Saturday March 26th is set to see hundreds of thousands of people descend on London for the March For The Alternative, and a day of protest and resistance against the ConDem cuts.
The event which is being organised by the TUC is expected to bring in hundreds of thousands of people from across the country. It is being billed as the largest day of protest against the cuts so far, with hundreds of Trade Unions, community groups, and political organisations taking part. Hereford Solidarity League will be amongst them, and we encourage everybody concerned with the spending cuts, job losses, destruction of public services and the banksters’ financial crisis to make an effort to be there!
The ‘austerity measures’ of the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government are now in full swing, and ordinary people are feeling the effects. There have already been thousands of job losses with many more on the way. Pay is being frozen and pensions cut. Councils are laying off staff, and schools, community centres, youth facilities and public spaces are being earmarked for closure. Hospitals are having budgets slashed and ambulance stations are being forced to merge or close. Universtiy tuition fees have risen to up to £9,000 and EMA has been scrapped. There have also been very real threats to sell-off our forests, NHS and Royal Mail.
We are told that ‘we’re all in this together’ and that ‘everybody has to suffer slightly so we can sort this mess out and everybody can benefit once again.’ Yet at the same time the top corporations in this country continue to make record profits, avoiding paying taxes and hardly ever giving their workers any return. MPs continue to lie about expenses claimsand use their careers to cream our tax money off for themselves. And it was only yesterday that the banks added more insult to injury, with the news that Barclays bosses’ were to hand themselves bonuses of £47m, with Bob Diamond raking in £27m in 2010 alone! And they still have the cheek to say that these things are in our interest, and make us pay for the mess that they have made?
However, this has not gone without reaction! The last few months has seen resistance take many forms, and the government has already made U-turns. Last month the government abandoned it’s plan to privatise the forests after huge public protest. The student protests over the last few months and the campaigns of groups such asUK Uncut have also shown that varied and fluid tactics of protest works. They have continued to hit the headlines, draw in many new people to the protest movement, successfully disrupted many targets and have shaken those in power; sending an uncompromising message that we will not be made to pay for a crisis that was created by bankers, and that the destruction of our communities and services is completely unacceptable.
It is for this reason that events on March 26th need to go beyond a simple ‘A to B’ stroll through Londonand jump on the bus back home, and need to encompass the ideas of direct democracy and direct action. Many groups and individuals are already making their own plans, drawing up protest targets and encouraging more people to get involved in the decision making. One idea that is particularly getting people’s attention at the moment is that being put forward by Resist 26, which is a loose network of people organising further events and support on the day. So far protest ideas include the occupation of Hyde Park after the TUC march ends, and setting up ‘People’s Autonomous Zones’ in key parts of London as a base for continued protests at other locations.
This is just one part of an ever growing anti-cuts movement that is sweeping the country, a movement which Hereford Solidarity League is part of locally. This Saturday we will be attending a demonstration in Gloucester in defence of our postal service. Over the next few months we will be hosting speakers involved in different organisations and anti-cuts campaigns. On May 1st (International Workers Day) we will be holding an event in Hereford, with other organisations, campaign groups and Unions present.
March 26th gives us a chance to show the size of our opposition and anger to the cuts, and to take our message directly to those in power. This is an opportunity that we cannot waste!