Save the NHS NHS protestor on the People's Assembly demonstration in June 2014. Photograph: Marienna Pope-Weidemann

700 mothers will join forces on the 16th August and march from Jarrow to London in protest at the destruction of the NHS. Ellen Graubart reports

Jarrow March

The original Jarrow to London march in October 1936 – a protest against poverty and unemployment in the north-east of England. Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

This summer a group of 700 mothers will retrace the steps of the original Jarrow to London march which took place 78 years ago to protest against poverty and unemployment in the north-east of England.

The the People’s March is part of the campaign called by The 999 call for the NHS and is led by a group of mothers from Darlington, who are fighting the privatisation and dismantling of the NHS by the Conservative-led Coalition government.  Their aim is to connect people and campaigners across communities fighting against the destruction of the NHS and to retain the Bevan principles on which it was founded.  

The march begins on the 16th of August and will be led by Joanna Adams, a call centre worker from County Durham and one of the original #darlomums.  Joanna explained why she is taking part:

“People are feeling ignored and feeling as if they can’t participate in politics and this is about enabling people to have a voice and to be part of something… This is a real people’s march… I’ve got two kids and work in a call centre – I’m doing this because I’m angry and I know lots of other people are angry too.”

Joanna Adams

Joanna Adams, a 41-year-old call centre worker, who will be leading a march from Jarrow to London later this year to protest against NHS privatisation. Photograph: Andrew Musgrove

The People’s March will start at Jarrow on the banks of the River Tyne 300 miles from Parliament, where it will arrive on Sept 6 – the plan is to arrive just in time for prime minister’s questions.  It will pass through 23 towns and cities and will stopping in many of them to allow people to join the protest at any point and to walk as far as they like.  As the march progresses the public will be made aware of the deceitful privatisation that is taking place in our hospitals and health services.

Plea from a doctor who will be on the People’s march:

‘I’m a 49 year old Consultant Neurologist, but the last reason I am marching is because I am a doctor… [I] Know that the most efficient system is a tax payer based one not a privatised or insurance based system… I am marching because politicians have failed… I am marching to fight back at the politicians who let this happen – from New Labour to ConDems…But no one is listening to the doctors or healthcare professionals who warned about the risks of marketisation which New Labour introduced and the ConDems accelerated over this financial cliff.  So as a doctor, I plead with each and everyone, you must march for the NHS.  The politicians will not listen to people like me.

They might just listen to you!’

Ellen Graubart

Ellen Graubart was born in India of American parents and came to London from Virginia as a teenager to study art. She lives and works as an artist in Hackney. She is a member of Counterfire, Stop the War and Hackney Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

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