|Barricades rose early in Birmingham this morning|
"Early this morning before the Council House opened and hours before the publicly announced blockade at 11am, protesters barricaded the Council House main entrances. We are taking this action because austerity is economically backward and is not helping the economy. Furthermore, these cuts to Birmingham are highly undemocratic and against the will of most people living in the city – who didn’t vote for this.
"The cuts to Birmingham are wrong and that they will devastate thousands of people’s lives. We feel compelled to take action to protect the most vulnerable.
"The £101m of cuts to be voted on today in Birmingham include a cut of £32.7 million to the Adults and Communities budget, £23.8 million to Children Young People and Families, and £28.3 million to Leisure Services. High on the hit list are: Voluntary Sector Funding (£4.4m), Children Centres (£3m), Children Residential Care Homes (£1.6m), Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (£1.4m), Home to School Transport (£1m), Youth Service (£0.47m) and reduced subsidy for the Meals Service (£0.4m).
"We must now fight these cuts on the ground service by service. Victories can be won! Campaigners across Birmingham have overturned cuts with well-organised campaigns. Parents campaigned and stopped the West-Heath school from becoming an academy; the parents of the children of Charles House respite centre for disabled children beat back cuts by storming constituency meetings and shaming their officials into backing down. The Cotteridge community united to keep the Merrishaw Nursery open and stopped the planned closure.
|Cops doing the bosses' and bankers' dirty work as usual|
"Make sure you stay in touch and get involved anti cuts campaigns in Birmingham. Get involved in groups like communities against the cuts. Join on Facebook here and get on the e-mail list here. And groups like east Birmingham against the cuts on facebook here. Come along to the Birmingham wide anti-cuts conference Saturday the 16th of March http://www.facebook.com/events/173972612751938/?fref=ts""
The Facebook group has just posted an update:
"We've been blockading all entrances to the Council House since this morning, trying to physically prevent Councillors from entering for the budget meeting, where the cuts will be undemocratically voted through. Not surprisingly, most Councillors were not willing to engage with us in debate. The police have helped push the cuts through by forcibly attempting to break up the blockade and get Councillors inside."
As could have been expected, police have shown themselves to be the enemy of working class people once more, by literally helping to force through cuts to services which people rely on. But today's action in Birmingham is only a small taste of what is coming nationwide. The emphasis on fighting the cuts on the ground - rather than relying on set-piece confrontations at town halls - is particularly encouraging.