March for the Alternative continues
The half million people who joined the March for the Alternative sent a strong signal to the government that those opposing their fast and deep public spending cuts are not an easily ignored minority. In fact, as YouGov has shown, we’re now the mainstream majority.
Big as the march was though, it is only one step in a larger campaign, and there will be a lot to fight for in coming months. Here are some of our suggestions for further actions you can get involved in:
1 April: All Together for the NHS
Friday 1st April will be ‘All Together for the NHS day’, with health workers and service users getting together to lobby key MPs in their constituencies and campaigning to raise the profile of the issue through events all over the country.
Sign up at the Facebook event page to follow the plans for the day and get in touch with other campaigners. And visit False Economy’s pages on the day, with a map of 1 April activities near where you live.
Think national, act local:
local campaigns will be a crucial battleground if we’re to turn around unfair spending cuts. Groups all over the country are active in resisting damage to local services, and there is plenty of scope to get involved wherever you live.
Check out False Economy’s listings of anti-cuts groups and actions near you, to see what’s going on in your own area.
Keep on keeping online:
Besides False Economy, many other groups are campaigning online against cuts to public spending and public services. The TUC’s Going to Work network, and 38 Degrees both conduct online actions, and here are a number of current campaign actions in this area:
- Help GoingToWork expose Iain Duncan Smith’s cuts to welfare as Universal Credit is introduced.
- Help 38 Degrees to urge the government to change course on NHS reforms.
- Add your voice to UNISON’s Million Voices Campaign to protect public services.
- Help Unite’s Stop Blood Money campaign safeguard the national blood service.
- Help the Robin Hood Tax campaign call on top bankers to see the effects of the crisis first hand.
- Help PCS campaign to keep the Land Registry in public hands.
Government spending cuts will damage public services and put more than a million out of work. They will hit the vulnerable, damage communities and undermine much of what holds us together as a society.
Ministers say there is no alternative.
But both of the government’s two key decisions are political choices, not economic necessity.
- Eliminating the deficit in just four years is a savage timetable that does not give economic growth the opportunity to raise the nation’s tax take. Indeed the deep cuts promised will depress the economy making deeper cuts necessary to meet this timetable.
- Raising four pounds through cuts for every pound raised through tax – and doing most of this through a rise in VAT that hits the poor and those on middle income the most – is deeply unfair. The recession was made in the finance sector, yet banks and those now enjoying gigantic bonuses once again, are not being asked to make a fair contribution.
Yet none of these policies were put to the British people at the election, indeed we were told that there was no need for cuts in front-line services.
People round the country are already campaigning against these deep, rapid cuts. Students have shown their opposition to cuts, the ends of EMAs and increases in fees. Parents and teachers have opposed cuts in school building. School sport, libraries and public woodlands all now have strong defenders. Few towns now don’t have their own campaign group.
The TUC’s March for the Alternative has two key aims.
- First we want to give a national voice to all those affected by the cuts.
This will be a huge event that in its breadth and support shows just how much opposition there is to the government’s programme. It will bring together public service workers and those who depend on good public services. Those involved in national campaigns, and those defending what is special in their own community.
- Second we want to show that people reject the argument that there is no alternative.
Of course the recession did damage to our economy. But these deep rapid cuts are not the best way to solve our problems, and may well make them worse.
That is why it is the March for the Alternative – an alternative in which rich individuals and big companies have to pay all their tax, that the banks pay a Robin Hood tax and on in which we strain every sinew to create jobs and boost the sustainable economic growth that will generate the prosperity which is the only long term way to close the deficit and reduce the nation’s debt.