Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/10469
2,000 march against Con-Dem cuts in Bristol
George Osborne's spending review on Wednesday 20 October confirmed all of our worst fears about the Tory government.
Frankie Langeland, Bristol Socialist Party
Where I live in south Bristol we have already been hit hard by the recession and New Labour's cutbacks, the Con-Dem government's plans could be the final blow for a lot of us.
So it was no surprise to me that 2,000 people from across Bristol came to protest last Saturday and start the fightback, despite the pouring rain and freezing cold.
We started at Castle Park in the city centre. Socialist Party comrades set up early to leaflet shoppers and discuss with the people coming to the demo.
Bristol Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ), who a week earlier had started fortnightly branch meetings, formed a contingent.
A YFJ gig earlier in the month had raised more than enough money to get ourselves a banner and megaphone and comrades had made placards.
This helped make us the liveliest group on the demo; young people who were already on the demo came over to us and asked for our placards and leaflets and marched with us, chanting our demands for jobs and free education.
As we marched through the city, young people who were watching the demonstration from the street came and joined us as we marched to the council.
Over 50 Socialist Party members were on the demo, we sold papers and talked with the other protesters.
We also had a lot of comrades stewarding the demo, who played a part in countering a provocative stance by the police towards some young anarchists on two different occasions.
Police provocations unsuccessful
Thanks to the stewards and the demonstrators who largely kept their cool the police were unsuccessful in their provocations.
The rain cleared off for a bit when we got to the council house and had a rally on College Green. PCS vice-president John McInally spoke about how the cuts will effect not only workers from the public sector but also the private sector.
He said that the cuts and privatisation are not being forced through out of necessity but out of Tory and Liberal ideology at the expense of the working class.
RMT president Alex Gordon and also speakers from the NUT, GMB, Unison and other unions and community groups spoke about how the cuts would effect people and the need to fight back.
A man I spoke to, who had come from Birmingham, said: "These cuts are going to effect everyone, they're effecting me, my ex-partner, our daughter, my family and the people I work with".
I went to the demonstration as a member of the Socialist Party and YFJ; I marched as a socialist, a young person, a woman, a health worker for the NHS and as a member of a community which will be torn apart by these cuts.
Every aspect of my life and, like the protester from Birmingham said, of everyone's lives, will be worsened by the Con-Dems.
This protest is not the end of the struggle in Bristol; next week I'll be attending a YFJ public meeting and an East Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance public meeting and speaking at a South Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance public meeting.
These meetings will be listening to the views of the people of Bristol on how to fight against the Con-Dem cuts and fight for our future.