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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2013

A small victory for democratic rights

Simon Carter
Waltham Forest: Campaigners score a victory with a mass stall protest for the right to campaign, photo Sarah Sachs-Eldridge

Waltham Forest: campaigners previously scored a victory with a mass stall protest for the right to campaign, photo Sarah Sachs-Eldridge   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party members in east London are celebrating a small but important victory over Labour-run Newham council's effective ban on public campaign stalls in the borough.

Last April, the council's law enforcement officers served a 100 fixed penalty notice on a Socialist Party member for supposedly obstructing a pedestrian square in Stratford while petitioning against the bedroom tax.

We refused to pay this fine and were preparing to defend our democratic right to use non-obstructive stalls for campaigning purposes at a magistrate's court hearing on 19 November.

However, last week our solicitor received notice that Newham council were withdrawing the charges.

Skeleton argument

Prior to this climbdown we had submitted a 'skeleton argument' to the prosecution which, by drawing on previous legal cases, argued that we could use public highways for campaigning purposes providing that our presence was non-obstructive and 'reasonable'. Instead of receiving the prosecution's response they withdrew their charges.

Of course, the question of obtaining permission from Newham council to have campaign stalls in pedestrian areas is unresolved and we are considering a possible judicial review of the council's continuing refusal to grant what we consider to be a basic democratic right.

But a legal challenge is only one part of our campaign and we intend to continue to gather support from trade unionists and other campaigners in the borough on this issue.

Not least, because next May there will be local and mayoral elections where we intend to challenge Labour's monopoly of council seats.

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In The Socialist 13 November 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Government set back over Independent Living Fund

NHS crumbling in Con-Dem Britain

Benefit sanction figures expose Tory lies

Abolish the bedroom tax

Labour blocks living wage

Them & Us


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

TUSC: We need councillors who refuse to implement cuts


Socialist Party workplace news

BAE takes the axe to shipyards: Defend every job

Nationalise to defend the shipyards

Portsmouth BAE workers rally to defend all jobs

Probation officers plan more action

Tesco drivers fight on

Vote for Martin Powell-Davies

Blacklist Support Group demonstrates

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

US election campaigns: Socialists make history

Sri Lanka: spotlight on a blood-stained regime


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

A small victory for democratic rights

Young workers say: Zero hours no way!

Socialism 2013 feedback

South African socialist speaks in South Wales

TUSC film showing - Riot from Wrong


Socialist Party reviews

Russell Brand - reasons to be cheerful

Play review: Sandpits Avenue/League of St George


 

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