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Friday, 12 April 2013

Millions on the Dole in Thatchers Britain - Her Legacy !

People March for Jobs 1981
With the death  Margaret Thatcher & her funeral next week expected to be around the £10 million mark , we remember the victims of 'Thatcherism' & her legacy

Just two years into her job as prime minister in 1981 the 'Peoples March For Jobs' was organised (the first post war national demonstration against unemployment in Britain)

The March was a protest against mass unemployment and the huge waste of human lives. The hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who supported the broad aims of the March - and participated - was proof of its success in mobilising public opinion and public activities against the scourge of unemployment, poverty and despair.

It all seems a long time ago now , but under Thatcher unemployment rose from 1.5 million to 2.5 million in 12 months. Joblessness among ethnic minorities rose even faster, up 82% in one year. It was a spring and summer of discontent, with riots in inner city areas around the country.

The TUC People's March for Jobs was an attempt to put pressure on the Conservative government to do something to redress the problem.

The People’s March for Jobs in 1981 was massive - it culminated in Hyde Park and was made up of many young people who had come from all over Britain.

The 1981 People’s March for Jobs was initiated by the Merseyside County Association of Trades Councils, but the idea of a Liverpool to London protest march against unemployment was supported nationally by a wide range of bodies and feeder marches from Yorkshire and South Wales were organised. The March echoed the unemployment demonstrations of the 1930s.

Around 280 marchers left Liverpool on May 1 but 150,000 attended the final rally in Hyde Park, London on May 31. In London, the marchers slept in the County Hall, then the home of the Greater London Council, and a petition with 250,000 names calling for a change in Government economic policies was handed in.

Michael Foot Labour leader with Marchers

During the march, Labour MP David Winnick drew attention to the plight of those who were without work, pointing out that 6,000 people were joining the dole queues every day while 400,000 had been out of work for more than 12 months.    

Unemployment continued to be a major economic problem, blighting people’s lives for years to come. Thatcher refused to budge & there had to be a second 'Peoples March for Jobs in 1983'. On their arrival in London, the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher refused to meet a deputation. The march was organised through the Wales TUC and Scottish TUC's and the TUC regional councils.

People March for Jobs 1983
The main march route was Glasgow to London, but feeder marches were organised from Lands End, Great Yarmouth, Liverpool, Hull and Halifax, so that many more localities could be involved in the demonstration.

The 'Marchers' did not get the media response they deserved. This, and the call of  Thatcher to hold an early, snap general election on June 9th caught most by surprise.

The general election announcement was made half-way through the March; unfortunately it led to a loss of support for the March from the trade unions and the Labour Party as they had to prepare for their election campaigns. Around 60 marchers set off from Glasgow on April 23 but the numbers had grown to 500 by their arrival in London on June 3. There was a festival at  Crystal Palace on June 4 and a rally in Hyde Park attended by over 100,000 on June 5.

Iron Lady begins to 'Rust'
The 1983 March was the first post-1945 protest against unemployment to be both nationally and regionally organised - 50 representatives from each of the 10 regions of Britain marched to London in four main contingents; by way of contrast, in 1981 there were only three regions represented on the March. 

The 1981 and 1983 Peoples Marches For Jobs helped break the cycle of despair, demoralisation and negative individual responses to unemployment and poverty. In March 1984, the National Union of Miners began a national strike for the right to work, against pit closures and mass sackings - Thatcher continued with contempt & arrogance, her economic policies continued ruthlessly - pits forced to close & miners joined us on the 'dole queue'   .

Group supporter of Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants and a National Union of Mineworkers (Great Britain) member & miner David Douglas gave an impassioned speech at a demo aimed at Margaret Thatcher's legacy, thousands took part in the demo & rally in London - Saturday, 13 April 2013.  Margaret Thatcher - Iron Lady ..... Rust In Peace !!

President Ken Gill talks about
Margaret Thatcher and her impact on Britain's economic and political sovereignty national industries for profitTUC President Ken Gill gave his address to the TUC Congress in 1986.

Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it : Is history about to repeat itself ?

With unemployment now rising at an alarming level yet again under David Cameron & the Conservatives, benefit claimants face unprecedented attacks: this week saw £19 billion pound worth of cuts on benefits for the working-age poor and disabled, while the rich won a tax bonus.

More info: Demolition of the Welfare State in the UK: 
low income households will be struck by a multitude of government cuts starting this week.

Mass unemployment has become a real scourge in the exploitative societies and a source of the gravest social calamities. Politically, it threatens to undermine the gains of the working people in the capitalist world, and causes a mounting frontal offensive by conservatism.

The present situation in 2013 has glaringly shown the connection between unemployment and poverty, as tens of millions of families in the capitalist societies are hit by both. The problem of unemployment . . . affects not only the millions thrown out of their jobs, but whole communities.

Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants
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