The Bristol & District Anti-Cuts Alliance (BADACA) was formed in July 2010, on the initiative of some trade union branches, when the new Coalition Government announced cuts in public spending on a scale not seen in generations which attacked the livelihoods and welfare of the vast majority of people living in and around Bristol. Furthermore the Government made it clear that it intended to sell-off to private companies as much of public sector as it could to run them for profit rather than to provide a service. What it could not sell off, it hoped to run with volunteers as part of a “Big Society”.
BADACA is an alliance of trade union branches, voluntary and community organisations and individuals who wish to fight the cuts. Its aims are as follows:
- To campaign against all proposed cuts in public services, unjustified increases in social costs, sell-offs and privatisations nationally and locally, whether initiated directly by the Coalition Government or carried out by local authorities of any political complexion.
- To unite local trade union branches and voluntary and community groups in this campaign
- To organise events such as demonstrations and rallies at appropriate times
- To organise support for specific groups of workers in dispute or under threat as a result of the cuts
- To counter through a variety of means the arguments in favour of cuts by the Tory media e.g. “cuts are inevitable”, “we’re all in it together for the sake of the nation”, etc., etc., in order to win hearts and minds for what will be a long and hard campaign
- Oppose all proposals to “solve” the crisis through racism and other forms of scapegoating
- Liaise closely with similar anti-cuts groups in other parts of the country and to affiliate, where appropriate, to national organisations opposing the cuts
People become involved in the Alliance at a number of levels:
- As members of trade union branches or organisations that have affiliated us
- As individual affiliates
- As contacts on a mailing list
We encourage everyone who supports our aims to become an affiliate. There is no fixed subscription but we ask for donations, paid on a regular basis, to meet our substantial campaigning costs.
The Alliance has a democratic constitution. Its ruling body is a regularly held Open Meeting. It has a delegate-based Steering Committee to manage its work, elected officers and an Organisational Team to do the day-to-day work.
The Alliance is divided into campaigning sub-groups of which there are two types:
- Sector groups which cover specific areas such as health, education and social services
- Local groups which campaign in local communities such as East Bristol, Filton, etc.
- Other task-based groups may be set up from time to time to organise specific activities such as publicity and events
Each sub-group and each affiliated trade union branch and organisation sends a delegate to the Steering Committee.
In terms of geographical spread, BADACA covers the local council areas of the City of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. We support other local anti-cuts groups in Bath, Weston-super-Mare and Gloucester.
By its very nature the work of BADACA is political. However, we are not affiliated to, support nor are controlled by any particular political party or group. Political organisations are welcome to affiliate to the Alliance provided that they support our aims.
BADACA believes that national co-ordination of the campaign is essential and supports and will affiliate to any national anti-cuts group that is compatible with our aims. It will also seek contact with and work with anti-cuts groups in other parts of the country.
What we have done so far
- Held a regular, well-supported open meetings
- Established a working Steering Committee
- Built a large list of contacts who receive information regularly by e-mail and website, including the forwarding of a detailed, weekly digest of the impact of the cuts in the South West
- Attracted the affiliation of a number of trade union branches and community organisations, including Bristol Trades Union Council
- Supported lobbies of council committee meetings and full council meetings preparing the cuts
- Organised a large regional demonstration against the cuts in Bristol on 23 October 2010
- Supported student demonstrations and university occupations during the campaign against increased tuition fees and the abolition of the EMA grant.
- Supported pickets of tax-dodging companies such as Vodaphone
- Distributed thousands of leaflets setting out the case against the cuts in the centre of Bristol and in local shopping centres and communities
- Supported affiliated trade union branches who have already begun to initiate campaigns, including industrial action, against redundancies, closures and privatisations
- Begun initial discussions and planning for new and imaginative ways of putting our message across to the public
- Set up a number of campaign groups with a programme of initial meetings.
What we will be doing in the next few months
- Improving our communications, including the use of the internet and film
- Consolidating our campaigning groups and creating new ones where possible
- Actively working to attract more organisational affiliations and to turn contacts into individual affiliates
- Discussing with trade union branch and regional offices, the Trades Council and the South West TUC how to build for co-ordinated industrial action against the cuts
- Working to get the biggest attendance possible from this area for the TUC demonstration in London on 26 March
- Holding a demonstration in Bristol on 19 February (the Saturday before Bristol City Council’s budget meeting) and lobby the meeting itself
- Lobbying budget-setting meetings of South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Councils
- Holding a fund-raising social
- Creating a Campaign Fund
- Holding regular street and shopping centre stalls
- Debating the cuts with a Conservative MP
- Building support for the fight against redundancies, closures and sell-offs as and when they are announced.
- Whatever else is necessary to win the campaign
Joint Chair – Nina Franklin, John McInally
Secretary – Anne Lemon
Organising Secretary – Nigel Varley
Treasurer – Mike Luff
Treasurer (fund-raising) – Pete McGahan
Press & publicity – Robin Clapp