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Movement For Change Vs Big Society Failures


In writing this article why I would continue promote the Movement For Change vs Big Society failure this is on the grounds of using the various experience that I have encountered in various community project and campaigns which later found to have failed but in regards to community campaigns which can help to promote the real changes are far and few that makes a real difference to engage our communities and projects to promote changes.

As activists all over the world would inform you that changes can only come within yourself and communities to make a difference with the knowledge of how to use the tools to implement from bottom up to the top in other words we compare what campaign each political parties uses to promote them to introduce a manifesto of policies to lead into Central, Local and European Governments.

Whilst I may not support any other political parties other than the Labour Party I note with concern that this coalition has made some decisions which has led U Turns so I begin with the Background of the Big Society introduced by the conservatives:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQFwxw57NBI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The idea was launched in the 2010 Conservative manifesto and described by The Times as “an impressive attempt to reframe the role of government and unleash entrepreneurial spirit”.[4]Nat Wei, one of the founders of the Teach First charity, was appointed by David Cameron to advise the government on the Big Society programme The plans include setting up a Big Society Bank and introducing a national citizen service.[5] The stated priorities are:

  1. Give communities more powers (localism and devolution)
  2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities (volunteerism)
  3. Transfer power from central to local government
  4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
  5. Publish government data (open/transparent government)

It is supported by a Big Society Network, which says it “exists to generate, develop and showcase new ideas to help people to come together in their neighbourhoods to do good things.”[6]

The Big Society has some similarities with the Stewardship ideology of Dutch Christian Democratic party CDA.

In 2011 major UK banks agreed to add £200M to the funding of the Big Society Bank[13] in addition to the money from dormant bank accounts.[14]David Cameron wrote that he would ‘prefer to see more positive headlines about the “big society”, but [was] very upbeat about the torrent of newsprint expended on this subject.’ and that ‘The big society is about changing the way our country is run. No more of a government treating everyone like children …let’s treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their lives.’[15] The UK government reportedly plans to unlock £78bn in charitable assets for big society and hand over up to 25% of public service contracts to private and voluntary sector.[16] But Ed Miliband suggested that the Big Society is a “cloak for the small state”.[17]

Nat Wei, who was appointed “Big Society Tsar”, resigned on 24 May and Shaun Bailey and Charlotte Leslie were moved into the Cabinet Office to work on the project. [18]

Sir Stephen Bubb welcomed the idea of the Big Society, but was concerned about cuts to government money going to charities and later described the idea as a “wreck”,[19] whereas Brendan Barber said it meant that David Cameron’s “ideal society was Somalia“.[20]

Simon Parker, Director of the New Local Government Network, argues that although ‘there is little in the coalition government’s agenda that is entirely novel, what is new is the scale of change required. This isn’t just a few interesting partnerships with the voluntary sector or a neighbourhood planning pilot – it’s a system shift.’[21] Ben Rogers, in an opinion piece published in the Financial Times, suggested that ‘the most interesting thing about [Cameron’s] speech [to the Conservative Party Conference] were its sections on the “Big Society”’, and that “Most of the political problems Mr Cameron faces, from cutting crime to reducing obesity, can only be met if residents and citizens play their part”. However, Rogers went on to state that “the state has so far invested very little in teaching the skills that could help people make a contribution”, highlighting what he perceived to be a fundamental flaw in the programme.[22]

The Spectator said that “Cameron hoped to lessen financial shortfalls by raiding dormant bank accounts. It’s a brilliant idea in theory”.[39]

Ben Brogan in the Telegraph thought: “We demand vision from our would-be leaders, and here is one who offers a big one, of a society rebuilt from the ground up”.(31/03/2010)[40]

Labour’sEd Miliband said that the Conservatives were “cynically attempting to dignify its cuts agenda, by dressing up the withdrawal of support with the language of reinvigorating civic society”.[23]

Two days after the initiative’s launch in Liverpool, an article in Liverpool Daily Post argued that community organisations in the city such as Bradbury Fields show that Cameron’s ideas are already in action and are nothing new, and that groups of community-based volunteers have for many years provided “a better service than would be achieved through the public sector”.[24]

