Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1152/33186
From The Socialist newspaper, 20 October 2021
Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus
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:
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
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 - 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
COP26: Trade unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables
Save the planet from capitalist climate catastrophe
Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid allegations of corruption
Obituary - Tony Davison: "I work for Militant, but Laing's pay my wages"
"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
I'm unemployed: For me vacancy crisis is a lie
TV review: Squid Game
The Socialist 20 October 2021 |
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