‘Jarrow 2011’ Poem

Jarrow 2011

There was the Jarrow March, the March for Jobs

Now here we are again,

Out on the cobbles , walking the roads

Because of bankers and business men,

They wheel and deal, duck and dive

Gamble with what they didn’t earn,

We ask how can they do this again?

But it’s us that never learn.

We outnumber them one hundred to one

But still they have the whip hand,

We have clear evidence that capitalism fails

When will we make a stand?

Monetary constraints and fiscal austerity

We all know what that means,

A dole queue that stretches right round the town

And a dinner of toast and beans.

And that dole queue has always been

An acceptable price to pay,

If you’re a rich Tory on expenses

And don’t let sentiment get in your way,

And our so-called representatives

Do nothing but yadder yadder,

They can’t look away from the very next rung

As they climb the bosses ladder.

 

So lets make this current March count

And start making clamour and noise,

‘Cos we all know that Cameron

Only listens to the loudest voice

But this isn’t the Bullingdon Club,

Where the rich can play games with our lives

We have working families forced into crisis,

Real children, real husbands, real wives.

 

So let’s put a shout out for WORK

That’s what the working class need,

‘Cos we’re still eating the tainted food

Grown form Thatcher’s malignant seed,

Let’s take action for our fare share

From the city boys, bankers and snobs,

We WANT, WE DESIRE, WE BEG, WE DEMAND

We’re screaming out loud for DECENT JOBS!

 

By Michael J Buchanan – Oct2011

 

 

 

 

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Marcher’s Diary Day 23-25 – Bristol Visit

Jarrow March for Jobs in Bristol

While most of the Jarrow Marchers recuperated in Coventry, 7 Jarrow Marchers (Ian Pattison from Leeds, Matt Dobson from Dundee, Sean Figg from London, George from Nottingham, and Lizi Gary, Ryan and Bobby Cranny from Newcastle) headed down to Bristol to meet supporters and mobilise interest for the national demonstration on November 5th in central London. We were greeted on the evening of Sunday 23rd October with a gig at the Grain Barge put on by the TSSA and Unite trade unions.

On Monday 24th October morning, Jarrow Marchers went out with Youth Fight for Jobs supporters from Bristol to leaflet commuters about the Jarrow March for Jobs. 50 people are occupying ‘College Green’ outside the council building in Bristol as part of the international anti-capitalist protests inspired by Occupy Wall Street in the USA, the Spanish indigandos and the Greek enraged, and the revolutions in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Youth Fight for Jobs and the Jarrow March has sent solidarity to the occupy movements around the world; Paul Callanan (Youth Fight for Jobs national organiser and Jarrow Marcher) spoke at Occupy London Stock Exchange on Saturday 22nd October, and there will be somebody from Occupy Wall Street speaking at the Jarrow March end demonstration on November 5th in London. The Jarrow Marchers were also invited to the Unite the Union South West Regional Committee, where victimised trade unionist Paddy Brennan from the Honda plant was also in attendance. Paddy was due to find out the result of his employment tribunal on Tuesday 25th October. Jarrow Marcher Matt Dobson addressed the Unite Regional Committee and showed the links between the issues that Unite members are facing in the recession and as the cuts start to bite, and the demands and programme that Youth Fight for Jobs and the Jarrow March is putting forward.

Matt said, “The Jarrow March is a good way to get young people and the trade union movement talking to each other, showing young people the importance of trade unions. We support the electricians’ protests by Unite members. These are young construction workers involved in the dispute. They’ve been apprentices who were promised that after their training they’d be part of the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement, which won’t be the case if it’s undermined.”

Matt also spoke to a Unite rep at the meeting from Rolls Royce, who said, “I’m worried the experience of trade union organisation won’t be passed on to young people, because they’ll be excluded from manufacturing jobs lost.”

In the South West, Unite the Union is putting on a coach from Bristol to the national demonstration on November 5th that leaves at 8:30am from Anchor Road. The coach is obviously free for Unite members and the unemployed, and just £5 for everyone else. For more details contact the South West Youth Fight for Jobs regional organiser, Tom Baldwin, on 07986951527 or tomobaldwin@gmail.com

The Jarrow Marchers also visited CWU and FBU trade union members, receiving huge amounts of support and donations for the Jarrow March for Jobs.

