|Before the off at Caspian Place|
Stand Up In Bootle came about primarily in response to the Bedroom Tax, following a Liverpool city centre meeting in January. It has grown over that short period of time through neighbourhood meetings and social networks, tapping into the vast reserves of class-based resentment towards the rich which was very much in evidence today. Activists and supporters from other areas of Merseyside also showed their solidarity, but it was very much a Bootle-based event.
The march assembled at the offices of local social housing association One Vision at Caspian Place, which were not very coincidentally closed for a 'training day'. One Vision have admitted they will be looking to evict anyone who falls behind with their rent after their housing benefit has been cut by 15 or 25%, but seemed reluctant to discuss that with the residents of Bootle today.
|Marching past people's houses like a proper thing|
The people of Bootle had put on a show better than anything the Liverpool left had done in a decade, and they had done it on a weekday morning.
There then followed a succession of speakers - many of whom have spoken at some of those lesser Liverpool demos. Compared to the fury of the crowd, many of them seemed dry, theoretical and tending towards irrelevane. Generally, they listed ways in which working class people are getting hammered - no news to many in attendance - without a single proposal for action. A group of perhaps one hundred at the front were keen to soak up every word, but further back some were shouting for "action, not words", while others shook their heads at the constant mention of motions passed by trade union branches and the actions of the Troika. As time passed, more and more gave one last shake of the head before getting on their way. By the end, perhaps only a few dozen remained.
The old, trade union-based left will not be able to hold back the crowd for much longer - in Bootle or elsewhere on Merseyside. It is far too agitated for that, and the mixture will become even more volatile from April, when the money doesn't stretch far enough to keep bailiffs away. Like similar groups throughout Liverpool, Stand Up In Bootle are committed to direct action, on the basis that they can't pay, and they won't pay. Aside from organising that - and supporting it - little more needs to be said.