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Beyond Resistance

Build Peoples Assemblies leaflet

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Fight the cuts

Beyond resistance -
building People’s Assemblies

Communities whose services and living standards are under unprecedented assault by the Con-Lib coalition government should establish their independence from the state through building People’s Assemblies and move beyond resistance.

Delegates to the Assemblies will represent ordinary people’s interests, whether they are young or old, in work or unemployed, in the public or private sectors, trade unionists, women, students, minorities and community groups.

Assemblies will bring together anti-cuts campaigns and all organisations resisting the Coalition’s attack on jobs, services, pensions and standard of living.
A network of People’s Assemblies will have the capacity to facilitate a transition to a democratic society based on co-operation and self-determination instead of profit and corporate power.

They will challenge the lie that there is no alternative to the capitalist system, which has plunged into a global crisis and is the source of the Coalition’s attacks.

People’s Assemblies can:


Q: How will Assemblies come into being?
A: Through local initiatives of people and communities who want to resist cuts, job losses, repossessions and go beyond protest to build a real democracy.

Q. What is A World to Win’s role in setting up Assemblies?
A: AWTW is joining with others to take the idea forward. We advocate the policy of setting up People’s Assemblies wherever cuts, closures or strikes are happening, where young people gather, where people are at risk of benefit cuts, and home repossessions or evictions are threatened.

Q: What will Assemblies do to show they are the legitimate representatives of the people?
A: They will have a strong defensive role, as the government launches its attacks. They can learn lessons from others about how to defend communities and individuals. For example, from the movements in the US against evictions, where communities are getting together to stop people being thrown out when they can’t pay their mortgage.

The experiences of Transition Towns who have been encouraging communities to do things for themselves, exploring new ways of living, can provide a source of inspiration.

Assemblies can learn from history – from the Paris Commune, early Soviets or Workers Councils in Russia, from the Councils of Action; the movement that brought down the Berlin Wall to the struggles in Venezuela and Bolivia today.

Q: How will this be different from the old politics?
A: The Assemblies will involve and mobilise the whole community, including young people, people from minority ethnic communities, small businesses and self-employed people as well as workers from every sector.

They will show by their own actions that there is another way of living, and another way of “being political” that isn’t about money-grubbing and getting expenses. They will work for education, for culture and a decent life for all.

There will be opportunities for everyone to share their skills and talents, and for young people to work creatively and learn. A wide range of people will gravitate towards them. They will embrace different points of view, not only those on the left.

Q: What will AWTW’s role in the Assemblies be?
A: Our Manifesto says: “The Assemblies will also look beyond a failed economic system towards building a true democracy in place of the sham one we live under now.” That is the revolutionary policy we will campaign for in the Assemblies.

The Coalition government is taking the actions it is because the system it serves – the capitalist system – is terminally unstable. It must be replaced.

The existing parliamentary system is a façade that increasingly undermines and devalues the right to vote that was won in bitter struggle against the ruling classes. We have to extend and expand democracy to give expression to what the term actually means – the power and rule of the people.

We will work within the Assemblies to win people to the idea that they should not be talking shops, or just organise protests or social support, but start to see themselves as the legitimate representatives of the people, with the right to replace the existing undemocratic structures of both local and national government. This includes revolutionising the Welsh and Scottish assemblies, which in their present form have dashed the hopes raised by devolution.


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Your comments

Jonathan says:

There are two things at each end of this period of wars and revolution that I note in connection with all this. The first is John Read portrayed in REDS (Warren Beatty’s film of Reed’s book Ten days that shook the world) when Reed asks the assembled Soviet can he speak; this scene was before the transfer of power. Before then, in the film, the whole characterisation implies that at meetings and organisations he attended the bureaucracies had stifled debate and shaped it and slowed decision making. And the next I noted was the beginning and development of Raging Grannies which certainly tapped a source of resentment, resistance, organization and experience. The confused, sometimes ignorant response by companies and authorities certainly further exposed the distance these organizations are from communities they are embedded in and foisted upon, seldom coming from them; and like rabbits and kangaroos in headlights the authority’s first freeze in the face of this form of authority it actually serves and then obey it, regularly violently.

Implementing the above widely and deeply and with fervor must now be done as above says and individuals and organizations throw their resources into it. I also believe it must find, world wide, its own forms of coverage to make the voices heard and the actions seen and learnt from.

Your comments

Tony says:

I think something has to happen before society moves into anarchy and riots.

Anson says:

This looks like the only way forward and the sooner the better that we break out of the current globalised capitalist system

Richard says:

1.While we have a representative 'democracy' (a contradiction in terms) we must have as Paul says an immediate revocability of elected representatives.
2. Until we have full employment (see below), MPs to be paid at average wage; thereafter paid at rate at which they were previously employed (no more career politicians
3. Pete is right. The reason we have a big state is because we subsidise capitalism (e.g JSA is merely a means of making the maintenance of a large pool of unemployed workers appear acceptable so that wages can be kept low; we build roads for the easy accumulation of food miles. Cut benefits at a stroke-Pay a living wage. Make capitalism pay its share of its own respondsbilities and taxces could be reduced.
4. If people are to be criticised as workshy if not in work then we must have a right to work.
5. Community (not state) ownership of production and financial services with full worker representation on local industry boards.
6. Move towards community ownerhip of residential property over one generation (100% Inheritance Tax on residential property handed over to community)

Jet says:

I think we need to start making steps towards building a genuinely democratic society, and this seems to be a good initiative for doing just that.

