Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 25 May 2018 at 11:57 GMT

Waltham Forest town hall, 24.5.18, photo by Waltham Forest SOS

Waltham Forest town hall, 24.5.18, photo by Waltham Forest SOS   (Click to enlarge)

Walthamstow: action demanded from new council

A 'Save Our Square' press release

In a fantastic show of unity in action, campaigners from across the spectrum of local issues came together on the evening of 24 May at Waltham Forest town hall.

The Save Our Square (SOS) campaign had raised the idea of making demands on the new council - and people fighting for special education services, libraries, teaching assistants, schools, against the Leabridge Road development, undemocratic implementation of Mini-Holland, and more, responded.

Among the crowd on the town hall steps were children, parents, trade unionists, socialists, dogs, and even four 'tower blocks' who came to push out the ordinary people of the borough in a touch of street theatre.

No chance to ignore the crowd was given to the town hall occupants as the idea of uniting and fighting to 'Save our Square, Save Our Services' rang out.

This was very definitely a protest against cuts - but the first council meeting after the 3 May election was also understood as an opportunity to appeal to new councillors to listen and defend the services under attack.

SOS campaigners handed them a letter which said:

"We call on councillors to demand a full council debate on the Mall and Square as a matter of urgency.

"In the last council the doings of councillors, many themselves landlords or variously involved with property companies, were shielded from public scrutiny by their decision to exempt themselves from declaring interests.

"We call on councillors to call a vote to re-institute an open register of interests. Save our Square campaign is pledged to maintain active opposition to this grotesque Town Square project. We are not going away."

Waltham Forest, 24.5.18, photo by WF SOS

Waltham Forest, 24.5.18, photo by WF SOS   (Click to enlarge)

One of the themes of the SOS speeches that was popular with all the campaigns was to come together as a 'people's budget' conference or assembly.

In her speech on the open mic, Nancy Taaffe, chair of Save Our Square, called on the sympathetic councillors to help us convene such an event to put our submissions forward to the councillors as they prepare for setting the budget this autumn.

Speakers called on everyone to contact their local councillors to put this idea to them and seek their backing.

Danny Herbert, a parent of a child with autism, explained why he was there: "Children with special needs and disability are being failed in Waltham Forest, including practices likely to be unlawful under the Children and Families Act 2014.

"Mental health services have closed their books to children in the area unless they are suicidal or self-harming.

"We are calling for services to reopen for all kids in need! Children with special needs and disability have been refused adequate transport to school.

"We are calling for the system that denies transport as a default to be overhauled! This year 2.3% will be cut from the high needs education budget in Waltham Forest, despite increasing numbers of children needing support. We are calling for this cut to be reversed".

Donna Bibby, Unison convenor in schools, said: "We have lost many teaching assistants due to school budget cuts.

"We really need to link up and fight for jobs for education workers and to protect vulnerable children who need us".

Two things were clear from this protest.

One: The idea that a Labour council is helpless in the face of Tory austerity was not accepted by the protest. Action was demanded.

Two: We're not going away. As things stand there is no future for our young people - so we have to join together to fight for a future that includes public services, open spaces and affordable homes for all.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 25 May 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


Related links:

Waltham Forest:

triangleSelling the Socialist: we're back!

triangleKen Douglas

triangleHackney, Waltham Forest & East London Socialist Party branches: Johnson's 'back to school' plan is not safe

triangleWaltham Forest trade unions discuss the fight for PPE and workplace safety

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Labour after Corbyn


triangleCouncil houses - not private property developers

triangleAvenue of trees saved!

triangleHow working-class tenants beat Gentrification

triangleMass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group


triangleLeeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

triangleCardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

triangleNews in brief


triangleTory full return to school plans gamble with lives

triangleFight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care


triangleCumbria: Teachers, parents and socialists fight reckless school reopening


triangleInternational aid: Johnson's pie in the sky


triangleCall for an increase in PIP due to Covid-19

Mental health:

triangleGoing Viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis


triangleBoris's new big deal

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time



Equity union president elections: re-elect Maureen



Change in leadership needed to secure union's future


Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists


Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken



Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy





The Socialist

Selling the Socialist



Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in



Come to the NSSN conference


Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first



Equity: Solidarity with Maxine Peake


Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike


Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak


Ken Douglas

Memorial funds for Ken Douglas and Mick Cotter

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020