Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/638/10215
National Shop Stewards Network lobby - Manchester
TUC told to name the day
I didn't want to get up at 6am in the morning on my Sunday off to make a four hour journey to Manchester and then a four hour journey back to ask the TUC Congress to name the day for a national demonstration.
The reality is for the public sector workers crammed onto the Waltham Forest mini-bus and for the 700 working and young people who participated in the rallies, march and lobby outside the congress the mood was that we really didn't have much choice, we had to go.
With budget cuts already starting to bite and a daily tirade undermining public services and particularly libraries (a service I work for) the reality is I could have lost my job by the time the first all Britain anti-cuts demo is organised if the TUC delays. Timing in the struggle is of the essence. A retrospective fight can be waged but it is not the best strategy and speaker after speaker on Sunday climbed the podium to address the crowd and say so.
In these days of sound bites, spin and airbrushing it was good to see two trade union general secretaries climbing onto a makeshift stage to speak to the crowd. Bob Crow and Billy Hayes both reiterated their support for a coordinated Trade Union Congress fightback.
It was good to hear leading members of the PCS along with firefighters, BBC engineers, shop workers and young unemployed people adding their voice to the push for the TUC to name the day for a national demo in 2010.
The march seemed to pick up local youth and passers-by as we made the short walk to the Manchester Mechanics Institute. It's a long time since I've been in a labour movement meeting where there were not enough seats but people sat on the floor and huddled around the doors to hear the speeches. Time and time again workers' representatives got up and explained that the shock therapy which is being proposed in the October comprehensive spending review needs to have a resistance, like the anti-poll tax campaign, prepared now.
In the mini-bus on the way back workers from the local hospital were being sent texts saying we had made the national news. It is strange that sometimes 20,000 can march and there is a virtual media blackout but it seemed that this protest was covered on all the major news programmes along with the breakfast news the next day. This made the eight-hour round trip in a cramped minibus seem worthwhile.
Our job from this lobby is to build the momentum for action, for a united campaign spearheaded by the TUC drawing in families and friends that could break this shaky Con-Dem marriage.
A small fire was set under the seat of the TUC general council. Our job is to make this fire an inferno.
In The Socialist 15 September 2010:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party youth and students
Feature: Socialist Party women
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review