The National Coalition of Independent Action’s newsletters are always full of excellent information and juicy tit-bits. The February edition is no exception.
Andy Benson opens with a rallying call.
Find the activists – build a movement?
Politically, I’ve never expected to be on the winning side – well, let’s face it, outside of the Spanish Civil War, anarcho-syndicalists have never been much of a force. But now my patience is running out. This is the feeling that emerges from compiling this newsletter. We are witnessing the break-up of our precious NHS, an attack on living standards of the poorest in our community, the criminalisation of young people and the naked consolidation of the power and wealth of the very people responsible for this debacle. Closer to home, we see community groups struggling to keep their head above water, voluntary agencies being told that their future lies in sub-contracting to privatised public services (despite the obvious absurdities of the Work Programme) and the second tier so-called support agencies turning themselves into pretzels to help make this a reality (see We have ways of transforming you) .
Last night someone said to me that this now feels like the ‘80s – when the government attacked its own people. And the lesson from that comment, of course, is that the ‘80s was when the Thatcher government broke the power of opposition – both the mass movement opposition (secondary picketing, the Miner’s strike…) and the oppositional spirit of the Labour Party, which then began its transformation into another version of the Tories.
Which leaves us where? You only have to read the papers, listen to the misery of those losing jobs, benefits, housing, or surf the web to know that there is no shortage of people opposed to all this crap. But the opposition lies in small, beleaguered groups fighting their corner in (mostly) local struggles (thankfully sometimes successful – see Stroud Against the Cuts shows the way). We have lost the critical mass of a mass movement. Within NCIA we are talking about how we can build better alliances with groups that share our vision and perspective and in our own tiny way we are going to try and do this. But how can we re-create the connections and synergies which help us to combine, support each other with energy and hope, and build strong and effective resistance to the catastrophe that is amongst us? (Answers, please, not on a postcard, but to www.independentaction.net).
Access the newsletter here. NCIA FEBRUARY 2012
And noting Andy’s references here is Adrian Barritt’s rant against the rise of the Cyberstate,We have ways of transforming you….... and its latest manifestation, Transforming Local Structure [TLI]. He notes:
And what was TLI really about? The ostensible purpose was to promote greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness so that local voluntary action could be better supported. The latent purpose was to reduce the number of support and development bodies by funding mergers, so that the smaller number could be more effectively controlled, and overall costs reduced.