All-Scotland Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts

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DAWS was amongst the many speakers at the Black Triangle Disabilty Rights demo in George Square, Glasgow the day. We stress 'many speakers' because we and others such as the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network are not going to get that chance next week at the now Scottish Trade Union Congress controlled anti- austerity demo in Glasgow. The 'official' trade union platform will have the SNP and the Labour party speaking, all sewn up to exclude the real grassroots campaigners. The SNP's feeble 56 strategy was articulated by ex- Labour party, now SNP, MP Tommy Shephard who spoke incredibly of 'guilt tripping' 50 or 60 Tory MP's into supporting anti- austerity! Incredible! What a hopeless, predominantly parliamentary dead end that will lead the real anti- austerity struggle nowhere. As we predicted, the SNP presence today was negligible- some young SNP supporters were justifying the £74,000 MP's salary while within talking distance of the disabled and poor justifiably fearing the outcome of Osborne's Emergency Budget on 8 July. The SNP will lead this movement nowhere! DAWS was not the only speaker to have a go at the SNP, disabled activist Susan properly complained about platforms, trade union platforms that excluded the disabled. DAWS stands by and upholds the vital principle of real democracy in the movement. Join the Action Against Austerity contingent next Saturday- our voices will be heard!

Posted by Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions on Sunday, 14 June 2015

The All-Scotland Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts, organised by the Black Triangle Campaign for Disability Rights, took place on Sunday 14 June and was a useful indication of the struggles ahead for those committed to smashing austerity. Organised independently of any ‘official’ movement, a small number of grassroots campaigners and supporters took to George Square to raise the voices of those currently at the brutal, bloody edge of the class struggle – the poor, the sick and disabled and the unemployed. The hundred-or so gathered, including the Revolutionary Communist Group and Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions, were left to do so without any mobilisation of the trade unions, the SNP or the various independence campaigns: the ‘political awakening’ of Scotland and the wave of anti-austerity which brought ‘the 56’ to the gilded seats of Westminster desperately needs to assume a more concrete and visible presence than articles in The National!

Despite the small numbers, the protest was arguably a more representative display of those genuinely confronting austerity than the planned mobilisation for 20 June, the speakers for which are a stitch up of union bureaucrats and respectable Yes campaigners. Women from Disabled People Against Cuts, Maryhill Foodbank Initiative and the Archibald Foundation spoke movingly and militantly from their own experience of the absolute necessity for an all-out fight against the hunger, poverty and despair engulfing whole sections of the working class. Unlike some, they were clear that the failure of the SNP, foodbank convenors and the STUC to stand with them in the square would not be passed over in silence. It was shameful and something must be done! Their anger and eloquence contrasted with the political-speak of SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, whose main contribution was to talk-up the SNP’s strategy of ‘guilt-tripping’ a dozen or so Tory MPs into voting with them against austerity! We need to remember that whatever resistance has so far taken place against austerity has come not from politicians or the trade unions but those at the sharp end, disabled people blocking roads and taking on ATOS and young mothers refusing to be evicted from their homes in London.

The Revolutionary Communist Group was invited to speak at the protest in recognition of our consistent work against welfare sanctions in Govan and elsewhere and in support of the ongoing strike of the Glasgow Homeless Caseworkers. We spoke of the urgent need to organise on the streets and in our communities and to remember the example of the great John MacLean, who in 1921 was sentenced to one year in gaol for telling the unemployed not to allow themselves and their families to starve. We directly confronted the SNP for their complicity in the Police Scotland killing of Sheku Bayoh. Alongside Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions, we refuse to be silent wherever the interests of the working class are at stake – no matter who is trying to shut us up!

We call on all our friends and supporters to mobilise for the 20 June and to turn the day into a celebration of resistance, of militancy, songs, solidarity and on-going struggle! We call on all those who voted for the SNP to stand with us in the square and turn ‘anti-austerity’ into something more than rhetoric! The RCG will be there alongside Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, Black Triangle, Disabled People Against Cuts, the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network and the ordinary people who say enough is enough! Join us!

 

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