Hundreds of thousands march in London on June 20
More than 200,000 people marched through central London on June 20 as people came from across the country to show their anger and opposition to further spending cuts.
The demonstration involved many young people coming out to protest against the newly elected Conservative Party government, marching alongside seasoned activists.
With the Tory government planning tens of millions of pounds worth of more cuts — particularly to welfare — people already feeling the effects of austerity simply cannot take much more. With cuts across the public sector and low wages already affecting millions, many cannot make ends meet.
Services people once relied on are being cut back or shut down in order to pay off the government deficit — a failed economic strategy since the deficit has actually grown since 2010 despite repeated rounds of spending cuts. At the same time, the richest 1% in Britain are richer than they have ever been.
The demonstration was led by the People’s Assembly and featured large trade union groups. The Unite union and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) were particularly prominent, as was the Fire Brigades Union fire truck, handing out free T-shirts.
Representatives from Greece’s SYRIZA and Spain’s Podemos also took part, highlighting the international dimension of the struggle against austerity.
Speakers, including Unite leader Len McCluskey and NUT leader Christine Blower, made it clear that austerity was hitting the poorest the hardest. Speeches by disabled activists made it clear the government’s policies were killing people as much-needed support is withdrawn.
Left-wing Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, who is campaigning to be Labour leader, received a warm response from the assembled protesters. he called for a united fight against austerity and said that socialism was still worth fighting for.
Responding to the protest, Prime Minister David Cameron said his government would still carry out the planned cuts. This shows the need to turn the mass demonstration into a mass movement, building united local campaigns across the country around issues such as low wages, housing and welfare cuts.
[Abridged from Left Unity.]