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Posted on 19 November 2010 at 16:17 GMT

Workers and students launch Portsmouth anti-cuts campaign

Over 150 trade unionists, students and community activists packed into a university lecture theatre on 18 November to officially launch the Portsmouth Anti-Cuts Campaign.

Portsmouth Socialist Party

The meeting, hosted by Portsmouth Trades Council, sought to use the momentum generated by recent local anti-cuts marches and public meetings to build a community wide campaign prepared to take on every single proposed cut.

To open the discussion on the way forward the meeting was addressed by Laurie Heselden, South East representative of the Trades Union Congress, who said: 'These cuts are a massive experiment.

No country has ever cut its way out of a recession. These cuts are not being made because they have to be. They are doing this because they want to do it.'

However, after Laurie Heselden proceeded to read out the charge sheet of cuts which the public sector will be facing, he outlined the limited TUC strategy of training union reps, lobbying local politicians and building for a national demonstration in March.

In contrast, Ben Norman, speaking on behalf of 'Youth Fight for Jobs: South' proposed that the campaign should back the call for a national trade union demonstration before Christmas, a proposal greeted by the first round of applause of the evening.

'The 50,000 students who marched to defend education were but the tip of the iceberg, a litmus test for the nation's anger" Ben said.

"If we wait for four more months before taking national action, any march may just become a funeral procession for the jobs which will have been lost and the futures which will have been blighted".

The Youth Fight for Jobs speaker also called for the campaign to be committed to fighting all cuts and proposed standing anti-cuts candidates in the upcoming local elections.

Contributions from the floor included discussion on the need to link to regional anti-cuts campaigns, and accounts of the NUS demo by students from Portsmouth University.

The meeting also elected a steering committee that includes trade union reps, students' union officers, school students from the Portsmouth Save Our Schools campaign and delegates from the Pensioners Association.

The campaign will next meet on Monday, 29 November, at 6pm at a venue to be decided.

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