Sunday, 10 April 2011

A-star anti-cuts day school unites South East activists

Bright sunshine shone a light on the anti-cuts movement in Brighton on Saturday as campaigners from across the region came together to share and discuss ideas to defend jobs and public services across Sussex and beyond.

Over 80 people took part in the South East Day School event hosted by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition, with anti-cuts activists from London, Redhill, Lewes, Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne and Horsham all represented.

A variety of sessions saw a wide range of informative debates on defending the NHS, welfare services and education, along with UK Uncut workshops and anti-privatisation and anti-academy campaigning, all with plans to put into action.

An outside afternoon session explaining the economics of the cuts was introduced by lecturer/journalist and former Green Party principle speaker Derek Wall with an intelligent analysis on the contradictions of the capitalist system broken down into basic points on the real causes of the crisis. One contribution from a visitor stated simply that "it all boils down to working people not being given the full value of the wealth they produce."

Labour Party and Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidates in the upcoming May elections went head-to-head in a debate about fighting job losses and privatisation in the council chamber and parliament, with many of those who joined in the discussion critical of Labour's "not anti-cuts" position and agreed on the need to build a new, independent political working class voice.

RMT president Alex Gordon and the Brighton and Hove TUC Unemployed Workers Centre's Tony Greenstein rallied those in Mandela Hall at the University of Sussex venue in the final plenary with a fighting strategy of uniting communities and campaigns in preparation for an all out public sector general strike.

Alex said: "This fight can't be won without co-ordinated industrial action by the trade union movement. But it is vital that it is linked up to stop the cuts campaigns and working class communities if we're to defend our schools, health and public services for our children and future generations."

In the final discussion Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council president Holly Smith proposed setting up a region-wide committee to continue sharing ideas and to help co-ordinate the anti-cuts fight back across the South East - a motion that was unanimously agreed.

Upcoming events include the April 14 National Day of Action Against Benefit Cuts and a Hastings Against Cuts demonstration next Saturday April 16. Click on the links or get in touch with us at for more info.

International Workers Day events taking place in Brighton to raise funds and awareness for the stop the cuts campaign were advertised, with other stop the cuts groups encouraged to put on similar fundraisers to help build the fight back.

Come along to the Brighton trades council meeting this Wednesday April 13 for more information on the campaign with an opening discussion on the fight to defend our pensions. All trade unionists welcome - 8pm upstairs in the King & Queen pub, Old Steine, Brighton.