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Sheffield Anti Cuts Alliance Meeting

Sheff Indymedia | 25.11.2010 00:34 | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Sheffield

A packed Novotel meeting room saw the first meeting of the Sheffield Anti cuts Alliance tonight. Could this be the beginning of something big??

1. martin mayer unite branch sec sheffield bus workers unite national exec - mp3 4.5M

2. marion lloyd, pcs - mp3 9.4M

3. ben morris, right to work, nut - mp3 10M

4. josh forstenzer, sheffield university nus president - mp3 4.1M

5. bill greenshields, ex-president of the nut - mp3 14M

6. resolutions / contributions from the floor, starting with a occupying student - mp3 19M

250 to 300 trade unionists, students, activists, campaigners, service users, claimants socialists, anarchists and greens packed this first meeting of the Sheffield Anti cuts Alliance tonight. I got the sense that I was not the only one who was impressed by the size and everyone seemed invigorated by todays massive turnout on the student/school student demo in sheff. Not only did the NUS sheff president speak but messages of solidarity from the occupation at sheff university were read out.

Here is the audio from the meeting. there are of course the rousing speeches from the top table made with genuine fire, there was also the messy democracy bit after that as we tried get to grips with structure and focus. It remains to be seen how the alliance will opreate, orgainsie and act but there is a massive chance to turn this into the a total nightmare for the rulling class on the scale of the poll tax and more.

Keep an eye out for meetings, come along as everyone has speaking rights, talk and organise at work in, your neighbourhoods and at school.

Sheff Indymedia


Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance launched at packed meeting in Novotel

12.12.2010 22:25

Wednesday 24th November
Over 300 trade unionists, students, pensioners, tenants and concerned citizens from all over Sheffield packed into a meeting room at Novotel last night (Wednesday 24th November) to launch “Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance”.
Martin Mayer from UNITE and Treasurer of Sheffield Trades Council took the Chair. He said “This ConDem Government’s vicious public spending cuts will hit workers, students, the poor and unemployed, tenants and pensioners. In fact all ordinary people will be affected except the rich and powerful who caused the crisis yet who will get off scot free. The trade union movement is committed to fighting the cuts – but we cannot do this alone. That’s why we need to create a broad alliance in which all those who oppose the cuts can join together and make our mark”
Marion Lloyd from PCS the civil service union explained how her members are concerned not just about their jobs – several hundred civil service jobs are threatened in Sheffield alone – but also about the vital public services they provide which face the axe. That’s why her union was a prime mover in setting up this Alliance. “These spending cuts are not necessary and we must fight them,” she said. “What do they mean there’s no alternative? Of course there’s an alternative! There is an estimated £120B uncollected in tax in each year due to tax loopholes, blatant tax avoidance and simply the Government’s failure to collect the tax due to it from rich individuals and big business”
Ben Morris from Right to Work, which has already successfully mobilised young people, students and trade unionists in rallies and demonstrations against the cuts, said he was delighted and amazed at the turnout to the meeting which exceeded everyone’s expectations. Also a prime mover in setting up the Alliance, he said “Solidarity and support for those fighting back against the cuts is one of the Alliance’s major tasks. Today’s march by students was tremendous with over 3000 young people, black and white, Somali, Chinese marching shoulder to shoulder on Sheffield’s streets. There’s real anger out there, not just about education cuts and the betrayal of Nick Clegg and the Liberals on tuition fees, but against all the ConDem Government’s cuts. We need to build a massive resistance here in Sheffield and make sure literally thousands of us travel down to London to join the TUC national demonstration against the cuts on 26th March.”
The meeting debated a vital democratic structure for Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance which will be inclusive and ensure the involvement of trade unions and other concerned organisations as well as individuals who have no organisation to represent them. A Steering Committee is to be set up which will be made up of representatives of all organisations taking part in the alliance. The meeting agreed not just to fight against cuts in public services and public sector job losses, but also cuts in welfare benefits including cuts in support for the disabled, the unemployed and crucially the massive cuts in housing benefit support which will hit all tenants in council and private sector housing across Sheffield.
The first Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance Steering Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday 14th December at a venue to be confirmed. A major public meeting will be held in the New Year. Street stalls will be set up, a website is being worked on, and protests will be organised wherever the spending cuts hit Sheffield.

Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance
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Campaign website and list

09.03.2011 10:51

The campaign has a web site here:

And a list you can join by emailing sheffield-anti-cuts-alliance+

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Hide the following 5 comments


25.11.2010 20:28

Any chance the resolution the meeting agreed could be posted here?


response to the launch of the sheffield anti-cuts meeting

27.11.2010 16:02

I'm afraid it was totally as expected a SWP/SP dominated ‘central committee’ type meeting.

