The People’s Assembly organised another round of protests against the rising costs of living in the UK (although of course, issues like inflation are not just affecting the UK). This included another Birmingham protest. The previous action took place on the 12 February, although there was also supposed to be an action on the 5 March. No one turned up to this action other than a few activists with tables (I have a couple of videos on my channel, see here).
There was a larger selection of speakers at this event with a presence of a few hundred people. This included some people from the crowd as well as many union, climate activist, etc speakers that you would expect to appear at a bread and butter left wing event such as this.
Several unions were represented with the University and College Union and the Musicians’ Union as well as others. There were housing campaigners speaking as well as pensioners and climate activists (of course, there is a bit of a contradiction here with the fuel costs issue).
I thought the speeches at this one were a little bit better than the previous one, though there was some left wing/woke liberal nonsense involved in some of them, including references to Brexit (I really don’t get why anyone is talking about Brexit at this point) and the ‘pandemic’ and ‘Covid’ being the cause of things that were actually caused by lockdowns. For example, this speaker talks about the legitimate issues caused by lockdowns for jobbing musicians, but frames it as if it was caused by ‘the pandemic’ as some sort of disembodied entity not connected to government policy. So ultimately the root of the issue still was not attacked.
The Birmingham Stop the War leader Stuart Richardson also talked about the Ukraine issue and how that was affecting prices. Although placing sanctions on Russia will clearly exacerbate this issue I do not see it as a root cause, rather the government/elites will try to blame Putin for what they created. While any Russian retaliation is understandable in the context of sanctions the media will pretend it is all down to Putin being a ‘maniac’ and ‘madman’ (and hell, maybe Maddow was right about Russians wanting to freeze us to death?)
I spoke in my previous article on this issue about the difficulties relating to this issue of the cost of living, and I am still not sure how to resolve it:
I don’t want working class people to have to pay more money for energy bills etc., especially since they were the primary victims of lockdowns. I think that is fairly obvious. The question is how we tackle the problem. In general, even though I disagree with capitalist economics I have become a lot more sceptical of calling on the (capitalist) state to do anything about anything, since they will just use it to push more pain onto working people (a good example is the environment: while it’s clear that many things humans are doing are negatively affecting the environment, any state action is likely to be more authoritarian nonsense that will punish the working class like carbon based digital IDs). Unlike libertarians I believe that this authoritarianism is inherently interlinked with the capitalist system.
Alternative systems within the current one such as opting out as much as possible and doing other things within the freedom based community are a good idea. However, they are difficult to implement in practice given that people still have to survive within the current system (e.g. people have to go to work full time, leaving limited time and energy for alternatives). Such suggestions can come across as a bit naïve in some cases though I advocate them where realistically possible.
There is due to be further protests on the cost of living issue with a protest taking place on June 12 in London.
Oh and the award for the worst protest sign: