Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/783/17543
Hull students and workers agree: We need councils that fight all cuts!
Paul Spooner, Hull Socialist Party
More than 30 socialists of all ages met in Hull recently to hear Tony Mulhearn link the struggle of Liverpool City Council in the 1980s to the emerging battle to defend jobs and services in Hull today.
Tony was president of Liverpool District Labour Party and one of the 47 councillors that fought and won £60 million of funding from Thatcher's Tory government.
There are now clear parallels between the two cities. Both Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson and Hull council leader Steve Brady have relied on Michael Heseltine, the failed Tory politician, for advice on implementing cuts, rather than campaign through the labour movement to stop them.
In contrast, Tony listed the achievements of the 1983-87 Liverpool council, including creating 2,000 jobs, building 5,000 council houses, five new sports centres and reorganising the education system.
He explained how those gains were fought for by the local Labour party, backed by council trade unions, the wider labour movement and local community groups, that linked together in a mass campaign.
The council was not only attacked by the Tories and the press, but also the national Labour leaders as they sought to 'reform' the party into a big business party.
The discussion questioned the role of the Labour Party today. Significantly, nearly half of those attending the meeting were members of the Labour Party, including the three Hull councillors who voted against their own party's cuts.
Anti-cuts councillor Gary Wareing agreed with much of what Tony said, but argued that the Labour Party could be won to an anti-cuts position.
Others believed that the Labour bureaucracy would intervene as soon as socialists became a threat to the entrenched interests of the right wing.
This is a debate which has taken place in a very fraternal way in Hull in the unions and other forums over the past years.
The Socialist Party in Hull will continue to work with anti-cuts activists both in and out of the Labour Party.
With students in the audience, Megan Ollerhead spoke on how Socialist Students' role is leading the fightback against cuts and fees, despite the treacherous role of the NUS leadership.
In The Socialist 9 October 2013:
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