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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 October 2021

Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

Save Stratford Circus. Photo: Mary Finch

Save Stratford Circus. Photo: Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Mary Finch, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Over 70 trade unionists, arts workers and community campaigners turned out for the second protest in defence of Stratford Circus arts centre on 16 October. The Labour council in Newham, east London, closed Stratford Circus during the pandemic, to reopen it as a 'youth zone'.

But the council has been cutting youth services for years, and Stratford Circus already ran youth drama. This attack will mean the loss of local arts jobs, and it's already lost 300,000 a year of existing funding for Stratford Circus from Arts Council England.

The campaign is led by the union for performing arts workers, Equity. Socialist Party member James Ivens is Equity's branch secretary in north and east London.

The council is feeling the pressure. The tender document now includes some more explicit requirements for professional arts provision, but it doesn't guarantee full council funding.

Paul Fleming, Equity general secretary, spoke at the protest. Paul and other speakers said, to huge rounds of applause, that Stratford Circus doesn't belong to the council, it belongs to the community and workers in Newham. There was huge support for Equity's demand that the council use its enormous reserves to fund arts and youth services, while campaigning for the money from central government.

Local trade union councils in Newham, Waltham Forest and Hackney sent solidarity greetings to the protest. So did the rep at Oaks Park High School, where staff have been on strike against a bullying headteacher (see socialistparty.org.uk). That bullying head is backed by the Labour council in Redbridge.

Several members of Blue Sky Actors expressed their anger and sadness about being forced out of Stratford Circus. This protest was a show of strength and a warning to Newham Council - we will not go away. Equity, Blue Sky Actors, the Socialist Party and the rest of the local community are united and determined to save Stratford Circus.

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In The Socialist 20 October 2021:


News

Fight for a socialist recovery

Tories to blame for GP crisis

Container delay carnage makes the case for socialist planning

Socialist nationalisation not bailouts for the bosses


Workplace news

Unite union policy conference

University workers ballot for strike action

Unite and fight for 30,000 permanent DWP jobs

Gwent valleys Stagecoach bus drivers strike for fair pay

Reinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike

Napo AGM 2021: Union placed on war footing

Scunthorpe scaffs strike for pay


People's budgets

People's Budgets - a socialist answer to cruel cuts

Brighton bin workers' victory in sight

Fight to defend homelessness services

Ealing People's Budget - cuts can be resisted

Northampton People's Budget - cuts and privatisation is a failed strategy

Fighting the cuts at the ballot box in Liverpool


Fall of apartheid

The fall of Apartheid in South Africa


Climate change

COP26: Trade unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables

Save the planet from capitalist climate catastrophe


International

Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption


Obituary

Obituary - Tony Davison: "I work for Militant, but Laing's pay my wages"


Campaigns

"Are you the socialist cabby?"

Housing crisis: Tories and Labour are not on our side

Liverpool arms fair: Hundreds of protesters defy police 'dispersal zone'

Hackney children's centres - more education cuts are devastating

Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus

Doncaster: Vigil condemns violence against women


Readers' opinion

I'm unemployed: For me vacancy crisis is a lie

TV review: Squid Game


 

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