“The left can play a vital role, not only in rallying support for the demo, but also using this moment to put forward a programme of real change which can tackle the multiple crises we face.”
June 8th will see a major rally bringing together forces across the left ahead of the TUC We Demand Better demonstration writes Matt Willgress
Although it doesn’t often get into the corporate media, opposition to the Boris Johnson government is not limited to — or primarily coming from — those Tory backbenchers who have expressed their belief that he should resign in recent weeks and months.
The real situation is that in workplaces and communities across the land, more and more people are saying enough is enough, and that this is fuelling a swing in public opinion against the hard-right Prime Minister.
Whether it be how Johnson partied while tens of thousands died due to their disastrous handling of the Covid pandemic, the weekly examples of surreptitious authoritarianism such as the Public Order Bill, designed to shackle the right to resist, or the “too little, too late” response to the ever-deepening cost-of-living crisis, people can increasingly see through the Tory spin.
Even at the height of “lockdown,” this resistance was growing and new ties of solidarity were being forged.
From mutual aid groups providing the support the government should have given to those in need, to the massive Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, to the widespread protests against the Police Bill last year, to the numerous industrial actions we are to see this year in defence of wages, jobs and conditions, the resistance and real opposition is there.
Let’s be honest, the Labour front bench has often failed to offer focused opposition to the Tories’ reactionary agenda — so social movements have stepped in and, in doing so, have become the focus of many people’s political and campaigning activities.
In this context, there has been an enthusiastic response, across the labour movement and beyond, to the TUC calling the We Demand Better national demonstration on June 18.
Each day Morning Star readers will have noticed their inboxes filling with different initiatives to mobilise for the demo — from town hall rallies called by trades councils, to motions at local Labour Parties, to People’s Assembly group leafletting sessions, to demo “blocs” being called by the Stop the War Coalition and Stand Up to Racism, to union regions mass-booking transport.
The left can play a vital role, not only in rallying support for the demo, but also using this moment to put forward a programme of real change which can tackle the multiple crises we face and, vitally, ensuring that the co-ordination and scale of activity resisting the corrupt and bankrupt economic and political system increases rather than dissipates after June 18.
As part of this effort, the Arise Festival — which has become perhaps the most active and largest online left events platform in the last two years — has brought together MPs, union representatives, social movements, campaigns and different left groups and publications, including the Morning Star, on June 8 in unity, for a unique online rally of the left to publicly mobilise for the vital TUC demo.
The fact that hundreds of people signed up as soon as the event was announced shows that this needs to happen, and we are delighted to be bringing together at least 17 different organisations and publications of the left and progressive movements on the platform, with many more supporting the event.
There is a real appetite for upping our campaigning at this vital time — so please join the online rally of the left to mobilise for the TUC June 18 demo.
Let’s come together to outline the transformative change needed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and build the fightback against the callous Tory regime.
- The “Enough is enough – time to demand better!” Online rally takes place at 6.30pm Wednesday, 8th June.
- With a range of figures from across the Labour movement including: John McDonnell MP; Zarah Sultana MP; Ian Byrne MP; Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP; Grace Blakeley; Matt Wrack, FBU; Ben Chacko, Morning Star; Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts; Nasrin Warsame, Migrants Organise; and many more – register and see the full line-up here.
- The TUC’s “We Demand Better” national demonstration takes place Saturday, June 18th in London.
- This article was originally published in The Morning Star on June 1st, 2022.