Matt also addressed an National Union of Teachers (NUT) Young Members meeting, “Teachers were blamed for the riots for not educating young people properly, which isn’t the case at all. We fully support the pensions strikes and we will be encouraging school students to walkout and join the picket lines on November 30th.”

The Jarrow Marchers then went leafleting in Stokes Croft in Bristol for a Youth Fight for Jobs public meeting. Stokes Croft was the scene of rioting earlier in the year. At the heart of the causes of the riots have been the cuts to youth services, leaving whole communities of young people with no hope of a decent job, education, or future. As a result many no longer feel part of society. Youth Fight for Jobs calls says that in areas where rioting has taken place, those local councils should be demanding that the money that has been stolen by the Con-Dem government, should be immediately returned to reopen closed youth services, reinstate sacked staff, and reinstate EMA; to end the conditions that create rioting.

Youth Fight for Jobs put on a public meeting of 26 that evening with Jarrow Marchers Ian Pattison and Lizi Gray speaking, as well as Mark Dowson from Occupy Bristol. Mark said, “I want to see an end to this government, as quickly as possible. I’d like to see the people of Bristol unite and fight against the government, in defending our public services. Hopefully, we can radically transform the system. Personally speaking, I’m not interested in reform anymore, the whole system is rotten. It’s up to us to work together to bring about something that’s more representative of our need needs, hopes and aspirations. What that system will be, I’m unsure, that’s why we’re inviting people from Bristol to join us in our discussions, and hopefully formulate a plan of action that’ll bring that about.”

Mark also said, “I support the Jarrow March for Jobs, because I understand the struggles faced by young people, not only in the North East, but throughout the whole country. I believe the only way we can bring about the better future, we all deserve is through non-violent direct political action. I find the fact that young people have embraced the history of the Jarrow March is a real inspiration, and I back it 100%!”

Jarrow Marcher, Lizi Gray from Newcastle, who is the great-granddaughter of one of the original 1936 Jarrow Crusaders, spoke on both BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Bristol on Monday.

At the public meeting, Lizi said, “every city we’ve been through, the level of support has been amazing, and it really shows that nobody want a return to the 1930s, with cuts really starting to hit communities. The fact, 75 years on from the original march, we’re having to make the same journey to get our message across to the same system of government that is destroying this country’s livelihood and taking away all support for its people; I think the 200 marchers from 1936 would be appalled. Like many young people, I’m scared for my future and this generation is going to be the first who will be worse off than their parents. This system clearly isn’t working, and we can’t just take these cuts lying down.”

 

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New YFFJ Membership Cards Arrived!

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Marcher’s Diary – Day 20-22

Day 20

Hinckley-Nuneaton

The Jarrow Marchers woke up the normally sleepy town of Hinckley on the morning of the 20th, going through the streets
chanting our slogans about making the bankers pay. A small number of passers-by declined to take our leaflets, although it can’t have been due to the marchers smelling bad as the local leisure centre had let us use their showers for free that morning!

The distance between the two towns being only six miles by the back roads meant that the marchers reached the pub in
Nuneaton which would be our home for the night in plenty of time. We were introduced to the landlord, a supporter of the campaign who had displayed march material in the corner, and would later make sure the marchers got a slap up meal.

We then used the free afternoon to leaflet for our protest and meeting that evening. Splitting into three groups, we went to visit local colleges and the job centre, where at each we gained contacts for the campaign. We then gathered outside North Warwickshire College alongside local RMT and Unite members to march into the town centre, for the now routine photoshoot for the local paper, before heading back to the pub to prepare for that evening’s rally and gig in support of the march, rounding off an excellent first day in the West (real) Midlands.

Day 21

Nuneaton to Coventry

On Friday morning, our group of twenty-five marchers left the fantastic Railway Tavern pub in Nuneaton and started off on our way to Coventry. The Railway Tavern owners had graciously housed and fed us for the night, and we thank them for their hospitality.

The itinerary suggested the route was to be six miles, however, by the end of the day we were all agreed that we had covered considerably more!

The route took us through such towns and villages as Collycroft, Bedworth and Longford. Residents were happy to take leaflets. Motorists honked their horns and gave us the thumbs up as we passed.

On the outskirts of Coventry, we were joined by the local Trades Council, leading members of Coventry CWU and David Nellist, Socialist Party councillor for St Michael’s ward in Coventry.

