Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1006/27835

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 August 2018

Waltham Forest Labour council votes to close library - campaign goes on

Lobby of Wood Street library, Walthamstow, photo Sarah Wrack

Lobby of Wood Street library, Walthamstow, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Libraries come from a tradition of workers' self-education. Their heyday was the 1950s when workers laboured in the factories and mines and libraries serviced a certain deprivation of the 'soul'.

They were often recognisable in working class communities by the buildings in which they were housed, much like churches. Leon Trotsky once wrote that the Russian revolution of 1917 would need places which acted like cultural competitors to the drinking houses and churches in working class communities in capitalist society.

The achievements of the workers' movements after World War Two included the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act - making provision statutory. It is a testament to the post-war settlement that 'going to the library' is lodged into millions of working class children's memories.

Of course reading habits and print media have undergone their own revolutions, but libraries - historically and today - play a far greater role in working class communities than reading alone.

It is in-keeping with these traditions that Socialist Party members have been a constant in the fight to keep every library open.

In 2016 Wood Street library - along with two other libraries in Waltham Forest, east London - was earmarked for closure and 'relocation' to sterile plastic retail units in newly 'regenerated' housing developments. All three libraries saw community campaigns immediately spring up to prevent these relocations and building closures.

The campaign to defend Wood Street (my local library, where I worked until 2012 when I was made redundant through cuts) successfully collaborated with other campaigns to get the consultation restarted.

In the new consultation, the community responded by 85% to keep the library in the iconic 1950s building it is presently situated in. The plans seemed to go silent as the local elections approached. Because of the pressure of the campaign, all of the political parties who stood produced literature that pledged to keep Wood Street Library.

It was received with shock and outrage when on 17 July we found out that the original 2016 proposal to shut the library was going to the council cabinet. The campaign immediately sprang into action. We called for the cabinet decision to be called in for scrutiny.

We called on everyone we knew inside the Labour Party, spoke to Corbyn-supporting councillors at meetings and tried everything to contact and convince any Labour councillor. To no avail. Not one Labour councillor helped us. Into this silence came the hypocritical cavalry of Tory councillors who opportunistically managed to get the decision called in.

Even though the council virtually shuts down for the whole of August and many families who may use the library go on holiday, the campaign had a good lobby of the scrutiny committee and a cross section of campaigners spoke in the committee, appealing for a reversal of the cabinet decision.

The Labour councillors, including one who had previously espoused her "love for Corbyn" at a meeting of Momentum in 2016, voted to close our library. In this topsy-turvy world of local government cuts, Tory councillors got cheers while Labour ones were heckled.

The decision taken at the cabinet was to agree in principle the closure of 1950s building and the library's relocation in a year's time.

Some in the campaign want to constitute ourselves so we can bid for the old building when it comes to be sold. Some believe that we can run it as voluntary community centre.

As socialists we have explained that this option could only be a stop gap, as something we consider doing in the context of an incoming socialist Labour government taking the building back into public provision and giving jobs back to local people.

The campaign has agreed to fight on. A year is a long time in politics and we're all agreed... it ain't over.

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: 

 


In The Socialist 22 August 2018:


What we think

Antisemitism smears against Corbyn are battering ram of the right


News

Blairites go on saving Tories - boot them all out!

Nationalise rail! Tories out!

Bosses' pay up a fifth while workers' pay falls ...

Birmingham Prison crisis: a catastrophe of cuts and privatisation

Johnson's burqa outburst highlights racist Tory hypocrisy

Tories fear housing anger... but offer no solutions


Workplace

Strategic discussion needed in civil servants' union after pay ballot

MOJ pay offer: robbing Peter to pay Peter

Victory: NHS workers say no to privatisation

London cleaners' strike: 'Pay us a living wage!'

Liebherr strike for better pay

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Argentina: The struggle for women's lives has been painted green!

Huge anti-government demos in Romania

Morandi Bridge disaster - private profit to blame


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Waltham Forest Labour council votes to close library - campaign goes on

Fight Leicester NHS cuts plan

Keep Middlesbrough hospital staff in the NHS

Newcastle fans protest against Mike Ashley

The Socialist sales drive - how can you help?

End Runcorn school PFI rip off

Huge but chaotic Brighton Pride needs to be politicised

Building Fund boost

Why I joined the Socialist Party: "I was searching for an alternative to this system"

Revolt and Rebellion West London walk success


Opinion

Ahed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

Union bureaucracies, soviets and workers' power

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 August 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Waltham Forest:

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

triangleStop gentrification of Lea Bridge

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Liverpool - a city that dared to fight

Library:

triangleVictory for library workers after 241 days on strike!

triangleKeep the National Poetry Library free

triangleBradford library and museum strikers enter third round of strike action

triangleBromley libraries strikers proved right

Labour:

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

triangleHull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

triangleCrisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Council:

triangleSafe social-distancing car-cavalcade protests

triangleHomes needed to end overcrowding

Libraries:

triangleBromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!

Councillors:

triangleCamarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

27/5/20

Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis

27/5/20

Ferries

Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

27/5/20

Schools

Schools aren't safe

27/5/20

Energy

Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

27/5/20

Hull

Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation

27/5/20

Covid

Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!

25/5/20

Coronavirus

No return to unsafe construction sites

22/5/20

Obituary

Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20

22/5/20

Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts

20/5/20

CWU

Postal workers' action results in double victory for union

20/5/20

NSSN

Organising to fight for workplace safety

20/5/20

Peterborough

Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

20/5/20

Covid

Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections

20/5/20

Protest

Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

19/5/20

Hull

Trades council debates workers' political representation

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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999