Yes sadly Lloyd and Morris in their usual blatant dogmatic style appear on the front desk! I am in total agreement that the format right from the very beginning was destined to be a mere replication of past similar meetings, with the tightly controlled front desk, with completely unelected speakers. It was a clear hijack attempt to force people to endure their long winded speeches based on sweeping typical SWP/WP statements and tiresome clichés such as “our role is to give confidence to the class” and “workers are moving into struggle”.

The sad absence of real time space for members of the crowd to contribute became apparent after the first speaker, and the tirade went straight into another instance of intellectual masturbation, don’t these robots get it? We do not need to be lead, we need to build from the bottom upwards, and the continued absence of virtually any mention of the need for unemployed people to be involved at every level was beginning to weigh heavy upon me. The whole notion of being lead (by anyone not to mention this pseudo megalomaniacs) quite honestly I find repulsive and infinitely patronising. Also is it not significant that by not allowing ample contributions from the floor they serve to bolster their own power base and platform? This is worrying!

After a 3rd indigestible speech I decided to leave as it was clear that there was never going to be enough time to allow ample valid contributions from the floor.

What we need is:
A true coalition with true democracy, of course this is achievable in the once infamous ‘socialist republic of South Yorkshire’ Yes we need to campaign and organise the workforce, and if any person comes across non/deliberate union blocking tactics, such as the ability to walk without a backbone, or nightmarish union bureaucracy then you must begin to agitate and organise for yourselves. The time has now come to start being civilly, and why not? We cannot run the risk of being involved in union, often lack lustre one sided undemocratic politics, we need to continue (not start as the steering committee wish us to faithlessly believe) the Y never stopped, but now the fight has to be ramped up and we must use ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

We need to involve all people and I mean all, people on incapacity benefits, people on ESA JSA and all other benefits, this terrible patronising way of workers being compared with so called non workers, only serves to split us even further and gives credence and ammunition to the bastard government who relentlessly try to divide and rule us. Also the whole question of union bureaucracy has to be approached and if necessary challenged at the next coalition meeting.

We need actions now, the contribution the Sheffield students has made has been symbolic and useful, but please reader do not be mislead thinking these types will be at the forefront of the revolution on the march to burn Buckingham palace, because they will not be. Yes we must support them but we must also not focus on thinking they are the core of the fight, because this is crap! We need to organise radical actions, small and large scale occupations and weekly acts of civil disobedience. Any contributions of like minded individuals please get in touch and see what we can do to start a true coalition!

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Encouraging meeting

27.11.2010 16:52

I attended the meeting (retired university staff and UCU member), and was impressed and heartened by the attendance, since I had to sit on the floor.
I signed up to help, and am pleased that someone went to the effort to organise this meeting to set up an alliance. I think it is important to have broad alliance. I understand that the left has a history infighting, splitting into many small factions (the "Go Fourth and Multiply" effect), and that alliances like this are quite difficult to keep together for long. I saw/heard the comment(s) that the meeting was undemocratic (presumably because all 300 people didn't get a chance to speak, or to vote each other on to the steering committee), but after 90 minutes, people were beginning to drift away. Is there a web site yet for this alliance? Finding out what happens next is not easy...

Geoffrey Turner
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Sheffield Anti-Cuts Alliance Campaign

28.11.2010 02:02

Wednesday (24th November) saw the inaugural meeting of the Sheffield Anti-Cuts campaign. The room was packed. All 154 seats were taken and many people were crammed in round the sides of the meeting room whilst others were craning their necks at the entrance.

Spirits were high following the huge national day of demonstrations, walk-outs and occupations that students and pupils had been taking part in across the country. And it was especially heartening to see Josh Forstenzer, President of NUS at the University of Sheffield being invited to speak too. The demands of the students who were occupying the Hicks building were greeted with warm applause when read out. And, when a representative from the group occupying the University of Sheffield building spoke, it became clear to all that the student campaign was not solely targeted at combating increased fees or even education cuts, but the entire cuts agenda.

The meeting witnessed some fantastic oratory (see link below for audio of speeches) with many of the speakers focusing on the need to publicise the very real alternatives available to the current government’s reckless cuts agenda.

