Thousands of people will join a major national demonstration tomorrow, Saturday 1 July, raising the slogans Not One Day More, #toriesout and No More Austerity. Here we publish the text of rs21’s leaflet for the demo – we’ll have a report from the march during the weekend.
The general election has turned British politics on its head. Labour are ahead in the polls. Corbyn is more popular than May – who only limps on as Prime Minister because the Tories can’t agree on her successor. She may yet be swept from power when a General Election makes Corbyn PM in the autumn.
The political consensus of decades is overturned. It’s not true that socialism is unpopular. It’s not true you can only win elections from the centre. The pieties of Blairism, accepted by legions of well-paid commentators, are exposed as nonsense.
Corbyn’s inspiring election campaign took on the bankrupt policies of Theresa May – but also mobilised thousands of people against austerity. It has inspired people – as at Glastonbury last weekend – to demand a society run in the interests of the majority. Millions feel that change is possible.
Corbyn himself said on election night that “politics has changed… It isn’t going back into the box where it was before”. After the election, the Labour leadership have continued to attack the Tories. They have been right to call for money to make tower blocks, schools and hospitals safe – the Tories who say there is “no money” for public services found £1 billion to bribe the DUP into supporting them, after all. It’s great to see Labour on the attack instead of playing polite parliamentary games.
Bringing down the government
May’s incompetence and lack of support is revealed every day. So, how can a government be brought down? Tory Prime Ministers have been toppled twice in the last fifty years. In 1974, Ted Heath called an election in the midst of a miners’ strike widely supported by other trade unionists. A shortage of coal to generate electricity had led to power cuts, and the government ruled that commercial companies could only work three days a week to save power. Amid this chaos the Tories’ weakness was exposed and Heath was defeated.
Thatcher, widely hated, ruled for 11 years as PM. But she fell in 1990, after protests against the Poll Tax. In March of that year, 200,000 people had marched through central London against the tax, a march followed by the most serious rioting for decades.
Mass movements like these, organised from the grassroots in our workplaces, communities, and streets, have brought the Tories down before – and can again.
Protests can do what parliament can’t
Corbyn’s success has inspired us all. But his strategy – using the Labour Party to bring change through parliament – faces two real problems. The Labour establishment, the MPs and councillors, will do everything they can to undermine it. We saw that with Chuka Umunna’s Queen’s Speech amendment on Thursday. And even if the whole of Labour was behind Corbyn, real power doesn’t lie in parliament – it lies with multinational corporations, the media, judges, cops and the state in general. None of them are elected, none will give up power voluntarily.
We need to build a movement that fights for power from the grassroots. That movement would support Corbyn – but would also be able to go beyond what Labour can do. We may be starting that task from small beginnings. But as the last month has made clear, maybe it’s not as hard a task as we thought – millions want change, and now we can all see it’s possible.
The protest assembles at 12pm at BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA
March to Parliament Square
Called by the People’s Assembly against Austerity – more details here