Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Brighton March Against Cuts - Now, Build the Movement!

2,000 people marched in the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition demonstration on Saturday. Marchers included local parents and workers from Bright Start nursery, and Connexions service staff, both threatened with closure by the local Tory council.

The speakers included FBU, RMT, CWU and UNISON members, and workers in struggle, including a Bright Start staff member. Pete Offord from the Socialist Party spoke, pointing out that the anti-trade union legislation is designed to hold back struggle and urged the crowd to support workers even when they are forced to take action outside of the law. He also called for the movement to take up the slogan of no cuts to public services, this has a particular ring in Brighton where the hypocrisy of the council is clear for all to see. For example, just one of the four newly appointed strategic directors (hired axemen) earns more per year than the annual running costs of Bright Start nursery! He also called on city councillors to support the movement and not to vote through a cuts budget but warned that if they failed to do that, the anti-cuts movement should stand its own candidates that will!

Caroline Lucas MP from the Green Party spoke after, receiving an enthusiastic response from the crowd, showing the potential that an anti-cuts MP can have for encouraging and building a movement against the cuts.

The Socialist Party has been central to building this campaign. We had a vibrant and loud contingent near the front of the march, which led chants including 'Tory Council, hear us say, the bankers crisis, WE WON'T PAY!'

The march was a big step forward for Brighton. Its size has not been seen for years, and it attracted a lot of people who had never marched for anything before. The demands raised by the BSTC, which were called for by Socialist Party members, included opposing ALL cuts, and not falling into the trap of accepting some cuts while opposing others. When the government say 'cuts' they do not mean cuts to Trident, or cutting tax avoidance and evasion; they mean public services and jobs which ordinary working-class people rely on. As Socialists we call on the BSTC to rely on the united strength of the working-class in fighting all the cuts being imposed on us, and not water down our message to give those who are for some cuts an easy ride within the coalition. Such a compromise will be at the expense of jobs and services, none of which we want to see go!

Click here for details of the upcoming campaign meeting on Monday 8 November