This time we will meet in the Centre by the Fountains and march from there.
Yesterday saw a group of about 30 people meet at midday and march up to the Tory Bristol HQ in Clifton, with music and banners saying "The Future of the NHS is in Our Hands" and "Come join us. Save the NHS". Traffic backed up behind but I had chance to talk with drivers and so many are really angry. Angry at the government for what they are doing to working class people.
Another guy working for a big building firm said "We already can't afford to get ill cos we don't get paid for sick leave, and I work in one of the most dangerous professions." I asked if he had been involved in unions or organising at work. He said he had but that not anymore, that has all ended. I told him about the sparkies out on strike and winning in London. He hadn't heard about it. He was happy to hear it. Passing on stories of victories seems really important.
Outside Tory HQ the music was loud and angry, the tories stayed hidden inside. We headed back down to town to join the later protest, passing by the Council House on route.
Back at the BRI, for the third day running, people met there to protest. One friend said "People just need to vent, I just had a doctor talking to me for 20 minutes about all the shit going on in her department." I have felt that the demonstration has really opened a space for people to talk about what has happened, to acknowledge it and to be inspired by people being on the streets. But we need to do more than that, we need to bring this law down. We need to build on our culture of protest, so that it is an everyday thing to do. No social movements have won without being out on the street marching. But interestingly no social movement has only won by marching.
Popping inside to the toilet I talked with another member of staff, who works there 7 days a week, doing two jobs. He wanted to be out with us but couldn't. We talked about what might happen to his working conditions, we talked about how to organise against increased exploitation and we exchanged details so if he needs solidarity over the coming years he knows it exists. "Todo es un proceso de construir popular power" Every bit is a process of building popular power, as they say in Colombia.
Being out on the streets these passed few days has been an amazing experience for me, I have felt a real unity. I have been listening lots and hearing so much anger and worry. Many people have been really appreciative of the fact that some of us have came out on the street to protest. But as a friend on the demo was saying to people "We can't do this alone, and if you want free quality health care, you are going to have to get out your comfort zone, come out on the street and fight for it too"
Original article on IMC Bristol: http://bristol.indymedia.org/article/708094