Apr 272011

By Aberdeen Against Austerity.

This Saturday, trade unionists, socialists, environmental activists, students and working people will march in Aberdeen to mark International Workers’ Day, more commonly known as May Day.  In so doing, they will be joining with thousands of people all over the world in commemorating the struggle of the labour movement against injustice and exploitation.

Yet, May Day is not just an opportunity to celebrate the victories of the past, but also to continue that struggle today.

Historically, the day has been used to campaign for the current demands of the movement, from the eight-hour day at the end of the nineteenth century, to the anti-capitalist assertion that “Another World is Possible” at the turn of the millennium. This has also been true of May Day marches in Aberdeen, which have taken place here for over one hundred years. In 2007, the Save Our Services campaign against the closures of schools and the Glencraft factory swelled the march to well over a thousand people.

In 2009, no march took place, as the City Council imposed a £2100 charge on Aberdeen Trades Council, the organisers of the march, for the use of Union Street.  The decision to effectively price out democracy and dissent was undoubtedly informed by the potential of the march to be used to voice general opposition to the council.

A compromise would seem to have been reached, with last year’s march only going from St. Nicholas Kirkyard to the Castlegate, where a rally is traditionally held, rather than the length of Union Street.  This will be the case again this year.  Nevertheless, the march presents the perfect opportunity to campaign against public spending cuts at local and national level.

Aberdeen Against Austerity ( mailing list at aberdeenagainstausterity@lists.riseup.net ) will be joining the march to voice our opposition to these regressive and unnecessary measures, and to argue for an alternative programme of taxation and investment. All are welcome to march under our banner, but the important thing is to be there, whoever you march with.

Aberdeen May Day march
Saturday 30th April
Assemble on Back Wynd at 11am.
The march starts at 11.30am.


Nov 252010

With thanks to Mark Chapman of PCS Union.

On Saturday 27 November at 11.00, Aberdeen Trades Union Council members, trade unionists and representatives of community groups from throughout Aberdeen will march from St Nicholas Church, Union Street, to an anti-racism rally in Castlegate.

A range of speakers will talk about racism, the anti-public sector cuts campaign and the campaign against privatisation of Royal Mail.

Mark Chapman of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) commented:

“We have recently seen activity by the BNP and National Front in Aberdeen. In a number of cases they have distributed racist literature to children outside city schools. There is no place for these beliefs in our society and Saturday’s march and rally is our opportunity to get this message across. Please join us to send out a clear signal – these people are not welcome in our community.

“Public sector cuts will have a huge effect in and around Aberdeen. With the city council set to make cuts of £127 million, there cannot fail to be a detrimental effect on every member of our community.

“Royal Mail privatisation will also lead to huge job cuts. This is a service that we all rely on and can trust. To privatise it would lead to a less-accountable and far more costly service for users”.

Oct 222010

The first run of a beautiful new calendar depicting the unique and stunning scenery of the Menie/Foveran coastal area has proved so popular that it has already sold out – within 3 weeks of production. Apart from raising funds for the Tripping Up Trump campaign, the pictures bear witness to the beauty and wildlife of the dunes and draw attention to the on-going destruction of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A second run of the calendars is now being negotiated and will be available for sale in the coming weeks.

Indeed, despite a marked lack of coverage in most of the local media, this has been a very busy period for the Tripping Up Trump campaign as Rohan Beyts tells Aberdeen Voice;

‘”What with producing our newspaper, preparing the calendar, mounting an exhibition and organising the March of Menie it has been a period of intense activity for all of us.

While it seemed that the media could not get enough of Trump – threatening householders, running for president, claiming that his resort had been a ‘done deal’ and posing with his new doctorate – we decided to focus on the real issues – the loss of a wonderful national asset and the effects on the local community.

So the idea of putting on an event was mooted, a walk possibly in the dunes before winter set in, a show of support for the threatened householders and an exhibition close by to get across what the local press has not been saying.  There were a few obstacles and time moved on. Was it going to be too much?

On 16th September came the announcement of that Degree.

We decided to do the walk – The March of Menie – from Balmedie to The Bunker in support of the householders.

Then there was the exhibition. It was a lot to organise in a mere 3 weeks but TUT is more than 2 people and a dog so we did. Could we get a suitable venue for the exhibition? Would the calendar be ready?  Could we get the newspaper out?  Yes, Yes and Yes again.

Despite information from the police to the contrary there was good route all the way to The Bunker.

  • The March was publicised on 21st September
  • A venue for the exhibition obtained on 3rd October
  • 2 Slide shows were put together
  • Bob Smith agreed that we could display his wonderful verses
  • Displays were made on the Environment, People and Economics of the development.
  • Sheila Forbes and Susan Munro offered to provide light refreshments.
  • We were up and running (or marching).

On Saturday 9th October the March set off (a short delay was filled by some excellent drumming) with dogs, grannies, mothers, fathers, grandads ,sons, daughters, farmers, fishermen, workers, students, greens, socialists, lib dems, tories, graduates, soldiers; we had them all walking the dunes to the Bunker led by an excellent young piper and representatives of the families.

The Police and the Evening Express estimated 250 on the march so draw your own conclusions.

The calendars and David Milne’s book ‘Blinded by Bling??’ [Still available via Waterstones or Amazon] sold well at the exhibition. The calendar all but sold out in 10 days from the first production of 250 with no publicity other than word of mouth.

If you would like to pre-order from the next reprint e-mail me at r.beyts@btinternet.com and I will let you know when they will be available through the website. They cost £5.00 each plus P&P.”

Aberdeen Voice understands there have been a number of enthusiastic comments from those – including some professional photographers – who have already bought the A3-sized calendar;

‘Amazing, the pictures are fantastic.’
‘Wow, it shows just what we are in danger of losing’
‘Great value, that’s my Christmas presents sorted.’
‘Love the pictures and all the information on the back.’
Aberdeen Voice wishes TUT all the best of luck with the calendar, and are grateful for permission to reproduce those beautiful images.