7,000 march on the Tory Conference

7,000 Right to Work activists, trade unionists and students from all over the country marched on the Tory Conference on Sunday 3rd October.

We defied an attempt to ban the demonstration by the police and the ConDem Birmingham City Council, we marched despite a heavy police presence, and we marched despite pouring rain.

We marched to make it clear the to ConDem government that the fight to stop their cuts starts here. As one GMB speaker put it, ‘if they want a war, we’ll give them a war’.


West Midlands Police are pleased to confirm that a planned protest in Birmingham city centre has this afternoon passed off peacefully.The ‘Right to Work’ march through the city centre’s entertainment district was planned to coincide with the start of the Conservative Party Conference at the nearby International Convention Centre.

Between 5000 and 7000 protesters are thought to have attended the event, which travelled along the Broad Street area, leading to a road closure between Five Ways and Paradise Circus and other local streets.

Superintendent Dave Sturman, the commander for the policing operation of the Conservative Party Conference, said this afternoon: “We are very pleased with the way the march has gone this afternoon.

“The protesters were peaceful and the operation went largely to plan.

“At this stage there have been no arrests and we have received no reports of any criminal offences, such as damage, as a result of the event.

“We understand that this protest may have caused some disruption to people in the city, and we thank them for their patience during the course of this afternoon’s event.”

The march lasted for two hours, travelling along a planned route which passed through Lionel Street, Summer Row, Holiday Street, Gas Street and Broad Street.


All the hype from some anarchist and once as with new labour the left and anarchist just let the working class get fucked over..

Old Class warriors are stirring from their armchairs checking for the nearest Wetherspoons. For once there will be an alternative to the Trot march. How succesfull it is will determine how the opposition to the Tories develops. But at the very least comrades you need to be there.Any successful political movement needs momentum – to get that vitality of momentum we need to put our collective shoulders to the wheel.


It was the rain, one anarchist said that his armchair would get damp and how could he sit there all week in pontification of the revolution on a damp armchair?

Another said this colour red of directions runs in the rain, fuck that of round to me mothers for Sunday Lunch..


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4 responses to “7,000 march on the Tory Conference

  1. For once I’d say the police estimates of numbers were about right..

    It was ok, but nothing to write home about.. decided to join the black bloc as that’s where I feel my politics are headed, I would say there were about 50-60 in the black bloc, I tagged along with the sheffield anarchists as the bloc split at the start of the march with rumours that the police would try to seperate us from the march right at the start..

    No chance for any civil disobedience anywhere though, the whole area around the conference centre was barricaded with 8 or 9 foot high solid steel fences and loads of police..

    I did see one arrest (or at least someone got bundled into a riot van) – not someone in the kettle – so I guess from that news report they were released without charge and/or not actually arrested..

    The black bloc slipped the first attempt to kettle on broad street but not the second (apart from me and a couple of other people)..

    The black bloc got kettled by five ways roundabout, I slipped through the police lines as they closed in and wandered around trying to stay with the kettle to varying degrees of success to bear witness should anything happen..

    Quite a few from the main march hung around until they were forced down the tunnel under five ways, and then prevented from going back by the police.. knowing the area, I slipped around the police line and went under five ways using the pedestrian routes and joined up with the kettle on five ways roundabout (I was always outside it), along with half a dozen other people and some independant camera people & observers..

    They released people from the kettle (with a search and photos taken) on the Hagley Road, just off five ways, strangely into another kettle (but one with actual space in it) – I was inside the secondary kettle – and we were herded to the coach park before being let go.

    There was some heavy handedness from the police in the searches, at least a couple of people were thrown to the floor but it wasn’t anything major and nothing kicked off.

    Overall.. wet, a bit dull and pointless but hopefully a good starting point to build resistance against the cuts. Don’t know if any of the anarchist actions planned for the evening happened, I was too cold and wet and coming down with a cold so decided to go home rather than try to hook up with anyone to see what was going on.

    BBC report here

    I reckon maybe 7 or 8 thousand, would have been more I reckon, but the weather put a dampener on it. Crap route too, round the back streets to a bloody car park! Good spirits though, I felt quite emotional at one point! Marched alongside the black bloc (accidentally mind) at one point, then moved away as it was obvious they were gonna get kettled. Which they did a bit later, how predictable was that? What a waste of time, although I guess it gave some kids a frisson of excitement. Why advertise yourselves though if you want to cause mischief?

    Went to a pub for a pint then tried to go to the rally in the Walkabout bar, but the police had cordoned the road and weren’t letting anyone through with a banner (I had an IWW flag on a stick). I gave them the stick and put the flag in my pocket, they still wouldn’t let me through, saying I had to leave the flag with them. They wouldn’t tell me why except that they “had orders”. Stupid wankers, that really annoyed me. What a pointless fucking order, what am I gonna do with a little flag ffs! Seems also the Walkabout bar had some pressure from the police not to let kids in their either, under threat of having their license revoked.


