Monday, 21 November 2011

Hello, we are the working class......

In the first of hopefully many political actions, UK Resistance - Working Class Action activists chose the Liberal Democrat Party conference in Birmingham for their first outing. The Liberals were chosen because it was a convenient cost-effective location for a first mobilisation and the party is currently propping up the current coalition government.

The idea was, and is, to prove to ordinary apolitical working class British people that they can still have an impact politically. Any impact would be viewed as a result, simply because working class people in the UK have purposely been excluded from the political process and are now convinced they cannot change things.

Activists dressed smartly to facilitate more response from the middle class delegates, yellow tee-shirts were purchased to give the impression the people handing out the leaflets were Lib Dems. The leaflets were given a Victorian theme, the reasoning behind this was two-fold. 

Firstly we wanted to allude to the classic Victorian Gladstonian liberalism of the party which had been abandoned by the party, secondly we simply wanted people to take them. and at least read the first few lines before they realised what they were. 

Secondly, delegates might see the design and think it was a play that delegates, in a strange city and bored of an evening (in the distant future we plan to advertise and hold talks in conference towns which delegates can go to where we will put our case across). 

Therefore they were entitled 'Betrayal Most Foul!' and based on a Victorian music hall poster. 

After the First World War the Liberals formed a coalition with the Tories, the next election was known as the coupon election, where Liberals were sent coupons informing them if they were standing at the next election, or being left out in favor of the Tories, to keep the coalition going.

This was referred to this as we reasoned that the people attending would be politically aware, especially about the history of their own party. 

To be played out in Birmingham, and subsequently on a national stage by the Liberal Democrat Party Players!

This leaflet is not on behalf of any political party. It is a direct plea to the Liberal Democrat
rank and file from the LOWER ORDERS of old England.

We find ourselves poorly-educated, under-employed and unrepresented by any of the political parties, betrayed and abandoned now we are SURPLUS TO REQUIREMENT.

The Liberal Party was once renowned for being the home of the FREE-THINKER and of benefactors to the
disadvantaged. It is a party which gave rise to such political collosi as:

William GLADSTONE ‘The PeoplesWilliam’
a patron of electoral reform and opponent of corruption. Herbert ASQUITH, social reformer and
conqueror of the Lords.

scourge of the warmonger, supporter of the disadvantaged and infirm.

David Penhaligon, a true constituency MP, totally in touch with the ordinary people he represented.
After years in the wilderness, the Liberal Democrats were finally handed the chance of a role in government
by the British people.

However, led by a closet Tory, ably assisted by an ex-banker, your party has merely become a mirror image of those it allegedly opposed. Under your coalition, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the now publicly subsidised financial sector more blasé and ordinary people face widespread cuts to basic services.

You hold the BALANCE OF POWER, yet do nothing but COMPLY with a draconian TORY AGENDA.
Have you not learned from history?

Are you to wait, like sheep waiting to be sheared, for a COUPON ELECTION and another hundred years in the wilderness?

The Liberal Democrats have continually promised so much, yet you have attained power and simply assimilated, if the truth be known because it is an easier path to tread! Imagine Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE shying away from speaking out because it was the easier option!

In fact, in the face of the utmost intimidation, LLOYD-GEORGE made a speech against the Boer War in this very city! Now is your chance to do the same, show the British public you have principles and speak out for what is right.

It is time for you to act, stand up at this conference, shatter the ridiculous charade and

Be brave and seize the opportunity! British politics is a moral vacuum, be remembered as someone of substance who stood up for their convictions! Now is the time to end this pantomime and reclaim your party!


The conference was set to run from Saturday 17th to Wednesday 21st September. Two UK Resistance activists attended on the Friday before to ascertain the situation regarding security and where delegates would be best targeted. It appeared we weren't the only people who were attempting to get their message across, a banner was hung across the bridge which connected the nearby Hyatt Hotel with Birmingham's International Conference Center.

As the two activists toured the area, senior Liberal Democrat John Hemming was spotted giving a television interview on Broad St. As Hemming walked away after being interviewed, one activist handed him a leaflet. Hemming read it then called the activist back to enquire where he was from and said he would read the literature.So already, after a couple of hours activism, our message was getting across to senior members of the party.

Day 1 The Leaders Speech

On day 1 of the conference we had four activists on the ground around the conference center. As well as the conference we were covering various fringe meetings throughout the day and also local hotels and restaurants which delegates might use.
Two activists were positioned outside the conference center and two acted as a 'locate and leaflet' team touring the city center looking for delegates, who by now were noticeable by the yellow necklaces they wore to hold their conference passes.
The response to the leaflets was mainly positive, in some cases very positive. One Liberal told one activists that the Victorian theme had struck a chord with him (proving we can connect with these people whenever we want to) and had reminded him of the classic liberalism of William Gladstone. He asked what we wanted him to do, we replied that we would like him to share it with his colleagues, which he assured us that he would and thanked us for writing it as he said he agreed with every word.

Secondly we had a political writer, take interest, he said he was very interested in talking to us about our campaign. He even said he would offer some advice on writing, which is brilliant as anything we can learn is positive obviously.

Other delegates reacted positively, there were few refusals, we had been given yellow necklaces (minus the passes obviously) by sympathetic delegates who assured us that wearing them would encourage people to accept our lierature.
We didn't realise Nick Clegg would be speaking on the first day of conference, however, this enabled us to reach most delegates on the first day as most attended to hear Clegg speak.
As proceedings were drawing to a close, one delegate came out of the conference center and asked to speak to the author of the leaflets. He was asking why we were doing it, who we were and was amazed that we weren't aligned with any party, he presumed we were SWP! He asked about the coalition, how we felt when it was announced, what we thought of its actions since.
He was informed that as working class people we felt excluded from modern politics. This was our attempt to repoliticise the working class of this country so we might have a voice once more. He listened to the concerns of the activist intently, shook their hand at the end and said it had been fascinating.

He added that he felt it was a mistake not putting a contact address on the leaflets, but he was informed that this had purposely been ommitted because we were not speaking for a group, but our people, the British working class, and we could be found on many isolated and abandoned council estates across the country.

Day 2 Communist Protest
A march was being held by the TUC against public sector cuts by the coalition government. This obviously ensured that security was higher around the conference center than the day before. Broad Street outside the conference center was blocked off while the march took place.  

UK Resistance activists carried on regardless and handed out leaflets outside and around the conference center. Again there was a positive response, ex-Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik was handed a leaflet which he said he would read and other delegates also responded well. However, with the leaders speech being the day before, we found that we had already successfully targeted most conference delegates.

Therefore, it was decided that this would be the final day of our first experiment as we believed we had achieved our objectives. Aided by Clegg's speech, we had reached most delegates who would be attending the conference. We had received a positive response to our literature, we believe in the way we approached this we portrayed the working class in a more positive light, facilitating the positive response.

This was the first in hopefully many innovative political actions by UK Resistance - Working Class Action.
We demand to be heard. If our politicians aren't prepared to shape up, we will educate and repoliticise ourselves to ship them out.

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