The march proceeded to snake its way through the streets of Coventry, with Cllr Nellist leading the way. Our presence coincided with the end of the school week. Chants of “Bring back EMA! Make the greedy bankers pay!” and “Why have we marched all this way? Decent jobs with decent pay!”, coupled with the vibrant colour of the march, visibly resonated with the mass of working class young people out on the streets. Many school and college students were quick to ask for leaflets, wanting to know more about the march and campaign. Others gave us the thumbs up or a raised clenched fist. Several students even joined us for part of the march through the area.

We stopped outside City College. Cllr Nellist gave a short speech on the history of the building and how it is earmarked to be sold off, rather than kept in the public domain. He then went on to detail the adverse affects the Labour council cuts will have on the young people of Coventry, with already one in five out of work. Youth Fight For Jobs supports any elected representative or candidate who is prepared to vote against all cuts and is prepared to participate in mass struggle to defeat these attacks, be they Con-Dem or local Labour cuts.

The March carried on through Coventry’s pedestrianised shopping area, and then finished with one marcher giving a short
interview to the local BBC.

We all needed a rest after a long day of marching, and as luck would have it, we were given just that at a special reception generously put on for us by the CWU branch at the Inspire pub later that day.

This afternoon we will be holding a march and demonstration in Coventry, which meets at the steps of the Cathedral and then will proceed through the city centre.

Stoke

The Jarrow March for Jobs is holding protests and demonstrations in every town and city for the Jarrow to London march, and a few places no en route. The original 1936 Jarrow Crusade marched through Stoke, and even though the 2011 Jarrow March for Jobs isn’t going through Stoke, on Wednesday 19th October and Thursday 20st, 4 Jarrow Marchers; including national Youth Fight for Jobs organiser Paul Callanan from London, unemployed Jarrow Marchers Ian Pattison and Steph Maston from Leeds, and Jamie Cocozza from Glasgow travelled over to Stoke to build support for the Jarrow March for Jobs and November 5th national demonstration inLondon.

On Wednesday, the Jarrow Marchers joined a march organised by Youth Fight for Jobs supporters in Stoke from Stoke
College through Staffs University to the city centre. Youth Fight for Jobs supporters were joined by college students from Stoke  College and the local Midlands No.7 branch of the CWU (Communications Workers Union). After the march, the CWU branch fed the Jarrow Marchers and helped us dry off from the rain.

Maxine Tuck, Branch Secreatary of Midlands No.7 CWU, said, “We travelled to Jarrow on October 1st to see the marchers off,
because of the state the country is in today. Youth unemployment has gotten so much higher, and it’s important the trade unions support young people. Its incredible sad that 75 years later youth are forced to march again, but we’re proud to support the march, and stand shoulder to shoulder with those young people fighting back.”

We finished Wednesday with a fantastic tea-time stall in Stoke city centre, as workers travelled home. A lot of people were interested in joining Youth Fight for Jobs, and coming to the national demonstration on November 5th.

On Thursday, we had 3 successive large stalls different education institutions; Keele University, Newcastle College, and Stafford College. On Thursday, we were joined by FBU (Fire Brigades Union) members throughout the day who had come out to support the campaign.

Day 22

Coventry

Like most mornings, I woke up and initially didn’t realise where I was, but hey… such is life on the open road for Jarrow Marchers. After a few minutes spent cross referencing the amount of blisters on my feet with the virtual map in my head, I worked out I was in the 11th biggest city in the UK; Coventry. This time, a few of the other marchers and I had been put up by local socialist Rob Macca. Which I was so stoked about!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob had recently stood in a council by-election in Lower Stoke, acheiving a brilliant third place after Labour and the Tories. This is a clear sign that support for anti-cuts activists and the need for a socialist planned society is growing in cities like Cov.

After forcing myself out of bed, I had a shower, got dressed, combed my beard and pulled on my “March for Jobs” tshirt. I also did a few cheeky vocal excercises, for the demonstration later that day. I seem to have become cheif chant leader, a role I totally enjoy as I get to prance about and pretend I’m lead vocalist for my favourite poppunk hardcore band – Set Your Goals.

We all assembled at the cathedral steps, and the marchers greeted each other with the usual ironic “Good Morning  Jobseekers”. The demo began and we marched through the city centre; we were joined by Socialist Party councillor and former Coventry MP Dave Nellist who did the first leg of the march in Jarrow and has been a long time fighter for youth and
working class people. The march stopped off in the precinct in Coventry where Dave spoke through the rather large loud speaker I was carrying, it was so big that i kept it on number 2 on the volume dial – I dare not even turn it all the way up to eleven!

