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Anti-cuts movement continues to grow
Two thousand people marched in the Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition (BSTC) demonstration on Saturday 30 October. Marchers included local parents and workers from Bright Start nursery, and Connexions service staff, both threatened with closure by the local Tory council.
The speakers included FBU, RMT, CWU and Unison trade union members, workers in struggle and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
Pete Offord from the Socialist Party called on city councillors to support the movement and not to vote through a cuts budget, but warned that if they failed to do that, the anti-cuts movement should stand its own candidates.
The Socialist Party has been central to building this campaign. We had a vibrant and loud contingent near the front of the march, which led chants including: 'Tory council, hear us say, the bankers' crisis, we won't pay!'
The demands raised by the BSTC, which were called for by Socialist Party members, included opposing all cuts, and not falling into the trap of accepting some cuts while opposing others.
The march was a big step forward for Brighton. It was the city's biggest demonstration for years, and it attracted a lot of people who had never marched for anything before.
Jon Redford South East Socialist Party
On Saturday 30 October, around 500 people demonstrated their anger against the Con-Dem cuts in a lively Leicestershire Against the Cuts demonstration. The march in Leicester was supported by local PCS, Unison, and NUT branches, as well as NUS activists, Youth Fight for Jobs and Keep Our NHS Public. There were also banners from UCU, Unite and GMB branches.
Everyone, from students to pensioners, spoke of the devastating effect that cuts would have on local services, housing and jobs. Around 10,000 workers are facing unemployment across Leicestershire as a result.
Tony Church, the convenor of Leicestershire Against Cuts and an officer of a PCS tax workers' branch, pointed out that there is no need for any cuts to be made. He commented on the hypocrisy of millionaire Tories who say "we are all in this together", while the rich evade income tax to the tune of £120 billion a year.
Becci Heagney from Youth Fight for Jobs said that young people have been amongst those hardest hit by the recession, with one million youth unemployed. At the same time, funding is being cut for Connexions, an organisation which helps young people find jobs.
We are holding the next meeting of the Leicestershire Against Cuts campaign on Saturday 13 November at 3pm in the Secular Hall, Leicester.
Andrew Walton Leicester Socialist Party
Over 200 local residents and activists lobbied Hackney council's first meeting since the comprehensive spending review, and made it clear that councillors will not be allowed to vote through cuts without a fight.
Coordinated by the Hackney Alliance to Defend Public Services, the lobby was strikingly diverse with a strong contingent of unaffiliated workers, families and youth.
Paul Heron of the National Shop Stewards Network highlighted the outrageous nature of a government cutting £81 billion from public services, potentially forcing over one million workers onto the dole, while the collective wealth of the UK's 1,000 richest individuals swells by a record 29%.
The voice of the London borough's large immigrant communities, notably those of Turkish and Kurdish origin, was also felt at the lobby.
As Hackney Alliance joint secretary Glyn Harries clearly spelt out, what is needed now is a massive expansion and deepening of organisation, with activists organising street by street and workplace by workplace to oppose the government everywhere.
Hackney Labour councillor Ian Rathbone vowed to vote against any cuts to jobs and services.
Dominic Mealy Hackney Socialist Party
"We will not accept one single cut! We will not accept one single job loss!" That was the rallying cry in Portsmouth city centre on Saturday 30 October as over 150 trade unionists and students marched against the cuts.
The rally and march, organised by the local PCS union with the support of Portsmouth trades council, brought together workers, campaigners from the students' union and community groups including the Pensioners Association and the White Ribbon Campaign against domestic violence.
Socialist Party member Chris Pickett spoke on behalf of the Tiny Tots campaign, a group of parents who are fighting to save a local nursery school from closure. Chris spoke about the importance of uniting local community groups with the wider trade union movement.
Speaking on behalf of Youth Fight for Jobs, I called for a coordinated campaign between the city's student movement and the growing trade union-led action.
Other speakers included the president of the students' union as well as several local PCS and Unison members from local government offices.
This demonstration will be followed by a public meeting on 18 November to formally launch the Portsmouth anti-cuts campaign. The meeting will take place at 7pm, at Park Building, University of Portsmouth, and will be hosted by the trades council.
Ben Norman Portsmouth Youth Fight for Jobs
An electrifying Norfolk Coalition Against The Cuts meeting took place on 1 November in the council chambers at City Hall, Norwich. This trade union led coalition meeting, spearheaded by regional PCS and Unison reps, was so well attended that not all of those who turned up could get into the council chamber.
Trade unions, political parties, community and service user groups - most notably from the sensory impaired community whose council-funded support looks as good as cancelled - were represented and made clear that we are all in this together against the Con-Dem cuts.
This coalition is planning a further anti Con-Dem/Norfolk county council cuts demonstration on 4 December and recognises the need for all similar coalitions nationwide to link up and show solidarity in fighting the savage, unnecessary and ideologically driven cuts.
Mick Duffin Norwich Socialist Party
Around 100 local people gathered in Hastings town centre on Saturday 30 October to pledge resistance to public sector job cuts, privatisation and cuts in services. 43% of employees in Hastings work in the public sector.
Speakers included Rob Hancock of South East Region TUC, Sam Buckley of Hastings trades council, Alex Richardson of Youth Fight for Jobs, Terry Jackson of the CWU, Fraser Innes of Hastings Socialist Party, and Nigel Sheahan of PCS.
Speakers urged everyone to attend the trades council public meeting on 18 November at the Unitarian Church, South Terrace, Hastings.