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Manchester demo can terrify the Tories

This article is over 8 years, 8 months old
Just two weeks remain to make the TUC’s march a real show of anger, says Nick Clark
Issue 2471

The Tories could face a massive show of opposition when they meet for their annual conference in Manchester in two weeks’ time.

The TUC has called a national demonstration to march past it on Sunday 4 October—and across Britain activists are organising to go.

Jeremy Corbyn’s election victory as Labour leader (see pages 2, 3&6) and the huge protests in support of refugees last Saturday (see pages 4&5) have ushered in a new mood of optimism.

There is a real sense that it is possible to take on the Tories.

The People’s Assembly plans a week of action in Manchester during the Tory conference.

The events include a protest outside Manchester Piccadilly train station on Saturday 3 October to greet Tory delegates as they arrive.

There will also be a Stand Up To Racism protest to coincide with home secretary Theresa May’s speech. And Disabled People Against Cuts plans a direct action protest as hated Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith speaks.

But it’s the national TUC demonstration that has the potential to be a focal point for more resistance.

Activists are pushing for their unions to put on transport and send delegations.

Trevor Jones, an anti-austerity activist in Doncaster, said, “After the refugees welcome protests and Jeremy Corbyn’s win, we need to focus on building the 4 October demo in Manchester.


“It’s wonderful what’s happened with Corbyn. But we need more focus on the demo now—we have to be pushing, pushing and pushing.”

Transport has already been booked in a number of towns and cities across Britain.

Steve Guy, a Unite union member in Hove near Brighton, said, “Our trades council has booked a coach—and we should be able to put on another.

“There’s a great deal of interest out there. There’s just a general feeling that the Tories aren’t welcome.”

And Doreen, an NUT union activist at the TUC conference told Socialist Worker, “We have already booked a coach through our local trades council. 

“We have NUT union members signed up, but people from other unions have come on board too.”

A massive national demonstration can show the scale of the united opposition to the Tories.

And it can put the strongest force against austerity—the trade unions—at the centre of the fightback.

The march has the potential to be huge.

But more work needs to be done to make sure that happens—and there’s just enough left time to book more transport.

Trevor said, “It’s very important for trade unions to build for the demo.

“We need a strong movement that’s going to take on austerity and challenge the Tories in a meaningful way.”

More reasons to march

The mood for resistance was on show at a huge People’s Assembly public meeting in central London on Monday of this week.

The Emmanuel Centre, venue was filled beyond its capacity.

More than 1,000 people had come to hear speakers, including new Shadow cabinet minister Diane Abbott and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, discuss the fight against austerity.

Calls to join protests in Manchester during the conference were met with an enthusiastic response.

Elli Panagopoulos told Socialist Worker, “It’s going to be hard work to fight austerity. We should go to Manchester. 

“Varoufakis said Greece was an example of what can happen. It shows there’s all the more reason for us to go to Manchester and protest.”


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