Saturday, 16 October 2010

Building the Anti-Cuts Campaign in Newham Some Thoughts

Had some time to think over the embryonic stage of our campaign in Newham against the proposed government austerity cuts, and I do love using that word ‘austerity,’ although it is nasty.

Now things are beginning to happen around the country, meetings are happening and in some cases hundreds attending. This is all good stuff and a very encouraging start to what I think will be an unprecedented ground swell that will change public opinion and political sentiment. I also hope that it will be driven without leadership secret or hidden but of overt expression.

People power is just that; and the leadership that needs development is the co-operative ability for all to come together in accord and harmony. This is really possible, and I do believe that today’s generation that hugs all ages, grasps the nettle and builds the chain around the mountain can start to win.

There is room for everyone in the campaign against the cuts, it will not take off unless we realise that it must involve everyone, from the pensioner, the young, and the unemployed to the worried student. They all have a cut or two confronting them in the time to come, and if we are able to bring all their combined experience together, then we will have the leadership so lacking in recent times, and it will be people led.

We face a moment in history when leadership or personal triumph of power politics must be rejected for the common good.

The meeting that I attended the other night, started off on the right footing in as much that all planning meetings would be open to all comers, that no one was made this that or the other, this foundation so refreshing and imparting vitality and energy, and if we mean to stay this way, well what will hold us back.

These campaigns, needs its meetings, but let’s not have meetings for the shake of having meetings, they need to have purpose and direction. If it’s a public meeting, fine, there will always be the need to win over others and strengthen our position; but just to many times over the years I’ve attended a public meeting with a big name speechmaking and then nothing more, as if this was the great moment and that was it, and we all went home congratulating ourselves on the great turnout and a triumph in the class struggle, but was it?

We can all be on cloud nine; I’ve been there many times but didn’t change a ruby-red thing. And one other thing I know, although it’s taken me years to learn this one; I don’t hold all the answers or have the best ideas!”

Our community, every community has a reservoir of talent and we need to be able to tap into it.

The reason I write this blog more than anything, is because it gives me the opportunity to workout my own thoughts, and if people read it then that’s a bonus, and bigger still is if they send me a comment or put me right on a thing or two.

Sharing unselfishly, is the key to success and the only way forward.

Building our campaign will be no walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon; it will take commitment, good-natured steady patience and real perseverance. We will need to go where no campaign has gone before; we will have to do some real legwork in our community, talking of which I understand that in Waltham Forest which is a neighbouring East London Borough anti-cuts campaigners are to hold a “walk of shame” today. The walk will be across the borough to protest against cuts to local services. This activity is being organised by the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union and they will hold protests at Leyton Green NHS Clinic, Waltham Forest Magistrates Court, the former St James Street Library building in Walthamstow and the Beaumont estate in Leyton as part of a day of action and we wish them well.

Talking about cuts is the easy part, especially for the veteran campaigner, but the hardest part is educating and raising the issues with the larger community, and lets face it most people at the moment don’t really comprehended the servility and severity or pain that is about to be inflicted, yes we have our work cut-out but its not imposable.

I think I will go and join the Waltham Forest day of action, see you latter!”             

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