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Thousands March Against Cuts – Newcastle 16 February 2013

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On Saturday 16 February campaigns and unions from across Newcastle and the North East marched through the city in opposition to proposed council cuts of £100 million and the government’s wider austerity programme. Police estimated the turn-out to be over 1,500 people, by far the largest anti-cuts mobilisation Newcastle has seen to date. The mood was militant, angry and vocal, as can be seen in the Sky News report above.

The success of the march vindicates the approach the RCG/FRFI has been arguing for since the start: open, democratic, and led by ordinary working class people. Community campaigns were central to organising the march, including the Save Our Services campaign that focuses on how the cuts will affect young people, Walker Action Group, Save Moorside Library, Save Newcastle Libraries, Save Our Play and Sure Start Parents’ Voice. RCG members are active in all of these groups, fighting for a democratic and principled approach that allows working class people to decide the direction of the campaign, and does not make concessions to the Labour Party, trade unions or anybody else. Many unions supported the march on the day, financially and by mobilising their members, but ordinary working class people organising in their communities led the way. In organising meetings for the march RCG supporters and our allies fought for and won decisions to have an open mic at the rally, which provided a platform for some very powerful speeches from local people who had not been included in the ‘official’ list of speakers, and a compere who has a proven track record of working in a democratic and non-sectarian way.

The Newcastle campaigns have more actions planned over the next few weeks in the lead up to the vote on the council budget on 6 March, and are coming together on 2 March to discuss the current stage the campaigns are at and the next steps in building resistance:

Stop the Cuts – Save Our Services: What Next?

Bring your ideas and join the discussion, help to plan the next steps for stopping the cuts in Newcastle

Saturday 2 March, 1-5pm

St John’s Church Hall, Grainger Street, Newcastle (near Central Station)

For more information and analysis of the Newcastle council cuts and the movements that have been built in response read:

Newcastle cuts: the fight is on/FRFI231 Feb/Mar 2013: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2879-newcastle-cuts-the-fight-is-on

Fighting the Cuts in Newcastle - Arthur's Hill Day of Action 2 February 2013: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2860-fighting-the-cuts-in-newcastle

Save Newcastle Libraries occupy the council chamber – 5 December 2012: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2818-save-newcastle-libraries-occupy-the-council-chamber

Defend Newcastle libraries – fight all cuts!/FRFI 230 Dec 2012/Jan 2013: index.php/fight-the-cuts/2801-defend-newcastle-libraries-fight-all-cuts