For all of us who live and work at the sharp end of cuts – minimum-wage employees surviving on diminishing benefits, disabled people, tenants facing eviction, NHS employees – the destructive impact of austerity is clear. Austerity damages society, It is a smokescreen for the ideologically driven destruction of the welfare state and all the evidence shows that it’s bad for economic growth, too. A post from The Guardian has been shared,
We all need to think carefully about how we can best help to change the political climate over the next five years. Here are my ideas on how:
1. Be inspired to act
If you believe that the government’s policies are destructive, do something about it.
2. Join a group
This can be a group that is already established, like regional branches of 38 Degrees, UK Uncut or People’s Assembly groups. It could also be a new group, set up with friends or neighbours around an issue you all want to do something about.
At a time when people across the country are increasingly experiencing poverty and hardship, groups can also support each other – blocking evictions, turning up en masse to the Jobcentre Plus to complain about unjust benefits sanctions or perhaps just lending a sympathetic ear to one another when times are hard.
4. Act local
The welfare state is being stripped, but we can block them, one public service at a time. We all have the potential to be political actors who can help keep public services open and families in their homes.
5. Skill up
Getting involved in a group will build your understanding of politics and how to create change. Thankfully, democracy does not begin and end at the ballot box. The more active, engaged citizens we have, the more able we will be to create the society that we want to live in. We must educate each other.
6. Challenge the narrative
We need to go on TV and tell our stories in mainstream newspapers, social medias. Just remember, normal people outside the Westminster system, standing up for their communities, are a lot more credible than the majority of politicians.
7. Get your voices heard
We can do this through targeted direct action and organised media engagement. By occupying shops across the country, UK Uncut helped get tax dodging into the newspapers and onto the political agenda. This didn’t happen overnight. In the past five years, Uncut groups across the country have staged around 800 acts of creative civil disobedience. We need even greater mobilisation if we are to protect our public services in the years to come.