There's been big public outcry since George Osborne announced his budget earlier this week. The Tories are increasingly weak, divided and loosing public support. People's Assembly National Secretary, Sam Fairbairn, explains why the national demonstration on Saturday 16 April is a crucial moment to stop austerity in it's tracks.
March for Health, Homes, Jobs, Education
Saturday 16 April 2016
1) Breaking Austerity
The government's economic programme is in chaos. Osborne has laid out yet another budget for the rich. There are further tax breaks for the wealthiest while disabled people face another £4billion in cuts. He announced plans to turn all schools into academies, another step towards the privatisation of our children’s education. Osborne insists there will be a £10billion surplus by 2020 meaning a further £30billion of cuts each year.
Attack is the only mode this government seems to know. But Osborne is missing his targets and and the budget showed the government's whole economic project is failing. A big demonstration now can help make austerity history.
2) Supporting the junior doctors' stand
The demonstration will be led by a health bloc with junior doctors and student nurses. The NHS is being starved of funding, it's going through the biggest crisis since it's foundation while the Tories are quietly selling it off to private companies. Cuts to the NHS Bursary which will only exacerbate staff shortages.
The Junior Doctors strikes are about the future of the NHS as a whole and are a direct challenge to the government's austerity programme. Popular support for the strikes is overwhelming and the government is losing the argument. If the Junior Doctors win it creates a major crisis for the government's plans.
The most important thing we can do to back the doctors is to demonstrate the massive amount of support for them from every section of society - polls aren't enough. The demonstration on 16 April falls in between the next two Junior Doctor strike dates. It is the place to link all the issues together and demonstrate support for the Doctors.
As well as putting the government on the defensive over their plans for the NHS, a huge demonstration will give the doctors confidence to continue taking action.
3) Keeping left
A huge demonstration just weeks before the elections will be bad news for the Tories. The demonstration will not back any candidate or party, but the politics and demands of the demonstration will cut across the right wing rhetoric of austerity and raise issues that many candidates are refusing to address.
The protest movements have profoundly shaped politics in recent years. Jeremy Corbyn wouldn't be leader of the opposition if it wasn't for the many marches and rallies against war and austerity that so many have been on.
Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has in turn strengthened opposition to the government's policies. The right wing want to get rid of Jeremy and the politics he represents, tens of thousands taking to the streets again can keep progressive politics on the offensive.
4) Turning the racist tide
Europe is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. Millions have been displaced as a result of wars, poverty and deprivation. The crisis is far from over and, as summer approaches, it's likely to worsen as more people attempt to flee from desperate situations.
The response of our government, and other leaders across Europe, has been brutal but also racist. We're told accommodating refugees will put too much strain on our public services. It's true that our NHS & Education system are under pressure. It's true that there's too few jobs and there's a huge housing crisis across the country. But it's absolutely false that this is the fault of immigration. Austerity from this Government has created these problems and the governments attempts to scapegoat immigrants and refugees is another attempt to pass the blame from away from them.
April's demonstration will turn the spotlight back onto the real perpetrators - and so help to stem the tide of racism.
5) Unite together
The Tories have created a potentially disastrous situation for themselves. They've gone for the doctors and student nurses. They've gone for the Teachers and our education system. They've gone for disabled people at the same time as giving tax breaks to the richest. They're doing nothing to address the growing housing crisis.
The Tories are facing a rebellion even amongst their own ranks while strike action is increasing in workplaces and gaining mass public support. Polls are showing the public don't trust the government with the economy and are against further austerity. At the same time the EU referendum has split the Tories down the middle.
As attacks multiply and the anger grows we need to bring all of these issues together. Uniting everyone who has been hit by austerity will strengthen everyone's chances of beating the Government. That's why the demonstration is so important.