No more cuts!

by New Worker correspondent

THOUSANDS took to the streets of London to protest against more austerity measures last Saturday. Around 250,000 people marched through central London to demonstrate against the renewed ruling class offensive of the Cameron government.

Every major trade union was well represented along with many of the minor ones, community groups and peace movements like Stop the War and CND, anti-fascist campaigns like UAF, freedom and justice campaigns, NHS and housing campaigns, religious and pensioner groups, phalanxes of people in wheelchairs and thousands and thousands of noisy and colourful students — all together and all with one message: “No more cuts!”

The march from the Bank of England to Parliament Square was tiring for many but they packed the square to listen to speeches from Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, singer Charlotte Church, Diane Abbott MP and of course Jeremy Corbyn MP, who is standing for the Labour leadership.

He spoke of the ruin that the banking crisis had caused and the increasing inequality with a million depending on food banks and people sleeping in the streets.

Corbyn also spoke of the 1850s rallies in the same spot for the People’s Charter, whose demands were described as “out of date and irrelevant” at the time but were all achieved within a century. “They were the real visionaries,” he said. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants.”

“We want a state that takes responsibility for everybody... where we each care for all and no one is destitute. I think it’s called socialism,” he added.

Meanwhile in Scotland about 1,000 protesters marched to Glasgow’s George Square for the Scotland United Against Austerity rally.

Speakers included Grahame Smith, the general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, who denounced the Tories for “outlawing undemocratic strike action”. He said: “This has nothing to do with democracy or participation,” adding: “If it was about participation, we should be allowed to conduct secure online ballots or secret workplace ballots.”

Pat Rafferty, Scottish secretary of Unite, took a firmer line saying: “Let’s get on the front foot and send a loud and clear message to Cameron and his cronies today.

“When you come after us we will fight back. When you create laws to curb our democracy we will break them, and when you oppress us we will organise”.

Larry Flanagan, the general secretary of the teachers’ union the Educational Institute of Scotland, said lessons should be learned from the poll tax battles of the1980s.

A telling moment in the rally came when a speaker from the Labour Party Campaign for Socialism, was heckled by some rowdy nationalists in the audience for actually opposing cuts.

Denise Christie, a firefighter said that present cuts to the fire service were the worst in her 20-year career. In addition pension cuts and losing 400 frontline firefighters, women who work in the control rooms, as cleaners and in canteens.

As these cuts are being imposed by the Scottish National Party government it is taboo to mention it according to nationalist protesters.