The significance of the call for a mass action in Trafalgar Square is that it reframes the nature of the demonstration. The basic approach of the new anti-cuts movement must be one of fighting to win – and that means direct action, strikes and disruption, escalating throughout the summer. We must come to March 26th ready not only to protest, but to resist.
I was 14 when the biggest and most vibrant demonstrations in British history failed to stop the Iraq War, despite massive public support. Simple A to B demonstrations, however big, cannot block legislation or bring about systemic change if those in power are determined.
Now, the battleground is different. We are not protesting purely about
foreign affairs, but about the rights and services that we rely on to live
our daily lives. From the NHS, to housing to higher education, the Con
Dems are a threat to everything that ordinary people fought for and won in
the 20th century.
On an ideological level, if not necessarily a political one, the
government is now clutching at straws. Just as the institutions of global
capitalism are falling down around us, the political classes have embarked
on a programme of cuts and privatisation like we have never seen it
Mobilisations like this – sustained and determined rather than compliant
and resigned – are the political manifestation of that ideological
confrontation. We are entering a new era of resistance.