The Cambridge People's Assembly draws members from at least six political parties, and from the majority who don't belong to any. Since the only thing on which we necessarily agree is that austerity is ruinous and must be defeated, we won't support any candidate for any political office. Rather we came together to support political action outside the structures of government, by trade unions, community and student organizations, and all others working under the word solidarity.
That doesn't leave us as bystanders when the politics of office press most urgently, as they will in the weeks before the general election on 7 May. We think the argument against austerity has to be carried into the election campaign wherever possible – so we're pleased to be involved in some of the hustings events below.
The Choice for Cambridge
Wednesday 1 April / 7.45 for 8 p.m. / Unitarian Hall, Emmanuel Road, Cambridge CB1 1JW
The Communist Party will hold a labour movement meeting on Wednesday 1 April, with three speakers: Daniel Zeichner (Cambridge parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party), Martin O'Donnell (chair of the Communist Party, Cambridge and Cambridgeshire Branch), and – arguing for the struggle against austerity as a labour movement priority – our own Olivier Tonneau.
Cambridge Keep Our NHS Public hustings
Monday 13 April / 7.30 p.m. / Wesley Centre Nave, Wesley Methodist Church, Christ's Pieces, Cambridge CB1 1LG
Our friends Cambridge Keep Our NHS Public will hold a hustings examining the candidates' views on the ongoing privatization of the NHS and its consequences, with Chamali Fernando (Conservative Party), Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats), Rupert Read (Green Party), and Daniel Zeichner (Labour Party).
[This item was added on 2 April.]
Human Rights Election Question Time
Tuesday 14 April / 7.30 p.m. / Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RR
Cambridge City Amnesty International will hold this event in association with the Cambridge Oxfam Group, our friends Global Justice Cambridge, and the Cambridge People's Assembly. Austerity certainly involves issues of human rights: consider forced labour under workfare, the police suffocation of peaceful protest (as recently with DPAC and Occupy London), or the legal aid cuts which deny citizens access to justice. On the panel will be the candidates Chamali Fernando (Conservative Party), Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats), Rupert Read (Green Party), and Daniel Zeichner (Labour Party).
The Cambridge Commons Hustings
Thursday 16 April / 7.30 p.m. / Friends' Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA
The Cambridge Commons, newly affiliated to the Cambridge People's Assembly, will hold a hustings where we can examine candidates' principles and strategies for reducing inequality in Britain, including their policies on low pay, welfare, and the NHS. The candidates Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats), Rupert Read (Green Party), and Daniel Zeichner (Labour Party) have been invited.
Unite Against Fascism Election Hustings
Monday 20 April / 7.30 p.m. / Box Cafe, 47 Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD
Cambridge Unite Against Fascism will hold a hustings where we can examine Cambridge candidates' positions on diversity and anti-racism, of special interest to us given the political use of immigrants as scapegoats under austerity. All candidates have been invited, and so far Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats), Rupert Read (Green Party), and Daniel Zeichner (Labour Party) have promised to come. The UKIP candidate has declined.
[This item was added on 12 April.]
Is British Foreign Policy Promoting Justice in the Middle East?
Monday 27 April / 7.30 p.m. / Friends' Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA
Last year the People's Assembly adopted the People's Charter, which appeals for 'a secure and sustainable future' that can hardly be achieved without peace in the Middle East. This event is supported by the Cambridge and District Trades Council, the Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Cambridge Stop the War Coalition. The Cambridge candidates Julian Huppert (Liberal Democrats), Rupert Read (Green Party), and Daniel Zeichner (Labour Party) will be present, and the South Cambridgeshire candidates Dan Greef (Labour Party) and Sebastian Kindersley (Liberal Democrats).
[This item was added on 9 April.]