On an evening with many other events happening in and around York it was good to see a healthy turnout for a public meeting at the Crescent Community Venue organised by York People’s Assembly and Supported by York and District Trades Council on 13th September 2017 was entitled “Justice for Grenfell, end austerity, scrap the 1% pay cap” allowing a range of speakers to provide background to why the governments neo-liberal economic policies and especially its austerity program was ultimately to blame for the Grenfell Towers disaster on the 14th June 2017. A range of stalls were also present promoting defence of the NHS, Unite Against Racism and the campaign against fracking.
The first to speak was Kim Hunter from Frack Free Scarborough who spoke of the solidarity across the movement. Next was James Cussens from York and District Trades Council with a similar message of solidarity against austerity. David Lewis from York Unison followed with a story of the origins of neo-liberalism and austerity in the UK, including the Hayek-Thatcher meeting of 1975. Councillor Danny Myers continued the overarching theme of the need to work together against global capitalism.
Next in line was Annie, one of the Durham Teaching Assistants who had spoken at a previous meeting and whilst not bearing a message of complete victory brought one of the benefits of solidarity and support that they were able to demonstrate. They’re in the third year of a dispute that has grown from one woman on Facebook to having 1500 (out of a total of 2500) Teaching Assistants in Durham standing up boldly against the County Council and others. Annie was supported by two other colleagues, and it was great to see and hear them again.
“Enough is enough” was the message Judy Bolton brought from Justice4Grenfell. With friends and family who had died in the disaster she described the failings behind the catastrophic loss of life on the 14th June and after. Since the event it is estimated by the campaign that around 250 people lost their lives, whilst the authorities have only declared 85 “viable human remains”, and that only 16 people have been re-homed. Judy’s talk was a moving description of the horrors of the night and days following, along with a list of cuts, cock-ups and criminal negligence that cost so many lives.
Judy received a standing ovation at the end of the talk but continued to answer more questions regarding the event and campaign. She will be attending Manchester on the 1st October with the London Fire Brigade Union. So book your ticket for the coach and join her.
Her call was “enough is enough”.
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.
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
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
7pm Thursday 2nd April at the Royal York Hotel
Tickets £5 if you can, free if you can’t – we sold out our first venue, and expect to sell out again. Join us as we ask some big questions: Can we save our NHS from privatisation? – Do strikes work? – What’s the alternative to austerity? – What happened to social housing? – Can we stop cuts?
On the panel will be :
- Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and author
- Mark Steel, Comedian and broadcaster
- Kate Pickett, author of The Spirit Level, director of the Equality Trust
- George Arthurs, activist, South Yorkshire Freedom Riders
- Sam Fairbairn, national secretary, People’s Assembly Against Austerity
- Chair: Emily Park, York People’s Assembly