Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/567/6930
Wirral cuts: Fighting 'cultural terrorism'
WITHIN THREE days of Wirral Council's Liberal-Labour ruling coalition ratifying the decision to close eleven libraries and other leisure and cultural facilities, representatives of the local community and other action groups rallied to a meeting called by Wirral trades council, declaring: "The fight must and will go on... we cannot let these cultural terrorists win"!
Dave Lunn, Wirral Against The Cuts Coalition (personal capacity)
Speakers at the meeting made it clear that although the council has now made its decision, it is opposing the will of the people of Wirral. However, its decision can be overturned provided the anger amongst the people of Wirral is brought together in a unified manner.
The meeting agreed to a three-pronged campaign including: mass peaceful direct action (to prevent facilities being closed); standing anti-cuts candidates in local elections; and pursuing a judicial review through the courts.
One speaker argued that while direct action and a political challenge may delay some closures, the law was the best and only way to overturn the council's decision. This however, was answered by one reader of The Socialist who said: "Although the legal challenge will be useful, mass action by the working class of Wirral is where the real power lies".
Representatives of residents and community groups made it clear that there are people back in their communities who have never been involved in any type of protest before but are now up for action, and have their sleeping bags and thermos flasks ready to occupy facilities and stop them being closed!
Socialist Party members called for the setting up of a broad, community-based political structure, run along federal lines to ensure that it is as inclusive as possible; allowing it to challenge the anti-public service agenda of the three main parties at the next local elections.
Socialist Party members also proposed that this organisation will need to have a minimum programme based around the following demands which were agreed by the meeting:
- No closures, no job cuts.
- No privatisation or transferring council assets to charities or community trusts.
- A needs-led budget; consult communities and workers on their needs. Full funding for essential services without any cuts.
- Open the council's books to public scrutiny.
- Additional government funding to meet the deficit.
- Anti-cuts election candidates to stand on the basis of only accepting essential expenses - all councillors' expenses should be open to public scrutiny.
There will be a further meeting on 23 February, where a more detailed way forward will be discussed, ensuring that the fight to defend Wirral services will continue and that those who have taken this decision to decimate local services will be held to account.
In The Socialist 18 February 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis