Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/493/2570
Outside Manchester's Gordonville 'bubble'
IN HIS acceptance speech to New Labour's special conference at his 'coronation' as party leader and prime minister, his majesty Gordon Brown said he stands for continuity. As part of this continuity, he wants to curb the role of the trade unions even further within the Labour Party.
This is making it clear that the organised workers' movement has nothing to expect from Labour but further cuts, privatisation and job losses. Whilst Brown waxed lyrical about giving the party "not just policies but a soul" he had no worries about interruptions from the real world outside Bridgewater Hall.
An expensive fence had been built and hundreds of police officers mobilised to make Gordonville a 'bubble', free of outside interference. Angry Remploy factory workers wanting to protest against job cuts and closures were shoved away by police. This shows how much Brown cares about ordinary people - not at all.
Several thousand people joined a demonstration called by the Stop the War Coalition, whose leaders want to give Gordon Brown 100 days to withdraw British troops from Iraq. Many young people at that demon-stration, however, were not content with 'hoping' that Brown will be different to Blair.
Many thought a lot further, looking for a socialist alternative. Young people from Manchester, Salford and other areas of North west England declared their interest in the Socialist Party and filled in 'joining' cards. Over a hundred copies of the socialist were sold on the demo and 50 by local members the day before.
Remploy and NHS workers' presence on the demonstration shows that concerns went further then just the war. On 27 June, Salford refuse workers will strike against the growing use of agency workers. Then postal workers will take strike action and mental health workers in Manchester are considering indus-trial action over the suspension of their UNISON convenor.
This was not the largest anti-war demo ever. Some people saw no point in turning out for yet another anti-war protest outside this conference. But people are angry about government policy and the Iraq war.
One shopper told Socialist Party members at a local stall before the demonstration: "I want to stick Tony Blair into an open-top Landrover, paint a target sign on his face and send him to Baghdad. I've got friends in the army and they're get-ting slaughtered for nothing. Working-class people dying for politicians and the rich - we need to get the troops home."
The underlying anger felt by working-class people could be seen. As Brown shows further his big business colours, this anger will become resistance. This process is already developing.
In The Socialist 28 June 2007:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
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Socialist Party Marxist analysis
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