At 5:15 on the 17th June 2016 a group of supporters gathered in front of St Michael le Belfrey Church, York to demonstrate support for the cars, goods and money travelling from York in the hope of reaching Calais on the 18th June. Speakers from York City of Sanctuary, Refugee Action York, York Stand Up To Racism, York Trades Union Council and the organisers York People’s Assembly, along with the Lord Mayor, Councillor Dave Taylor who had attended with the civic party.#
It had been hoped that Rachael Maskell MP would attend but the murder of Jo Cox MP the previous day had left her upset and unable to attend. In honour of Jo Cox Graham read out a speech on refugees that Jo had made to Parliament. The Lord Mayor spoke of York as a city of sanctuary and his pleasure that York was joining the convoy to Calais.
We all wish our comrades a safe journey to Dover, and the hope that the French authorities let them through to the camp and refugees. We will, no doubt, be holding a meeting on their return to York.
In the run up to the EU referendum we’ve heard every kind of claim and counter-claim by the official Leave and Remain campaigns. The truth is, both sides are being led from a right wing, committed to building up the power of an ever-shrinking elite. But who’s going to discuss our interests in the debate? Will being in or being out deliver a more humane society?
On Tuesday 6th June York People’s Assembly gathered together a mix of social justice, workers’ rights and environmental campaigners to discuss what would make a better world. This included War On Wants’ John Hilary and Left Leave campaigner Maxine Bowler to represent the Leave side. Whilst Green Councillor Lars Kramm and ‘Another Europe Is Possible’s Michel Chessum putt the case for Remain. Thanks also to the more than fifty people who came to take part, rather than staying at home at listening to David Cameron and Nigel Farage on television. Sally chaired the meeting and introductions were made by Chris and Jane outlining as well the York arm of the Convoy to Calais on June 18th, along with a request for funds for that, and to pay for the room and expenses.
York People’s Assembly is not taking a position on Leaving or Remaining – doing so would undermine the diverse spread of passionate people who make up the group. We wanted to create the possibility of a fresh debate on new terms.
Whilst the debate was open and maintained a civility throughout it was accepted by all the speakers that the racist elements in the public debate were fuelled by concerns over immigration, and that this needed to be debated by the left. However all speakers considered that immigration had always existed and should continue to happen but this was marred by the neoliberal 1% seeking to exploit workers, whether in country of origin and at their destination.and using them as scapegoats for austerity.
When the group of York University social work students planning to take supplies to the refugee ‘jungle’ in Calais came to a York People’s Assembly meeting, as we’d offered our support, we asked them to report back on their experience following the visit at the end of September. Continue reading
At a joint meeting of York People’s Assembly Against Austerity and Defend Our NHS York on 2nd November to discuss the ‘Crisis in the NHS’ it was unanimously agreed to support all necessary action by junior doctors in the UK against the imposition of a new contract upon them by the Tory government and to issue a statement in support of the doctors. This include support for the proposed strike on the 5th November. Continue reading
On the evening of 11th May the Friends Meeting House in York witnessed an energetic post-election revival event. Along with people who had attended the original meeting of York People’s Assembly (YPA) in 2013 there were a host of newer faces ready to confront those who wished to carry forward the neoliberal policies of the Coalition government into a minority Conservative one.
Lots of ideas came from those present about how to tackle the undemocratic and austerity supporting government, and this time YPA will hit the streets marching with stalls, petitions and demonstrations against austerity and government policies.
The People’s Manifesto already exists nationally.
There will be at least one coach going from York to the End Austerity Now demonstration in London. Book your seat here or at a meeting of YPA.
Sign the People’s Petition Against Austerity.
Our next meeting is on 18th May 2015 at the Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York at 19:30. – be there to join the fight back!
More than 20 people from a range of organizations, including York People’s Assembly, ignored the sunny weather to gather at the Friends’ Meeting House in York at 10:30 on Saturday 18 April and hear about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and discuss the issues surrounding it with three people who had attended a recent protest in Brussels outside the European Parliament. At 11:20 we had the pleasure of Richard Corbett MEP, one of the two Labour Members of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & the Humber describe the history and background of TTIP followed by answering a wide range of questions for the next seventy minutes.
Having sold out the first venue in a matter of days, the York People’s Question Time found a new venue, the Conference Suite at the Royal York Hotel, following some searching by one of the organizers, but this similarly reached its capacity of 410 after a very short time. The interest all came by word-of-mouth and social media and no formal promotion. This all happened to a background of the Leaders Debate, arranged at the last minute, on TV the same evening. Continue reading