  2. More from Indymedia no doubt it will be hidden so ill keep posting comments back here..

    birmingham! a city of loads of empty buildings, a squatters paradise, shame there was no convergence space!

    i just spent 3 hours on the coach back to east london, with some oap from the swp trying to get me to sign up! it was hell!

    the march was ace, i’ve never seen such a large black bloc in all my ten years of doing black block stuff. wait to you see the photos, the anarchist movement is one the up in the UK, and we to keep discontent on the boil. must of been about 200 of us, all actually wearing black and no-one getting it wrong!
    a chance to meet new/old faces and lots of anarchos from the north.

    the cops did try to set up a kettle, but only under 30 got caught, but luckily for the old bill we’re well behaved and didn’t give them the trouble they wanted.

    we seemed to be well organised to avoid the kettle, but maybe we can begin organising tactics to send the police a message of “we ain’t scared, fuck off!” running instead of leaving our mates and scattering, as it doesn’t send a good message to the younger anarchists.
    When the police began there kettle there was little support from other groups apart from the dreadul sing-along coming from SWP loons.

    Other groups including the very excitable, yet cowardly named “REVOLUTION” just kept walking and didn’t stop to help the anarchist bloc.

    Revolution, if your reading this why not next time make your flag poles out of slightly heavier wood, get blacked-up and get stuck in next time helping your anarchist comrades!

    there’s going to be another march in london on 20th october, lets rally another auto-bloc, as its deffinatly a good time to build the anarchist movement in the UK, maybe this time with a few banner drops and a soundsystem, and a convergence space for activists from out of london…

    i’m guessing smash-edo will be fun.

    joe blogs

    Re joe blogs

    03.10.2010 20:40
    So you call marching from a to be a good day out?

    Like The SWP it is the same for The Anarchist you are deluded, the working class need not people like you on our side for you are the enigma of The Working Class..

    So The Anarchist are now becoming organised (good to here if it was true) how is 40 to 60 a mass movement and just where was The Anarchist under 13 years of New Labour, where was the new vanguard of The Working Class?

    In your fucking armchairs as per-norm and one dreads to think, the effort if took for some of you to get out of them armchairs, but of course there was a pub for you all to sit down and pontificate about the liberation of The Working Class

    Of course everyone wants some thing for free, but if some one is offering you something for free, you would be wise to be suspicious.

    The central government is quite happy to maintain a redundant labour force to curtail wage inflation, so the unemployed are providing a valuable service to the ruling oligarchy.

    The rulers are happy to provide free schooling because they get to set the curriculum, an influence the mind set of the next generation of their tax slaves.

    Pensions directly support the financial service industry. Housing benefit supports the privet rental sector, which supports the financial service industry.

    What ever you think is being provided out of benevolence is designed to give a “kick back” to the ruling classes, you just have to look at it from out side of the left wing / right wing paradigm, pretty hard to do if you’ve been educated in the state system.

    What are described as ‘public sector jobs’ can be seen as “government sector jobs” because the workers are accountable to the government, not the public. And the government is accountable to it’s underwriters, the financial institutions, not the public.

    The financial services controls the government, and it’s the government that controls the public/government sector jobs, which in turn control us through policing, schooling, etc. Society truly functions as one single top down hierarchy. It is so designed to be in everyones interest to support the level above them. Of cause the public don’t like being robed, quite so directly as the “bail outs” because it confronts them with the reality of their own financial captivity.

    While we are all fighting for the interests of our respective positions, we are avoiding the real issue.

    If we get something for free, we lose the ability to make it for ourselves, and that includes the ability to make our own social provisions. We are losing contact with our most basic means of production and so, getting locked in to the system of exploitation, presided over by the rulers of the global financial services industry.

    real anarchist

    Five to six thousand demonstrators joined the “Right to Work” protest against the Tories in Birmingham on 3 October, despite heavy rain.

    The organisers (SWP) claimed 7000, the police said 3000. The last similar protest, organised by RTW/SWP under the slogan “Rage Against Labour” (later modified to “Rage Against New Labour”) in Brighton on 27 September last year, drew about 4000.

    There was a contingent from Birmingham Unison, a contingent of Midlands CWU members, and there were a lot of trade-union branch banners, not necessarily with big contingents behind them.

    The main chants were “they say cutback, we say fightback” and “Cameron out”. SWP placards said: “TUC: call a general strike”.

    Joe Morgan, the Birmingham and West Midlands regional secretary of the GMB union, is reported as being on the demonstration and saying: “This is just the start of the cuts and the fight against them.

    “In Birmingham we’ve had 26,000 redundancy notices in the council. The council is riding on the back of the coalition government.

    “We had a mass meeting last Thursday and said there’s only one way to fight—and that is to strike. I think industrial action is inevitable. I was at the TUC when Brendan Barber said we need united action, I hope he means it this time.”

    Speaking at the start of the march, both Paul Mackney (speaking from the “Coalition of Resistance”) and a speaker from “Right to Work” called for collaboration between COR and RTW. RTW is now backing the COR conference.



