The Socialist 9 March 2011
We can stop cuts!
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Labour councils should fight cuts, not implement them!
On Saturday 5 March, over 250 delegates marched to a rally outside the Labour Party local government conference in London. The demonstration was called by the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) anti-cuts campaign (see top left box).
Vik Chechi, Tower Hamlets Socialist Party
Trade unionists, young workers, students, community groups and the unemployed were represented by those protesting against Labour-led councils that have so far agreed well over £1 billion of cuts to local services.
Many across the country voted Labour last May to stop Tory cuts. However, by carrying through cuts, Labour councillors have sided with the bankers and the rich, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with ordinary working people.
The demonstration began at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Lambeth, then headed towards the conference. Chants such as "No ifs, no buts, don't pass on Tory cuts" filled the air, receiving applause from onlookers.
Once outside the Westminster conference, several speakers addressed the demonstration. Speakers denounced the Con-Dems for piling the debt onto workers. But, as Steve Hedley from RMT pointed out, Labour councillors who make cuts are traitors.
Coventry Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist gave a passionate speech pointing out that, with the anti-cuts movement developing, Labour councillors should show political leadership and pass through 'needs budgets'. Liverpool and Lambeth councils did this in the 1980s.
These councillors should be part of a mass working class movement that could electrify politics and bring down the Con-Dem coalition.
Some Labour councillors came outside and witnessed the fury amongst the demonstrators. Linda Taaffe, NSSN secretary, handed in a petition calling on Labour councils to fight all cuts.
The NSSN anti-cuts campaign will work with Labour councillors who vote against cuts. However, those who put through cuts will be fought.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) calls on anti-cuts campaigns to stand candidates in the May local elections, to show that there is an alternative to destroying jobs and public services.
In this issue
Socialist Party youth and students
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature