More than 100 people were at the Friends’ Meeting House in Manchester for a public meeting organised by the Labour Representation Committee (LRC).
The line-up of speakers included a trio of general secretaries - Jeremy Dear from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Matt Wrack from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), who both made reference to the action their members will be taking this week, and Steve Gillan, recently elected at the Prison Officers' Association (POA).
They spoke alongside ex-MP Alice Mahon, an array of activists and John McDonnell MP, who gave a brief economic analysis of the crisis, as well as describing in gory detail the scenes he had witnessed in parliament of ministers delighting in an opportunity to tear apart state structures.
Although I am usually in favour of keeping speeches short and sweet, it would have been good to hear more from John McDonnell - his detailed analysis was insightful and thought-provoking.
Two main points appealed to me – first, the need for unquestioning solidarity with those taking action against the cuts.
People will come to these campaigns from an array of backgrounds/factions/viewpoints, but fundamentally the fight is a class one. We should be signing each other’s petitions, attending each other’s protests, and contributing to each other’s hardship funds.
Secondly, the need for a narrative to be created from people’s experiences as a counterpoint to the one constructed by the Tories, a narrative which would unite this struggle with others of the past and bring together all those affected on the same side to expose injustice and ideological attacks on services.
I attended this meeting with several newcomers to the LRC: it was, for all of us, an afternoon to put fire in the belly.
By Sarah Warden, National Union of Teachers member
Other guest posts are welcome.