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This weekend thousands marched across the UK in defence of the welfare state and in protest against the government's austerity programme. We hit the streets with them to find out what they stand for.

by i-D Staff
22 June 2015, 3:55pm

Photography Rosie Ellis

Where are you from? 

Why are you here? 
Because I'm not complicit in the government's plan for Britain. I'm not complicit in the 'British' ideals being spouted by rich white men alone. I am not complicit in the destruction of the NHS. I am not complicit in the privatisation of education. I am not complicit in immigration laws that dehumanise. The future this country faces is overwhelmingly bleak. I couldn't stay home today.

What do you stand for? 
Human rights. Everyone is this country should feel safe, be fed, have a home, wake up feeling worthy rather than depressed, and basically enjoy their lives. Those things are not luxuries. Healthcare and education are not pawns that can be traded off, they are supposed to be the foundations of society. No one here today buys the claims that such drastic measures against welfare is a necessity. Re-distribution of wealth and control, perhaps?

If you were Prime Minister, what would you do?
I'd listen to the economists, for a start. And maybe also the people I'm supposed to leading. That this country is supposedly democratic is laughable.

Do you think your better off than your parents generation?
Economically, no. We are the first generation that won't earn more than our parents, this is regression not progression. We may have come some way in the past fifty years in terms of racism but even that is at threat now. The more desperate people become the more hostility, suspicion, blame and prejudice will pervade our society. The regression won't just be economic.

Do the people have the power?
If the people had the power we wouldn't be here. The power currently belongs to a disengaged selfish elite, who are literally committing robbery. The government's austerity measures are punishing the wrong people for national debt, they're attacking the livelihoods of the innocent and protecting their mates in the banks and big business. Their demonising and scapegoating rhetoric is a tactic to divide the people. As long as we are made to blame each other (immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the young) we are distracted from recognising who the real 'scroungers' are (Cameron and co.) and organising against them. It's textbook divide and rule propaganda.

But today we do have the power. Look how many people are here from all over the country, different ages, backgrounds. It just shows that austerity will drastically effect the lives of more people than it will benefit. We may not have the power, but we are united in our rejection of the Torey vision for Britain.



Photography Rosie Harriet Ellis

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