Demonstrations against Austerity Agenda
Following Conservatives’ Electoral Coup
Following the General Election of May 7, thousands of people took to the streets in demonstrations and organised mass meetings to oppose the electoral coup of the Conservatives who formed a government with less than a quarter of the eligible vote and achieving only one seat in Scotland. The ruling elite and their mass media who immediately hailed the election result as an “overwhelming victory” of the Conservatives also condemned the demonstrations and mass meetings for “refusing to accept the democratic process”. But these mass mobilisations of the people declare that the 2015 election did not represent a democratic endorsement of the Conservative austerity agenda but represent its opposite. These demonstrations reflect the true anti-austerity direction of the election, with the overwhelming victory of the SNP in Scotland and the strong anti-austerity vote in the rest of the UK. It cannot be over-emphasised that the government possesses no mandate for a programme of austerity. This is crucial to building resistance in the coming period.
Only two days after the election, 3,000 demonstrators protested in Whitehall and outside Downing Street on May 9. As they were moving away from Downing Street towards Trafalgar Square, the demonstrators were attacked by police and the march broken up. People were beaten with batons, choked, punched, and thrown to the floor. A few hundred protesters were kettled for about three hours with over a dozen being arrested. On the same day several hundred people demonstrated in the centre of Cardiff and held a rally there.
On May 13, over 3,000 people took part in a demonstration through Bristol ending in Castle Park with a mass rally. The demonstration had been organised at short notice by seven young women, but snowballed into a very large and diverse mass demonstration in the city. On May 16, more than 1,000 people marched through Sheffield to the Town Hall for a rally. Other demonstrations took place in Manchester and other cities such as Cardiff and Lincoln. Further anti-austerity demonstrations are planned with a demonstration organised by the People’s Assembly on June 20 in London and a demonstration organised by the Scottish TUC in Glasgow. Also, on May 15, a mass assembly was held in London, at SOAS, with almost a thousand people taking part in its discussions. People rejected the propaganda that the election result was an acceptance of the the austerity agenda of the Conservatives and they called for the unity of the progressive forces in a five-year battle against it.
WWIE also calls for unity in the sense that the way out of the crisis is uniting everyone in a torrent against austerity. However, vigilance is needed against the influence of those forces that in the name of unity fight for hegemony and control creating various fronts that act as a diversion away from the fighting campaigns among the people that unite everyone. Therefore WWIE calls on the working class and people to break with the old and build the new in the context of continuing to organise and build their fighting movements and campaigns. The call is for people to continue to organise in the working-class and trade union movements, in their communities, and in their colleges and universities, and go all out to create in action an anti-austerity torrent of these merging streams in the fight for the alternative.
Defeat the Austerity Agenda!
Build the Workers’ Opposition!
Defend the Rights of All!