Remembering the Battle of Lewisham and the involvement of youth and community workers


It’s perhaps revealing that in the preparations for the demonstration and on the day itself local authority and voluntary sector youth and community workers, alongside young people, were to the fore. With all its tensions and contradictions, being involved was seen as the ABC of political education.  Forty years later, in working environments where talk of politics is seen at best as a distraction, at worst as a disciplinary issue, how many practitioners would see matters in the same way? Whilst circumstances have changed, racism remains at the heart of our present political turmoil and remains a burning issue in our work with young people.


Remembering the Battle of Lewisham 40 years on: Weekend of events 12-13 August


This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham, when the Nazi National Front were blocked from marching between New Cross and Lewisham town centre. The first time a national NF march had been stopped from reaching its destination.

It is one of the most significant historical events in Lewisham’s history and for race relations in Britain. There is a weekend of events planned to commemorate this event.

Unite Against Fascism have organised a Commemorative March through Lewisham, Assemble 1pm, Clifton Rise, London, SE14 6JW. Event page:
This will be followed by a Love Music Hate Racism event at New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Rd SE14 6AS. Hip hop artist Logic will be performing at the event. Event page:
Remembering the “Battle of Lewisham” community festival: Sunday 13th August

On Sunday 13th August Love Music Hate Racism, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Council and the Albany Theatre are running a community festival commemorating the “Battle of Lewisham”. The free event will include live music, screenings, panel discussions, exhibitions, stalls, food and an evening gig.

The event will begin with the unveiling of a plaque 12.15pm Clifton Rise, London SE14 6JW followed by a festival at The Albany from 1 pm full details here.

Young People organising in UNITE : The South-West Experience

On the streets of Exeter

On the streets of Exeter


There has been a long-running argument about the trade union movement’s failure to engage with young people. Hence it is heartening, despite the obvious ups and downs, to note the development of a UNITE South West Young Members Committee. George Downs, one of its leading lights, sends this report.

Ever since the Amicus/T&G merger in 2007, the engagement of young people in the union has been increasingly important. With youth unemployment sky-high; tuition fees trebled and the brutal policies of austerity being inflicted on services for young people, it has never been more vital for young people to join Unite and become active campaigners learning the skills necessary to stand up for their community. Young members can use their union as a vehicle to bring about social change and enrich their attributes which are fundamental for future employment.

For those of us disillusioned by the Westminster establishment or politics in general, Unite can provide a fresh, exciting and grass-roots approach to political engagement and participation. The industrial and community campaigns run by the Unite South West Young Members Committee allow young people to recognise that the political process is very relevant for the every-day issues in all of our lives. These include: Zero Hours Contracts; Living Wage; Mental Health; Bedroom Tax; Cuts to Youth Services; Pay Day Lenders/Unite Credit Union Service and Save the NHS.

Over the past year, we have had a fall in the interest for our committee therefore we are launching a recruitment revival which will expect to see a successful Unite South West Young Members Conference in early 2015. We hope that our new Facebook and Twitter presence will take our union to young people and keep them updated with all of the work we do:

George’s observations pose the question of whether similar initiatives have taken place in other parts of the country. Further news and comments will be welcomed. Meanwhile we send best wishes to George and company in their quest to reinvigorate the group.


The Right to Strike : Woodcraft Folk

And, who said political education is dead!? Bravo to the Woodcraft Folk for tangling with reality. Find below a letter from the General Council and the Right to Strike educational pack.

Dear members and supporters,

We write to you a week of the largest strikes that the UK has seen for many years, which are planned to take place on Wednesday 30th November. While these events in the last year have become more common it does not reduce our resolve to help our young people stand my workers and our Trade Union comrades from around the country. While nobody like strikes and striking at a time of great cuts, and injustice for the very poorest in society many of our members will understandably be wanting to take a stand.The Woodcraft Folk, as one of the only progressive youth organisations in the UK, wants to make sure that we are supporting our young people taking actions of conscience in supporting their parents, friends and fighting for their future. No young person should have to undermine legal and legitimate industrial action by crossing any picket line and we will be supporting all our members who take a stand to protect their future.We want to be able to support our members taking action and make sure that young people gettheir voices heard. It is equally important they are given the space to discuss why many public sector workers feel it necessary to take this action and how, if they choose to do so, our young people can take action to support them.Many members will be aware of the fantastic Right to Strike pack which we produced at the last national strike in June and we are re-releasing it with an additional set of activities relevant to the present issues.On the day many of our members will be taking action themselves and this is a perfect opportunity to talk about industrial action in your groups.If you have time on the day we encourage groups to organise activities alongside picket lines for children and young people that may not be in school. You may wish to involve singing, parachute games or even discussions and solidarity actions. We encourage our members and all our groups to use the 30th November to pro-actively build links with our friends in the Trade Union movement and educate our young people in strengthening those historical links at this historic time. Speed the Adventure Blue Skies
Chair, on behalf of General Council

Right to Strike Activity Pack 2(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();


A week or so ago I made an impassioned plea that we should do everything in our power to support the Lobby. For my part I’m sceptical about influencing MPs on an individual basis, but this is by the by.  What is important is a massive collective turnout to show we are a social force to be reckoned with.

See below for the latest info and hoping you’ll do your damnedest to be there! A silent disco sounds good to an old fart like me!

Chooseyouth Lobby of Parliament, October 25th

This is the big one.

We need 10,000 young people and youth workers there.

Excellent arrangement and briefing details for this event appear on the Chooseyouth website

There will be great speakers including many young people from our campaigns around the country and other national speakers. There will be the graffiti wall, a big brother booth, the Dhol Blaster drummers, Banner Theatre, lobbying workshops, banner and poster making workshops, a mass tweet in, action now workshops, and a silent disco outside Parliament.

If we are to have any chance of saving what remains of the service your attendance at this is crucial.

This will be an excellent opportunity for political education with young people and a good day out too. It could also make a real difference but a poor turnout will just encourage the steam roller of destruction to keep rolling.

We need everyone who is attending our Lobby of Parliament to make an appointment with their MP – we want to get our message across to as many MPs as possible from across the political parties. Our youth services are too good to lose!

We have produced a range of resources to support you to do this:

It will only take a couple of minutes to ask your MP for a meeting on the 25 October and it will make such an impact on our campaign. Please let us know by emailing if you do arrange a meeting with your MP by emailing us. Remember if you are in a group you could arrange all to meet your local MP at the same time.

We will be running training throughout the day which will help you feel confident about meeting your MP. There will be lots of support for first time lobbyists.

Choose Youth wants to make sure that everyone has a safe and constructive time at our Lobby of Parliament. We’re asking everyone who registers for our event to download and fill in a consent form (if you are under 18 download this form here, if you’re over 18 download this form here) and bring it with them on the day. We have also produced Joining Instructions for the day so you can print these off and bring them with you too.

We are still working to try and provide free and some subsidised transport to the event and if you need further information in regard to such opportunities for attendees to travel on discounted transport, please let us know.

Thank you again for your support for this campaign.

ChooseYouth Lobby of Parliament

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM (GMT)

Methodist Central Hall
SW1H 9NH London
United Kingdom