by Mark Tyers
“Today is about what we do. We are here as one and are not going to be picked off against each other.” – Owen Jones speaking at the NE people’s Assembly
More than 500 people bought tickets for the NE people’s Assembly convention on Saturday (14 September) which was held at Newcastle’s Northern Stage.
The all-day-and-evening anti-austerity convention saw attendees pack our two plenary sessions, 10 different workshops and a star-studded variety show in the evening.
“If we’ve got money for waging war in Syria, we’ve got money to put people back to work” – Karen Reay, Unite Regional Secretary
The headline speakers of the day included Owen Jones, Unite Regional Secretary Karen Reay and anti-austerity economist Michael Lloyd who delivered impassioned, principled and evidence-based speeches against the government’s life-wrecking programme of cuts and privatization.
Joining them on the day were numerous other trade union and campaign group speakers such as Gail Ward from the NE anti-bedroom tax campaign and Councillor Dipu Ahad who spoke on behalf on ‘Newcastle Unites’- Newcastle’s anti-racist coalition.
The day concluded with a star-studded evening variety show which featured politically inspired performances by comedian and poet Kate Fox (Radio 4 Saturday live), Joe Caffrey (Billy Elliott: the musical), powerful and upbeat international rhythm artistes The Ladies of Midnight Blue, a new short dramatic piece set during the 1984-85 Miner’s strike by award-winning local-playwright Fiona Evans and manyothers.
This is by far the largest anti-cuts convention the North East has ever held and it is already serving as a giant launch-pad for the regions mobilization for the Save our NHS demo in Manchester and beyond.
The next North-East People’s Assembly Against Austerity public meeting is on Tuesday 24 September, 6pm at St Johns Church Hall, Grainger Street, Newcastle. NE1 5JG where we will be discussing the question; ‘What next in the fight against austerity?’
North-east coach tickets for the Save Our NHS demonstration outside the Tory Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday 29 September can be obtained from some local Unison branches including Newcastle City branch and Durham LG branch – seewww.shakewellbeforeopening.org.uk for full contact details.
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Some other reports on the NE people’s Assembly Against Austerity:
Giggle beats- North East comedians support People’s Assembly launch