue as Foyer read out a list of workers on strike.
CWU union members—who are due to strike at Royal Mail on Thursday and Friday—were there with a big visible presence. As well as the cost of living crisis, the rally took on wider political questions. Speeches mentioning nationalisation, taxing the rich and health and social care reforms won a warm response.
Meanwhile, in Norwich on Tuesday an unprecedentedly large crowd created a charged atmosphere.
Taj Ali, a Unite union member and trade unionist from Luton, drew an ovation when he spoke about “class war”.
He told the crowd that people in Luton had already been suffering a cost of living crisis for a long time. He said, “They will try and divide us black v white, Muslim v Christians. Our unity is our strength and it terrifies the ruling class.”
Eddie Dempsey, RMT rail union assistant general secretary, won an ovation when he said, “We are the last defensive line against austerity and the Tory onslaught. We need to be able to tell our children, when it counted we were there, we stood up”.
Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was a surprise speaker in Norwich, where he used the platform to call for utilities to be taken back into public ownership.
Back in Glasgow, Annie Craig from the Living Rent tenants union was greeted enthusiastically when she talked about the temporary rent freeze announced by the Scottish government this week. “It’s not a cost of living crisis, it’s a cost of fucking greed crisis,” she said. “I’ve seen my city decimated by landlords in the last 10 years.”
“We are workers, we are strong, fighting for our lives, we are this nation’s pride, united by the struggle. Here we go, we are the fucking working class”.
Aamer Anwar—solicitor of the family of Sheku Bayoh who died after contact with the police, spoke. He said, ”His family asks of the labour movement, politicians and everyone—if you carried the hashtag #BLM, if you marched, if you cried tears for George Floyd, where are the tears and the marches now?”
He called on everyone to attend the vigils outside the court when the Bayoh inquiry resumes in Edinburgh.
Refuse striker Barry blasted the lies pushed by our rulers about the cause of soaring inflation “We’re tired of this being blamed on a war in Ukraine,” he said. “This is bollocks. We get 4 percent of our gas from Russia, and we still have the highest prices in Europe.”
“We refuse to be poor anymore and reject that immigrants are society’s problems”.
The Enough is Enough rallies are a fitting welcome to Liz Truss’s first few days as prime minister. They should be used to build bigger, wider and coordinated strikes and protests against the Tories.
Thanks to Hector Sierra, Hugh Stanners and Keith Prince
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