In July 2010 Anna Coote at NEF wrote that “If the state is pruned so drastically … the effect will be a more troubled and diminished society, not a bigger one”.[25] In November 2010 a report by NEF suggested that “There are strong, sensible ideas at the heart of the ‘Big Society’ vision… [but] for all its potential, the ‘Big Society’ raises a lot of questions, which become more urgent and worrying in the light of public spending cuts”[26]The Telegraph’s Ed West concluded that “The Big Society can never take off,” placing the blame on the socialist ideology held by some of the British public.[27] Also writing for The Telegraph, Mary Riddell said “the sink or swim society is upon us, and woe betide the poor, the frail, the old, the sick and the dependent”[28] whilst Gerald Warner felt that “of all the Blairesque chimeras pursued by David Cameron, none has more the resonance of a political epitaph than “Big Society”.[29]

The national office of Unite the Union for the community and non-profit sector, suggested that “The ‘Big Society’ is smoke and mirrors for an avalanche of privatisation under the Tories”.[30] And Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON suggests that “The Government is simply washing its hands of providing decent public services and using volunteers as a cut-price alternative […] Public services must be based on the certainty that they are there when you need them, not when a volunteer can be found to help you”.[31]

Of the political weeklies, the left leaning New Statesman said “Cameron’s hope that the Big Society will replace Big Government is reminiscent of the old Marxist belief that the state will ‘wither away’ as a result of victorious socialism. We all know how that turned out. Cameron has a long way to go to convince us that his vision is any less utopian”.[32] Also referring to Marx, the award-winning political cartoonist Steve Bell in the Guardian on 21 January 2011 and the Guardian Weekly newspaper on 28 January 2011 adapted Marx’s slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” for the Big Society: “From each according to their vulnerability, to each according to their greed”.[33][34]

Dr. Lorie Charlesworth, an academic from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,[35] compared the system to the Old Poor Law, and suggested that “any voluntary system for the relief of poverty is purely mythical”.[36]

Anna Coote, head of Social Policy at the independent think-tankNew Economics Foundation, interviewed in Channel 4‘s investigative programmeDispatches (broadcast on 14 March 2011), stated the Big Society is about “privatising the welfare state on a massive scale”. The programme explored the increasing degree to which the companies Serco, G4S and Capita are being paid to carry out work previously performed by central and local government authorities, in competition with local charities and the voluntary sector; the latter are unable to compete with these groups, which are making large profits from such outsourcing contracts.

Approaching the two-year anniversary of the Coalition, commentators have noted the lack of big society thinking across the policies of the Government. The lack of employee-owned mutuals and social enterprises in public sector reforms and the changes to tax relief on philanthropic donations in the 2012 Budget have been especially noted. This has been seen by some as vindication of the view that the big society was little more than a cover for cuts. Some other previously more positive commentators have seen the first two years of the Coalition as a missed opportunity for the big society.

In writing this article why I would continue to promote the Movement For Change vs Big Society this is on the grounds of using the various experiences that I have encountered in various community projects and campaigns which later found to have failed but in regards to community campaigns which can help to promote real changes are far and few that makes a real difference to engage our communities and projects to promote changes.

As activists all over the world would inform you that changes can only come within yourself and communities to make a difference with the knowledge of how to use the tools to implement from bottom up to the top in other words we compare what campaign each political parties uses to promote them to introduce a manifesto of policies to lead into Central, Local and European Governments.

Whilst I may not support any other political parties other than the Labour Party I note with concern that this coalition has made some decisions which has led U Turns so I begin with the Background of the Big Society introduced by the conservatives:

The idea was launched in the 2010 Conservative manifesto and described by The Times as “an impressive attempt to reframe the role of government and unleash entrepreneurial spirit”.[4]Nat Wei, one of the founders of the Teach First charity, was appointed by David Cameron to advise the government on the Big Society programme The plans include setting up a Big Society Bank and introducing a national citizen service.[5] The stated priorities are:

  1. Give communities more powers (localism and devolution)
  2. Encourage people to take an active role in their communities (volunteerism)
  3. Transfer power from central to local government
  4. Support co-ops, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
  5. Publish government data (open/transparent government)

It is supported by a Big Society Network, which says it “exists to generate, develop and showcase new ideas to help people to come together in their neighbourhoods to do good things.”[6]

The Big Society has some similarities with the Stewardship ideology of Dutch Christian Democratic party CDA.

