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We Shall Resist!

Saturday saw one of the largest demonstrations ever in London. 500,000 people marched for the alternative from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park.

This demonstration was a major step in combating the defunct cuts agenda which is based on an ideological zeal rather than hard economic facts. The facts actually show that the budget deficit is not large and has been much larger at many times throughout UK history, including when the country was bankrupt at the end of World War 2. The response back then was to invest in the infrastructure of the nation, creating the NHS, the welfare state and nationalising industry.

This Branch was in attendance on Saturday with some of us marching together but we also know that there were many others who made their own way along the route of the demonstration and we applaud all those who attended. There has been a steady stream of people in the union room this morning who went along to the march and each one who attended has said the same thing: it was massive and it was fun!

The media has covered the march with its usual corporate bias. The state broadcaster has claimed the march was only half it’s real size (although they get most of their headlines from government spokespeople). News outlets like Sky News and most of the papers have focused on minor cosmetic damage to some of the richest organisations in the Piccadilly area. There have also been reports of people in the Ritz Hotel too scared to finish their afternoon tea.

This is in stark contrast to the event itself which was very good natured. I will remember with fondness walking down the middle of Whitehall close to a group of drummers and then listening to a violinist performing on the statue of Earl Haig – this was a real carnival atmosphere. It was also a family event with people of all ages marching to resist the attacks on jobs, services and communities.

Resistance: that is what Saturday was about but it was just the start. The media are against us and the government will try to dismiss the march as soon as they can. That means we must build on the events of Saturday.

The March for the Alternative has taken place in central London but the march for the alternative must now begin in IPS. Our organisation is a microcosm of the cuts agenda. It started with the attacks on HQ staff working on ID cards, it continued with the attacks on the Newport Regional Office and the closing of ION offices and downgrading of those people left. The alternative in IPS is achievable and we must all resist the agenda being forced upon us.

I am a member of the South East Regional TUC Committee on international Affairs and on Thursday evening we held a pre-march rally where we heard from trade union leaders from France, Spain, Ireland and the USA. It was a useful event as it made us realise that our cause is a common one across the World right now. We are not alone in fighting for an alternative. Members should bear in mind that the demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East started over rising food prices and not a yearning for democracy as the media would have you believe. Across the Americas, Europe and the Arab World people are rising up for a better life. The International Vice President of the United Steal Workers Union, Fred Redmond, gave a rousing speech about the recent resistance to changes in bargaining rights for public sector workers in Wisconsin, USA. He peppered his speech with 3 very important words: We Shall Resist!

And we shall. PCS General Secretary, Mark Serwotka, spoke at the rally in Hyde Park on Saturday and called for co-ordinated industrial action across sectors of the economy. It will be interesting to see how that develops in the weeks and months ahead, if the government do not change course.

“We Shall Resist” must become our mantra, whether we are facing cuts in our local services or if we are facing cuts in IPS. It is what PCS reps must continue to do in consultation meetings.

Thanks to everyone who turned out on Saturday. We have now started to set the agenda. It’s just the beginning.


Categories: Anti-Cuts Movement
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