Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10753
Successful Coventry against the Cuts march
Saturday 4th December saw up to 400 people march through Coventry city centre in a demonstration called by the Coventry against the Cuts campaign.
These cuts could absolutely decimate Coventry. Having seen much of our manufacturing base disappear, the public sector is a large employer in the city.
No wonder that the poster put out by the council trade unions in support of the march had the title 'Ghost Town' and warned against a return to the 1980s.
The demonstration was backed by a wide variety of unions and community groups. Coventry Against the Cuts, which brings together many unions and anti-cuts activists, with the council unions, in particular Unite and Unison, played a major part in organising the march.
There were banners and placards from Coventry Against the Cuts, PCS, Unite, Unison, Coventry TUC, GMB, NUT, TSSA and many more - our Socialist Party 'Fight the Cuts' placards were also prominent.
The Socialist Party have been very active in the anti-cuts campaign, winning support amongst local unions and residents groups to affiliate to Coventry Against the Cuts, as part of the strategy of a united struggle bringing together the local trade union movement , students and our communities to challenge the cuts agenda.
Loud, vibrant demo
After marching from the Council House through the city centre down to Millenium Square, the loud, vibrant demo finished with a rally hearing from excellent speakers - from Coventry TUC, Unison, Unite, NUT, disability rights campaigners and student activists.
One of the student speakers, Lenny Shail ,gave a barnstorming speech calling for students and workers to link up and get organised.
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party councillor for St Michaels outlined the situation and called for the Labour Council to refuse to implement the cuts.
The council plans to make huge cuts and has recently sent out letters to all employees warning their jobs could disappear - they also want 1000 workers to give up their jobs as part of a voluntary redundancy programme.
The rally was also addressed by Labour leader John Mutton, who tried to explain that the Labour council will not be making any cuts.
This was met with disbelief from many council workers who were present, who have received letters and face a very uncertain future.
A Connexions worker directly challenged Cllr Mutton over job losses and how the council are making cuts.
The Labour Council have to decide whether they are going to continue implementing cuts (to be clear they voted for Tory cuts when they were in opposition on the council) or stand with Coventry people in a united campaign to defend services and jobs.
This was an excellent demonstration - but it must be seen as only the start in the building of a truly mass campaign against this government, and against all cuts.
As Lenny Shail and Dave Nellist made clear, we also have to question the system - if it can't afford decent public services, free education and job security, then we have to say that we can't afford this capitalist system and need to fight for a socialist alternative.
If you agree with us, join us! Help us build Coventry Against the Cuts, and join the Socialist Party to strengthen the socialist opposition to capitalism.