After an exhilarating end to April with a march and "Keep Your Mitts off the NHS" performance at the Manchester Trades Council May Day Celebration, the Manchester People's Assembly is now preparing for our next event; the monthly public meeting which starts at 7.00 pm on Tues 10 May at the Central Methodist Hall on Oldham St, M1 1JQ.
There are now more people seeking safety from war, famine and instability than at any point in human history. Thousands have died making the dangerous crossing to Europe. Governments across Europe have failed to act on the crisis, and perpetuate humanitarian disaster through spending on war and racist border control. This is a political choice.
Join us to explore the links between austerity and the migrant crisis; to learn about Britain and Europe’s racist border policies and to build political action against this injustice.
Next up is the annual Manchester Trades Union Council May Day March which starts at All Saints Park on Oxford Road from 1130 on Saturday 30 April and weaves its way to Sackville Gardens in the city centre. Join the Manchester People's Assembly who will be marching- look out for our banner- and then visit our stall, and the other activities taking place in Sackville Gardens and at the Mechanics Institute. Music, talks, food stalls and plenty of fantastic campaign groups to give that real feeling of May Day solidarity.
We'll be handing out flyers with details of our next meeting on 10 May and the National People's Assembly Convoy to Calais action on 17 and 18 June.
A big thank you to the terrific acts at the Manchester People's Assembly Beat Back gig on 28 April. It showed how politics can be fun and we raised some valuable funds for Manchester People's Assembly campaigning. We're already planning future Beat Back gigs so watch this space. Thanks to all who supported the event but special thanks to The Tapestry, Novustory, Gareth Evans , Gerry Potter and Manchester People's Assembly Against Austerity's very own punk poet and rabble rouser, Steph Pike.
Beat Back is an initiative of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, bringing artists together to oppose the cuts
The gig will take place at Soup Kitchen in Manchester, Thursday 28 April, 7pm – 10pm
Politics can be a serious business…but who says you can’t have fun while resisting the cuts? Thursday 28 April marks the Manchester launch of Beat Back with a night of music and poetry at the Soup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter. Beat Back is a national initiative of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, bringing together some of the many musicians and artists who condemn the government’s cuts, to host fun creative events in aid of the anti-austerity cause.
Performing at the night will be local bands The Tapestry and Novustory, singer-songwriter Gareth Evans, and performance poet Gerry Potter. They join a strong tradition of famous musicians and artists who have spoken out against the government’s ideological austerity program, such as the singer Charlotte Church, comedian Rufus Hound and Gerry Potter, Performance poet.
The night is compered by Manchester People's Assembly Against Austerity's very own punk poet and rabble rouser, Steph Pike.
Beat Back comes hot on the heels of the recent People’s Assembly Against Austerity demonstration in London on 16 April, when over 150,000 people came out to show their fury at the government pushing ahead with the cuts. Events like this, of which there will be many more in the coming months, will keep the pressure on the Tories.
Our aim is to continue to show the strength of public discontent against the cuts, by all of the means at our disposal, including music, performance and the spoken word.
The Anti-Austerity Movement is on the streets, it's growing in strength and will keep coming back until this government is gone
People's Assembly Campaigner Tom Griffiths reports.
Pictures copyright of Peter Marshall
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… #4Demands on Twitter
'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 and 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 publicly 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.’
Manchester People’s Assembly now has a You Tube channel
Up there at the moment are the fantastic speeches from the recent Junior Doctors rally at Manchester Cathedral and the uplifting performance from the Open Voice Choir, as well as a film about the NHS demo during Take Back MCR.
The People’s Media Hub Manchester will be filming, photographing, writing about and livestreaming as many People’s Assembly actions, public meetings and events as we can, as well as other demos and rallies in the city. But we need help!
Whether you have a professional camera or an i phone, are a graphic designer or an editor, a student journalist or a prolific tweeter, have no experience or lots of experience - if you are interested in helping please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 3rd October – Wednesday 7th October 2015
As Maxine Peake said on Tuesday, “How dare they come to our city, a city annihilated by their cuts.”
Manchester People’s Assembly alongside the national steering committee are organising many events, demonstrations, public meetings and evenings of anti-austerity entertainment to TAKE BACK MANCHESTER from the Conservative party conference.
The preliminary timetable is below and there are things being added all the time so please keep coming back here for updates.
You can also find more information in these places:
Manchester People's Assembly Facebook page
Artists Against Austerity
This is a great new calendar with events for the week plus rehearsals and planning meetings, if you are organising something please let them know yours so they can add it.
Manchester People’s Assembly newsletter.
If you would like to be added to the list or for more information on any of the events or meetings drop us a line at Manchesterpaaa@gmail.com or send us a message on Facebook.
