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.
Amongst the crowd of thousands, York People’s Assembly were represented by a full coach – and a mobile sound system. Along with friends in Scarborough and Thirsk, we headed to London for the Health, Homes, Jobs and Education march. Estimates on total numbers vary wildly from 50 to 150 thousand. Whilst the rally took place in 18Trafalgar Square, hundreds of protesters made their way to Downing Street. Continue reading
To make an impact, you have to stay. So under the slogan ‘Take Back Manchester’, the People’s Assembly contested the Tories’ right to have the city to themselves and make all the news. Continue reading
On a warm, sunny day in Manchester (yes, really!) 100 of us from York joined another 80,000 to protest the Government’s unfair Trade Union Bill. The Bill requires unrealistic levels of voter turnout and bans online voting. It also allows employers to use agency workers to break the strike. In other words, it’s an attack on industrial democracy that has to be countered. Continue reading
The attendance of over 200 people at our Budget Day Rally, which brought together several anti-austerity groups in York, was overwhelming. The attendees ranged from teenagers from the Youth Fight for Jobs movement, to young families with children, to union representatives, to pensioners. Few sectors of society are lucky enough to remain untouched by the new wave of cuts, and the election of a Tory majority this year has turned dissatisfaction into a real drive to enact the change this country needs. Continue reading
Update: We’ve just booked our 4th coach! 170 tickets sold already.
Newly elected York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, has backed the “No More Austerity” march. She joined our stall in St Helen’s Square on Saturday, after sitting alongside singer Charlotte Church at a press conference last week (watch on YouTube). The demonstration is gaining momentum and looks set to be huge. We’ve almost filled our third York coach, with more travelling by train. Buy your ticket here.
Anger and defiance at the prospect of five years of Tory government has resulted in us selling out two coaches for the 20th June ‘No More Austerity’ march and festival in London. We’re also raising money to cover publicity. Tickets now cost £25 or £15, get yours online now!