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Mass marches at party conferences can fire resistance

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Tens of thousands of trade unionists from across Britain are set to descend on the Tory and Lib Dem party conferences.
Issue 2264

Tens of thousands of trade unionists from across Britain are set to descend on the Tory and Lib Dem party conferences.

The TUC is now backing the national protests when the coalition comes to Manchester and Birmingham.

As workers prepare to strike again over pensions in early November, mass marches in September and October can fire the starting gun for an autumn of resistance.

Regional TUCs will coordinate the protests. “The TUC will be funding and organising the entire march and rally,” North West TUC regional secretary Alan Manning told a mobilising meeting in Manchester last week. “This is a march and rally for the alternative to the economic program of this government.”

The Right to Work campaign, which initiated the demonstrations, reports that the TUC will now act as the official “event organiser” for both protests.

They are set to build on the “March for the Alternative” theme that was used for the half-million strong protest on 26 March.


Mark Krantz from Manchester Right to Work called it “historic and unprecedented” to have the TUC on board.

In Manchester, the agreed march route goes right through the city centre—and directly past the conference centre where the Tories will be gathering.

Mark added, “Everywhere you go, you say to people that the Tories are coming and they say ‘What? We’re going.’”

A student feeder march is planned from the city’s university district, as well as an anti-cuts march from Salford to join the protest.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, activists took to the streets last Saturday to leaflet for the march there against the Lib Dems.

The police have announced that there will be a “ring of steel” to keep protesters away from Nick Clegg.

“This is an outrageous decision and a direct attack on the right to protest,” said Paul Brandon, national secretary of Right to Work.

He called for “a massive demonstration in Birmingham on the 18 September to reassert working people’s hard-won freedoms”.

March on the Tories, Manchester, 2 Oct. March on the Lib Dems, Birmingham, 18 September. Go to for more info and publicity

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