Sunday, 27 March 2011

26th march TUC protest how i saw it

So as i've been blogging about for months now the 26th of March has come and gonea nd to be honest i'm not sure waht i feel now to be honest. a sense of deflation, relief or confidence that we can now go on and defeat the cuts. I guess a mixture of feelings really.

What started off as a good day i awoke early to be picked up by a fellow comrade we headed to Stevenage to catch the 10 am train to London already he train was packed out. Announcements on the platform of a big demonstration in London today and London was to be avoided added nervous anticipation to myself really.

I myself have not been on many protests this being my second big one after March 5th lobbbying Labour party councillors to vote against the cuts.

But today was different a lot different we arrived at Charing Cross station and moved towards the Embankment where the feeder protests were forming. We had a long long wait to join any march let alone the main TUC demo of the day.

Today was bigger than i could even expect police estimates say about 700,000 possibly more. This was huge really really big i cannot stress that nearly enough. Our comrades from the Stevenage socialist party congragated on the Embankment and held the Stevenage trades council banner aloft in solidarity.

We marched or should i say shuffled forward pace by pace
It took our little crowd of comrades 2 and a bit hours to even get on the main march in the first place. My legs were even aching even by this point. Later on the march really got going a lot more and as we walked up towards parliament square and Trafalgur square the march rally got going. I did enjoy walking past Downing Strett and giving a huge boo down it and telling David Cameron what i thought of him. In normal everyday circumstances you cuold not do that but on a march like today it was fair game. I wont repeat what i shouted on here but it was far from complimentary about his idea of cuts to the disabled.

There was a terrific atmosphere on the whole of the march with so many from all over the country there today. We met so many from various different trade unions by that Unite, RMT, FBU, Unison, PCS, UCU, CWU, ASLEF, NUT and many many more smaller ones too. The day was huge i thought i was blown away by the sheer scale of the event. As we passed through various parts of London we gota rael sense of the anger and betrayel of our political system over years and years of taking us all for granted. There were splinter marchs organised by UK Uncut which i have previously blogged about on here and their excellent work of highlighting tax evaders such as Phillip Green. Today they did some excelent work occupying many shops in Oxford street who's establishment doesnt pay its total share of tax. They also orchestrated organised sit in's in big well known banks to highlight that the bankers must pay for this mess not the ordinary working class.

All these messages from today sent out a big message to the tories and the lib dems in this sham government of ours to sit up and listen to the real big society.

One thing i did find quite hard to accept was the fact so many Labour party councillors who had weeks ago just voted through big savage spending cuts in their local councils marching today against the cuts. How hypocritical can you get ? a few weeks back voting for the cuts weeks later marching against the very cuts you have just voted for. Totally shameful i think. Another thing which bugged me was none other than the Labour party leader Ed miliband who got up on stage in Hyde Park to speak to protesters. I personally find this insulting as he called to people he stands with us. Like hell he does from his middle class background and not being anti cuts at all. How dare he say to us he knows how we feel. He and his party support cuts all be it at a slower less deeper rate, yet they are still cuts all the same. As we chanted today there is no such thing as a fair cut. We are against all cuts as the socialist party. No cuts to the working class, who i firmly believe did not cause this financial crisis and should not be made to pay for the mistakes of the capitalist political class and bankers.

Sadly i didnt get to see any of the speechs from today but i will later revisit them i hope wehn videos appaer on you tube. I do hope to cover them in greater detail in further blogposts in the future.

The BBC's coverage as what you'd expect from a capitalist media source was highlighting the actions of groups like UK uncut who were occupying shopsa nd banks rather than focusing on the main march which was very peaceful i might add. As i write this i cant be sure but when i last checked there were still supposed protesters in Trafalgur square being kettled by police and setting things on fire and causing mayhem from all sounds of it. Whilst loud and militant protest is good in our eyes as socialists i persoanlly dont believe attacking the police for a game of cat and mouse ultimatly achieves much. As a further thought i really dont think this sort of action we have seen late into the night in Trafalgur square does not help the anti cuts movement at all and i would put the actions down largely to anarchist groups intent on causing troublea nd ruining the peaceful party planned in Trafalgur square for the evening which i saw no problem in.

A few weeks ago i had seen tweets and messages from John Mcdonald a Labour party MP who is apparently a socialist calling for mass camping in trafalguar square and turning it in to a mini Tahrir square just like what we have seen in Cairo in Egypt in the last few months. Really i never saw this idea being big and the police were always going to take issue with this kind of tactic who prefer people return home. I like the sentiment but not sure the UK is really at the stage of a Egypt style revolution yet.

As i say i am sure to revisit today the 26th of March over the next few weeks in this blog with hopefully comments a and analysis from others who were also there on the day so this is just a first few thoughts on today really.

Many socialist party leaflets were handed outa nd the main theme of them was calling for a one day mass public sector general strike. I myself am hugely in favour of thisa nd will do all i can to support such action to be taken as what i have said earlier on twitter today cannot be the end . People who have never protested in their life may well have come along today and loved every minute of it. Yes i did too but i'm also very aware that protests just like the against the war demo back in the last decade was totally ignored by Tony blair who railroded us into a illegal war which i hasent to add we will never forget or forgive for that.

So thera re big limitations to large scale protests of this nature we aer well aware of that. But as as socialists we believe that todays demo must be followed with serious industrial action now. We must now start the campaign fora one day general public sector strike to try to defend workers jobs, pensions and rights. This cannot be the one day we say we've donea ll we can and let the cuts happen, Further resistance is needed and we in our local communities and areas need to come together now in class unity to defend our public services, jobs and ultimatly our welfare state.

So my message to you all tonight is lets not let this be the end, let this march today be the start of something big. Something that will change the face of our struggel for good. Lets keep on fighting for fairness.


  1. Sadly, a general strike is against trade union law. Each union has to call a national ballot within its own membership on a specific issue that affects the pay and conditions of service of its own members. It cannot be just a general protest at the cuts.

    If they attempted it the courts would rule them illegal and any unions attempting to subvert this would be liable for huge fines.

    It's all well and good to call for grand gestures, but we need to work within the law, in all aspects. If not, society in general, and the media will portray any opposition as mindless or opportunistic posturing.

  2. i'm sorry but the media will always portray it that way, the media are on the side of the ruling class, they speak for them not the working class. If several trade unions called for action on the same day i dont see what is so illegal about that ? the government will try any tactic they can to try and stop workers defending their right to strike. Tony Blair and Maggie tatcher did their best to defeat trade unions and make them almost paralized to act. But once you have awoken the giant of the trades union movement they can move with incrediable resistance when they do. Whatever it takes we must oppose all cuts and create mass resistance to the cuts to protect what is good about this country, the peoples lives and jobs and services must be protected. Even if the tories dont use them they are still ours things we need and use on a daily basis. We will not let them go without a fight i can assure you .

  3. i agreed with the occupation ukuncut did of fortnum and masons (and it appears most of the crowd did where I was standing!) i think at times we are perhaps a bit to dismissive of those sort of actions. as for the black bloc I also think that it's important we distiguish their protest from ukuncut but at the same time we need to realise that that was also an expression of militancy