A group supporting the Fortnum145 has launched today.
We have already stated our support for those arrested after taking peacefully protesting in Fortnum and Mason on March 26th, and would ask you all to share these links.
www.fortnum145.org is their website
@FM145 and #Fortnum145 on twitter
At least 11 of the 138 currently charged are from Birmingham, so we need to show support and solidarity for those who are working against the cuts.
On Saturday March 26th, 145 peaceful protesters were arrested for conducting a sit in at Fortnum and Mason in Picadilly. 138 have been charged, including 11 people from Birmingham. They are currently bailed to appear in court in London in May.
These charges – 94% of those brought after the day of demonstration against cuts – are politically motivated, according to UKUncut and came despite assurances from a senior police officer that the activists would not be arrested
Several unions and NGOs have written an open letter supporting UKUncut whose statement we agree with.
UKUncut have taken direct action against tax avoiding high street shops since October, and along with work by the Tax Justice Network and Tax Research UK have pushed tax avoidance right up the political agenda. Tax avodiance costs the UK treasury around £25bn/year – enough to remove around 1/4 of the planned cuts. This is almost entirely done by very wealth individuals and large multinational companies, who employ tax planners to devise convoluted schemes whose only purpose is to shift income and profits offshore to lower tax regimes.
Fortnum and Mason employs such a scheme to avoid paying around £10m of tax each year, which is why they were chosen by UKUncut for action on March 26th.
Birmingham Against the Cuts supports the activities of UKUncut, and would like to extend our solidarity to the 11 people who have been arrested from Birmingham, and the 127 others from around the UK.
We call for these politically motivated charges to be dropped, and argue that it is not in the public interest to spend the time and money taking 138 peaceful protesters to court.
You can help support them by adding your voice to the support campaign at www.fortnum145.org, or on Facebook
The March for the Alternative is just a couple of days away, and as I’ll be going down on Friday evening this is likely to be the last you hear from Birmingham Against the Cuts online before Saturday..
Some tips from the TUC for marchers
Stay warm, keep safe, be peaceful.
If you’re looking for transport at the last minute, the False Economy site is the best place to go, ring through the coaches there. There is a link on the right.
See you on the streets!
Birmingham Against the Cuts internet person
After its successful recent public meeting, Stirchley and Cotteridge against the Cuts held a follow up meeting of those who wished to continue the campaigning. It has agreed a programe of future activity and a next meeting.
Its main focus is the local day centre for the elderly and the Cotteridge Neighbourhood Office. Our demand is that they both stay open and provide the same level of service as before. However, we are now waiting to see the outcome of the Council budget vote and how it will affect us.
In the meantime, we will be focussing on building for the TUC demonstration on the 26th March and the Birmingham budget day protest on March 23rd.
There will be a street stall on Saturday 19th March at Cotteridge island, 11am till 12.30pm, and street leafletting this Saturday (meet at the Grant Arms at 2pm), Sunday and Monday evening.
We agreed to try and attend the Selly Oak Labour Party meeting next Thursday with Ed Balls speaking, and we also heard a report of the new “Save our NHS West Midlands” campaign.
Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th April, 7.30pm at the Stirchley Community Centre
Birmingham against the Cuts will have it’s next planning meeting on Monday, at 18:30, Unison Offices, 19th Floor, McClaren Tower, Priory Queensway, City Centre.
We will be looking forward over the next couple of months with the national TUC demonstration in March and the local elections in May. Everyone is welcome to attend, and give their input into the kinds of things we should be planning to do running up to these events.
Apologies and attendance
Important developments in struggles (Youth Service, CAB, Connexions, UNISON contract, CROSS,
Students, academies and free schools, Libraries, Day Centres, Women’s event)
Birmingham Budget Demonstration 26th February – brief appraisal
St Patrick’s Day Parade
March 26th demonstration London
b) Leaflet for coaches
c) Neighbourhood street stalls
Public Meeting April?
April 30th demonstration
Election of officers
Next organising meeting
Any Other Business
Birmingham City Council yesterday voted through a budget cutting £212 million from the budget for 2011/12.
You can see in a previous post some of what this is going to mean in real terms for residents of Birmingham.
Birmingham Against the Cuts would like to applaud all councillors who voted against the cuts budget.
Councils across the country continue to vote on budget cuts, and Sandwell and Dudley council will do so on monday, go along if you can to show opposition to cuts in neighbouring councils. Facebook Event 5pm at Dudley council house, council meeting starts at 6pm.
Now our action against cuts will turn to the national stage, and the TUC national demonstration for the alternative: Jobs, Growth, Justice on March 26th in London.
Unison in Birmingham have already filled 17 coaches, and other unions also have coaches running. If you are looking for transport, please contact your union, or look on False Economy. If you are a benefit claimant, young person or someone who doesn’t have union representation for any other reason, please contact us as we are working with unions to provide subsidised places on coaches.