On March 16, about 150,000 people marched in London. Called by the UK’s People’s Assembly as a protest against Prime Minister David Cameron in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks, it quickly turned into a protest against austerity and support for refugees. The mood was festive and good spirited.
The march ended in a rally in Trafalgar Square, a few hundred yards from Downing Street. Several speakers condemned P.M. Cameron’s secret offshore activities, and there were repeated calls to end austerity. Most speakers condemned the increasingly appalling working conditions and low pay in workplaces around the country. Most notable was the exposition of the conditions within the UK’s National Health System, paired with calls for support of the junior doctors’ struggle in light of massive funding cuts and their long working hours.
The common tenor was a call for the government to make a U-turn in its recent economic policy, with the highlight of the rally being the Labor Party’s shadow treasurer pledging an end to austerity, if elected. Another highlight was a video message from shadow P.M. Jeremy Corbyn.
In essence, the view of the rally speakers was that of redistribution of wealth without uprooting capitalism. Only one speaker called for an NHS that is run by people for people, with humane working conditions and world class services not driven by the profit motive.
Many more than 150,000 people are needed out in the streets worldwide, following the realization that an end to austerity will only temporally alleviate the effects of decay in the capitalist mode of production in worsening the lives of working people.