Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A year in the life of one local anti-cuts group...

This has been circulated to the Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance email list. I wrote it as a little reminder of what the group has contributed during 2011...

As the year draws to a close we'd like to thank all of you for your help and support through what has been a hectic year - what a year this has been!

Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance is proud to have played a small part in building a national movement to stop cuts and privatisation. We have much more to do, and hope you will help us in 2012.

Here is a round-up of what we have contributed to the movement in 2011. Thank you to everyone who has helped, in however small a way, to make these achievements possible.

In 2011, Tyne and Wear Coalition of Resistance has:

- Organised public meetings in March, June and November - featuring speakers from Keep Our NHS Public, National Pensioners Convention, Occupy Newcastle, UCU, PCS, Unite, legal aid and mental health campaigns, etc - which were geared towards the massive 26 March demo, the 30 June strikes and the 30 November strikes respectively.

- Supported picket lines, marches and rallies on 30 June and again on 30 November, and distributed several hundred Coalition of Resistance free broadsheets (linking pensions with a range of other anti-cuts issues) on both occasions. Read the most recent CoR broadsheet here:

- Organised 3 Newcastle coaches to the 26 March demo, taking over 120 people to London, and supported a coach from Hexham (with generous financial support from Unite the Union). Our mobilisation to this historic event was covered in this excellent piece by the Observer:

- Held an open planning meeting after 26 March which brought together nearly 40 people to discuss the way forward.

- Hosted a fundraising gig in April, attended by 70 people (other fundraising included one of our activists doing a sponsored run for CoR).

- Held information stalls at various movement events including Durham Miners Gala, the demo which launched Occupy Newcastle, Newcastle's Green Festival and multi-cultural Mela festival, a big public meeting for Keep Our NHS Public, Newcastle Slutwalk, etc

- Run campaign stalls at Newcastle's Grey's Monument on numerous occasions, distributing thousands of flyers during the year as well as petitioning, engaging with the wider public and so on.

- Organised a screening of the excellent documentary film 'Debtocracy' (about Greece and the debt crisis) in September, supported by Gateshead health branch of Unison.

- A delegation of Tyne and Wear CoR activists attended the Europe Against Austerity conference, a vital event bringing together over 600 campaigners from across Europe, followed by a local activists' meeting on globalising resistance with Public Services Alliance and Occupy Newcastle activists.

- Organised a UK Uncut protest targeting rich tax avoiders in April, which had to be re-arranged as on the day CoR supporters joined with others in opposing the racist English Defence League and defending Grey's Monument as a space for anti-racists. The re-arranged protest in late May was part of a national UK Uncut day focused on the NHS, and was joined by Billy Bragg.

- Had a contingent with Tyne and Wear CoR banner on Newcastle's May Day march - the banner has also been at various events including a protest against Kenton School becoming an academy, local anti-cuts protests and the massive 26 March demonstration in London.

- Contributed CoR speakers to South Tyneside May Day, Newcastle May Day and a 'Unite the Resistance' rally on 30 November among other events.

- Established a website and twitter account as well as sustaining and developing the facebook group and email list – and developed a close link with popular Newcastle United fanzine True Faith, with thanks to Peter Sagar for providing a series of articles for the fanzine and its associated website.

- Held regular democratic planning meetings, ensuring decision-making is based on inclusive and open discussion. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to these meetings and our wider activities.

Best wishes to all for Christmas & the new year!


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