Dave spoke about the growing unemployment figures and the fact that the main three parties are putting the blame of the economic crisis on the heads of working people. After he spoke, there was a loud cheer from the bystanders who had stopped shopping to listen to us. I then burst into the chant “Brrrrring back ema, take it out the banker’s pay” and we carried on through the city centre. My personal favourite chant is “Banks get bailed out – WE GET SOLD OUT!”. We then marched to the Methodist Central Hall where we had a packed public meeting, with plenty of words of support from trade unionists and a brilliant speech from Youth Fight for Jobs organiser Sarah Wrack, who has, along with the other national organisers, been instrumental in organising the march from London. Dave Nellist even sang an excerpt from a song about the original Jarrow March, it brought a tear to my eye, but that may be because of stiffled giggles!! Among the fantastic speakers, we heard from former socialist councillor Rob Windsor about the housing crisis in Coventry.

Tweets from the meeting:

  • Crammed mtg of #jarrowmarch11 +Socialist Party in Cov after brilliant if brisk demo thru city. Ben Sprung of
    #FBU just brought #solidarity
  • Turn the world upside down says @davenellist quoting levellers at #jarrowmarch11 mtg inviting all to #Socialism2011 for ideas to #fightback
  • #PCS trade unionist now giving greetings, thanking #jarrowmarch marchers for their effort and flagging up #n30 for next step of #fightback
  • Jane Nellist, Coventry TUC and NUT teachers union speaking now about privilege to join with #jarrowmarch11 + why young ppl need trade unions
  • Jane from NUT also calling for #solidarity for #n30 – don’t make public sector workers work til they drop- give young ppl a job and a future
  • Housing Benefit worker giving #solidarity to #jarrowmarch11 esp demand for house building and renovating
    programme to create jobs+homes#n30
  • #jarrowmarch11 shows that youth unemployment is not down to individuals being lazy but government cuts-EMA, fees trebled and huge job cuts
  • #jarrowmarch11 speaker points out ave of 7 job seekers for each vacancy but up to 84 in Merthyr. We want
    massive job creation programme now!
  • Young ppl should have same education opportunities as millionaire politicians enjoyed. #jarrowmarch11 how
    to pay? See: http://jarrowmarch11.com/
  • Solidarity officially moved from #jarrowmarch11 meeting for #hardesthit marches and @OccupyLSX
    http://jarrowmarch11.com/ Fight ALL cuts pls RT

We were then taken to the Sikh Gurdwara for some delicious food prepared for temple volunteers. The food had been donated by people who attend the temple. It’s another example of the tremendous support we’ve been getting from ordinary people up and down the country!

After a nap and another comb of the beard, we went down to a local pub for a gig with the other marchers. As usual, we let off a bit of steam by singing songs we’ve written whilst walking.

Here’s my rap, its a bit of a work in progress, so bear with me!

‘Bring bring, bring bring,

bring bring, BRING BRING

Tories on the phone,

Tell them to leave our services alone!

Knock, Knock

Clegg at the door,

tell him we wont take the cuts no more!

Tweet Tweet,

Theres a message on twitter,

the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer!

Bleep, Bleep,

You got mail!

THE NHS IS NOT FORSALE!

Just updated my facebook status!

Why are the government always at us?

No one stands for you! No one stands for me!

We need a new mass workers… PARTY!’

LOL! so theres one of my creations. Please don’t steal it. I’ll be watching YouTube! After singsongs, the night progressed and we all got up and danced to a Coventry rockerbilly band. There was so much 50’s clothing around I thought I’d accidentally taken a ride in the TARDIS!

Dave Nellist even got up and danced with us, I promise you I’ll never forget that memory! After wearing out my dancing shoes, we wandered home. I needed a good kip as I’d volunteered to help Dave Nellist and his team go around his ward of St Michael’s talking to people. After the support, the words and the dance moves he’d given us, how can a young person not want to show solidarity and help build the fightback in local communities for a better future for all!

