Hackney Demonstrates Against CutsPosted: November 10, 2000
Hundreds of people demonstrated against Hackney Council on Monday November 6th in two separate events. At lunchtime, binmen staged a go-slow convoy, while in the evening protesters gathered outside the Town Hall to voice their anger at cuts in vital services. The sight of lines of riot police protecting councillors from their own community would be an eye opener if in fact the councillors truly represented that community, but as we point out later, that’s half the problem.
Despite the demonstration, the Labour-Tory coalition approved the package of cuts which looks likely to involve job losses, wage cuts for council workers and the privatisation of the rubbish collection service. Clearly the council has not learned a thing from the ITNet disaster and is now handing over the streets themselves to a private company! While the Lib Dems and Greens voted against the cuts, let’s not forget that across the border in Islington, the Lib Dems are happy to impose their own cuts package and still have ITNet running their benefits services.
IWCA members were present at the demonstration on Monday. While many in the crowd were local people affected directly by the cuts, many were also there in an attempt to sell left wing papers and recruit new members. We have to be certain that any resistance to the cuts comes from those who are most affected – those at the sharp end when the nurseries and schools start to feel the bite, when the residential homes start to get squeezed – Hackney’s working class majority. We shouldn’t get dragged into tactics that have failed before – endless marches, rallies and demonstrations.
The IWCA believes that the way forward is working class rule in working class areas. This means, for a start, representing our own community on the council, not letting middle class career politicians ruin our lives. Demonstrations are one way of showing anger, but if we are in this for the long haul, we have to organise on a community level and this is what the IWCA has been doing since it was set up in Hackney. It’s all too simple to hold demonstration after demonstration and rally after rally – the numbers will gradually wither away and the council will still be in charge. Until we replace those in power with people who represent the working class majority, we will always have this problem.