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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2015

Labour wields Tory axe at Library of Birmingham

Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party
Photo D Reid

Photo D Reid   (Click to enlarge)

150 people, a dalek, a crocodile and Mickey and Minnie Mouse protested on 13 June against cuts to the Library of Birmingham.

It will mean a reduction in opening hours from 73 a week to 40 and possibly the loss of up to 100 jobs.

The library, which has been open less than two years and cost 188 million, is seen as a cultural icon.

Visitors from Sydney and South Africa have expressed astonishment that Europe's largest public library, which houses unique archives, doesn't open until 11am. Reduced opening hours have already caused huge queues and disruption to those using its services.

Library cuts are a deliberate choice by the Tory government. However, the Labour cabinet member responsible for libraries submitted a lengthy statement saying that the cuts were made 'with a heavy heart'.

He claimed they were forced on the council by government spending limits and that they had to prioritise between frontline and non-essential services.

Consultation said 'no'

Birmingham council's own consultation about the library's future produced an overwhelming no to any cuts.

Thousands of working class people use the library like the unemployed to access job opportunities, the vulnerable to seek out details of support groups and even in the computer age large numbers of students and children still use them to study.

Speakers at the rally included Alan Gibbons, author and member of the National Libraries campaign, the library Unison steward, students who have been sitting in past closing time every Friday and Birmingham's Young Poet Laureate, who lambasted the Labour council for carrying out Tory cuts.

The council is also considering a ban on amplified open air speeches in the city centre, it's an obvious attempt to undermine demonstrations.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 24 June 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

City of London fills with defiance against austerity

After huge anti-austerity demos: organise the fightback!

Child poverty soars

Youth Fight Austerity!

Them & Us


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Why I joined

Laying the foundation stones of the workers' movement

Theatre review: The Red Lion


Socialist Party features

Can Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership challenge help to develop the socialist left?

What next for the NHS?


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Syriza backtracks

International news in brief


Socialist Party workplace news

Prentis pushed to talk up action

Transport workers plan fightback

Regulator eyes Royal Mail for profit

Workplace news in brief

Strike in Swansea to defend home tuition jobs

Outsourced workers' pay strike


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning for the victims of police brutality

Wales: Local Government reorganisation threat

Scotland anti-austerity rally, Glasgow

Labour wields Tory axe at Library of Birmingham

Hull: A new generation of activists

Growing the party in Sheffield

Socialist bake-off at London picnic


 

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Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The collapse of stalinism

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

triangleBirmingham South Socialist Party: 1990s struggles against the far-right

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triangleVictory for library workers after 241 days on strike!

triangleKeep the National Poetry Library free

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Labour:

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Council:

triangleEngage for Change Hull - trade union youth festival goes online

Libraries:

triangleBromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!

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