In just two weeks, support for the People’s Assembly has been overwhelming - Sam Fairbairn reports on the most recent developments
On Wednesday 6 February a list of trade union general secretaries, MPs, campaigners, and cultural figures put out a call for a People’s Assembly Against Austerity with a letter to the Guardian.
In the two weeks since, there has been some significant developments. Below is the first update. We will be sending out more as the assembly gathers momentum.
- Unison contacted us the day after the appeal appeared in the Guardian to sign up. We welcome them on board. The significance of having the trade union with the biggest public sector membership involved can’t be overestimated.
- Comedian Mark Steel has pledged his commitment to the project and written a fantastic article, published in the Independent on Monday. On Mark’s blog hundreds have left comments and messages of support for the initiative.
- Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, has supported the call. The FBU has an important role to play in the anti-austerity movement with the threat of 12 fire station closures in London.
- Disabled People Against the Cuts have signed up for the assembly and are producing a specific letter encouraging disabled organisations across the country to send representatives.
- Rallies are being held to organise around the People’s Assembly in a growing list of towns and cities. We will publicise all of these on our website once they are confirmed. Plans are being made to get large meetings set up in major cities in the UK.
- On the website more than 1,200 people have pledged their support for the People’s Assembly and already, 5 months before the event, 195 people have booked their seat.
- Salma Yaqoob, speaking to 1,000 people on the platform at a Stop the War Coalition conference, announced her support for the People’s Assembly and encouraged others to support too.
- The latest trade union branches and organisations to add their support include:
Unite London and Eastern Region, NUJ Independent Broadcasting and New Media, Doncaster UCATT, Future TSSA, University of Bedfordshire UNISON, The Distant Voices, Justice4Jobseekers, Liverpool Confidential, TSSA btn, Lakin McCarthy Entertainment, Queer Resistance North West, UEL Labour Students, Bridport TLC – Community Resource & Recycling Project, Communist Party, South West and Cornwall District, Waltham Forest Labour Representation Committee, Milton Keynes Against the Cuts, People’s Bookshop, University of York Green Party, Bradford People’s Coalition Against the Cuts, London Eviction Resistance Network, The Peoples Bank UK, Really Wild Forest School, Marsh Farm Outreach CIC, Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance, Croydon Labour Representation Committee.
- A number of our European contacts have been in touch to say they want to attend the People’s Assembly so we have decided that we will hold a Europe Against Austerity Assembly the day after the main event to continue co-ordination with our European partners.
This is just a taste of what is happening around the People’s Assembly. The response we have already received from the existing anti-austerity movement and also sections of the community not previously involved with the movement have been very encouraging.
Hundreds of others are currently putting the model resolution to their trade union branch or oragnisation, getting their friends, family and workmates to register, and spreading the word around Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. We would encourage you to do the same, think creatively about who to contact, what organisations might send delegates, and how to make sure the assembly has the biggest impact possible.
If we can maintain this level of activity, we can make the People’s Assembly into the launch pad of a mass anti-austerity movement which can for the first time begin to set the political agenda.