UK Uncut is a grassroots movement taking action to highlight alternatives to austerity. We use acts of creative civil disobedience to show our opposition to the Government’s cuts to our public services.
On October 27th 2010, just one week after George Osborne announced the deepest cuts to public services since the 1920s, 70 people ran along Oxford Street, entered a Vodafone store and sat down. Vodafone had dodged £6 billion of tax, so we shut down their flagship store. UK Uncut had been born. We started as an idea and a hashtag; they both went viral.
We started with some simple points of agreement. The brutal cuts to our public services being inflicted by the current Government are unnecessary, unfair and ideologically motivated. The cuts are dismantling the welfare state, sending inequality sky-rocketing and hitting the poorest hardest. A cabinet of millionaires have decided that libraries, healthcare, education funding, voluntary services, sports, the environment, the disabled, the poor and the elderly must pay the price for the recklessness of the rich. The public are being made to pay for a financial crisis caused by the banks.
Austerity-economics is the policy of the powerful. It cannot be stopped by asking nicely. If we want to win the fight against these cuts (and we can win) then we must make it impossible to ignore our arguments and impossible to resist our demands. This means building a powerful grassroots mass movement, able to resist the Government cuts at every turn.
UK Uncut is one part of that movement. Everyone from pensioners to teenagers, veterans to newbies have joined our actions in towns from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, from London to New York to Honolulu. We have proved that there is anger at these cuts, that the idea of mass apathy is a myth and that people are willing to do more than just join a Facebook group to stand up and defend what they believe in.
We have shut down tax dodgers from Vodafone (again and again) to Fortnum & Mason. If the Government won’t make them pay, we will. We have occupied tax dodging stores and bailed-in to banks, transforming them into crèches, school class rooms, foodbanks, libraries, homeless shelters and accident and emergency rooms – because we shouldn’t be loosing these public services. We have blockaded Westminster Bridge and Oxford Circus. We have held a street party outside Nick Clegg’s house. We have hijacked Vodafone’s website and Cameron’s conference speech. We’ve worked with Disabled People Against Cuts to get rid of Atos. We’ve taken solidaritea to workers on strike. We’ve taken HMRC to court and got rid of its corrupt boss. We’ve made Starbuck’s pay up. We’ve been smeared by Boris Johnson and Theresa May, but even the Queen’s lawyers says we have it right.
Since 2010 there have been over 800 UK Uncut actions all over the country.
In Bury St Edmunds Alex and his Mum lay down in a Vodafone doorway, forcing it to close. In Brighton activists dressed as Santa glued themselves inside BHS. In Liverpool a fifteen year-old girl organised an action and shut down a Topshop, before running home to revise for her GCSE exam the next morning.
UK Uncut is made up of the people who take part in actions. We are you. We are mums and pensioners, students and trade unionists, the disabled and school children, private sector employees, small business owners and the unemployed. We are ordinary people standing up (or sitting-in) for what we believe, and for the change we want to see. It’s your movement. If you have an idea for an action, or want one on your high street, it’s up to you to make it happen. Here’s how.
Even if you have never been on a protest before, please join us. UK Uncut makes it easy to either join or organise an inspiring, effective action wherever you are. Vodafone’s own slogan is ‘Power to You.’ It couldn’t be more appropriate.
Now is the time to get angry, get organised, get creative, and to build a resistance to austerity.
See you on the streets.