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THIS has been a devastating year in so many ways, exposing the failures of government, deep-seated inequalities in our society, the failure of austerity politics and the impact of decades of deliberate undermining, privatisation and outsourcing for profit of our NHS and public services.
It’s exposed just how precariously people are living, with some of the highest levels of homelessness, personal and household debt of any developed nation.
Shamefully, millions are reliant on foodbanks to feed their families while the rich grow richer by the hour.
But it’s also shown that when we want to, we can take the homeless off our streets, protect workers’ pay, support the low-paid and look after our sick and elderly — thanks to a heroic workforce and the solidarity of our class.
Above all, we’ve shown that it’s working people who make a difference and it’s a confident working class that will build a new society with a new politics.
And that’s why we, the People’s Assembly, will be back on the streets next Saturday, marching in our tens of thousands with banners high.
Angry and demanding change — decent housing for all, the nationalisation of key industries, safe workplaces and the removal of a corrupt government, the market out of education and our NHS, and investment in good, green industry and jobs.
This crisis is by no means over. More pain lies ahead for our communities with furlough's end looming, universal credit to be cut by £20 per week and a government refusing to accept it’s time to go.
Opportunistic employers are taking advantage of Britain’s weak labour laws to force wages down through “fire and rehire,” sweeping through our workplaces as household name companies use Covid-19 as a smokescreen to attack workers’ pay and conditions, while the Tories, disgracefully, refuse to outlaw it.
Instead, the Tories have launched an all-out assault on people’s rights and freedoms, including the right to do exactly what we’ll be doing next Saturday — protest — by sneaking through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to silence dissent.
And now, the Prime Minister’s reckless “have it all and to hell with the consequences” approach is leading us headlong into a coronavirus third wave and further economic misery for working people.
Again, it falls to our movement to go into battle to avert September’s feared jobs cliff-edge, by once more pressing the Chancellor to wake up to the economic reality that he must give our workers nothing less than the support given by our competitors.
There are real opportunities, as we recover from Covid-19 and meet the challenges of the climate emergency. A real opportunity to have a serious political discussion, a cross-party discussion, about what kind of society we want to be.
People want and need a clear vision for the future, a future that gives them the security they need for themselves, their kids and coming generations. Nobody but the rich are looking for a return to business as usual.
So we can and we must demand and win that new normal, a new normal that revolves around community, co-operation, solidarity and mutual support, not the grasping competition, greed and inequalities of a system run by those who see profit as the only indicator of worth and success.
So how about it? Where do you stand and what are you prepared to do to help make it happen?
Whatever motivates you, start with next Saturday’s demo and then work for it every day in your community.
I’m incredibly proud to be the chair of the People’s Assembly and I can’t wait to be there. Join us, we can do this and we will build that new normal!
The People’s Assembly national demonstration takes place on Saturday June 26. Assemble 12 noon at Portland Place for a march to Parliament Square. For more information visit thepeoplesassembly.org.uk.
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