Saturday 4th February
Buchanan Street/Gordon Street
12 noon assemble
Rally and Speakers around 12.30 pm
Following a number of attacks on labour movement stalls in Glasgow over the last few weeks, Unite Against Fascism is organising this rally in Glasgow.
We believe that these attacks are part of a fascist strategy to widen the targets of their violence in an attempt to indimidate people off the streets. We cannot allow this to happen.
We are inviting organisations to bring banners and provide a speaker to join a short rally near the spots where the attacks took place.
Unite Against Fascism
In the warm and peaceful setting of the Winter Gardens at the People’s Palace, George Galloway and his Coalition Against Cuts set out their campaign on Wednesday 6 April before an audience of more than 100 people.
‘We are exactly that,’ said George who was a Glasgow MP at Westminster for 18 years, ‘We are fighting against the savage cuts. The SNP and New Labour are all different cheeks of the same backside and I’d be surprised if any Labour Councillor or MSP who walked into this room tonight could be named by anyone here. They are not even legends in their own street!’
Explaining that his Coalition Against cuts had eight people on the Regional list, but three front runners: himself, Angela McCormick a college lecturer and long-time campaigner and Brian Smith a local government worker and trade unionist, he said: ‘We only need 12,000 votes to get one person elected and 30,000 would get all three elected. That is possible out of half a million people eligible to vote. It is more like a Ben Nevis than a Mount Everest of a climb. But we must get people out there and casting their votes.’ He promised: ‘If we get all three of the Coalition into the Scottish Parliament it will never be the same again.’
Angela, who is a member of the national executive of EIS/FELA teachers and lecturers trade union and a member of Solidarity and the Socialist Workers Party, told the attentive audience: ‘I am a single parent and 20 years ago I went to university. I was the last generation to receive the full grant and that is why I’m standing for election. I want the students who come after me to have the same opportunities.’ She instanced the head of a Glasgow college who recently retired receiving a package of £384,000 and compared that to the fact that 1000 college lecturers and support staff are facing redundancy. ‘Those who are left are being told to work harder. These cuts are idealogical. If we – the people in the majority who are suffering the cuts – come together, we can win.’
Turning to big business, she claimed that companies like Boots – registered in Zug – a known low-tax region of Switzerland and Vodaphone – dodged paying millions of pounds of tax. ‘I don’t want my money paying for trident and bombs for Libya,’ said Angela. ‘I want it paying for my son to get the same free university education I had.’
Brian Smith is the branch secretary of the 11,000 strong Glasgow City Unison Branch and co-ordinator of the Defend Glasgow Services Campaign. He is a member of Solidarity and the Socialist Party Scotland. He said that the cuts would take away 10,000 jobs in Glasgow in two years. ‘One in two youngsters will have no work. The reduction in services will be serious as people go out the door. I am surprised that public anger is not greater.’
Advocating a general strike he said: ‘There is a community campaign, an industry campaign and the Coalition is the political campaign against these savage cuts. But we need to get everyone affected by the cuts, actively involved and out, casting their vote.’ To great applause he added: ‘If George Galloway is the only one of us elected to the Scottish Parliament that will shake it up.’
In his turn, George referred to the last time he had been in the People’s Palace. ‘Oliver Tambo, the African National Congress leader in exile during the apartheid years was speaking here. We, the believers that apartheid could be and would be ended in South Africa, were listening. We believed then, that the seemingly impossible would happen and it did. Today, we see how one young man in Tunisia who set himself alight because of his bitter frustration with that country’s secret police, has spread flames which have ignited so many Arab nations. People are standing up to take action in these countries. We in Scotland have never been on our knees before those who appear to be great. We can fight the cuts. And if we believe – we can win!’
A coalition of socialist parties and groups which is preparing to contest the forthcoming general election is to hold an inaugural rally in Langside Halls.
The Scottish Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (STUSC) will announce its slate of candidates at the meeting on March 31 at 7.30pm. The UK-wide organisation includes Bob Crow, General Secretary of railworkers’ union RMT, Jane Godrich, National Secretary of the PCS civil servants’ union, Solidarity, International Socialists and Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
The coalition has a number of candidates in place for the general election. Veteran campaigner and co-convenor of Solidarity, Tommy Sheridan, is standing in Glasgow South-West. Angela McCormack of the SWP will be vying for Glasgow North, while Solidarity’s Graham Campbell will stand for Glasgow North-East on the STUSC ticket.
Brian Smith, Branch Secretary of Glasgow Unison, is standing in Glasgow South.
STUSC says British people face a ‘ruling class offensive’ and offers a ‘clear left-wing alternative to policies of public sector cuts, privatisation, militarism and environmental degradation’.
Philip Stott, STUSC spokesman, said the coalition is standing in 50 seats across the UK, 10 of them in Scotland, to ‘ensure voters have an alternative to the business parties’.
Voters would look at those mainstream parties with a ‘strong mood of lesser evilism in mind’, said Philip, adding that he hoped that not only would STUSC have an impact in May 2010, but ‘would look to deepen its support base and aim for the Scottish parliamentary elections’ in 2011.