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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 874, 14 October 2015: Organise to fight endless austerity

Search site for keywords: Royal Mail - CWU - Workers - Privatisation - Manchester - Labour Party - Labour - Privatised - Jeremy Corbyn - Postal workers

Thousands cram 'the People's Post' rally to hear Corbyn

Becci Heagney

The enthusiasm on the protest outside the Tory Party conference on 4 October continued throughout a week of action in Manchester. The next day thousands of people attended the Communication Workers\' Union (CWU) \'the People's Post\' rally.

This campaign aims to defend postal services and postal workers' terms and conditions. The privatisation of Royal Mail is deeply unpopular but clearly the biggest draw to this rally was the main speaker, Jeremy Corbyn.

1,500 people crammed into Manchester Cathedral while over 7,000 made up the 'overflow' meeting outside, with speakers addressing both. The mood was electric - Corbyn got a five-minute standing ovation inside and the cheers outside must have been heard throughout the city centre.

Other speakers included Owen Jones, Kevin Maguire (deputy editor of the Mirror) and Mark McGowan (Artist Taxi Driver). Any mention of opposing austerity, defending trade union rights and fighting for an equal society got huge rounds of applause, indicating the popularity of these ideas.

Support

Talk of Corbyn and left-wing ideas being 'unelectable' is consistently being made to look ridiculous. How many politicians attract thousands of people to stand outside in the cold and listen to what they have to say? Corbyn's support for the CWU campaign and defence of workers' rights was warmly received.

However, despite asserting many times that he opposes privatisation of any public service, he didn't commit the Labour Party to, or even mention, renationalisation of Royal Mail.

The only way we can really have a 'People's Post' that is run as a service and not a profit-making venture is to bring it back into public ownership. Compensation should be paid only on the basis of proven need.

Perhaps the comment of the night, which summed up the mood of many there, came from CWU president Jane Loftus when she said: "If the Labour Party don't want Corbyn, let's have him in a People's Party".

This prompted cheers from the audience. We need a party that fights to immediately renationalise all privatised services. Corbyn could be instrumental in the creation of such a party.







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