  3. @Tom

    03.10.2010 21:16
    “I slipped through the police lines as they closed in and wandered around trying to stay with the kettle to varying degrees of success to bear witness should anything happen.. ”

    Don’t slag others off when all you do, when out of your comfort zone, is ‘wander around’, ‘bearing witness’……… ‘bearing witness’? more like quaker than anarchist (and I have a lot of respect for quakers). It really pisses me off when all you lot do is act as armachair warriors, slagging off people who bother to turn out, and then when given the chance for a bit of autonomous action ‘bear witness’….. I admire your principles, loath your hatred of people who prefer to protest peacefully, and hate the 2 facedness of what you do in reality.


    “people power”

    The latest Tory buzzwords claiming the Party’s war on the poor amounted to “people power” fell spectacularly flat on Sunday as thousands of trade unionists marched past their conference to show what the real deal looked like.

    Ensuring an unpleasant Midlands welcome for delegates on the opening day of the conference, people from all walks of life braved soaking rain to declare their opposition to sweeping cuts in welfare and public sector spending.

    Amid a heavy police presence, activists held a rally before the march with folk songs from local musicians Banner Theatre and speeches from leading figures in the trade union and anti-cuts networks.

    Tory delegates and business leaders were due to discuss “people power” and “the big society” on the opening day of conference.

    But the platitudes tied in poorly with the content of conference talks, which saw health and safety review chief Lord Young recommend a “rethink” of rules in local councils.

    Proposed changes could see workers faced with more dangerous conditions on top of job cuts from a projected loss of 30 per cent of public sector funding.

    But Right to Work chairman Paul Brandon set the tone for the afternoon declaring: “The resistance is starting now.”

    The rally and march, organised by the Right to Work campaign, was aiming to bring together different organisations, including the People’s Charter campaign, to launch a series of actions to successfully oppose Con-Dem policies.

    Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, who have both campaigned constantly against the cuts agenda, brought solidarity from the Labour Representation Committee.

    Mr McDonnell warned the Conservative Party that if the coalition government came for working people and their jobs and services “then we will come for you.”

    Keep the NHS public campaign group spokeswoman Dr Jackie Davis said the austerity and outsourcing measures spelled disaster for public sector workers, potentially making NHS employees “an endangered species.”

    GMB regional secretary Joe Morgan urged workers to recognise that “the only real power we have in this society is our industrial muscle.”

    “Contrary to the right-wing media lies, nobody wants to go on strike but, comrades, sometimes you have no choice,” he said.

    Activist network group Coalition of Resistance spokesman Paul Mackney congratulated the Right to Work campaign for organising the demonstration.

    “I am here,” said Mr Mackney, “to announce the beginning of the end of the Con-Dem government.”

    “We brought down the Heath government with trade union action in the workplace. This time, with an alliance of union action and community campaigns we will defend our public services and drive then from office.”

    CWU president Jane Loftus, whose union is affiliated to the Right to Work campaign, called for mass support for the campaign to keep the post public.

    Prime Minister David Cameron, who has spent recent weeks doing the media circuit to try and justify savage attacks against people dependent on welfare provision, told his delegates that “good savings” could and would be made in welfare in order “to balance the budget.”

    But closing the rally, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka countered the PM, declaring co-ordinated strike action to be “inevitable” if these cuts were not shelved.

    “We should say loud and clear, ‘not one public sector job should be lost or one penny of public spending cut to pay for this crisis,” he added.


  4. Love the article and the comments

    03.10.2010 21:41
    So it seems there was a march.

    And now the hard left are slagging off the anarchists (and vice versa) on Indymedia.

    Some criticise those in power – currently the LibCons – for using a ‘divide & conqueror’ tactic. But it’s not them that’s dividing us. Oh no, we’re doing that all by ourselves.

    Love the way that people slag each other off for being ‘armchair’ – presumably all those that are accusing people of being armchair are not sitting in a comfortable room with an internet ready PC (as I confess I am).

    Way to go people. David and Nick must be laughing themselves to sleep.

    Call me Dave

    some reflections on black bloc today

    Although there were quite a few of us. maybe 100 i’d say, what had a lot of potential, turned out pretty negatively. The black bloc basically left the main route and was instantly kettled. Many black blocers avoided the kettle, but failed to successfully regroup and left our comrades trapped. Many non-anarchist marchers realised what was going on and stopped marching, demanding that those in the kettle be let go.

    It got pretty rowdy and we could have better used that opportunity to try to free our comrades, but it was literally a handful of anarchists trying to convice 100s of SWpers, that they should show solidarity and refuse to move until the comrades were free. Some march stewards blatantly colluded with the police and told everyone to march on, and that those kettled would be allowed to join the march. This was a a lie.

    Many individual anarchists did what they could, but as group we failed miserably. We allowed ourselves and others walk into a kettle and then watched powerlessly as our friends got searched, harassed, photographed. Those loud and proud anarchist voices that urged everyone on before, were nowhere to be found.

    I think that we all could have benfited with some sort of meeting beforehand,just to discuss tactics,possibilies, aims, general plan.

    Instead what ensued was those behind followed those who shouted loudest. As “autonomous” people/ sheep we allowed ourselves be deliberately (imho) manipulated by our so-called comrades and self-appointed leaders into a situation where many anarchists got inevitably kettled, searched,humiliated…



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