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Merseyside Socialist Party - going forward with confidence
Up to 100 people crammed into last night's Merseyside Socialist Party public meeting, a fitting tribute to the 20th anniversary of Liverpool Militant MP Terry Fields being jailed for refusing to pay his poll tax.
Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist illustrated the desperation and will to fight of working people. He contrasted the reaction of Labour MPs to the Tories during the 1984-5 miners' strike with the miserably pro-cuts position of New Labour now.
In reality, said Dave, we have three parties in a 'coalition for cuts'!
PCS union president Janice Godrich (personal capacity) nailed the myth cultivated by the Con-Dems and media, repeated many times by Ed Miliband, that "negotiations" on pensions are actually taking place between the trade unions and the government.
There is no real negotiation, just a Con-Dem blueprint for savaging workers' retirement.
Lisa Dempster spoke on the campaign to save Knotty Ash Sure Start. Liverpool Labour council leader Joe Anderson had told Lisa to "understand my position".
Lisa replied: "No Joe, you have to understand my position as a parent who has to explain to her three-year-old daughter why she can't go to the nursery she loves because you have shut it!".
Alec Price on behalf of Youth Fight for Jobs described the all-fronts assault on young people by the Con-Dems. With one million youth unemployed, education shut off through cuts and hikes to New Labour's tuition fees, the Youth March for Jobs will recreate the 1930s' Jarrow march this autumn.
Alec will be one of the marchers.
Tony Mulhearn, a leader of Liverpool council's battle against cuts in the 1980s, mapped out the next steps in the struggle against cuts. The local establishment lauds the struggles by those who have long passed away, but lashes out against struggles mounted by those who are still alive, he noted.
No number of attacks on the record of the 1983-87 council can obscure the fact that we need that kind of struggle now. A new mass party of the working class is essential.
Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, welcomed the meeting as the first such event of this size for many years on Merseyside. The changed situation, said Peter, means we should go forward with confidence in the battle against the cuts and forge a powerful socialist organisation as a weapon to carry out the socialist transformation of Britain and extend the hand of friendship to working people across Europe and worldwide.
Inspired by the speakers and our ideas, £360 was donated to the collection and numerous copies of the Socialist paper sold. Several people agreed to join the Socialist Party on the spot, ranging from young workers at their first meeting to former members re-enthused, to retired workers.
Many more are interested in the party and will be discussing with us over the next weeks.
In closing, the meeting passed the resolution below on fighting against the cuts in Britain and internationally, with the perspective of mass struggle and mass organisation to stand up for youth and working people.
This public meeting of Merseyside district Socialist Party reiterates our total opposition to all the cuts driven by the Con-Dem government, including those carried out by Labour-led local authorities.
United action can stop the cuts. Following the magnificent 26th March demonstration and 30th June strikes, the next necessary step is a 24-hour public sector strike in the autumn uniting all the public-sector unions in a one-day stoppage.
We resolve to:
1. Build for the lobby of the national TUC on 11th September, called by the National Shop Stewards Network, to urge a one-day public sector general strike
2. Build for a large and successful turnout to the Liverpool trades council event on 13th July at which "Liverpool Against Cuts" is to be launched
3. Continue to build a mass movement against all the cuts and argue for a one-day public sector general strike
4. Send solidarity to our brothers and sisters internationally, especially in Greece, who are fighting against capitalist austerity.
5. Continue to campaign with all genuine workers' forces for a new Mass Party of the Working Class
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 6 July 2011 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.