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.
In one of the largest demonstrations the city has seen for years, over a thousand people marched the streets yesterday, calling for refugees to be made welcome in York.
Starting in torrential rain at St. Helen’s Square and finishing with blue skies at the Minster, the weather on the day was perhaps symbolic of the way attitudes have changed in Britain towards the humanitarian crisis. In the past weeks, some of the world’s most desperate people have faced an onslaught of abuse and degradation from our media and government. Yesterday marked the beginning of a compassionate approach to the issue from ordinary people, coinciding with events across the country.
UKIP are planning for their annual conference at the end of September… and so are we. They’ve decided to make our lives a little easier by bringing it to Doncaster. As Britain faces the threat of growing right-wing militancy, we’re committed to meeting that threat as well as providing a serious alternative agenda. Activists in Doncaster have called a “Stand Up To UKIP” march on 27th September, and we want to help them give UKIP a right Yorkshire welcome! To get organised, there’ll be a quick meeting at 6.30pm on Monday right before the York People’s Assembly meeting.
Click to read what Paul Nuttall thinks should happen to the NHS
UKIP might be firing its candidates for expressing their extreme views in public, but check out what one of their current MEP’s has to say on the NHS. According to his website, Paul Nuttall MEP “would argue that the very existence of the NHS stifles competition”. You can see his full statement on what should happen to the NHS here. No wonder UKIP won’t advertise policies that affect anyone other than immigrants. Please use your vote against them on May 22nd!
Members of local campaign group York Unity are looking for extra help spreading the message about the UKIP threat. They’ve got 8000 flyers to hand out, starting with an event in St Helen’s Square from 12 to 2pm on Saturday 10th May.
Recently, thousands of UKIP’s own fliers were returned to their Freepost address by angry voters. But the party looks set to win the UK vote in this month’s European Elections. They stand a chance because many simply won’t show up to the polls to vote, resulting in Britain being represented by allies of tax dodgers and racists, rather than defenders of workplace rights and the environment.
A gloriously sunny London day welcomed over ten thousand marchers from all over the country on March 22nd for Stand Up To Racism and Fascism – the march and rally organised by Unite Against Fascism. The event marked United Nations Anti Racism day, with parallel events in Glasgow and Cardiff, and throughout Europe.The challenge now is to build on this so that we can defeat the racist BNP and UKIP at the European elections.
Join York UAF members at TSSA Offices on Nunnery Lane – 6pm on Tuesday 15th April to discuss how this can be achieved locally.