March for Health Homes Jobs and Education Report

The Anti-Austerity Movement is on the streets, it's growing in strength and will keep coming back until this government is gone.

On Saturday 16 April at least 150,000 people descended on the capital to make our key demands of this Tory government.  As Sam Fairbairn the National Secretary of the People’s Assembly said, ‘When we organised this demonstration we had no idea how spectacularly the government would fail on all 4 of our key demands…

'They’ve thrown our NHS into crisis, they’ve decided to attack our education forcing all schools to become academies, they’ve refused to respond to the steel crisis and protect thousands of jobs and they’ve done nothing to address the housing crisis.’ But after the shameful ‘panama papers’ revelations last week, the demonstration also adopted the slogan, ‘Cameron must go’. And looking out from the stage at the tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Trafalgar Square, and the sea of ‘Cameron must go’ placards, it was clear that everyone there wanted an immediate end to ‘one rule for the privileged and another rule for the many’, Tory politics.

The media coverage of the day was mixed, but not the complete media blackout some might have feared. Although the Sunday headlines were of the usual bland, ‘go back to sleep Britain’ kind, articles reporting on the demo could be found in all the UK major online news services and even the Daily Mail ran a piece reporting on the ‘150,000’ protesters, with little of their usual sneering.

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity was trending on social media all day on Sunday. The anti-austerity movement mounted a huge display of strength on Saturday and confidence is high. We’re on the front foot and not stopping until we end Tory Austerity. 

The Speeches from Trafalgar Square were all united by the theme of solidarity across industries and employment sectors and across all parts of British society. John McDonnell said, ‘On behalf of Jeremy Corbyn and myself, on behalf of the Leadership of the Labour Party, I pledge you courage and determination and solidarity brothers and sisters.’ Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett joined him saying, ‘We have 4 demands, we want a publically owned NHS in which the profit margin has no place… we want a real living wage not George Osborne’s fake living wage... we want zero university tuition fees, no forced academies, and we want real council houses, real genuinely affordable housing and a secure tenancy for life, to deliver it we need change, we need to get rid of the Tories’. Nurse Danielle Tiplady, moved the crowd (some to tears) with her impassioned story from the front line of the Health service, ‘I came into Nursing because I want to care for every single one of you, but now someone like me from a different background will be blocked from going into the best profession in the world… George Osborne, Jeremy Hunt, the Tories, you have destroyed student nurses dreams… Shame on you!’

 

A video message from Jeremy Corbyn was played to the crowd delivering a strong anti-austerity message, ‘The austerity we're in, at the moment, in Britain, is a political choice, not an economic necessity. The anti-austerity movement, here, in the United States, across Europe, is showing the way… It's in our hands to change society, it's democratic power that will bring about that change - and it's working.’ Sam Fairbairn was clear about what the movement demands. He closed his speech by saying, ‘if you can bail out the banks in a matter of days then you can provide Health Homes Jobs and Education for everybody… but instead this government has been complicit in hiding money away in tax havens, stealing money from the majority while telling us at the same time “we’re all in this together” that’s why we’re saying today Cameron must go, Cameron you must go now.’

People's Assembly Campaigner Tom Griffiths reports.

Showing 7 reactions

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  • commented 2016-07-22 05:53:54 +0100
    Could the people’s assembly become a political party?
  • commented 2016-04-21 10:24:54 +0100
    I was at the front of the demo Ramon at arrived first in Trafalgar square and it took over an hour from me arriving and the Green block at the back of the demo to arrive. Thirty people thick and over a mile long you never get 5,000 people to pull off that trick.
  • commented 2016-04-20 18:23:06 +0100
  • commented 2016-04-20 12:07:49 +0100
    In response to Ramon – direct action is part of the democratic process. And I can attest that I was there, there were significantly more than 5,000 people and there was a substantial mix of people from all backgrounds and ages. I am not a child, but I do believe ad hominem is childish.
  • commented 2016-04-19 22:16:43 +0100
    You are all invited to watch the WellRedFilms video of Saturday’s march and rally: https://vimeo.com/163234877
  • commented 2016-04-19 17:41:07 +0100
    P.s. Not being a Political Extremist, as a Librean I try to see all sides of the situation, but it does seem that somethings need to be changed for more Equality and Fairness. David Cameron, also a Librean, should be aware of this too and needs to work on this or let someone else do it perhaps if he can’t get the Balance right between Classes and Economics etc although it is never easy for anyone to do this it is true. Many Libreans seem to be drawn to Law and Politics etc as the Scales are the sign of Justice and Balance evidently and the Symbol of the Scales are often seen on Solicitors Doors and Law Courts etc as well as other such places. But it is not easy to get the Balance right all the time. Margaret Thatcher was also a Librean. Ghandi the Peace-Making Indian and John Lennon who often spoke up and sang about such things too. Oh well, it is worthwhile having Debates etc on such things if a Fairer System can be Invoked / Achieved etc as long as People do it whenever possible as Fairly and Peacefully as they can which you people do. Being a Socialist at Heart and Green Party enthusiast with values such as upholding and encouraging ideas of Protecting the Planets Ecosystems and Fairer Economic Infrastructures, it was good to see some Green Party people were there. On the day we were made aware it was televised on Russian TV i.e RT i.e an interview with one of the Organisers (shown here in this picture), but it seems it was also given Media coverage elsewhere on T.V. / Radio / Internet / and Newspapers and has been given more coverage / exposure after the event too, whereas some other previous events organised by yourselves, i.e. The Peoples Assembly (with Charlotte Church supporting you on this one) and other Organisations like this weren’t so exposed by the Media, so some breakthrough seems to have been Imminent here.
  • commented 2016-04-19 16:55:27 +0100
    Good to see that people made the effort with this then. It is obvious something’s need to change in this Country and the public need to be heard. Whilst it is not easy to be a Politician / Leader and please everyone, the current set up is not pleasing many and some imbalances need to be readdressed and changed whether by David Cameron / The Conservatives or anyone else in the position of Leadership / Government. People are right to voice their opinions as the Voting System and Political Infrastructure is meant to be a Democracy not a Dictatorship and it is important to work towards this Democracy Policy and to ensure Fairness / Justice / Equality and Balance consistently.

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