Protest against the proposed Police Bill Protest against the proposed Police Bill. Photo: Flickr - Tim Dennell / cropped from original / licensed under CC 2.0, links at the bottom of article

Lucy Nichols on why we need to bring together all the strands of opposition to the Tories onto the streets at the People’s Assembly national demonstration on 26 June

Throughout the pandemic, the govern­ment has made it very clear that it does not care about working people. The Tories have treated us all with incredible callousness since they came to power in 2010, but in the last year, they’ve taken it to a new level.

The government has made mistake after mistake in its weak attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus; whether encouraging us to Eat Out to Help Out, re-opening schools too early and send­ing students back to universities before it was safe or failing to prepare for a second wave.

After a year of fighting for Black Lives Matter, we are now being told that Britain is free of institutional racism by the very same government that is con­tinuing its hostile environment policies. It is an especially absurd claim after a year in which black and brown people have died disproportionally from Covid.

Now, as we begin to put the worst excesses of the pandemic behind us, the government’s recovery plan will leave many of us in the lurch. Unemployment is predicted to rise dramatically, while employers push policies that will leave workers worse off, such as ‘fire and rehire’, or efforts to undermine unions.

But the people are fighting back. This year has seen phenomenal protests, rallies and strikes, with the People’s Assembly backing many of these battles for justice, equality and workers’ rights.

The Black Lives Matter protests last summer were huge, as hundreds of thousands across the country stood up against the virulent racism of the Brit­ish state. Teachers rightly refused to go back to school before it was safe, and students have won millions of pounds from their profit-obsessed Universities through rent strikes and occupations.

British Gas workers, bus drivers, council workers, Uber drivers and many others have taken on their employers to resist unsafe working practices.

Thousands have marched against misogyny and the Police and Crime Bill, which was delayed after mass outrage. It is clear that the last year has ignited outrage and anger for people all over the UK, with the Conservative government holding the blame.

On 26 June, the People’s Assembly will lead a march to Parliament Square to oppose the government’s attempts to make us pay for the crisis and to shut­down the protest. It is crucial that we bring together all the different strands of oppo­sition. We need to fight with the biggest possible numbers to win.

Originally published in Counterfire’s April freesheet

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