We will be meeting every Tuesday until 3rd October, at the Central Methodist Hall on Oldham Street, to catch up on the planned events, make banners, pick up leaflets and posters and plot more actions! These are informal sessions (not public meetings like the one on Tuesday 8th) but planning, doing and getting together sessions. Everyone is welcome. Come with questions, ideas, a paintbrush, a pen, or just yourself – we will find something for you to help with!
See you one Tuesday or Taking Back Manchester in October !
TAKE BACK MANCHESTER EVENTS TIMETABLE
***Please note*** this is the initial timetable.
The full details for the events listed here & more events, actions & meetings are still to be announced.
(This information is copied from here where there are also links to book tickets; http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/manctimetable )
SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER
Our city not yours: Flash Mob @ Manchester Piccadilly
Welcome the Tories into town!
Pre Demo Public Meeting
Hosted by Manchester Trades Council. Speakers include: Matt Wrack (FBU), Ian Hudson (BFAWU) & more tbc
Anti-austerity Theatre - compared by Terry Christian @ Dance House Theatre
Including: ‘Knock Knock’ Anti Austerity play written and directed by Kate Marlow
Flick & Julie’s Pop Up Penny Pinchers Anti Austerity comedy sketch show
Plus spoken word from Stephen Morrison Burke (Birmingham Poet Laureate) & more tbc
Welcome to Manchester Party @ The People’s History Museum
Eve of demo gig. Line up announced soon
SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER
National Demonstration: No to Austerity - Yes to Workers Rights
Assemble 12pm, Oxford Road
Organised by the TUC & the People’s Assembly
“Laugh Them Out of Town” @ Manchester Academy
Line up includes: Frankie Boyle, Mark Steel, Francesca Martinez, Sara Pascoe, Jeremy Hardy, Robin Ince
Tickets: £10 / £20 / £30 (concession / standard / solidarity)
MONDAY 5 OCTOBER
The People’s Assembly - morning briefing
With guest speakers
Student Protest: No Fees, No Cuts, No Debt
Student Debt In outside the Tory Party Conference
Protest: Ian Duncan Smith: Murderer #IDSMurderer
Organised by Disabled People Against Cuts & others followed by public meeting
Debate: Time to Scrap Trident?
Hosted by CND.
Film: Screening of “Pride” @ Printworks Cinemafollowed by Q&A
Protest: No to TTIP @ Manchester Town Hall
Called by War on Want, UNISON North West & Stop TTIP Manchester
Meeting: Reclaiming Our Futures @ Friends Meeting House
Alliance network with Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), StopChanges2ATW and TUC Disabled Workers' Committee.
No booking required
Meeting: No TTIP - the people fight back @ Manchester Central Hall
Hosted by War on Want, UNISON NW, Stop TTIP Manchester
Speakers include: John Hilary, Rena Wood, Rowan Mataram, more tbc
No booking required
"The People’s Post" Rally @ Manchester Cathedral Hosted by CWU. Speakers include: Dave Ward, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Owen Jones, Lindsey German,
Kevin Maguire, Mark McGowan, Ellie Mae O’Hagan
No booking required
Beat Back! Music Against Austerity @ Manchester Academy
Super Furry Animals, Charlotte Church & more to be announced
Tickets £10 / £15 / £20 (concession / standard / solidarity)
TUESDAY 6 OCTOBER
The People’s Assembly - morning briefing
With guest speakers
Screening of “We Are Many” @ Printworks Cinema
Followed by Q&A with director Amir Amirani & more to be announced
Protest: NHS Not For Sale'Wall of sound' sirens protest outside the Tory Conference.
Organised by People's Convention for the NHS, Keep our NHS Public, & other NHS campaigns
Meeting: Austerity Has Failed - so what's the alternative?
Economic briefing & discussion on the alternative to austerity. Speakers include James Meadway (New Economics Foundation) & Michael Burke (Economist), more tbc.
Protest: Stand up to Racism
Organised by Stand Up to Racism
Meeting: No to War - No to Islamophobia
Hosted by Stop the War Coalition
Stand up to Racism public meetingOrganised by Stand up to Racism
Faith Against Austerity @ Manchester Cathedral
Cross faith meeting followed by vigil in Manchester Cathedral. Speakers include David Walker (Bishop of Manchester), Niall Cooper (Church Action on Poverty), Penny Hicks (Manchester People's Assembly) & other faith leaders
WEDNESDAY 7 OCTOBER
The People’s Assembly - morning briefing
With guest speakers
Climate Change Direct Action
Organised by Campaign Against Climate Change, Friends of the Earth, This Changes Everything & Anti-fracking groups
Towards Paris and beyond: Building the movement for climate, justice and jobs.
Public meeting organised by Campaign Against Climate Change, Friends of the Earth, This Changes Everything & Anti-fracking groups
The People’s Question Time
Final round up with a People’s Question Time.
