Oxford's anti-cuts campaign, a network of service users, unions and student groups, rapidly mobilised an escalating succession of protests in the last two weeks against the planned demolition of the welfare state by the ConDem government.
About 200 people rallied during a day of action against the cuts in Bonn Square on 20th Oct, coinciding with the release of the Comprehensive Spending Review. There were speeches and several people gave us their reactions to the cuts. That same morning, activists dropped a banner on Carfax Tower.
The Oxford Education Campaign, a group of hundreds of Oxford and Oxford Brookes students mobilising independently of their student unions, organised over 1000 protesters to march on the day of Vince Cable’s (Government Business Secretary) scheduled visit (28th Oct). Vince Cable embarrassingly cancelled his talk, but the march occurred as planned and police cordons were broken several times.
Within 48 hours of the education march, the local Vodafone shop on Cornmarket was taken over by 30 protesters as part of a national action against the company, in which over 21 shops were occupied around the UK, for its widely reported £6bn tax evasion.
Throughout the month, the Oxford Save Our Services campaign spoke to the BBC, ITV, and others about the prospect of losing their services. SOS also leafleted in central and East Oxford and engaged with the community about the cuts.
[ Bonn Sq rally: 1 | 2 | 3 | demotix ] [ banner drop ] [ education demo: 1 | 2 | 3 elsewhere: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ]
[ vodafone demo: 1 | 2 | elsewhere ] [ Save Our Services | Oxford Education Campaign | UK Uncut ]
Opposition to the planned public sector spending cuts is growing across Oxfordshire and beyond.
In early September there was a sit-in protest in Lloyds Bank in central Oxford. Protesters pointed out that the banks are being funded by the public at the expense of our frontline services including heath care, social services, and housing.
A week later, Oxford Save Our Services held a public meeting to start mapping the cuts in Oxfordshire and to start building resistance to them. Around 50 people - including service users and public sector workers whose jobs could be under threat - all spoke about the cuts that were being made. These ranged from closing the GAP homeless project, stopping schools & parks projects, closing care centres, turning off speed cameras, and much more.
Resistance to the cuts is in fairly early stages, but rapidly gathering momentum. Events coming up in the near future include:
23 September 7pm: Town Hall Oxford Trades Council open community meeting for all groups and unions against the cuts.
27 September: Oxford Save Our Services planning meeting. Update: Meeting details.
3 October: Demonstration at the Tory party conference. Coaches going from Oxford.
20 October (day of the Comprehensive Spending Review): National day of action against the cuts.
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