Monday, 15 June 2015

Greens Should Join the National Anti-Austerity Protest in London – Saturday 20 June

The People’s Assembly has organised what promises to be a big demonstration on Saturday 20 June start time 12.00 noon at the Bank of England and finishing at Parliament Square at 2.30pm. Nearly 65,000 people have pledged to attend on Facebook. The exact route of the march can be found here.

The newly elected majority Tory government has only partially so far, set out its intentions to continue, even accelerate the austerity agenda as pursued under the Tory/Lib Dem coalition over the last five years. What we do know, is that the following measures are intended to be ruthlessly enforced:

Slash a further £12 billion from the welfare bill – with in work and disability benefits likely to be targeted

Carry on with the expansion of zero hours contracts for workers and encourage other forms of insecure employment

Around half a million public sector jobs to be axed

Introduce more hoops for unions to jump through to call legal industrial action, making it easier for employers to get court injunctions to stop action

The further sell off of social housing which is already in short supply. These sell offs tend to find their way to private landlords eventually and are then let at far higher rents to tenants

Further privatisation of public services and new international trade rules to make it easier for corporations to bully (and even sue in secret courts) democratic governments into allowing free access to profiting from these services     

Talk of raising student tuition fees and taking more schools out of local authority control by turning them into Academies and Free Schools

Whipping up an environment of blaming immigrants for all of our economic problems

I know there is quite a bit of cynicism about the value of these ‘A to B’ marches for being ignored by the government, and I don’t expect that however big the protest is it will change the government’s mind on all of there policies, or even any.

This is typical of this attitude from Class War:

“CLASS WAR will be assembling at the bank of England but we’ll be staying there – in the belly of the beast. As thousand of marchers collapse from torpor and ennui and boredom – and that’s before they move off – CW will offer a clear alternative of radical action. At last you can chose between same old A- B boredom or be part of the largest angry brigade ever. Tough call.”

So, they plan to cause some trouble (non violent I hope) presumably at the Bank of England by the looks of it.

Meanwhile, according to the Telegraph, animal rights campaigners are planning to target the headquarters of Sainsbury’s, over dairy produce from the south west of England where a badger cull is being carried out.

I do hope that any of the more direct action type protests surrounding the main event do not descend into running battles with the police, which inevitably gets the media headlines. Violence is almost always counter productive. Do not forget as well, that the police are suffering huge cuts their budgets too, and some may well feel sympathy with the overall anti-cuts message.

There will be various blocs on the march, including a Green bloc, and I think it is important that Greens have a very visible presence on the protest, to cement our hard won image for being an anti-austerity party, not just an environmental one. Although there will be a presence from environmental and peace campaigners more traditionally associated with Greens, in further blocs.  

The broader aim of the event is to try and draw together the various protest groups, like anti-fracking and ant-war groups into the anti-austerity movement. Indeed, the huge waste of money that is the Trident nuclear facility could be put to more effective use with so many vital public services being cut, which is just one example of a shared agenda.

It should be enough to get people to this demo that this Tory government wants to pare back what is left of the welfare state and take us back to the 1930s.  

The weather forecast is good for Saturday, sunny spells and no rain, so do your best to attend this protest, which should be good fun as well as being in a noble cause.     

1 comment:

  1. We hope to have a high visibility Green Party presence at this demo. Apart from banners and flags we will have 500 new placards to distribute. The Green assembly point is at Cornhill.
    Noel Lynch
    Chair, Demos & Actions Group.