See you there!
Take back Manchester… said the Facebook post. Take it back? Where’s it been? What’s this about, then? Click… National week of Action – Protest the Tory Conference…
Like so many in this city, I’ve been badly affected by the cuts inflicted by the Government over the past 5 years, have lost jobs, struggled to find part time work, just about scraped enough together to keep a roof over my head – I’ve had my degenerative disability pronounced cured and my adapted Motability car taken from me – but it’s a necessary evil, isn’t it? We’re all in this together, Mr Cameron told us – we’ve all overspent and so everyone has had to suffer in equal measures, haven’t they? Haven’t they?
Well, no actually. I’ve seen lots of suffering, by lots of people – I bet you have too. But the people suffering all seem to have one thing in common – they all have little enough to lose in the first place. I’ve seen disabled people stripped of their allowances, told they’re “fit for work”, sanctioned when they can’t find any because companies won’t make the adaptations they’re supposed to have to do by law and so will ignore any disabled applicants. I’ve seen families who work all the hours God sends and still struggle to put enough food on the table to feed their kids, as well as clothe them and pay their rent. I’ve seen kids on the dole, forced into slave labour jobs to “earn” their Job Seekers’ Allowance, when they should be being paid at least minimum wage for doing that same job – Workfare they call it. I can’t see anything fair about it, can you? I know someone on a zero hours contract who often walks 5 miles to work because on many days the hours she gets won’t pay for the transport to get there and back, let alone leave her with enough to feed herself and pay the bills.
Then I look in the newspapers and on the telly and I see the bankers getting multi-million pound bonuses for losing the country money. I see owners of the businesses who run on these zero hours contracts giving themselves and their directors huge pay rises and I see the companies ‘employing’ Workfare slaves announcing huge profits and not paying their taxes. I see Iain Duncan Smith claiming £39 for a breakfast that the taxpayer will pay for, then claiming that everyone can survive on £7 a day. I see him deny that taking allowances and benefits from the most vulnerable is contributing to people committing suicide, and covering up the figures that prove that people declared “Fit For Work” are dying in their thousands within weeks.
So no – we’re clearly not “all in this together” – but what can we do? The Government is in London, 200 physical and a million ideological miles away.
Oh no they’re not. They’re coming up to Manchester from 3rd to 7th October to sit in our proud industrial city - home of so many great socialist movements over the past 100 years, where the Suffragettes began their campaigns, where the pro-democracy and anti-poverty demonstrations led to the Peterloo Massacre and the city where community spirit regularly triumphs over adversity – to sit here and discuss more ways to make us suffer and more ways to ensure their chums prosper from our suffering.
The bloody cheek of it!
"So, if they’re coming up here to laugh in our faces and plot more and more cuts, do we really have to welcome them to our city, feed them, accommodate them and be nice to them? Oh no we don’t!"
With these thoughts churning in my head, I made my way to the Central Methodist Hall on Oldham Street to find out what the People’s Assembly Against Austerity had planned to ‘welcome’ the Tories to our town. This didn’t seem to be an ordinary, boring meeting with people droning on and nothing getting done – Maxine Peake and Julie Hesmondhalgh were going to be talking, and there was a collection for the refugees in Calais and there were plans in the air about all sorts of events, from marches and demonstrations to music and comedy nights – it sounded like fun, like something you’d expect from a bunch of angry Mancunians!
I was greeted enthusiastically by complete strangers, welcomed, given leaflets, offered a seat in the hall. There was a buzz of excitement in the air, people coming in, lugging huge sacks of supplies for Calais – and suddenly there’s only standing room and the balcony has to be opened to accommodate all those still trying to get in.
There are several speakers, all enthusiastic in their message, all united in their cause – we have someone from DPAC telling us about their demonstration at noon on Monday – how Iain Duncan Smith has threatened to sue people accusing him of murder – and so the theme will be, “IDS, Wanted For Murder”. We are told about demonstrations, marches, protests, direct actions, film screenings, a huge “Laugh Them Out Of Town” comedy night, music gigs – involving many groups, from those against TTIP and Fracking to CND, anti-racist groups, Disabled groups and everyone affected by Government cuts represented.
Kate Marlow tells us about the anti austerity play she’s written, Knock Knock – it’s very dark but also very funny, she tells us. Terry Christian is going to be hosting it – and people such as Charlotte Church, Frankie Boyle, Jeremy Corbyn, Owen Jones and many more people are also going to be there to stand in solidarity with the people of Manchester and the people across the whole UK.
