Tendance Coatesy

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Bonfire of Austerity. Ipswich, Suffolk People’s Assembly.

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Comrade Ratty Comes to Ipswich in Anti-Austerity Protest.

Yesterday there were protests across the country, organised by the People’s Assembly.

In Ipswich the day began at 7.00 at Ipswich Station.

Around 7 people gave out leaflets by Action for Rail – to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Rail Privatisation and support public ownership of rail. The rain was heavy but they got a good reception from rail users.

At 11.30 am  Silent Street, Ipswich there was a vigil outside ATOS and Job Centre.

This was the first demonstration in the town against the hated ATOS and Liberal-Tory Workfare plans

Around thirty people came, in the drizzle.

They heard an impassioned speech by a representative of Suffolk Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

We demand the Coalition Government:

·         Scraps the Work Capability Assessment

·         Scraps the wasteful and punitive Work Programme which also pays millions to private companies.

·         Stops unpaid work for benefit claimants – if work needs doing, people should be paid for doing it.  Unpaid work takes away work from workers and undermines wages.

·         Stops unjustified, deliberate sanctioning of benefit claimants.

·         Stops further cuts in benefits.

·         Benefit claimants did not cause the financial crisis or the public spending deficit.

Radio Suffolk interviewed Martin.

It was intensely moving.

We then moved off, at around 1.00 pm, to near Boots in Tavern St, behind the proud banner of DPAC, to begin the Living Wage Activity.

Leaflets were given out by our large crowd to the public on the Suffolk Living Wage campaign.

As we had decided, ““The first aim of the Suffolk People’s Assembly will be to make Ipswich a ‘living wage’ zone where all employers pay the ‘living wage’ which is currently £7.45 an hour outside London, compared with the national minimum wage of £6.19.”

We had a very good reaction from passers by.

One  young woman remarked, “I don’t get as much as that!”

At 6.30 pm  there was the  Bonfire of Austerity, at Felaw Maltings”Consign Austerity to the Bonfire on the Green”.

Over 60 people came, in the cold damp evening, assembling around a brazier.

Comrade Ratty was at the corner of the Green.

Votes were taken as to which effigy, of David Cameron, George Osborne, Michael Gove, and a picture of Ian Duncan Smith would be flung on the flames.

Gove won.

There were simple, but to the point, speeches, on our fight for social justice against the Liberal-Tory Coalition.

 A speaker from the National Association of Probation Officers (Napo) explained why they were on strike that day.

We then went to the pub where hot dogs (veggie or meat) and soup were on offer.

Thanks Val.

It was a real people’s Assembly.

Disabled Campaigners, Trade Unionists, School students, Feminists,  Labour Party activists, Socialists from various parties, Greens, Anarchists, and simply the ordinary people of Ipswich took part,

On the same day, the Guardian reports,

Protesters gather around the world for Million Mask March.

“In Parliament Square, protesters burned energy bills to oppose the rising cost of fuel and there were minor clashes with police in riot gear as protesters also gathered near Buckingham Palace, where a fire was started yards away from its gates. No arrests took place, according to the Metropolitan police.

The numbers of those protesting in central London were swelled by a gathering on Westminster Bridge organised by the People’s Assembly, an anti-cuts umbrella group whose “Bonfire of Austerity” was addressed by the Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Jon McDonnell.”

Sisters! Brothers! There’s a place for you, in the People’s Assembly!

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