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Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/25929

Posted on 3 August 2017 at 10:12 GMT

Labour MP attacks local student over anti-austerity art project

Socialist Party member Ellen Kenyon Peers is the artist behind imaginary socialist MP 'Ana Key'

Socialist Party member Ellen Kenyon Peers is the artist behind imaginary socialist MP 'Ana Key'   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist Party, formerly the Militant, today condemned Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft for reporting a local student to the police - over an art project which proposes socialist policies.

Foxcroft - who nominated Blairite Owen Smith to challenge Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity leadership in 2016 - is seeking action against the artist behind imaginary MP "Ana Key." Socialist Party member Ellen Kenyon Peers, the art student in question, has now been expelled from the Labour Party over the project.

Ana Key 'represents' the currently non-existent south London constituency of Deptford and Greenwich for the Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). Her website includes proposals for building new council homes, capping private rents and making roads safer for cyclists.

The Socialist Party opposes the heavy-handed actions of Vicky Foxcroft and the Labour Party bureaucracy. Rather than policing artistic expression, they should take up the urgent class issues their fictitious colleague champions.

On housing, for example. Foxcroft's local council, Lewisham, has 9,500 households on the waiting list. Meanwhile it has a total of 57.1 million in housing budget reserves and 55.6 million in capital receipts reserves.

The art project Foxcroft is attacking proposes building 10,000 new council homes over five years. TUSC - which includes transport union RMT and the Socialist Party - has repeatedly made the point that councils have enough in reserves to start solving the housing crisis now.

End austerity

In fact, councils could end austerity tomorrow by spending reserves, using borrowing powers and building a campaign to win the funding back from Westminster.

Even establishment commentators are counting the Tory government's shelf life in months, not years. Councils could end Conservative rule quickly by defying austerity diktats on the basis that their reserves could be replenished under an anti-austerity government led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

This combative, creative approach would follow that put forward by the Socialist Party's councillors in Lewisham - Ian Page from 1994 to 2010, and Chris Flood from 2003 to 2010. Theirs was the only consistent opposition to cuts and privatisation.

Conversely, Vicky Foxcroft was happy to raise her hand for austerity budgets as a Lewisham Labour councillor between 2010 and 2014.

And on education, too, Foxcroft should follow the Socialist Party's anti-austerity example.

Forest Hill School, in a neighbouring constituency under the same local authority, faces a 1.3 million budget shortfall. The council has a total of 162.6 million in general fund reserves.

Staff, students and parents are campaigning against brutal redundancies and funding cuts. Local National Union of Teachers activist James Kerr, a Socialist Party member, said: "Socialist Party members and trade unionists have backed the Forest Hill strike.

"We've called for a legal deficit budget to save jobs, and intervention by the council - including meeting their obligations on redundancy payments.

"The new local MP has helped raise the campaign's profile. Vicky Foxcroft should put her weight behind it too.

"The last local MP, Jim Dowd, did nothing for the campaign. If anything, he was more of a conceptual art project than Ana Key. Imagine if we'd had an MP who'd backed it from the beginning.

"Vicky Foxcroft is in the next constituency over, but the attacks on Forest Hill will have a knock-on effect on her own constituents. Constituency boundaries are no barrier to campaigning MPs. She should stop sitting on her hands."

Militant, the Socialist Party and TUSC

The Socialist Party's forerunner, the Militant Tendency, had three MPs who were known for their active backing for local and national campaigning.

Dave Nellist, Terry Fields and Pat Wall only took the average wage of a skilled worker in their constituency, and donated the rest of their salaries to workers' struggles. They also used their parliamentary positions as platforms to build these campaigns.

Although Ana Key is a personal art project, not solicited by the Socialist Party or TUSC, the attention it has drawn to socialist politics is welcome.

TUSC national election agent Clive Heemskerk said: "We've had more calls in a short time from the press about this art project than we had when TUSC was the sixth-largest party in terms of candidates in the 2015 general election. This is an indictment of the establishment media's attitude to anti-austerity ideas and socialist politics."

Ellen Kenyon Peers, who is a member of Lewisham Socialist Party and studies art locally, said: "Instead of attacking an artist, Vicky Foxcroft should be attacking the Tories.

"All the 'constituents' who wrote in to Ana Key with issues were aware beforehand this was an art project. They wanted to see the issue of homelessness in Lewisham seriously raised.

"This art project wouldn't even have been necessary if Vicky Foxcroft was concerned with defending working-class people with campaigning policies. But she's done nothing - except attack the left."


'Ana Key' will be speaking at Socialism 2017, the political event of the year for socialists and all those drawn to socialism and fighting austerity in the aftermath of Corbyn's general election challenge.

Other speakers include:

It is taking place on 11 and 12 of November at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford way, London, WC1H 0AL.

See www.socialism2017.net for more info.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Lewisham:

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: USA - Resisting Trump and fighting for socialism

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleLewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front

triangle'Ana Key MP' - Socialist artist responds to attacks

triangleSouth-East London Socialist Party: Grenfell fire - No justice, no peace!

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triangleGCSE grading game stresses out students - even more than before!

triangleFat cat vice chancellors schooled by Brum students

triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

triangleSouthampton: Pay rise for uni boss, job losses for lecturers

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triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

Austerity:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: How can we get Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies into our local council?

triangleWe can win the fight for the NHS

Art:

triangleArt can help expose sexual harassment

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triangleTory infighting escalates - workers' action can oust them

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triangleYork Socialist Party: Perspectives from the National Commitee

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triangleLively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

Council:

triangleVictory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

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triangleOutrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

Budget:

triangleKirklees council opens consultation of library services

Housing:

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Militant:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleHaringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council

Cuts:

triangleBradford protests against kids' service cuts

Labour Party:

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South London:

triangle2m to remove Grenfell-type cladding: residents to get bill

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition:

triangleTUSC statement on sentencing of Derby TUSC agent

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