Globe, Movement, Politics, United Kingdom

Coming together to demand a new normal

The lockdown propelled many people into becoming deeply immersed in news from all over the world, but it did not stop them from watching the government and the copious amounts of institutional racism, exploitation and austerity. In response, a national movement protests on Saturday 26th June.

 

Elle McHale

 

Rationalise key services, ensure reasonable housing for all, dismiss the corrupt politicians, make the NHS publicly owned, end the marketisation of education, tackle the climate emergency, protect workers physical and mentally, fund social care, terminate the use of fire and rehire, kill the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill and put an end to institutional racism.

These are the demands of The People’s assembly against austerity, a UK-based political organisation that has organised two events that are national demonstrations fighting against government austerity and racism.

One such event is Resist the Tories’ Racist Offensive, organised by por Stand up to Racism, which consists of an anti-racist bloc in central London at the demonstration.

Due to begin at 11 AM, the campaign is fuelled by anger at the myriad of government failures such as the ethnic disparities in Covid-19 mortality, the persistence of institutionalised racism and the new Bill that attacks travellers and the right to protest.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), “Covid-19 mortality for people of Black African or Black Caribbean ethnicity in the first half of this year was two to two and a half times higher than for people of white ethnicity”.

The ONS has concluded that demographic and socio-economic factors are most strongly associated to the difference in Covid-19 mortality rates between different ethnicities.

But instead of an action plan, the government’s response was silence. Until Dominic Cummings’s recent confirmation of the governments mishandling of the pandemic which meant, in his own words, that “tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die”.

In the UK, the coronavirus death count has now reached almost 129.000

This confession, which explicitly defined the government’s negligence and incompetence, infuriates members of Stand Up to Racism because the government invariably denies the existence of institutional racism.

A denial that fails to explain why they welcomed the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán into Downing Street.

Orbán spearheaded an antisemitic election campaign that would “defend Hungary” from becoming an “immigrant nation” in 2018.

Invaders” was the noun he used to describe Muslim refugees. He also refused to respect a compensation order for Roma children, who were harmed by segregation, as he believed it was an attempt to “grab money and attack the majority”.

In response, MEND CEO Azhar Qayum stated that Orbán’s visit “highlights the lack of commitment our Government has to upholding any such ‘zero tolerance approach’ to Islamophobia”.

This is a clear example of why the People’s Assembly are demanding “No Tory Crony Corruption”, politicians that are accountable to the people, not their friends.

On top of this, David Landau said: “Here in Britain the Tories continue to build a hostile environment for migrants and stir up hatred against them, with a new tranche of anti-migrant and refugee legislation on its way. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill increases the powers of the state against the people”.

At 12 pm, protesters will congregate at Portland Place and then march to Parliament Square for ‘The People’s Assembly Against Austerity’.

They aim to highlight the subtle strategies the government are implementing to ensure it is the working class who pay for the coronavirus crisis.

“The pitiful offer to the nurses, the public sector pay freeze and lack of sick pay while contracts are granted to their friends and cronies tell you that,” state the organisers.

They fear confronting more severe unemployment levels once the furlough scheme ends. Currently 4.7% of the UK are unemployed according to the Office for National Statistics but the Bank of England predicts that this will reach up to around 5.5% in the autumn.

Not to mention mass unemployment that is shackled to fire and rehire policies, which three-quarters of the UK public believe should be made illegal.

A poll, conducted by TUC, revealed that almost one in ten workers were told to re-apply for their jobs, on an inferior contract, or they would be dismissed.

Similarly, ACAS officials have outlined their concerns that “some employers are using the pandemic as a pretext to diminish workers’ terms and conditions and using fire-and-rehire as a tactic to undermine or bypass genuine workplace dialogue on change”.

Strikes have been the only response to this revelation, which resulted in hundreds of British Gas engineers losing their jobs after refusing to sign up to a 15% cut in pay rates and other imposed changes on their terms and conditions.

This national demonstration will take place Saturday 26th June 2021. For further information, please visit Resist the Tories’ Racist Offensive Facebook page or The People’s Assembly Against Austerity’s Facebook page.

Supporting organisations include: Project for Peace and Justice, CND, Stop the War Coalition, Extinction Rebellion, DPAC, We Own It, Kill The Bill, Keep Our NHS Public, NHS Workers Say No! Health Campaigns Together, Daymer, and Women Will Not Be Silenced.

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