By Charlie Kimber and Isabel Ringrose
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Huge Enough is Enough rally in Manchester shows mood to fight

This article is over 1 years, 7 months old
Enough is Enough has called a day of action, including protests across Britain, on 1 October
Issue 2821
Dozens of mainly young people in packed room

Part of the crowd in the cathedral at the Enough is Enough rally on Tuesday (Picture: Manchester SWP)

A very big Enough is Enough rally in Manchester on Tuesday evening underlined the mood for a fightback in Britain. Around 1,500 people packed the city’s cathedral with an overflow of several hundreds listening outside. In total around 2,000 took part.

It was the campaign’s second major event after its launch in Clapham, London, two weeks ago. It calls for real pay rises, taxing the rich, an end to food poverty, decent homes for all and slashed energy bills. And the rally was infused with support for anyone fighting back at a time of social emergency.

The fact it came just a few days after the announcement of an 80 percent rise to come in gas and electricity prices increased the sense of urgency.

The crowd at the Enough is Enough rally loved calls for strikes and any other form of resistance. Dave Ward of the CWU union won a standing ovation when he said, “We stand together, fight together” on the eve of a strike by 160,000 of his union’s members in Royal Mail, BT and Openreach.

RMT union senior assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey said, “There’s a change coming and we have to act. We’ve got to take this fight forward with collective united action and non-violent civil disobedience. We have got the power—us.”

The more speakers denounced the corporate looting of Britain, the louder the cheers. The more they called for making the rich pay, the stormier the applause.

And there was also support for any mention of opposing racism or attacks on LGBT+ people and support for defence of the oppressed.

Unison union president Andrea Egan slammed the earnings of top energy bosses and the Tories’ priorities.  “This government has long demonstrated it doesn’t care about working class people—they only care about their stocks and shares and wealth,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter who wins the Tory leadership, neither Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss has a plan to make life better for working people or their families.”

Egan announced that unions are taking the government to court over incoming anti-trade union laws. But she added, “It’s not legal action that will save us. It’s strike action—coordinated strike action.”

Egan called on unions to fund coaches to the People’s Assembly demonstration rally outside the Tory Party conference in Birmingham on 2 October. But she didn’t mention any strike moves by Unison to smash the curbs on the pay of council workers, health workers and many more.

There were some clear calls for support for strikers. Maxine Looby, vice-president of the UCU union, said that on  6 and 7 September a number of colleges in north west England will be striking. She also urged support for the national higher education strike ballot that starts soon at 151 universities.

Hundreds of peple uotsdie the Enough is Enough meeting

Part of the large crowd who listened from outside the cathedral (Picture: Manchester SWP)

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, said, “Change has never been given, it’s won by the working class—not by capitalists or politicians.

“In place of solutions, our politicians offer us culture wars. It’s because they’re utterly terrified of an organised, radical and educated working class.”

Politics in Britain is so broken, and the main party leaders so useless, that quite modest change is seen as extraordinary. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, won loud applause for his moves to bring buses back into public control and to cap fares.

Earlier in the day Enough is Enough announced it had reached 500,000 supporters. It is very positive it has grown so quickly and that so many people want to be part of a fightback.

But there is still a lack of concrete actions. Ward said, “It doesn’t matter what the crisis is, no matter what political party is in power, working class people will pay the price all the time. That’s unless we come together and fight for change.”

Ward added change is not a “spectator sport”. “You have to be involved in it to make it happen,” he added. That has to be turned into reality with more strikes, and a movement that links the power of workers with the issues facing all working class people. 

Enough is Enough is to hold a National Day of Action on 1 October which, it says, “will see protests across Britain”—although there were no details of this from the Manchester meeting.

“We’re going to go out to every town and city across Britain, bringing all the groups together,” Ward said. Enough is Enough could use the mood of these rallies to build support for strikes and demonstrations everywhere.

  • For Enough is Enough events in your area, sign up here
  • Future Enough is Enough rallies include Liverpool on Friday, Norwich (6 Sept), Glasgow (7 Sept), Bristol (9 Sept), Brighton (13 Sept) and Leeds (17 Sept).

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