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Progressives to discuss ‘remaking democracy’ at Peterloo Massacre's 200th anniversary event

TRADE unionists and political figures will discuss how to “remake democracy anew” at a Manchester event marking the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre.

The conference “This is What Democracy Looks Like” at the Pendulum Hotel organised by the Politics for the Many campaign, will present left-wing arguments for renewing Britain’s democratic institutions in the 21st century.

The conference’s opening statement warns against the growing sense of “alienation and mistrust” with politics in society, adding: “Parliament is skewed towards a privileged few.

“Democracy is never a finished thing. We have to constantly struggle to remake democracy anew for each generation.”

Speakers at the event are scheduled to include CWU general secretary Dave Ward, Guardian columnist Dawn Foster and Labour cabinet minister Jon Trickett.

At least 18 people protesting for democratic rights in Manchester were killed by the yeomanry on August 16 1819.

The event is now seen as a historic turning point in the struggle for universal suffrage.

PCS union national officer Lynn Henderson said: “Peterloo was one of the pivotal moments in the people’s history of our country, when tens of thousands of people stood up for parliamentary reform. 

“Two hundred years later our democracy is crying out for change.

“Trust in our political system is at a record low and our institutions do not serve the majority.

“Working people have been at the forefront fighting for progressive change throughout our history. Now it’s time for us to build on our legacy and create a politics for the many today.” 

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