Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/666/11763
Fighting the cuts after 26 March demo
Connecting London campaigns
Seventy people, representing 15 London borough anti-cuts alliances, met on Saturday 9 April to "share experiences" and discuss the way forward in fighting the cuts.
Borough campaigns now need to set themselves the task of fighting cut by cut, with protests and occupations, as well as supporting local trade unions taking strike action. The National Shop Stewards Network's resolution to the Trade Union Congress (see page 7) was circulated and it was generally agreed it should be taken up in all borough campaigns and taken around local trade union branches and workplaces.
Some local campaigns questioned whether they should work with the Labour Party now that councillors had voted through the cuts.
As a Socialist Party member from Waltham Forest anti-cuts union, I explained the position that campaign had taken all along: that we welcome anyone who is opposed to the cuts into the campaign and are happy to debate with anyone who defends voting for cuts, but we have resisted giving an uncritical platform or leading position to Labour councillors who were going to vote or had voted for cuts. This position received wide support in the meeting and no one put forward any different views.
As the borough campaigns have only just started to meet together it was agreed that this meeting did not have the authority to take decisions 'on behalf of London', so there were no votes on setting up formal structures at this stage, but there will be further meetings.
South East anti-cuts school
A South East anti-cuts day school, hosted by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition, took place on 9 April. Workshops were on council and education cuts, the economics of the crisis, building local groups and a debate on political representation between the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, Labour and others.
Alex Gordon, RMT president, spoke about the need to coordinate industrial action as the next step for the anti-cuts movement, especially over public sector pensions at this stage, as a step towards a general strike. He also called for support for the Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow to London march in October against youth unemployment, and informed the meeting of the local RMT branch's support for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates standing in Brighton on a clear no-cuts platform.
The day school helped draw together anti-cuts campaigns from across the region, including Redhill, Surrey, Brighton, Worthing and Lewes. A proposal to set up a coordinating committee to develop anti-cuts work on a regional basis was adopted by the day school.
Waltham Forest shows solidarity
On Thursday 7 April the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union (WFACU) held a rally to discuss the next steps in building the fight against cuts after the magnificent 26 March national demonstration.
Speakers included Alex Gordon, RMT transport union president, Paul Callanan, organiser of the Jarrow anniversary march for jobs, and Nancy Taaffe, WFACU coordinator.
With around 50 leading local activists in attendance, plans were made to challenge the brutal cuts in the borough and to build for action nationally.
The meeting also supported a protest at Waltham Forest town hall on 13 April, when the council's cabinet decides on cuts to sheltered housing wardens.
The meeting approved the National Shop Stewards Network motion on fighting the cuts, and agreed to take the motion to local trade union branches.
Leeds links up against cuts
Around 100 people attended the Leeds Anti-Cuts Convention which had been organised by Leeds Against the Cuts. The workshops showed the links Leeds Against the Cuts had begun to build with community campaigns, with day centre services users addressing the session on Leeds city council's cuts and Leeds Tenants Federation running a workshop on the governments' attacks on housing.
In The Socialist 13 April 2011:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Youth Fight for Jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis