Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11674

Posted on 5 April 2011 at 15:37 GMT

Bristol meeting - The battle of our lives has begun

In what veterans of the Bristol labour movement agree was the most inspiring public meeting since the launch of the anti-Poll Tax movement in the city in 1989, over 200 fired-up workers and young people cheered from the rafters as Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, threw down the gauntlet to the Con-Dem coalition and warned that the struggle to defend all jobs and services was only just beginning.

Robin Clapp, BADACA press officer

The marvellous 26 March demonstration was the backdrop to this gathering, organised by the Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance. BADACA has already led two hugely impressive demonstrations, both attracting over 2,000.

Our explicit opposition to all cuts has attracted an individual membership of over 900, the affiliation of almost every major trade union and four-figure donations from Unite and Unison branches.

A spirit of defiance permeated the audience, buoyed up by the news that Cameron's flagship NHS reforms have hit the iceberg. Mark Serwotka lifted the lid on a meeting he and other trade union leaders had had in Downing Street before Christmas.

Every arrogant cabinet minister sat opposite them had been a millionaire, dumbly unaware of the necessity of public services for working people. He lambasted those Labour leaders who say that some cuts are necessary, pointing out that Ed Miliband's argument for sugar-coated, slower cuts was nothing more than a poisonous recipe for division and defeat.

Mark called for coordinated strike action by the trade union movement: "If you are going to get into a fight, make sure you have as many people supporting you as possible".

At present, PCS, NUT and UCU are looking to coordinate action on the issue of pensions and he urged other public sector unions to follow suit.

From the floor of the meeting came an avalanche of examples that gave the lie to the myth that we're all 'in this together'. A worker from the Ministry of Justice pointed out that her PFI-owned office costs an incredible £650,000 to rent each month.

"Justice stops at the door of the Ministry of Justice for those who work there" she said, before going on to detail the effects of low wages and plunging staff morale.

This was a theme taken up by a worker from JobCentre Plus, who explained how management monitor your comfort breaks and threaten you with corrective training if you take too many visits to the lavatory.

Presumably your bladder is given a strict talking to, he speculated.

A probation worker drew a frightening picture of what a privatised probation service would look like, while a Year 11 school student criticised the hesitancy of those trade union leaders who failed to support the actions of young people demonstrating against university fees and the snatching away of Education Maintenance Allowance.

When I spoke I got a cheer for exposing the hypocrisy of Labour MPs like Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper who marched in London wearing suffragette sashes and then rushed into TV studios to attack those peaceful UK Uncut demonstrators who had had the temerity to trespass in the toffs' shop Fortnum and Mason.

A disabled worker recounted how his local support service has gone from providing five-day support to just two-day support since 1st April. "This is not the big society - it's the small-minded and selfish society".

He was followed by an angry pensioner, who clenching her fist throughout her fiery contribution, urged the audience to reclaim May Day from the Tories' attempts to hijack it.

An older black worker summed up the sentiment of the meeting: "To the rich I say - give it back. It's you that messed it up.

"We must take it from the top and not the bottom".

There was support for the news that the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is standing 16 anti-cuts candidates in Bristol in the local elections.

Tom Baldwin pointed out that the alternative to a Tory-Liberal government making cuts is not a Labour government making cuts.

In closing this electric rally, NUT president Nina Franklin alerted the audience to another meeting taking place next week. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber will be speaking at the Bristol Business School and for just £15 you can enjoy canapés and networking with the great and the good of commerce and finance.

What a contrast, but some of us may go along... . What is clear though is that the battle of our lives has begun.

Our forces are growing and are organising across every community in the city. Like Thatcher before him, Cameron will rue the day he decided to take on everybody at once.

This nasty and brutish government shows every sign of becoming a short one as well.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Bristol:

triangleDemand for no-cuts budget grows

triangleThousands march - mayor needs real anti-cuts strategy

triangleBristol's Labour mayor calls anti-austerity march - now stop making cuts!

triangleHow much reserves have councils got?

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: 150 years of Marx's Das Capital

Cuts:

triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleCarlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

12/10/17

Cleaners

Justice for Tube cleaners demo

11/10/17

Salford

Salford Unison condemns pay cuts

11/10/17

Royal Mail

CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

11/10/17

Carlisle

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

11/10/17

Green

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

11/10/17

Fire

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

11/10/17

Cardiff

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

11/10/17

John McDonnell

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

11/10/17

Orgreave

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

11/10/17

Union

Workplace news in brief

11/10/17

Democratic rights

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

6/10/17

Northern Ireland

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

5/10/17

Runcorn

Too much to cross the Mersey

4/10/17

Royal Mail

Set for national strike action

4/10/17

London

Supporting the general strike in Catalonia

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2