Thousands join London march against austerity
Around 20,000 people from all over the country marched through Central London last weekend to protest against the ConDems’ austerity policies organised by the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity.
Photo report by Peter Arkell
Many trade unions supported the march, with their banners, particularly those of the National Union of Teachers who are planning further strike action next month. While the stated aim of the organisers is to “influence” the reactionary coalition, comedian Russell Brand had other ideas.
“The people of this building”, said Brand at the rally, pointing to the House of Commons, “generally speaking do not represent us, they represent their friends in big business. It’s time for us to take back our power.
“This will be a peaceful, effortless, joyful revolution. Power isn’t there, it is here, within us. The revolutions that’s required isn’t a revolution of radical ideas, but the implementation of ideas we already have.”
Sam Fairburn said that later in the year the PAAA would unite with the trade union and labour movement when it holds another “monster march” against austerity and the ConDems. “Soon we will reach a size and influence where neither the BBC nor this austerity government will be able to ignore us.” Despite the size of the march, it was almost totally ignored by the media.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, said: “We’re not willing to stand by while everything we hold dear is destroyed.” There were 13 million, including 3.5m children living below the poverty line, he said, and there are food banks everywhere. He promised action including a general strike “if that is necessary”.
Other speakers included Christine Blower of the NUT, Jeremy Corbyn MP (who asked the meeting to remember Gerry Conlon, who died on Saturday and who was wrongfully jailed for the Guildford pub bombing), the E15 Evicted Mothers, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, , Matt Wrack of the FBU, comedian Mark Steel, Diane Abbott MP, Owen Jones and comedian Francesca Martinez who caught the mood of the rally when she said “This is a system we need to overthrow and break”.
23 June 2014