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Editor of the Socialist dedicates final day to young people in struggle across the world and the struggle for socialism

From Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

 

Day 5: Young people in struggle across the world and the struggle for socialism

 

What is so inspiring today is the huge number of young people who are fighting back against this attack on their future, and increasingly against the system, capitalism, which will always mean crisis and will always try to make the working and poor masses pay. The occupy movements are correct – we are the 99%, the mass of the population. Their slogan exposes the huge and brutal inequality that exists under capitalism. The 1% takes everything, in a time of austerity they get richer and richer while lives are destroyed. I listened to a news item on increasing suicides in Greece this morning. I am marching in solidarity with the indignados, the occupiers of Wall Street and the Stock Exchange and all the protesters across the world, in Chile, in Israel, in north Africa and the Middle East and with the trade unions that are in struggle for workers’ rights, to defend public services and living standards. We are the 99%. We produce the wealth, the ideas, the 99% has huge potential power. In Britain, as elsewhere, we are in for the fight of our lives and the public sector general strike on 30 November is key. The Jarrow march is important because it stands in solidarity with the organised working class, bringing young people and trade unions together to fight the cuts. The Socialist Party stands for a socialist alternative to the cuts, a system where the massive resources could be planned to meet the needs of both people and the environment not merely to further enrich the obscenely wealthy elite. The potential to carry through such change lies in the hands of the producers of the resources, of the wealth, the international working class with socialist ideas and leadership.

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Editor of the Socialist dedicates day 4 to young Tamils in Sri Lanka

Day 4: Young Tamils in Sri Lanka– Sri Lanka has boasted a fantastic education system in the past. Now, for Tamils in the north and east especially, there is only a hell-like existence. Thousands remain detained in secret camps. Thousands lost their lives in the brutal slaughter waged by the Sri Lankan government, which after the official end of the ‘war’, in reality a bloody massacre, in May 2009, continues its massive arms and military spending. As if the destruction of lives, homes, landscape and future was not already reaching the limits of brutality, even of the high standards set by the Rajapaksa butchers but there is more. Young people are being forced into the Free Trade Zones, established by the government, where trade union rights are trampled. Pension rights, hard won over years, are in the government’s crosshairs. I support Tamil Solidarity’s work. www.tamilsolidarity.org.uk and that of the United Socialist Party in Sri Lanka.

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Marcher’s Diary – Day 18-19

Day 18

Leicester

As we entered Leicester, our march from Abbey Park was applauded by passing shoppers. One female public sector workers remarked to a leafleter that “it’s a bloody disgrace and a tragedy that this has to happen all over again”, she took a leaflet and promised to show it to her neighbours on her estate.

The march rallied at the clock tower in Leicester city centre being filmed live by regional ITV. Local young people in hoodies and on bikes buzzed with excitement at our chants against the removal of the EMA and for Real Jobs, happy to discuss the difficult conditions facing them and get involved in Youth Fight For Jobs. We also had significant, welcome donations of cash from local people pressing wads of notes in our hands, very moving considering the hardship ordinary people are facing given the rising costs of living.

After the demonstration our spirits were lifted watching the fantastic positive coverage of our march on the BBC’s One Show. Loud cheers went up in the bar for the Fonze who voiced his support. We enjoyed having the chance to have our widely supported demands compared to the weak excuses for youth unemployment and empty promises about job creation from government minister Chris Grayling. We enjoyed another night of hospitality from the Indian Workers Association who provided a tasty curry and whose local Chairman made an inspiring speeches giving their political support.

With the support of the Socialist Students society and local UCU trade union branch we made a lot of noise and a visual impact at the midday protest at the university. Students responded by crowding the stall to sign petitions against youth unemployment and tuition fees and sign up to the campaign. This resulted in a good turnout at our evening rally at the university. Ian Pattison spoke from the perspective of being an unemployed graduate, and Rhys Harrison gave a history of the original Jarrow March and gave anecdotes of the warm solidarity today’s marchers have received on their journey. Students pledged to travel to the London demonstration on November 5.

Day 19

Leicester to Hinckley

Our last night with the IWA and then up early for the road from Leicester to Hinckley. We presented the IWA with a framed picture of the march which will hang as a permanent reminder of the march and their support.

The journey to Hinckley was marked with more support from passing drivers and shoppers in Earl Shilton. At Hinckley we held a rally in the town square passers by remarked on the decimation of the local shoe and hosiery industry over the years and gave us support in a struggle for the future of workers and young people. We then marched to the local college attracting the attention of students inside with loud megaphone chants and our banner, students came out to speak to us remarking they had seen the march on the TV and thanking us for marching through their town with a number signing up for the campaign. We settled down to the kind hospitality of the Westfield Community Centre in preparation for Nuneaton tomorrow.

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