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Pushing back against austerity: The People’s Assembly

29 April 2013

Sam Fairbairn of the TSSA-backed People’s Assembly looks ahead to this summer’s major gathering of thousands of trade unionists and other campaigners working to oppose the government’s damaging austerity programme.



Whilst Conservative ministers have been celebrating the policies which brought misery to countless communities in the 1980s, their present-day cuts are getting deeper still. The bedroom tax, curbs on in-work benefits, the sell-off of large parts of the NHS, the list goes on and on.

At the same time, 13,000 millionaires are receiving a £100,000 tax break with the scrapping of the 50p top rate of tax. Osborne has also been arguing against a cap on bankers’ bonuses in meetings with European finance ministers. It’s clear where the government’s priorities lie. How they think they can get away with saying ‘we’re all in it together’ is a mystery.

But resistance is erupting. Thousands protested against the bedroom tax at the start of April. Huge demonstrations have been held to save local hospitals, occupations have sprung up to save libraries and there have been nationwide rallies against austerity.
Now we need to pull together all the community campaigns, trade unions, anti-cuts groups and the millions of individuals who are affected by austerity into a single united mass movement that can challenge the government’s austerity agenda.

Earlier this year trade union leaders, campaign groups, MPs, journalists and cultural figures put out a call for a ‘People’s Assembly Against Austerity’ to be held on Saturday 22 June at Westminster Central Hall. The signatories included Manuel Cortes, Len McCluskey, John Pilger, Ken Loach, Caroline Lucas MP, Owen Jones, Iain Banks and Tony Benn.

Since the initial call thousands of individuals and hundreds of trade union branches and organisations have pledged support. The event looks set to be the biggest conference of the labour movement for decades. Already over 1,400 people have registered, with still two months to go. Rallies are being organised in towns across the country, and the Assembly is bringing hundreds of new activists into activity.

The People’s Assembly is our opportunity to launch the kind of movement we need and set out an action plan that can mobilise millions, force an anti-austerity agenda into the mainstream and get rid of this vicious government. Join us there on 22 June.

For more information or to register for the People’s Assembly go to www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk.

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