The Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries have done a great deal to make people aware of the savage cuts to the county`s libraries.
There are many websites helping people to mobilise against the cuts. Here are just some of them:
False Economy explains why “Cuts are the wrong cure”.
UK Uncut is a website focussed on direct action targetted on the large corporations which evade/avoid paying taxes, and so leave us without the means to pay for our public services.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has published an excellent booklet entitled “There is an alternative: The case against cuts in public spending” which debunks the political scaremongering about the deficit and how to deal with it.
For comprehensive economic analysis of the recession, its causes and its cures, we recommend the articles and free publications available at Prime.
The NHS Support Federation is an independent organisation that works to promote a comprehensive NHS, with equitable access and active public involvement
Keep Our NHS Public – a campaigning organisation with local branches. The website has lots of useful info and a comprehensive news roundup.
An appeal to anti-austerity campaigners – help us build the most effective possible local elections challenge.
440 people have now put themselves forward to stand as anti-austerity candidates under the common banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the local elections on May 22nd.
Congratulations are due to everyone who has been prepared to take such a stand. So far at least 69 councils, out of the 160 with local elections this year, will see a challenge to the establishment parties, and UKIP too.
Fighting these elections is important. Evidence emerges daily of how councils – Labour, Tory, and Lib Dem alike – are acting as local agents of the austerity agenda.
Council cuts of £770m to adult social care over the past three years mean that 168,000 older people are no longer getting help with essential tasks such as eating, washing and getting dressed, according to Age UK. At the other end of the age spectrum, one in seven Sure Start centres have been closed since 2010 while early years provision in many of those remaining open has been reduced by council cuts to “half a person and a bunch of leaflets”, according to the Early Education campaign.
Protests, demonstrations, strike action by council staff – all are vital to try and protect our public services. But offering a challenge at the ballot box is also part of the struggle.
The question now, with a month to go before nominations close, is how can the broadest and most effective anti-austerity electoral campaign be organised for the May polls?
To be granted what the BBC, on behalf of the broadcasting authorities, calls ‘fair media coverage’, 15% of the seats up for election need to be contested by a party registered with the Electoral Commission. That means, for May’s elections, 625 candidates standing under one banner, at least as it appears on the ballot paper.
TUSC, of course, although a coalition – involving the RMT transport workers’ union officially and other leading trade unionists in a personal capacity, the Socialist Party, the SWP, Socialist Resistance, and individuals organised in the Independent Socialist Network – is a registered political party. And the fact is, with 440 candidates already declared and more to come, it is the only anti-austerity and socialist registered party that could conceivably reach the ‘fair coverage’ threshold.