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Posted on 3 August 2015 at 11:24 GMT

Liverpool Jeremy Corbyn rally

Tumultuous applause for anti-austerity clarion call

Tony Mulhearn, Liverpool Socialist Party

The Adelphi hotel had not seen the enormous rivers of people pouring through its doors for decades, and on a Saturday night to boot. This was the biggest political rally Liverpool has seen since the days when the socialist council fought Thatcher's attack on the city between 1983 and 1987.

Twelve hundred people crammed into the main hall with a further 600-700 locked out and listening in adjacent areas.

The composition of this rally made nonsense of Neil Kinnock's attempt to undermine the legitimacy of Corbyn's campaign. Kinnock, writing in the Observer, declared that Militant or Daily Telegraph infiltrators with 'malign' intentions were supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

This is insulting as well as wildly inaccurate, a stance not unusual for his lordship.

The rally was crammed with men, women and children from all walks of life. Some were political veterans, but hundreds had clearly never been to a political event nor were members of a political party, as shown by the number of fresh-faced newcomers who asked questions about Jeremy Corbyn's policies.

Young students outraged at the debts they faced, people on zero-hour contracts, local activists appalled at local library closures, people on rates of pay so low they had to be subsidised by the taxpayer, NHS workers worried about the service and ever-lasting wage freeze. They all perceived Jeremy Corbyn as a tribune who would represent them.

Pro-working class measures

Jeremy Corbyn's wide-ranging speech included pledges to re-establish the NHS as fully publicly-owned, free at the point of use; renationalisation of rail and the post office; ending the public sector wage freeze; free education from cradle to grave; cancellation of Trident; repeal of the anti-trade union laws.

After decades of attacks on working class wages and social support, and on the trade unions, with no serious political opposition, this was language which received tumultuous applause.

The enthusiasm, energy and dynamism which were on display was a reminder of the power of the campaign led by the Liverpool 47 councillors in the 1980s.

Jeremy has provided a rallying point for all those who have seen standards driven down while the hedge fund managers, bankers and other assorted financial spivs who caused the economic crisis and who bankroll the Tory Party have seen their fortunes increase spectacularly.

The volume of passion poured out in support of his clear anti-austerity clarion call was akin to a dam bursting under pressure from a boiling cauldron of anger felt by millions of working class people.

The message was clear: No more austerity from either the Bullingdon boys or phoney MPs masquerading as representatives of the working class while accepting the Tory spending cap.

Any mention of 'Blairism' was received with a loud noise of disgust.

Fundamentally different

A striking feature of the event is that it could not be described in any way as a Labour Party rally. This was a rally to support policies fundamentally different to those of New Labour.

The character of Labour is summed up by Labour's shadow chancellor Chris Leslie, who after losing his parliamentary seat in 2005 became the director of the New Local Government Network, which was described by the Local Government Chronicle as a "Blairite think-tank".

He was originally elected to Parliament in 1997 on the anti-Tory surge from which Blair profited. He has an impeccable record of supporting Labour's austerity-lite stance.

He has declared he would not serve in a Corbyn-led cabinet as a Corbyn-led party would be "a very different political party" from the one he joined.

This encapsulates the degeneration of Labour into a haven of those who seek political careerism rather than people with a commitment to representing the working class.

The right wing and its media will do everything they can to sabotage the election and deprive Jeremy Corbyn of victory.

Whatever the outcome, the process has begun in the weeks and months which lie ahead for the building of a new mass party of the working class.

Whilst maintaining its independent stance, the Socialist Party stands ready to assist in that objective.


Birmingham

An overflow meeting of nearly 200 had to be organised for Jeremy Corbyn's meeting in Birmingham. About 800 people from all sections of the working class enthusiastically heard Jeremy make the case for bold anti-austerity policies and lambasted the austerity consensus for blaming migrants and those at the bottom of the social ladder for the problems they're facing.

It was a breath of fresh air to hear a Labour politician put forward pro-working class solutions to our problems and calling for a crash house building programme, an increase in Corporation Tax to pay for free education for all university students, and an end to the employment 'race to the bottom'.

An atmosphere I've not seen at a Labour Party rally since Tony Benn stood for deputy leader in 1981.

Clive Walder, Birmingham Socialist Party

Leicester

"Dare we hope" aptly summed up the mood of the 300-strong meeting to hear Jeremy Corbyn's socialist leadership campaign message. I was speaking with Mary Higgins, a left-wing Labour Party member of old at the biggest gathering of socialists that Leicester has seen in a while.

Spirits were lifted as people listened to Jeremy's criticism of Labour's disastrous austerity-lite general election campaign and strength was gained by seeing so many looking for a socialist alternative to New Labour.

Two Socialist Party members asked questions from the floor and Jeremy's response was lengthy and fraternal.

If Jeremy is elected leader of the Labour Party, the right wing parliamentary party will use every means to block his ability to lead. However, a coming together of TUSC with the left-wing forces around Jeremy Corbyn would be a great step towards the building of a mass party that can transform society.

Heather Rawling

For Socialist Party comment and analysis on Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership campaign, see:

Corbyn's support shows anti-austerity message is popular

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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