‘Today’s strike is going to be the spark for something a lot bigger’

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Youth led the News Line Anniversary Rally march through East London
Youth led the News Line Anniversary Rally march through East London

‘The capitalist system is in its death agony. It’s coming to an end, although some people don’t believe it will ever end, but I am convinced that we will now see what the working class is capable of.’

Andrea Rodriguez, a Unite member, was speaking ahead of the News Line Anniversary March of more than 300 workers and youth along Whitechapel Road and through to The News Line Anniversary Rally Bethnal Green in East London on Sunday.

As the march was assembling, workers and youth spoke to News Line.

Andrea said: ‘Things are moving very fast and if we are not part of what is happening then we won’t succeed.

‘My other reason for being here on this march is that in my native Colombia, being on a rally like this would seriously endanger me.

‘Being in a union back home is very dangerous, it is an every day thing that trade unionists are attacked and many are killed.

‘I am on strike on Wednesday and I believe that it is going to be the spark of something a lot bigger.’

Gate Gourmet sacked worker and Unite member Raj Sadhev said: ‘We have been fighting for six years since we were sacked and I have not worked since.

‘The union leaders tried to sell us out, but we are still fighting for justice and are taking them to the High Court for neglect of their duty of care.’

Leon Warsama from Hillsborough college in Sheffield was carrying a home made placard saying ‘Socialism Works’.

He told News Line: ‘Capitalism is crumbling and has to be pushed over.

‘Wednesday’s strike is going to be the beginning of something big.

‘The potential is enormous. I favour a general strike to take down the Tory regime.’

His friend, Sam Moore, from Huddersfield University said: ‘Tuition fees are a load of rubbish. It is wrong that university should be unaffordable for large numbers of people.

‘Recently I went on a demonstration with tutors who are fighting against the sack.

‘This situation is not going away and there is no escaping the big struggles that are ahead.’

Conor Burgess, a 22-year-old from Glasgow, said: ‘I have stayed at Occupy St Paul’s since Friday. I am staying at Finsbury Square which is the overflow site.

‘I came down from Glasgow because I was really interested in finding out what they stand for.

‘They have a general assembly everyday and anyone is able to go on the microphone.

‘People put their opinions and if anyone disagrees they can go up and say what they think.

‘People are not happy with the current system of government, they want a new government.

‘There are also occupy movements in Edinburgh and Glasgow as well and they are getting bigger and bigger.’

Large numbers of youth led the march waving red flags.

Stephen Steppings aged 16 from Hackney Young Socialists said: ‘University should be free and we should not have job cuts.

‘What the government is doing is wrong, lets kick it out, everyone should go on strike.’

Emanuel Gashaya from Hackney Young Socialists said: ‘This government is cutting jobs and forcing us to pay for university.

‘I want to be a youth worker, but getting a job will be hard. Lets kick the government out.’

Sean Gould from Tulse Hill YS said: ‘This government is useless and has to be kicked out.

‘We need more marches and everybody should come out on strike, including workers, students and everyone.’

Mick Smythe a psychologist said: ‘I am most concerned about education, I got a double MA and it was all funded.

‘But my daughter is in sixth form, she is a top student, six A’s in her GCSEs and would obviously like to go to university, but will I be able to afford to send her?

‘I am also concerned about the NHS. There is a lady in our street who has to have her legs dressed everyday and she has had carers coming in to do that. She is an old lady, about 85 or so.

‘Then three weeks ago she was told that they would only come once a week. The community is taking action to look after this lady, but this sort of thing must be happening everywhere.

‘The Tories are destroying public services.’

Tanya Paton from the Occupy London Stock Exchange said: ‘People are waking up to the fact that the system is unsustainable and undemocratic.

‘The social and economic injustices that are created by the one per cent, holding on to an elitest power that feeds their greed, has to end.

‘Small voices are rising up and will end up creating a roar that will not go away, and because it is a global movement change inevitable.’

Mustafa Abdou was carrying a Syrian flag and a placard stating ‘Syria needs British and EU expertise, not sanctions, no-fly zones, or Apaches’.

He said: ‘I am against the terrorists trying to damage my country.

‘I want to say to all the people supporting the terrorists in our country, especially the Qatar princes, Barak Obama and Allain Juppe, stop killing our soldiers and policeman who are protecting us.

‘It is the same scenario as Libya and Iraq. I don’t want my country to be a second Iraq or Libya.

‘90 per cent of Syrian people support the government and the reforms that it is introducing.

‘There is a lot of biased media from the BBC and Al-Jazeera, which is owned by Qatar.

‘Syria was the first country to develop an alphabet and for over a thousand years Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together with no problems at all.

‘Now they are trying to make a difference between us, leave us alone!’

GMB member Ken Lawton said: ‘When workers sign a contract they also sign up for their pension. It’s a contract.

‘Now the bosses and the government are coming back at a later date and saying it’s all changed. There’s real anger against this and quite rightly.

‘You look forward to your pension. It is outright theft. Why don’t they take the money off the millionaires? If they’re short of money, let them sell the Crown Jewels.’

The march then moved off, with youth at the front waving red flags, with people on the busy streets cheering and clapping the slogans:

Youth Demand a Future – Youth Demand Jobs!

No Cuts, No Closures – Occupy Now!

We Won’t Pay Tuition Fees – Education Must Be Free!

What Do We Want? EMA – When Do We Want It? Now!

No Privatisation – Kick This Government Out, Forward to a Workers Government!

Workers, Students, Youth Unite – Forward to a General Strike!

Smash Imperialism – World Revolution Now!

Capitalism is Collapsing – Socialism Now!