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The Poll Tax Protests That Finished Thatcher - 30 Years On

Thirty years ago this month Maggie's flagship 'Poll Tax' went the same way as the Titanic.

She met her fate soon after and was replaced by John Major.

The campaign against the Poll Tax showed the power of grassroots communities.

The organised campaign of mass non-payment of the Poll Tax shook the establishment to the rafters.

The treachery of Kinnock, at the time, should be no surprise. He labeled the leaders of the Anti-Poll Tax movement as 'Toy Town Revolutionaries' and he declared non-payment would never work.

I was victimised as a LP member in this period, because I was the secretary of my local Anti-Poll Tax Federation in Yorkshire.

How wrong Kinnock was. Despite Labour authorities doing Maggie's dirty work by attempting to send in bailiffs and arrest wages we stood firm and we were organised.

The Poll Tax campaign had truly snowballed from Scotland across the border. Many of us were threatened with prison but we stood firm and refused to pay. We spent month after month defending our communities and each day more people joined the campaign.

Many of the left, however, went missing during this crucial period. It's ironic that today, the very same people who refused to stand up and be counted at the time, celebrate the victory of the Anti- Poll Tax Movement and the demise of Thatcher.

Leading up to the massive national demonstration against the Poll Tax the ruling classes were clutching at straws.

The national unity of the working classes and huge sections of the middle classes were still resolute and they refused to pay the Poll Tax. What made it worse for the elite the campaign was organised at all levels nationwide.

The Poll Tax was now unworkable.

The demonstration was an opportunity for the elite to try and derail the Anti-Poll Tax movement.

On the morning of the demonstration, there was so much excitement as our delegation of five buses left for London.

People of all ages, some who had never been on a demonstration in their life were standing up to Thatcher.

A quarter of a million gathered in London.

Spirits were high, we even had beat bobbies putting money in collection tins and putting badges on.

Some were even buying we're not paying the Poll Tax records on route. The single had entered the UK pop charts.

I witnessed at first hand the events that started the so-called Poll Tax Riots.

I don't need a reporter who was not present on the day to tell me what I witnessed.

I was stood at the top of Trafalgar Square near the speakers platform. I walked back further down the sidewalk and saw people in great spirits, it was a carnival atmosphere. All of a sudden special branch vehicles appeared and the riot police came out and went straight into the crowds.

This started it off and events unfolded.

The events, in my view, were engineered by the establishment. Your standard police officers who were patrolling the demo even look shocked at the events that unfolded. Many anarchist groups who are infested with agent provocateurs started isolated events soon after.

On returning to our buses it took me three hours to find all of our passengers. I must have walked up the Embankment three times trying to make sure everyone was safe. Buildings were on fire and there was mass panic from many protestors.

It was certainly an eventful day and I was interviewed the next day on my local radio station to give my versions of events.

As a 15 year old I witnessed the events at Orgreave.

At 22 I witnessed very much the same in Trafalgar Square.

A learning curve for me at a young age.

Three decades later we still have our right to protest obstructed by the capitalist machine.

Divide and Rule is a tested formula used by the elite.

We are still governed by gangster capitalists.

Our mighty Labour movement is still controlled by imposters.

Let's hope one day the masses will wake up and smell the coffee.

Forward to socialism.


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