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Since the People’s Assembly met on 22 June a new organisation has been born and is growing across the country

Registration desk at North East Peoples Assembly.

The aim of the People’s Assembly was to transform the anti-austerity movement into one that can seriously challenge the mainstream austerity consensus.

A message from Tony Benn

Tony Ben with Len McLuskey

Dear friends and comrades,

It was a privilege to be asked to speak at the People’s Assembly on 22 June, which launched a united campaign against the cuts. The People’s Assembly has a plain and simple goal: to make government abandon its austerity programme and if it will not, to replace it with one that will. I know that you support this goal, but to achieve it we need your help.

Since 22 June, we have built a national organisation. Local assemblies are being organised the length and breadth of the country. We are organising thousands to attend the protest march and rally at the Tory party conference in Manchester on 29 September. Preparations are underway for a day of civil disobedience on 5 November.

All this has been achieved by volunteers and some generous donations. But to build our campaign we need more resources and regular funding. Building a national and local organisation, developing our website and
e-communications, writing and printing leaflets all cost money.

Regular monthly donations will make a real difference to the People’s Assembly. We are asking supporters to give whatever they can each month, however big or small.

Yours in solidarity,
Tony Benn

Almost every opinion poll shows that around one third of the population rejects the governments austerity programme outright. That’s one in three people who agree with the ‘no cuts’ position. These views however are virtually unheard in the media, and the only alternative that Labour offers is austerity but just a bit slower.

The movement over the last five years has had some big successes. Most notably the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, the huge TUC national demonstrations and the big campaigns against the bedroom tax across the country.

But it’s no secret that the anti-austerity movement has been held back by the absence of a national organisation that can pull together all the streams of opposition into one co-ordinated force.

The People’s Assembly on 22 June started the process of creating exactly that. The biggest event of it’s kind for decades, it brought together over 4,000 people from every part of the country, from every major trade union and campaign, and hundreds of people who have never been involved with political activism before.

The effect of the day immediately rippled out way beyond those in attendance. Not only was it reported on most major news channels and even in the right-wing press, the People’s Assembly was ‘trending’ on twitter for over 8 hours reaching millions.

Since the 22 June the People’s Assembly has developed quickly. The declaration at the People’s Assembly agreed on three major priorities. Firstly, local People’s Assemblies should be set up in as many places possible bringing together, on a local level, the broad forces that the national assembly represented. Secondly the whole movement should mobilise for a national demonstration outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on 29 September. And thirdly that the People’s Assembly would call a national day of civil disobedience on 5 November. This call has now been adopted by the TUC general council and looks set to be passed at congress this week.

Over the summer, activist meetings have taken place in over 60 towns and cities the length and breadth of the country. 300 people came to the Manchester People’s Assembly report back meeting. Merseyside People’s Assembly have consistently had 80+ at activist meetings and just last week held their launch meeting with over 600 people. Leeds also had their launch meeting last week with a packed out meeting of over 300 and an incredible 150 people turned up for the launch of the Broadstairs People’s Assembly.

This is just a flavour of some of the events that have taken place and the next few weeks will see historic sized gatherings in over 30 places as part of the People’s Assembly national action tour.

All of this is designed to mobilise for the national demonstration at the Conservative Party conference at the end of this month. What the People’s Assembly proved was big national events can have a huge impact on campaigning locally.

Now the job of the whole movement is to make sure the demonstration on 29 September is the biggest demonstration that Manchester has ever seen. The People’s Assembly has chartered a special train from London, and hundreds of coaches are being organised from across the country.

In order to continue to support the growth of the movement we urgently need to increase the national infrastructure of the organisation. This is why the People’s Assembly has launched a financial appeal to make sure we can maintain a continuous and permanent opposition to a government of millionaires out to destroy every gain working class people have made for over a generation.

Sam Fairbairn
Secretary, The People’s Assembly

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