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  • Jo Bird

Defend, Attack, Build, Create!


My speech on the streets of Liverpool yesterday.

Defend, Attack, Build, Create!

Thank you very much. [heckler: Go ‘ed, Jo]

How are yous doing? I’m alright but I’m in mourning. Like many people here, I am mourning for the socialist Labour government that the country did not elect, last week.

As well as being an elected Labour Councillor on the Wirral, I’m also Jewish. I’d like to wish everybody a happy Hannukah festival which starts tomorrow.

We are facing at least 5 years of very nasty Conservative government. They are going to batter our communities and batter the environment. So what are WE going to do about it? I’ve got 4 proposals about what we do next. [heckler: Fight!]

Defend, Attack, Build, Create!

First: Defend! We need to defend each other from this hostile environment and oppressive regime. Defend each other from smears. So whenever anyone is attacked on facebook, attacked in the right-wing media, attacked in the school grounds, attacked at work, then defend each other. Defend. Speak out and stand up. That’s what happened to me when I was suspended – people spoke up and that’s one of the reasons I was unsuspended very quickly.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt [liverpool@labouragainstthewitchhunt.org] are a great support network for that. Given them your support.

Secondly: Attack, attack, attack! Attack the hate-mongers, attack the wolf-cryers. Those who point fingers at witches, those who cry wolf – they should know there are consequences to their actions. Expose them, call them out, reveal their track record, name their behaviour and attack them back.

Thirdly: Build! We need to build creative communities, resistant and resilient communities. We need to meet our own needs - clean air, clean water, decent work, homes for the homeless, good food. Bread and roses. Together, we can offer collective solutions to some of those problems. Like keeping wealth local in our communities, more devolved powers for Liverpool City Region, the solidarity economy.

and Fourthly: Create! If you are a dancer, an actor, a film-maker, an instagrammer, a poet, a singer, a writer, a banner-maker, a musician – we need you. We need your banners, we need your costumes, we need your creativity. We need a festival of resistance! Some of that we’ve seen today.

Elected Labour politicians like myself, we are just the political wing of a movement - the Labour, trade union, co-operative and creative movements. I’m just one elected representative, but we are part of the wider movement – keep building it.

We are the people who started, “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!” [crowd respond: Oh, Jeremy Corbyn! Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!]. This is what creativity can do. This is what Merseyside can do. We are the people.

Thank you to the organisers of this march. Thank you to everybody who came.

We are not going anywhere. We are part of the resistance. I’ll see you soon. [cheers and clapping]

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