Despite such anger against the cuts you would be forgiven for not realising this demonstration was against cuts, in fact I am not entirely sure myself if it was or if it was simply against tory cuts! The Right to Work posters read 'Protest against Tory cuts' and there was nothing said about anyone else but the tories. Whilst some may say this is pedantic it is not at all. Travelling on a coach from Cardiff we were well aware that the Welsh Assembly government is run by Labour and Plaid Cymru whilst Cardiff Council is run by the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru. Do the cuts they will carry out not matter? With any of the 3 main parties and a 4th in Wales in power they have all committed themselves to huge public sector cuts. But there was no mention of this throughout the demonstration simply stating that 'tories are scum' whilst I completely agree lets have some clarity and make it clear that all the main parties are committed to making to working class pay for the capitalist crisis.
This is a very important point because it is no good to simply direct the anger at tories (and liberals) when it will be labour/Plaid Cymru/SNP councils as well as the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament carrying out the cuts as well. It seems that the 'keep is so broad it is ineffective' strategy is still in full effect though. I am not opposed to members of those parties being involved in campaigns against cuts, but only if they refuse to vote for cuts and condemn those in their parties who do. Where there are council that refuse to carry out cuts they should receive the full and active support of anti-cuts campaigners but where there is not, then anti-cuts candidates should stand for election, unfortunately this did not feature at all in the Right to Work organised demonstration whatsoever.
Fortunately however Dave Nellist former Labour MP and currently a Socialist Party councillor in Coventry spoke from the platform at both rallies, he made the points which I have made in this article and pointed out that anti-cuts campaigners have had electoral success, in Kidderminster twice winning an MP as well as councillors and councillors won by anti-cuts campaigners in Huddersfield, Wigan, Wallsall and many other places and there is a need to build on this in the next election. This was also made clear in a very good Socialist Party leaflet which to my knowledge was the only material on the day highlighting a real strategy to defeat the cuts which was very will received, after all that was the point of the demonstration was it not?
There were other problems with the demonstration with between 50-100 pseudo-anarchist youth attempted to breach the fence and get into the conference centre, which then led to a long confrontation with the police which was eventually separated off from the main demonstration. This clearly resulted from the frustration at the relative inaction from the demonstration organisers in my view and will only continue and the trend will increase unless a clear strategy to defeat the cuts is put forward.
It is also worth noting that despite all this talk of the Coalition of Resistance on the Internet, I did not see any sign of them existing on this demonstration, which would have been the experience of many others, if they were actually there at all, or does this 'coalition only exist on the Internet? That has been my sole experience with it.
On the day Right to Work gave out a leaflet calling for 'unity talks' on the 5th December, but if they actually wanted unity then two things would have happened differently at least. Firstly when the chair of Right to Work attended the steering committee of the National Shop Stewards Network the day before he would have raised this at the time and secondly they would not have organised a 'unity event' the same time as the already publicised Youth Fight for Jobs national conference. It seems that based on this the 'unity project' is just for show, especially considering Right To Work was set up when the NSSN and YFJ already existed in the first place! Nevertheless unity against cuts is welcome but at the moment I am dubious that Right to Work actually want unity with others, and who could argue otherwise based on the facts.
After this demonstration it seems clear to me that nothing has changed and that if we wish to stop the cuts that the tasks remain the same, to build local campaigns against the cuts!