Julie Hesmondhalgh – Hayley from Coronation Street to most of us – takes the podium and tells us of her upbringing when funds were available for young actors and musicians, when government invested in the future and saw the benefit of arts and music to society rather than today, when she receives hundreds of letters asking for support for individual crowd funding projects to enable people to study drama, when many arts courses don’t even qualify for student loans, let alone grants. She warns us of the danger of a future society where the working class person simply isn’t represented in the arts because they couldn’t afford to study. She reads us a fabulous poem called “My State Benefactor”, outlining how important the support of the state was to her career – and how she has paid it all back, many times over, in tax.
Maxine Peake also speaks to us – a fabulous rallying call that urges us to stand up against austerity and to defend the vulnerable against the consistent bullying that the Tory government is inflicting. She becomes angry, reflecting the anger of everyone there – “Give the Tories hell when they come to Manchester”, she says, “How dare they fuck with Manchester?”
And with that, the meeting ends – no boring announcements to bring the atmosphere down, no speeches to detract from that message of anger – people are on their feet applauding, inspired and ready to take that deep feeling of anger at the injustices we have all had to suffer and determined to find a way of getting involved – whether it’s marching, volunteering, spreading the word, helping with collections or just being there that week to stand as one people and say – No More Cuts – End Austerity Now!
I know where I’ll be from the 3rd to the 7th October this year – will you join me?
Many thanks to Kay for this fantastic piece. Manchester People's Assembly will be meeting every Tuesday at 7pm at the Central Methodist Hall on Oldham Street until TAKE BACK MANCHESTER. We will be catching up on the planned events, making banners, picking up leaflets and posters and plotting more actions! These are informal sessions (not public meetings like the one on Tuesday 8th) but planning, doing and getting together sessions. Everyone is welcome. Come with questions, ideas, a paintbrush, a pen, or just yourself – we will find something for you to help with!
The next meeting of the Manchester People’s Assembly is set to be a big one!
Confirmed to speak are: Maxine Peake, Sam Fairburn (National Secretary of the People’s Assembly), Collette Williams from Black Activists Rise up Against the Cuts, Lynn Collins from North West TUC, Anthony O'Connor from Manchester Cathedral and Julie Hesmondhalgh, who will be giving a performance as well as speaking.
This will be the last big event for the Manchester People’s Assembly before the Tories come to our city - come along and be inspired, collect publicity and hear about all the exciting events and actions going on during TAKE BACK MANCHESTER from 4th – 7th October.
Come along to Central Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JQ at 7pm.
Due the need to raise funds for the week of actions and the expected demand for this meeting this is a ticketed event.
To book your seat go to Eventbrite. Please, if you are able to, pay our voluntary ticket price to help raise funds.
COLLECTION FOR REFUGEES IN CALAIS
We will also be making a collection of items for the refugees in Calais. Here is what is needed:
• Shelter: 2-skin tents that can survive bad weather, tarpaulins, canvas sheets, wooden pallets, rope, chairs and stools
• Bedding: Sleeping bags, blankets, camp beds, roll mats, pillows, pillow cases
• Clothes and shoes: Clean, practical, clothes: trainers, walking shoes, boots, wellies, socks, jackets, shirts, underwear, waterproof jackets and trousers, hats
• Sanitary & medical items: anti-bacterial products, cleaning products, basic toiletries (soap, deodorant, towels, kitchen paper, toilet paper, razors, shaving products, sanitary towels etc), basic first aid kits, wipes, rubbish bags/bins
• Cooking: tinned food, can openers, flour, cooking oil, salt, paper, spices, containers for storing/carrying water, coffee, tea, sugar, pans etc, sponges, washing up liquid, cooking utensils, mugs, plates, bowls, cutlery
• Communication: unlocked mobile phones (and the chargers), activated Lyca mobile sim cards
• Miscellaneous: fire extinguishers, LED wind-up torches, umbrellas, tools, wood, tape, second had compact cameras
• Improving life: books, games, pens, paper
We are not collecting perishable or frozen goods.
Please don't buy new items to donate. It is more economical to donate money so we can buy in bulk and/or buy locally in Calais.
Come along and join Manchester People's Assembly Against Austerity at MANCHESTER PRIDE this weekend.
We will be handing out flyers for TAKE BACK MANCHESTER (the People's Assembly week of actions and meetings during the Conservative Party Conference in October) and joining the parade with our specially designed placards and banners.
Join us at any of the following times and locations on Saturday 29th August:
10.30am: Meet at Manchester One, Corner of Portland Street, for those wanting to do a stall.
12.30pm at Deansgate Station, to go with placards with the parade and leaflet the crowds along the way
Then all meet back at the stall by Manchester One to do the final flyering.
Some people are also meeting at the Retro Bar on Friday 28th August at 8pm to drink and plot! All welcome.
Please do come along to any of these meeting points and help spread the word about what we're doing during the conference and why we are against austerity.
More updates on the Manchester Peoples Assembly Against Austerity soon. For those who use Facebook you can find us at:
See you soon.