Sunday, 27 March 2011

March 26th - Biggest trade union demonstration in decades

Please see this excellent analysis of yesterday's events by Hannah Sell. It was one of the biggest and best demonstrations this country has seen in decades, and showed in full force the huge movement that is now swelling against the ConDem attempt to making working people pay for a crisis they did not create. Bristol Socialist Party members had a great intervention, travelling down on the many union coaches that went from Bristol - Unite, NUT, PCS, Unison and more - if you were inspired by the event on Saturday, whether you attended or not, then come along to our public meeting on Tuesday 29th March, 7.30pm at Cheltenham Road Library, to discuss the way forward in beating the cuts.
By Hannah Sell, read the full article here:

On 26 March 2011 the British working class rose from its knees and took to the streets in an immense show of strength. The massive TUC demonstration against public spending cuts was well over half a million strong, possibly 700,000 or more.
The capitalist media has attempted to completely downplay the importance of the demonstration, concentrating overwhelmingly on the clashes with the police at far smaller protests on the same day.
And the turnout on the main demo was far bigger than has been reported, the BBC, for example, claims there were just 250,000 attending.
Unfortunately, the leadership of the TUC itself has also underplayed the turnout as between a quarter and half a million. In reality, this was the biggest trade union organised demonstration in decades.
It had widespread support from the working class and from wide sections of the middle class.
As a TUC-commissioned poll showed, a majority of the population - 52% - support the aims of the demonstration, with only 31% opposing them. Several Socialist Party members got free or reduced price taxi rides to catch early trains from sympathetic cabbies.
On the journey to London even first class passengers bought copies of the Socialist out of sympathy with the demonstration.
The potential power of the trade union movement was graphically demonstrated as a tidal wave of humanity flooded the streets of London. Among the protesters were pensioners, community campaigners and students, the latter veterans of their own movement before Christmas.
The overwhelming majority of marchers, however, were trade unionists, many taking part in their first ever demonstration. The Unison contingent alone took an hour to pass and it seemed as if every trade union - from the largest to the smallest - had its own lively and colourful contingent.
All of those capitalist commentators that have written off the trade union movement today as a spent force were decisively answered by this demonstration. The power of the trade unions was undisputedly established.
But the question on demonstrators' lips was 'what next?' How can the trade union movement use its power to stop the cuts?
Clearly rattled by the size of the demonstration, Lib Dem business secretary Vince Cable has declared that marching will not stop the government, which he laughably described as "one of the strongest the country has ever had".
In reality this is a weak coalition government, far weaker than the Tory governments of Maggie Thatcher - the Iron Lady. Yet the Iron Lady was reduced to iron filings by a mass movement of 18 million people refusing to pay the flat rate tax (poll tax) that her government had introduced.
That movement ended the tax and brought down Thatcher. Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, was right when in his speech he called the anti-cuts movement the Con-Dem's poll tax.
This government is already rattled and can be decisively beaten by the huge power of the organised working class. Nonetheless, few demonstrators imagined that this savage government of millionaires will be stopped in its tracks by one demonstration, no matter how big.
Correctly, it was widely understood that the demonstration needed to be a springboard for further action.

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