- Created: Thursday, 05 February 2015 10:28
- Written by Manchester FRFI
Labour Party politicians in Manchester organised an 'anti-cuts' rally in Albert Square on 3 February, with a big soundsystem, a few washed up Mancunian celebrities and a hashtag Twitter campaign #ManvCam, to 'send a message to David Cameron.' In reality this was the launch of Labour's General Election campaign, with speaker after speaker telling the crowd that there was 'no alternative' to a Labour vote. On the night, however, Revolutionary Communist Group supporters united with Stop G4S campaign, local pro-Palestine and anti-poverty activists to destroy this opportunist front. In an act of revolutionary sabotage, protesters sent a message that Labour's claims to 'stand up for Manchester' can be exposed and resisted.
For a Labour council that has voted unanimously for over £300 million in cuts over the last four years to suddenly present itself as a party of protest – three months before a general election – is a shameless fraud. Councillor Pat Karney and his friends are telling residents of the child poverty and eviction capital of Britain that all of the council's cuts to childcare, support for the mentally ill, disabled, vulnerable adults, abused women, the homeless, youth centres, leisure, library and other services can be excused and carried on with a hashtag that fixes everything. Of course it doesn't, and Labour plans £52 million more cuts in Manchester alone this year, which Labour leaders have pledged to maintain if they win the General Election.
Karney's staged event was met with a banner exposing 'the party of cuts, racism and war', with constant heckling to drown out the 'vote Labour' message, and street theatre showing the brutal role of G4S in Israeli prisons and other repressive regimes around the world; Manchester Labour council employs G4S to guard its multi-million pound refurbished town hall and other facilities. Karney is the same senior councillor who attacked pro-Palestine demonstrators as 'extremists' in summer 2014, calling for a police crackdown which led to 14 arrests. He faced total disruption to his planned electioneering as protesters in Albert Square chanted 'Labour, Tory, same old story' and 'Stop G4S!' every time he tried to speak.
He was joined by Police Commissioner Tony Lloyd who led a diatribe about police cuts making communities unsafe. Lloyd was reminded that his police force in Manchester are responsible for the deaths of Anthony Granger and Jordan Begley, whose families are still fighting for justice. Other Labour councillors spoke of the unfair budgets given to them by the Tories in Westminster – failing to acknowledge their refusal to do anything to oppose them. There has been no union action in Manchester to defend jobs and vital services. Nevertheless a union speaker from Manchester Trades Council was wheeled out to brag about resolutions to oppose cuts. She called for unity (with Labour), inevitably ending up on the same side as Karney, Lloyd and Sir Richard Leese, the £52,000-a year council leader who was booed throughout. Not even ex-Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder or radio man Terry Christian (who compared Labour to Syriza in Greece!) could put a gloss on Labour's fake 'anti-cuts' message.
The atmosphere in Albert Square was vibrant, but not in the way Karney and co had planned. The Manchester Evening News was forced to report the protests and Karney blamed his poor turnout on the cold. The BBC quoted Labour figures saying that #ManvCam had been in the top ten Twitter posts across the UK – neglecting to mention that Man United were playing Cambridge and were using the same hashtag! While Labour councillors and their supporters waved their smartphones in the air, 'inspired' by last year's 'pro-democracy' (and anti-communist) mobilisations in Hong Kong, activists stole their spotlight and showed Labour for what it is – a party of war, racism, cuts, inequality and political policing. The RCG welcomes the growth of anti-Labour sentiment and will continue to fight for a new movement on the streets of Britain.
Manchester Labour council leader Sir Richard Leese meets Tory chancellor George Osborne
No cuts, full stop!
Don't vote Labour – organise resistance!