A brief reflection on today's march and rally in Liverpool
Today I was one of two million public sector workers on strike. I joined eleven comrades from Solidarity Federation on a march and rally in Liverpool. A local newspaper estimates that 15,000 people joined the march, which is a slightly different figure than the 4,500 that the BBC is claiming. Whatever the true figure, it was clearly in excess of 10,000.
I arrived at the meeting point early, just in time to see the open top bus that had been touring local workplaces. There was a sea of colour, fantastic and creative banners and placards. The atmosphere was electric. As well as anarchists from Solidarity Federation, there were also many Anarchist Federation members, and several anarchists who are non-aligned.
As the march snaked through the streets, more and more people joined it. There were thousands of shoppers lining the route. I would estimate that 90% of them stopped and clapped the marchers as they passed. It was really heartening to see, as I had almost started to believe the media lies about the public being against the strikers. There was the odd bell end who shouted abuse, but they were few and far between.
The local EDL division made good on their promise to “come down and counter the cunts” (i.e. greedy strikers) they formed a group of five or six, stood behind shoppers and screamed ‘communist scum’ at us. A few choice words were offered in return before they went back to the pub to get ‘coked up’ in preparation for their visit to the occupy Liverpool campaign later in the evening.
When we arrived at the rally site the amount of police was unbelievable. There must have been upwards of two hundred officers stood round the rally, as well as twenty on horseback, and fifteen vans full of officers, waiting on a side road. It was overkill to say the least.
Whilst listening to the usual, boring trade union bureaucrat speeches, we spotted a recognised BNP goon taking pictures of trade unionists. Following the speeches we stayed at the occupy camp for a while. Whilst chatting with the campers, we were being photographed by yet another far-right operative who scurried off like the rat he is, as soon as we confronted him.
We then departed the city centre to visit a comrade’s picket line. After around an hour later we returned to the camp, as around twenty of the local EDL division had arrived with the intention of closing the camp down. By the time we had arrived they had returned to the pub.
I have not yet watched the news or read about other areas of the country, and how strikes have gone there. However for me, today was a huge success, very energizing, and has re-established my belief that the general public are in the main supportive of the strikes.
I sincerely hope that we are not sold down the river by bureaucrats, who agree to a shoddy second rate deal. I will remain positive for the now.
Also, I would like to thank the two very nice gentlemen from the ICC (International Communist Current) who helped us carry our banner at various points.