Peter says:

The blurb at the top about peoples' assemblies uniting communities makes me think of social soviets, re: Silvia Pankhurst/ELF. Whilst I think there is always a need for a workers' party (a real party) and the essential role of trade unions, I also see this other social dimension to democratic advance as necessary. I believe in a republic of direct democratic control.

Simon says:

I think we need to take a leaf out of the Digger's book and start becoming autonomous. We are part of the eco-system of this world, not seperate from it. By growing your own food, reclaiming derelict land and withdrawing cooperation (in tax or otherwise) we can collectively change this planet.

Jonathan says:

This needs to happen.

Outsourcing does not save money in the long term but removes accountability and insert profit into the council tax bill.

In late 70s after the council annouced cuts many of the most competent employees accepted redundancy so within a year the council had to rerecruit ?70% of its workforce. What a waste!

Joe says:

Getting the message down to grassroots level will be the real challenge.

Ralph Nader's new book 'Only The Super-Rich Can Save US' might give some light-hearted inspiration. It certainly made me feel better.

The Real News seems to be the best source of information out there. Pity we didn't have something similar here in the UK. I guess Media Lens is the best source we have here. Anyone got better links?

Adam says:

Power to the people, lets start a new socialist movement, based on honesty and not power.

Marius says:

I think we should think locally and act globally. The world needs every one of us to participate for a better change.

Janice says:

Edinburgh Budget Day Protest
TUESDAY 22nd JUNE 2010
RALLY 6pm The Mound
MARCH to Charlotte Square

Pete says:

As usual,  working people have to sacrifice themselves to the alter of global capitalism. This ridiculous government coalition, is hell bent on appeasing the banks and TNCs, by introducing draconian cuts to public services.

They should pay for the mess they got us into. Through increases in corporate taxes, it is they who should shore up this fiscal mess. Its a complete farce that the banks can be nationalised (Socialism for the rich!!)  but the NHS, a service that benefits the whole of the British population, is being dissected and hived off to the highest bidder!!

Yes A people assembly should be the building block for the worlds working people to take control of the world which THEY have developed.

Amelia says:

We have waited long enough for others to take up the responsibility - it's time we saw to it ourselves.

Radfax says:

This Country needs a Constitution, made by the people for the people

Earl says:

In Argentina 2001 Peoples Assemblies were formed in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the Left practically sabotaged them by trying to take them over. We need to learn from the experiences in other countries, so we don't repeat the same mistakes.

Danielle says: you mean like the Welsh Assembly??

Phoenix says:

There is already a peoples assembly at parliament square needs u to visit and help asap bel me love

Ayodele says:


Ben says:

I am tired of feeling hopeless, powerless and afriad. Capitalism is not a meritocracy is is an arsekiss-backstab-orracy, these are the people that have the power, the most ruthless, the liars the one who value power and money over love and life. I am not affilieated with any political group and I work full time, I need to find some hope somewhere.

Charles says:

From my previous comments it should be clear that I am very supportive of AWTW, with a few reservations (e.g. I rather think you are too negative about Cuba, not that I think it should never be criticised, but its considerable achievements should be applauded and the venomous right-wing bias of the mass media opposed). I am completely in agreement with your view that there is a great need to go beyond simply resisting the cuts and other reactionary actions of our undemocratic government and I would love to see People's Assemblies being organised.

However, I have to admit that in the area I live, which has just returned the same Tory MP who has "represented" us for the last 23 years and, in fact, an area that has only once voted differently in over 70 years I believe, it would be almost miraculous to see the system seriously challenged. Late in 2009 I learned of an effort to rally voters behind a group of Cambridge socialists, but I am sorry to say they were invisible in the election. The picture was hardly different nationally and reflected the terrible lack of unity on the left. I found Red Pepper's general conclusion that the Labour Party is still the only hope depressing. I think that party resembles capitalism in being unreformable. A parliamentary road to socialism seems to me as unlikely as it ever was, at least in this country. Rather more hope in the Americas perhaps, but international solidarity will be essential. I hope very much AWTW makes progress in that respect as well as in this country.

Steven says:

I have been aware of this decline since the 80's working with people from the organic food sector. I have used LETS and bartering and feel alternative money is important to set up and have in place. I run a 'large' alternative news site on NING social networks. That discusses these subjects and much much more. Through cooperation and symbioses we can work through this period of change and emerge in a higher state or order afterwards. It's important to have plans in place as those orchestrating the collapse will certainly have plans that will make our lives far worse!

Paul says:

I mistakenly voted for the Lib. Dems due to the media suggestion that a vote for them would help keep the Conservatives out. As a student studying the miners strike I am all too aware of what the Tories are about. Because of this, I would like to retract my vote. I completely disagree with public sector cuts and would like to be part of some direct action to stop the travasty.

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