Saturday 20 October 2012

October 20 - union leaders call for united strike action

Over 150,000 people marched through London today in a huge demonstration against cuts and austerity. While the numbers were not on the massive scale of eighteen months ago, this was an important show of strength from which to rebuild united national strike action.

But many on the march didn't just want to have a parade, they wanted to know where the movement was going after today.
Leaflets from the National Shop Stewards Network calling for a 24-hour General Strike against austerity were eagerly taken from me by trade unionists from right across the many different unions on the march.

Significantly, at the closing rally in Hyde Park, it was not only RMT General Secretary Bob Crow and PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka that made speeches calling for united strike action, Len McCluskey, UNITE General Secretary, also backed calls for building a general strike. In contrast, New Labour leader Ed Milliband was booed by large sections of the crowd angry at his Party's lack of any clear commitment to opposing cuts and austerity.

The speeches by Bob Crow and Mark Serwotka, along with other footage of the march, can be heard on this youtube video:

There was a keen interest in socialist ideas as well - I sold over twenty copies of a special demonstration edition of 'the Socialist' paper, also calling for a 24-hour General Strike - and, amongst other things, carrying an appeal for solidarity from South Africam mineworkers. See the issue online on

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