Remembering Peterloo means keeping the fight on the streets, writes Penny Hicks
Manchester has seen a frenzy of Peterloo commemorations. It is truly refreshing to be commemorating working class struggle and paying homage to the ordinary people who were killed and injured while attending a political rally.
Over 150 events have been organised, with Billy Bragg kicking off proceedings in June. The exhibition at the People’s History Museum is worth a visit to Manchester in itself. The misery and desperation faced by workers in 1819 and the arrogance, greed and sheer brutality of the ruling class is being widely remembered.
On Saturday afternoon Jeremy Corbyn will be speaking at the ‘Big Rally’ in Bolton. Organised by Labour Roots, it is an initiative to bring Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour manifesto to a wider audience in marginal constituencies . The ticket-only event will combine speeches and music to inspire us to mobilise for a general election. Meanwhile The People’s Assembly will join the trade union-organised ‘March for Democracy’, commencing from several of the original departure points and rallying in the city centre on Sunday.
Today Manchester is a city with a highly visible homeless population and a skyline populated by cranes building high rise luxury apartments. Vans and cars pour into the city centre in the evenings with free food stalls and clothes, and foodbanks are common. We may have the vote but the misery of austerity is now embedded in our lives. The brutality of the ruling class may not be open use of sabres, but rather is felt through relentless economic deprivation. While 18 died at Peterloo, 120,000 have died as a direct result of austerity; while 700 were injured, an unknown number are impacted by austerity every day.
The sacrifice of the workers in 1819 in Greater Manchester both to strike and then to protest should be commemorated. What better way than to keep the spirit of protest on the streets today? On Sunday, 29 September, The People’s Assembly, the Trade’s Unions, campaigns and families will pass the exact point of the Peterloo massacre as we march through the city to protest against a ruthless Tory Government and an unelected Prime Minister. We demand to be able to use the vote that blood was shed for in 1819 and demand a general election.
Remember Peterloo and keep protesting.
March for Democracy - Sunday, 18 August. Assemble at Whitworth Park, Manchester, 11:30am. Multiple other assembly points marching into the city. Rally in Albert Square at noon.
End Austerity Now! - Protest the Tory Party Conference 2019. Sunday, 29 September. Assemble on Oxford Road at noon.
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