14th Dec 2011: Sticking my flipchart where my mouth is
I will be in London on 14th and 15th December and have put my flipchart stand where my mouth is, by offering on the #occuplylsx ’Bank of Ideas’ submission page to facilitate the workshop outlined below .
I’ve not been told yet if my services are required (and if they’re not it’ll be interesting to know why), but assuming it does go ahead, I’d be delighted to see any TCF readers who may want to show up and take the piss. You’re a capable bunch, so if you feel you might want to co-facilitate, let me know.
You will see that the proposed subject matter is line with stuff I have covered on this blog. The submission is a bit wordy as it was bashed out at high speed.
You will also see that I seek to organise it in a way which abides my recent presciption for the betterment of leftwing conferences and events, in particular setting as a specific workshop objective that I should come away with an achievable set of futher support tasks.
Well you have to try.
14th December 6-8pm (but can be on 15th)
1) Proposed title:
Localising resistance, localising change
2) About me:
Leader of a labour group of councillors until May 2011, with extensive knowledge of local government practice and legislation, and a keen understanding of the Coalition agenda for localising its assault on the 99%, especially the most vulnerable, in a way which enables central government to distance itself from the impacts of its policies through the use of the ‘localism’ mantra.
I am a lead contributor on economics and social policy affairs at leading political website Liberal Conspiracy (www.liberalconspiracy.org), and also write extensively at my own blog Though Cowards Flinch (http://thoughcowardsflinch.com
3) Objective of the session:
That activists currently at #occuplylsx, whether full or part-time:
a) gain some legal and institutionally-focused understanding of how, at a local level, the government is seeking to target the most vulnerable, and be in a better position to research the matter in the local areas to which they have ties;
b) gain some legal and institutionally-focused understanding of how activists might i) work with others to resist the Coalitions agenda for the localisation of its attack on the most vulnerable; ii) work with other seek to promote and organise solidaristic/cooperative activity which makes life better for the 99%.
c)discuss in a welcoming environment tactics and ideas on how to effect local resistance/change, and come to agreement on positive and concrete ways forward (either at this or at follow-up events)
d)agree on a reasonable (in terms of time and resources) set of requests of myself as facilitator, whereby I (and others with whom I can engage beyond #occuplylsx)can further support the #occupy movement in this area of its work for change.
4) Subject areas to be covered:
This will need further preparation, but from a legalistic point of view the main area of coverage will need to be the provisions of the new Localism Act which has just received Royal Assent (and its forebear the Sustainable Communities Act 2007) .
This is a massive bill and contains both provisions which are very inimical to the most vulnerable as and when implemented, and provisions which can be used intelligently to subvert the intentions of the Coalition.
Provisions to be covered include the Power of General Competence, the duty on councils to draw up list of ‘assets of community value’ and the neighbourhood planning provisions. In addition reference will be made to the more obscure Local Government Act 1972 provisions for local referenda(used effectively in some places both in support of Greenham Common and against the spread of GM foods).
All this technical detail will need to be set in the wider context of how, under the UK’s constitution, central government exploits its relationship with local government, and how this plays itself out at local level, thus creating opportunities to apply pressure at the most appropriate junctures between central and local administration.
It is likely that in the course of debate the way in which anti-cuts groups have operated to date, and how they might be best supported and their effectiveness potentially enhanced by creating a link between civil protest, the local democratic process, internal political party and trade union/trade union council processes, and areas ripe for well-judged civil disobedience where appropriate.
5) Facilitation and organisation:
I am happy to facilitate a session alone, but also happy to co-ordinate with others.
I have given a time above but I am flexible around this evening slot, and can also do 15th December early evening if that is more convenient. I am coming from Lancashire and would appreciate a space to stay over, though this is not essential.