Any political movement which charges people to attend meetings is no movement at all. Instead it is little more than a talking shop for lefty celebrities to spout platitudes from a top platform whilst making entirely different plans behind the scenes. Plans that you won’t be a part of and probably do not agree with.
The People’s Assembly, due to take place in Central London this weekend, is such an event. Imagine the most boring gig you’ve ever been to and they even want to charge you for the privilege. In an effort to keep out the riff raff this lefty love-in comes with a price tag of £8 for even low waged earners and £4 for those on benefits.
It’s probably unfair to say this was a direct attempt to keep the poor out of the People’s Assembly. Claimants and low paid workers are just collateral damage in the desire to keep out the wrong sort of people – the type of people who would no more pay to attend a political meeting than they would buy a CD of Tariq Ali’s greatest speeches or a copy of How I Stopped Them Stopping The War by John Rees. Those of us who would rather drag the Labour shadow cabinet into a lime pit than try and drag them over to the left – the real empty strategy behind this whole sorry show.
Even those claimants who can rustle up the entrance fee may well be out of luck. The only way to buy a ticket for the event appears to be via a website which requires either a debit card or cheque book, two things many claimants don’t have. This oversight comes alongside the shameful snubbing of Boycott Workfare who have not been invited to take part. The People’s Assembly would rather talk about unemployed people than talk to them.
And it’s hardly surprising as barely anyone in the claimant movement is interested in listening to yet more words from pseudo supporters like Workfare Len. Action, not words, has been the driving force behind Boycott Workfare, Disabled People Against Cuts, the Black Triangle Campaign and the countless other claimant groups who have taken on Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms in the streets. And action means more than the vague promise of an A to B march at some point in the future. It means fucking shit up now.
Ian Bone has done a fine job of showing the emptiness behind the People’s Assembly and along with others has called for people to gather outside. Join the riff raff in the streets, where the real people are. Meet at 1pm outside Westminster Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, London, SW1H 9NH.
Above joke nicked from Bone’s blog.
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