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From: The Socialist issue 1118, 27 January 2021: Covid spreading, poverty rising, rich get richer, fight for socialism!

Search site for keywords: Waltham Forest - Labour - Council - London - Planning - Housing - Walthamstow - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Save Our Square from New Labour gentrification

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow 2018, photo Paul Mattsson

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow 2018, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Community campaign Save Our Square E17 has successfully resisted Waltham Forest Labour council's plans to build a monster block in Walthamstow town square for six years. Now, disgracefully, under the cover of the pandemic, the council wants to drive the plans through.

They think that by scheduling a virtual planning meeting for Wednesday 27 January they will finally put an end to the campaign. They are wrong.

On hearing of this planning committee, Save Our Square jumped into action. Our supporters bombarded the council with objections and requests to speak against the plans on the night.

We produced a model letter to send to councillors and a short video. We also had a banner drop outside the town hall calling on the council to 'unmute democracy'.

We are not against regeneration and housing provision - we want jobs, homes and services. But this model for regeneration, building unaffordable private flats on public land, is a disaster and does nothing to solve the housing crisis, it makes it worse!

These plans, and other similar developments around London, represent an abject failure of Labour councils to fight austerity. They believe that the council tax revenue from these schemes will make them financially self-sufficient and compensate for the loss of the central government funding. They think that the odd Pizza Express can substitute for the loss of the youth or library service they closed down!

Save Our Square is calling on everyone to watch the planning meeting on the council's YouTube channel at 7pm on Wednesday 27 January -

CouncilWalthamForest. If the plans go through we will turn our campaign to the Greater London Authority where these plans have to be rubber stamped.

The Socialist Party will be standing in the elections in London, as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), to fight against all cuts, austerity and gentrification. I will be standing as part of the campaign to save our square!

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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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

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