By Ian Richardson
The People’s Assembly Against Austerity is organising a major national demonstration on June 20 under the headline title End Austerity Now. For the left both inside and outside the Labour Party, and all those who wish to resist the massive attacks to come from the newly elected Conservative Government in the years ahead, building this demonstration must be our immediate priority.
Then, after June 20, the continuing consolidation and building of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity as the clear national movement against the cuts will become more important than ever.
Online publicity for the demonstration concisely and effectively sums up its increased importance since last week’s election results, arguing that, ‘With the Tories going it alone in government we know exactly what to expect… more destructive cuts to the things ordinary people care about- the NHS, the welfare state, education and public services.’
In assembling the demonstration in the heart of the City of London, the People’s Assembly is also poignantly illustrating their point that the ‘elite should pay for the crisis and not the vast majority who had nothing to do with it.’
Recent days have seen an explosion of interest in the demonstration on Facebook, with 10,000s of people committing to attending and sharing the event.
As the latest email from the People’s Assembly concludes, ‘Now is the time to get organising, to mobilise our communities, to prepare transport and spread the word. We need to do all that we can to make this demonstration bigger and bolder than ever we have done before.’ People should organise the maximum amount of activity to raise awareness of the demonstration in the weeks ahead, including stalls, leafleting sessions of train and bus stations, campaign stunts to promote the demonstration in their workplace, campus or locality, and much more.
The larger both the demonstration itself, and the on-going important mobilisations for it, the more it will encourage different layers of society to offer resistance to the Tory cuts in the year ahead and the more people will both come into contact with – and become part of – the anti-austerity movement.
Beyond June 20 the key strategic task for the left will be to support and build the People’s Assembly movement. Its impressive growth (as this website pointed out in 2012) is because it genuinely seeks to ‘engage all those who oppose austerity whatever they think are the alternatives, whatever their political affiliations, [including] from both the base and also the leadership of the labour movement’. It has emerged as the leading body able to engage anti-austerity opinion across the country in a range of different forms of struggle against the cuts. It has widespread recognition as is noted by Counterfire and other forces on the left.
A big demonstration on June 20 can both provide a strong springboard for vital further struggles against austerity plus a growth in the potential audience for ideas of the alternative. Now is the time to get involved with your local People’s Assembly group, build the demonstration and then build the national movement against austerity!
Here are the People’s Assembly’s reasons to join the June Demo if we look at prospects for Britain in the next five years but many more could no doubt be added:
‘1) The Tories plan to cut £12bn from welfare hitting the most vulnerable in our society hardest.
2) The richest 1,000 people in this country doubled their wealth during the last parliament. How much more will they leech during this one?
3) Huge rise in zero hour contracts, precarious and part time work.
4) Tories plan to end social housing as we know it.
5) Tories are one of the main promoters of TTIP in Europe.
6)Tories plan to dismantle the NHS and sell it off for profit.
7)Education destroyed: 9k fees, EMA scrapped, Academies/Free schools.’
Transport is being arranged from across the country to the demonstration and more details can be found at www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk . You can invite your friends on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/460624807433119/ and also see information on support numerous blocs on the demonstration including student, anti-racist, anti-Trident, housing, Green and Labour sections.