The Socialist Unity campaign in Hackney Central — where AWL members Janine Booth and Charlie MacDonald are standing — isn’t just about winning votes. We want to help working-class people in Hackney organise to fight back against attacks from their employers, their landlords and the government. And there are certainly plenty of attacks to fight.
Just before the election, on 2 and 3 May, Hackney benefit workers including Charlie McDonald will take action against their managers’ attempts to force through job losses without even a compulsory redundancy agreement.
This is part of a national Department of Work and Pensions day of strike action, but there are plenty of local struggles unfolding too. In the weeks since the last issue of Solidarity, we have had the announcement of one hundred job losses at Homerton hospital.
Another example: tenants’ reps are angry because they are told their that rents will have to rise faster in order to “converge” with those in the private sector — official government policy!
Our canvassers often find that, at the start of the conversation, people on the doorstep simply feel depressed about what’s going on, because they don’t see a way of fighting back. But after only a few minutes discussion, this usually changes. Long term, activist campaigning can bring an even bigger change.
The Socialist Unity campaign in Hackney has highlighted a need for better education in Hackney. This is from the latest leaflet:
“We stand for:
* smaller class sizes
* teaching, not testing
* the books, equipment, and other facilities our school needs
* all schools to be good-quality schools - not just the privileged few
* special help for kids with special needs
* increased public funding
* Decent pay and conditions for all - teachers, school meals staff, caretaker, teaching assistants, admin, crossing wardens.
* Decent pensions for all - support the staff trade unions’ campaign against cuts in pension rights
* Support the staff’s efforts to improve the school.”
A particular issue in Hackney is the Secondary Schools Places Lottery. 234 Hackney year 6 kids do not have a school place next year. The secondary school in Hackney Central, Mossbourne Academy, operates a 60% quota for local kids — many of our children can not get a place. That’s why the Socialist Unity candidates stand for every child’s right to a place at a good local school; for new schools, but against private sponsors; and for local schools to be genuinely improved, not closed.
However many votes we get on 4 May, socialists in Hackney won’t stop campaigning because the election’s over.
• Charlie and Janine are standing as part of the Socialist Green Unity Coalition. More: www.socialistgreen.org.uk