Trade union figures keywords:
100,000 march against Tory cuts
Hugh Caffrey, Secretary, North West Socialist Party
100,000 people and thousands of pig-themed objects marched through Manchester on Sunday 4 October to demonstrate against Tory party conference.
Inspired by left winger Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership victory, big numbers arrived for their first ever protest. Energetic young people and trade unionists eagerly took up Socialist Party placards, newspapers and leaflets.
Our bold and serious approach to organising in defence of trade unions and Corbyn's anti-cuts stand was well received. Many marchers discussed with us and were keen to get involved.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) called the demonstration under the banner "No to austerity - yes to workers' rights". Marchers showed yet again that an army is willing to fight, if only the generals will give a serious lead.
Manchester's Labour councillors attacked Tory austerity policies, despite consistently implementing them. Only a year ago they stampeded towards the government's bogus devolution deal: limited powers in return for massive extra cuts.
Meanwhile, massive enthusiasm was on show for any mention of fighting back, striking or socialism.
Len McCluskey, head of general union Unite, and Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, brought this out. Both promised to stand by workers in struggle despite the Tories' anti-democratic trade union bill. Len McCluskey said: "If that means taking us outside the law, then so be it".
Fine words, which rightly were strongly applauded. But now we need a strategy for action.
Decisive industrial action - co-ordinated and general strikes - can 'kill the bill' and bring down the Tories.
Mick Cash, general secretary of transport union RMT, said the trade union bill will "make us outlaws, and we will all be Robin Hoods."
Robin Hood hit the sheriff's profits with bow and arrow. We can hit back at Tory poverty deniers with strikes.
On 2 November, the TUC lobbies parliament. The unions must build to make that a mass demonstration, piling pressure on leaders to step up the fight.
If TUC officials won't lead, then the left-wing union leaders must seize the time.
Working class people can't just wait five years for a possible Labour victory. The attacks on our jobs, homes and services are happening now.
Mark Serwotka, head of public sector union PCS, saluted the success of National Gallery strikers to massive applause.
That's the spirit we must translate into strikes. Backed by further mass mobilisations, we can pitch the Tories back into the pig pen where they belong.
Socialist Party activists from up and down the country had a visible and energetic presence. We sold hundreds of copies of the Socialist, and raised over £700 in donations to our fighting fund.