The first time Manchester’s Northern Quarter hosted The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, back in May of this year, it resulted in not only the largest regional turnout since the movement’s inception, but also “the largest political meeting in the city since the miner’s strike.” Now it’s back, and, buoyed by the success of the huge national meeting in Westminster last month, it is set to be bolder and brighter than before.
This Saturday (27th July) will see a range of venues across the Northern Quarter, including Oldham Street’s Central Hall, Matt and Phred’s, Nexus Art Café and Green Fish Resource Centre, become platforms for speeches, discussions, art installations and workshops- all designed to unify a broad spectrum of anti-austerity campaigns.
Among the attendees will be writer Owen Jones, who, as well as speaking, will also welcome a large number of protesters against bedroom tax to the event, who themselves will have completed a march in the city earlier in the day.
Owen Jones speaks at the first Manchester People’s Assembly
Also speaking will be Ismail Ertuk of Manchester Business School, Annette Wright of the Public and Commercial Services Union and representatives from Show Racism The Red Card- an anti-racism educational charity.
The overall aim of this latest People’s Assembly meeting is to confront, and to challenge, what many recognise to be a socially damaging agenda – that by which austerity is the prime motivator, in a lively and engaging manner. Therefore, inclusive workshops which will tackle education reforms, NHS privatisation and a range of other subjects, will run throughout the day, giving everyone a chance to have their say.
Alongside all of this there will be poetry from Birmingham’s exciting young poet laureate Stephen Morrison-Burke and an ‘interactive art project’ by local artist and animator Anna Morris, who explained “What we are planning to do is to use the idea of the People’s Assembly logo, the red and green speech bubbles, and get the people there to write down their most personal and important reasons for being part of the day. Then we are going to photograph those people…and create displays which will initially go up in Nexus Art Café, then hopefully in different places all over Manchester.
“Once each person has written down their reason for being there, they will eventually take home another person’s. We hope that this will help to get everyone thinking about the importance of the People’s Assembly to others. So, even though there may be differing political opinions between individuals, it will help to reinforce the idea we are all there for the same reason.”
June’s National People’s Assembly meeting was attended by over four thousand people.
The organisers of the Manchester People’s Assembly say they are keen to welcome any individual, group or organisation with opinions, ideas or practical help to share and contribute to the event and to the organisation as a whole. For now, the important thing is that people attend on Saturday, get involved and enjoy all the things this promising –and free!– day has to offer.
To register for the event please visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/6958588325
You can follow Manchester People’s Assembly on facebook and twitter: @PplsAssemblyMCR
Words by Neil Harrison @LooseRiver who blogs at looseriver.blogspot.co.uk