Despite heavy rain and high winds around 800 people marched through the streets of
Liverpool on Saturday 5th February to oppose the governments proposed cuts. They marched to the Anglican Cathedral for a rally which attracted over 1500 people.
The rally was opened by The Socialist Singers with a mixture of traditional songs of resistance such as ‘Freedom’ and modern topical arrangements such as ‘Fat Cat’ (sung to the theme tune of TV show Top Cat).
The speakers included representatives from the trade union movement, an FE student and Tony Benn. All of them deplored the tactics and policies of the ConDem government and Gail Cartmel, Assistant General Secretary of Unite, described how Cameron was completing the unfinished business of the last Tory government, which is to shrink the state and public sector.
Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of PCS, said that workers are not prepared to pay for the economic crisis which was caused by ‘high octane free market capitalism’ and described the cuts as the ‘biggest attack on the social gains fought for and won by the working class’. He received a standing ovation as he concluded that this is now an opportunity to talk about what kind of society we want to live in and that another world is possible.
Student Lizzie O’ Rourke asked if we live in a democracy or an elected dictatorship and declared that this government doesn’t want working class kids to have the same opportunities as their kids. She spoke of the fundamental human right to education and asked ‘how dare they take that away from us’. She concluded, to a standing ovation, that the government want the working class back in their place and believing as her grandparents’ generation did that ‘University is not for the likes of us.’
Tony Benn concluded with a rallying call that “All progress has been made throughout our history by people doing exactly what you’re doing today, demonstrating.” He also acknowledged the continuation of
Liverpool’s history of political and social activism following the council’s decision this week to withdraw from the government’s ‘Big Society’ scheme.