Our October Meeting

heather.mendick
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We need to be working up well-informed realistic, but radical policies alternatives for Hackney. This would provide us with a campaigning platform and help us when engaging with the Labour Group to press for progressive policies. We on the left has often been accused of being clear about what we are against, but not so good at communicating a clear vision of how we see the future. On a local level we could be putting that forward.

Here’s the beginning of that process with notes from the group discussions at last meeting.

Action to secure an equal society

We discussed what Momentum Hackney could be doing locally to fight inequality. The most important action that we agreed upon was to get in contact with local groups to introduce ourselves and see how we could assist in the campaigning work that they are doing. We came up with some suggestions of groups to get in touch with: Hope not Hate, Trade Unions, Jewish Socalists, Jews for Justice for Palestine, Hackney Migrant Action, Faith groups (as well as local Mosques, Synagogues etc), Calais Support Group. We need to set up this action as soon as possible to develop contacts.

We decided it would be good to run an anti-racism Momentum stall in Dalston - we need to work out which weekend would be best and get in contact with various local groups before we do this. We will need to produce new leaflets on Corbyn's new pledges and distribute leaflets from other anti-racist local groups.

We agreed to read up on Phil Glanville's promises around filling empty council homes (a pledge he made after working with East End Sisters Uncut). We agreed that we could look at this at Ward Meetings. We discussed generally working with Phil on issues of inequality e.g. refugee crisis.

We desperately need to start building these links so we can reach out to the local community and be a more diverse group that supports local equalities campaigns, whether these be anti-racist, anti-sexist, LGBTQ action groups etc

Action on Education

We should work with other groups: NUT (we have a contact), NASUWT, ATL, Hackney Voices of Youth, parents groups.

We need to find a way to convey the little known impacts of academies on teachers and students e.g. they are structured to atomise people and to stop them resisting. We could use memes, leafleting etc.

An important thing is to convey alternatives to the current system. One way of doing this would be to compare our system (with high workloads for teachers; focus on testing, targets and results; control of children and young people) with that in other countries. We could twin Hackney with somewhere in Finland and do interviews with teachers and students there.

The council have a proposal to set up an academy for Hackney's primary schools. This is a response to predatory academy chains approaching these schools and to the Tories, now withdrawn, forced academisation proposal. We would like to look into the details of their council's plans and how to campaign against it including finding out about council meetings and decision making processes (this information is important more generally, Kathryn and Rafa are observers on Labour Group and so could help here).

Action on health

The group mainly discussed the national and local impact of STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) and the need to build resistance to these, including in the council. The government has created 44 so-called STP footprints across the country. This wholesale reorganisation has not been presented to Parliament, and it is difficult to get information, but it is clear that this will involve the biggest cuts in the history of the NHS - to hospitals including A&E, GP services, maternity services, and more. The plans depend on an increase in what is called ‘self-care’, on replacing highly skilled professionals with fewer, less qualified (and so cheaper) staff, and in the proposed use of technical gadgets - like phone apps, and Skype consultation - that many older people, who use the NHS the most, will be unable to use.

Hackney is part of the N E London ‘footprint’, where the plan aims to cut NHS spending by over £500m a year by 2020, despite sharply rising costs and projected population growth. This area includes Barts and the London, which has the biggest deficit in the country due to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme which creates massive profits for corporates while the local communities suffer huge cuts. We only have a general overview of the Hackney plan http://www.healthwatchhackney.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploads/HDP%20STP%20Final%2030%20June%202016.pdf However, Hackney is threatened with the closure of the pathology lab at theHomerton Hospital, and potential outsourcing and privatisation of the service, with a slower, less reliable and more costly service. Loss of pathology at the Homerton could also have a serious impact on other services which could result in the hospital being downgraded and losing many vital services including A&E. See https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/defend-the-nhs-don-39-t-privatise-outsource-nhs-pathology-services.

Action on the Economy

We discussed the failure of the current economic model based on neo-liberalism and the need for an alternative. We feel that we, as a local group, must focus on the local economy

We need an analysis of Hackney’s current economy, what we produce locally, what we bring in, is there scope for more in-borough production, are there any niches that could be fulfilled?

The agricultural co-op potential in terms of food production was raised, there are already groups doing this so maybe more research into this is needed. The Detroit co-op model and the Spanish models were discussed as effective community-driven economic models that transformed the fortunes of the community, these should be researched as they provide a template that could be moulded to the needs of Hackney’s economy.

Action on Housing

  • Regeneration of the Northwold Estate, Stamford Hill, Hackney is leading to a loss of 915 homes. The Estate is managed by Guinness Partnership.

  • The Housing and Planning Bill will impact on council tenancies. We need to continue to oppose it and to find out what is possible for the council in implementing it.

  • We need to map the various housing estates in Hackney.

  • Digs have expertise on the private rental sector, Digs https://hackneyrenters.org/

  • ASH - Architects for Social Housing do a lot of activism in this area: http://www.architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/

  • We should engage with the Labour Mayor and council (invite to our meetings). We need to know more about what powers they have on housing. Can we campaign to ensure they have more powers on rent caps as per Sadiq mentioned in his manifesto?

  • Hackney Migrant Group urgently needs housing for over 2K women with kids http://hrmsg-online.ning.com/

  • We need to create anti-eviction groups - possibly replicatiing Barcelona Anti-Eviction Group (PAH Plataforma d’Afectats per la Hipoteca), as in the film called Si Se Puede