Building for the Tory Party Conference
Josh Davies reports back from a meeting in Manchester on Wednesday 23rd July 2013, to build for the Tory Party conference being held there from 29th September to 2nd October 2013.
I went along to a meeting called by the Trades Council to plan for the Tory Party conference demo tonight. It was pretty big with around 40 people there from different unions, campaigns and left groups and it looks like the demo will be really big. There are plans for the unions to put on transport from different areas nationally as well as providing free transport from around Greater Manchester (though this seemed less firm). Also looks like it’ll be built for fairly intensely with things like an open top bus going round in the days running up to the event.
There were a few areas of disagreement with the main one being the route that the march is taking. There was a rumour doing the rounds that the demo wouldn’t be going past the conference centre at all which people were obviously very worried/annoyed about. The route we heard about at the meeting is far from ideal but a little better, it will go past the conference towards the beginning of the march before going out of town to a park near the university. There will be a load of police (the main organiser seemed to think this would be a good thing as it’d mean we’d need fewer stewards) but I’d imagine that the march heading away from the conference will lead to possible splits on the march and actions in town.
There were also concerns raised by a lot of people about the type of speakers we’d get on the platform (white, male union general secretaries) and the problem of focusing the demo mainly on the NHS. On this latter point it seemed that the focus would shift and I think we shouldn’t use that as our way of building.
I came out of the meeting pretty positive. It will definitely be big and will be a good chance for the ACI to raise our profile as well as a test for us in terms of how successfully we can build and mobilise. I’m going to write a proposal on how we’ll build in Manchester for our strategy meeting on Sunday so if anyone has any thoughts then let me know. Also feel free to ask any questions I haven’t answered by commenting below.