The resolutions passed at the meeting included a commitment to campaign:

* against all cuts in public services, public sector jobs and welfare payments;

* for proper levels of funding to be made available to voluntary and community organisations;

* for an end to tuition fees and for a free education to be made available to all;

* for investment in jobs, including a million climate jobs and properly funded apprenticeship schemes to tackle the youth unemployment crisis;

* to promote an agenda which recognises the valuable role of public services in the local economy;

* to engage workers, service users and communities in determining the future delivery of public services

Library Workers For A Brighter Future
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sheffield anti-cuts campaign launch meeting report

28.11.2010 02:10

Another comrade and myself attended the Sheffield anti-cuts campaign public launch meeting on Wednesday 24th November at the Novotel Hotel. The Campaign has the support of PCS, UNISON, GMB. CWU, NUT, and NUJ trade unions. However, only about 250 people and eventually about 300 were present out of the huge public sector workforce in Sheffield, showing the weakness of the trade union left and the lack of mass support, particularly for the SWP, and the Socialist Party. Although the two groups’ members were prominent in the meeting and among the speakers. The speakers were Marion Lloyd, Socialist Party, speaking for the civil service union, Ben Morris speaking for the SWP’s Right To Work and Bill Greenshields of the Communist Party of Britain speaking for peoples charter. Attendance would have been far less had a number of young students, fresh from the demonstrations, not been present. We gave out a Commune bulletin with some basic Commune points from our recent publicity. Any doubts about the basic nature of the leaflet were dispelled after experience of the meeting and the way it was conducted. Here is my view of the meeting and some notes of the main points made by the speakers to give a flavour of the politics of the platform.

Firstly the interim steering committee, whoever they are, we were not informed, organised the meeting as a rally for people to listen to long speeches from the platform which is the culture of the Socialist party and the SWP. Rather than a meeting for the people from the floor to debate and discuss how we organise against the cuts and on what political basis.The organisers left very little time to debate from the floor and seemed to expect a resolution drawn up by a handful of people in the PCS DFE Branch to be agreed with little or no discussion. The resolution was not given out at the outset of the meeting, so it was difficult to read it and contribute. But the chair who seemed to be someone from the local Trades council was in the habit of asking for amendments, which I am not sure the unelected steering committee expected.

I managed to speak first to suggest an amendment. I suggested that any campaign committee should be elected from the meeting. The resolution simply expected the meeting to agree an un named, unelected steering committee. This committee should not simply represent the trade union left, but should represent the wider community outside trade union constraints. This amendment was seconded by a number of young people who did not appear to be a part of the trade union left. Another speaker then complained the resolution did not cover the attacks on council tenants. He seemed to repeat the points we made in our leaflet, but that was probably co incidence. Another speaker said the steering committee should have a housing officer on the committee, another said some tenants were needed. One of the few none white faces, who I think works in housing, said that the meeting should campaign against the immigration caps to get the support of the ethnic minority communities and so on. This proved too much for the SWP and SP members who had sat through the speeches without saying a word. They started to loudly heckle the speakers from the floor with shouts of “let’s get on with it”, “enough talk!”, “lets just do it!”, “we don’t need all this, I need to go home for my dinner”.

The undemocratic form of the meeting was unable to channel the energy and intelligence of the people in the room. The chair desperately tried to control things by giving everyone assurances that their concerns would be addressed and representation on the committee would represent every organisation. Commune members should not hold their breath for an invitation. Many made the point that not everyone was in an organisation. We were asked to trust the committee. No votes were taken as people began to leave the meeting including myself. The chair had already told me elections were not practical. The chair was guided by the loudest voices which were the SWP and SP members. The politics of the unelected committee could be boiled down to two basic points: get behind the TUC and make it a one million string march. The top down organisation of the Trade unions and the SWP and Socialist Party can reflect the tops of the official labour movement, but cannot reflect the democratic aspirations of those who will experience the cuts. The aim is not a million strong march but a million organised in their communities and workplaces. The politics of this campaign will mobilise people behind the official movement and their campaign for a fairer capitalism, but not a campaign from below to transform capitalism in the fight against the cuts.

Campaign Rhetoric from the platform.

Marion Lloyd (PCS and SP)

There is something we can do about the cuts.
We can go on strike.
workers are moving into struggle.
The youth are aware of what is happening.
message is the cuts can be defeated.
our role give confidence to the class.
explain alternative.
alternative budget ( trade union campaign Fairer society or fairer capitalism -keysianism.)
nationalise the banks
Scrap trident.
End tax avoidance of the rich to sort out national debt.
lets get one million on the streets for the TUC March
lets have local demo.
no cuts jobs and services.

Ben Morris (Right to Work, SWP)

Unite on what we can agree.
work now for TUC March
turn the mood
organise coach for TUC march
demo against the LibDems’ conference Sheffield in March.
organise ballots strike action.
joint action needed.
come out same day
lets join the student occupation after this meeting.

Bill Greenshields (CPB and People’s Charter)

Collective power is what we are about.
show them what democracy looks like (!!)
financial crisis an opportunity for us.
debt levels have been higher before.
welfare state built when heavy debt after the war.
debt excuse attack the class.
they want cheap pool of labour.
unemployment breeding ground racism.
we are not all in it together.

Barry Biddulph
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