People’s Assembly march against austerity, London 20 June

This video from Britain says about itself:

“What Have the Tories Ever Done to Us?” People’s Assembly 20 June demo trailer

18 May 2015

National Demonstration ‘End Austerity Now’
Saturday 20 June 2015
Assemble 12pm @ Bank of England

By Diane Abbott in England:

Time to show resolve

Saturday 13th June 2015

DIANE ABBOTT explains why on June 20 she will be joining the People’s Assembly march against austerity

IT WAS recently confirmed that we live in the most unequal country in the EU. The growth in inequality here is of such a scale that it is helping to drive increasing inequality across Europe as a whole. It is utterly staggering.

And yet it’s a fact which probably many Londoners are somehow not surprised at. Nowhere is inequality most visible in this country than in our capital city. Gleaming glass towers overlook some of the most deprived areas of the country in the East End. Social and affordable homes are sacrificed for flats and houses which only the wealthiest can afford.

We must be absolutely clear that five years of vicious cuts have made matters worse — and the Tories’ deepest cuts are still to come. Austerity is a political, ideological project, not an economic necessity. And we must be clear that ordinary Londoners are being hit hard by austerity.

This is clearly shown by the housing crisis — at its most severe in London, where costs have skyrocketed.

Social housing has been destroyed and the word “affordable” takes on an Orwellian meaning when it refers to 80 per cent of market rates.

Cuts to housing benefit and the cap on benefits paid to each household have hurt some of the poorest Londoners.

Thousands of people are being punished by the bedroom tax.

But it is not just those on low incomes being hit. Across the country each household lost £1,127 on average under the last government just through tax and benefit changes. Real wages fell for seven years — and the decline has only technically stopped because inflation has dropped even lower than wages. The Tories’ age of austerity has ushered in a boom in low-paid, insecure jobs with few or zero guaranteed hours.

At the same time the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain has doubled since the financial crash. Measures such as cutting the top rate of income tax have given the lie to the notion that the government is somehow cash-strapped.

Despite the increase in inequality — and accompanying rise in poverty — much of the media are now telling us that cuts and austerity cannot be challenged, that — in Thatcher’s infamous phrase — “there is no alternative.”

The dominance of that view was clear in much of the discussion of the Queen’s Speech on May 27. The Tories lost no time setting out their plan to not only dismember our public services and social security system but shackle those who may oppose them.

Extending the disastrous right to buy, cutting public service budgets still further, withdrawing housing benefit, limiting the length of time young people can claim jobseeker’s allowance and pushing people deeper into poverty by lowering the benefit cap are accompanied by attacks on freedom of speech and protest, restrictions on workers’ right to strike and an ultimate wish to scrap the Human Rights Act.

We should be prepared for further efforts to rig the rules of government in the Tories’ favour: gerrymandering in the redrawing of constituency boundaries; further attacks on trade unions including meddling with political funding to weaken the Labour link and destabilise the party.

The new Cabinet includes an Equalities Minister who voted against gay marriage, a Justice Secretary who previously called for the return of capital punishment and a minister responsible for disabled people who did not oppose cuts to disabled benefits.

We are faced with arguably the most right-wing programme in recent history. The need to challenge the false claim that cuts are necessary is urgent.

If we are going to improve people’s living standards and basic rights, if we are to build a more equal and just society, we need to unite against these attacks.

Labour needs a clear plan to stand up for the interests of the majority and defend their living standards from the cuts. It should clearly oppose the assault on civil liberties and human rights that this government wants to inflict. And Labour needs to embrace Britain’s rich diversity and extol its economic, social and cultural benefits.

The need to oppose this reactionary government and argue for a clear alternative is why I will be marching with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and tens of thousands of others on June 20 through London, from the Bank of England to the Houses of Parliament, calling for an end to austerity.

Saturday’s march and demo has the power to unite us, but only if we reach out as never before to those outside left-wing circles. Preaching to the converted is not an option, believes Rev Mike Walsh: here.

20 June, also march in Glasgow: here.

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