People's Assembly Against Austerity demo, Chepstow St, Manchester, September 29th, 2019. Photo: Chrissy Brand People's Assembly Against Austerity demo, Chepstow St, Manchester, September 29th, 2019. Photo: Chrissy Brand

As the rain poured down, the left took to the streets, its enthusiasm not dampened. Chrissy Brand reports from the demo 

As a fractured Tory Party began their conference in Manchester yesterday, they were met by huge opposition. The week that saw this weak government without a majority increase their violent rhetoric and words of intimidation and hate, people from all walks of life gathered in Manchester to demand an end to austerity and to shut down the Tories.

Thousands protested on Sunday at a rally and protest march called by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. In unity, individuals, campaign groups, political parties and communities vociferously expressed their anger at a decade of completely unnecessary austerity measures. Measures and policies, which, as we all well know, have been imposed by Tory governments in order to oppress the public, in particular the most vulnerable.

Manchester keeps the red flag flying, 29th September, 2019

It is well documented that Tory (and Lib Dem, when they were part of the coalition government) policies have murdered an extra 130,000+ people.

Speakers all voiced stirring words, echoing a desire to see an end to the shambolic and fragmented Tory party, to be replaced with a progressive government that rules for the many, not the few.

Amongst the many speakers was local councillor Pat Carney, who stated, “welcome to our Labour city of Manchester. We’re standing up for all those people, towns and cities around the country that have endured 10 years of savage cuts. In the form of universal credit and bedroom tax…” to name but two.

North West Unison was instrumental in organising the march and rally. Paula Barker said that

“Let’s not forget the coalition government who attacked our services. We will remember the Lib Dem cruelty. This week was a historic one. The Prime Minister was found to have deliberately broken the law, again. Behaving as he always does. Dishonestly, for his own interests, with no regard for the ordinary people of this country. He was elected by 0.1% of the population, which shows again that we are the 99 per cent.  We’ve got Johnson cornered, let’s take the Tories down!”

PCS President Fran Heathcote emphasised that the Labour Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has to be the next government. Anything less than that will bring more misery and destruction to public services, including the final privatisation and sell-off of our NHS, which has been prepared for by the Tories over the past decade.

Whilst the criminal and serial liar who laughably holds the post of prime minister addressed his floundering party, the protest outside saw a huge range of representation from a diverse range of organisations: CND and the Stop the War Coalition, anti-racist groups, pro-choice movement, the anti-fracking movement, Palestine Solidarity, Kashmiri, Action on Climate Change and Extinction Rebellion supporters, hunt saboteurs and Stop the badger cull protestors, plus pleas for the government to intervene in the Indian killings in Kashmir amongst them.

Laura Pidcock MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, caught the mood on the streets perfectly when she emphasised that

“Another world is possible. One without this grotesque inequality, where our beautiful NHS and schools are ripped apart by privatisation. The world is on fire. We say ‘no more’”.

She demanded that the climate catastrophe be tackled and spoke of Greta Thunberg as an inspiration to us all: “we need a different economic and social system with the planet at the centre of it.” One that we can only bring about by socialism.


LGBTQ drummers, Manchester

Events have run in opposition throughout the Tory conference. On Monday and Tuesday, the People’s Assembly marquee in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens is the hub for debate and discussion on climate change, NHS, housing, anti-racism and how we can challenge the mainstream media.

The message is simple. Let’s shut down the Tories, get them out of power and usher in a progressive government. No more homelessness, broken spirits and despair, an end to poverty where legions of hard-working people are forced to take on more than one job to pay ever increasing utility, transport and food bills while wages stagnate, unless you are the 1%, of course. We need a general election, now.


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