In 2011 major UK banks agreed to add £200M to the funding of the Big Society Bank[13] in addition to the money from dormant bank accounts.[14]David Cameron wrote that he would ‘prefer to see more positive headlines about the “big society”, but [was] very upbeat about the torrent of newsprint expended on this subject.’ and that ‘The big society is about changing the way our country is run. No more of a government treating everyone like children …let’s treat adults like adults and give them more responsibility over their lives.’[15] The UK government reportedly plans to unlock £78bn in charitable assets for big society and hand over up to 25% of public service contracts to private and voluntary sector.[16] But Ed Miliband suggested that the Big Society is a “cloak for the small state”.[17]

Nat Wei, who was appointed “Big Society Tsar”, resigned on 24 May and Shaun Bailey and Charlotte Leslie were moved into the Cabinet Office to work on the project. [18]

Sir Stephen Bubb welcomed the idea of the Big Society, but was concerned about cuts to government money going to charities and later described the idea as a “wreck”,[19] whereas Brendan Barber said it meant that David Cameron’s “ideal society was Somalia“.[20]

Simon Parker, Director of the New Local Government Network, argues that although ‘there is little in the coalition government’s agenda that is entirely novel, what is new is the scale of change required. This isn’t just a few interesting partnerships with the voluntary sector or a neighbourhood planning pilot – it’s a system shift.’[21] Ben Rogers, in an opinion piece published in the Financial Times, suggested that ‘the most interesting thing about [Cameron’s] speech [to the Conservative Party Conference] were its sections on the “Big Society”’, and that “Most of the political problems Mr Cameron faces, from cutting crime to reducing obesity, can only be met if residents and citizens play their part”. However, Rogers went on to state that “the state has so far invested very little in teaching the skills that could help people make a contribution”, highlighting what he perceived to be a fundamental flaw in the programme.[22]

The Spectator said that “Cameron hoped to lessen financial shortfalls by raiding dormant bank accounts. It’s a brilliant idea in theory”.[39]

Ben Brogan in the Telegraph thought: “We demand vision from our would-be leaders, and here is one who offers a big one, of a society rebuilt from the ground up”.(31/03/2010)[40]

Labour’sEd Miliband said that the Conservatives were “cynically attempting to dignify its cuts agenda, by dressing up the withdrawal of support with the language of reinvigorating civic society”.[23]

Two days after the initiative’s launch in Liverpool, an article in Liverpool Daily Post argued that community organisations in the city such as Bradbury Fields show that Cameron’s ideas are already in action and are nothing new, and that groups of community-based volunteers have for many years provided “a better service than would be achieved through the public sector”.[24]

In July 2010 Anna Coote at NEF wrote that “If the state is pruned so drastically … the effect will be a more troubled and diminished society, not a bigger one”.[25] In November 2010 a report by NEF suggested that “There are strong, sensible ideas at the heart of the ‘Big Society’ vision… [but] for all its potential, the ‘Big Society’ raises a lot of questions, which become more urgent and worrying in the light of public spending cuts”[26]The Telegraph’s Ed West concluded that “The Big Society can never take off,” placing the blame on the socialist ideology held by some of the British public.[27] Also writing for The Telegraph, Mary Riddell said “the sink or swim society is upon us, and woe betide the poor, the frail, the old, the sick and the dependent”[28] whilst Gerald Warner felt that “of all the Blairesque chimeras pursued by David Cameron, none has more the resonance of a political epitaph than “Big Society”.[29]

The national office of Unite the Union for the community and non-profit sector, suggested that “The ‘Big Society’ is smoke and mirrors for an avalanche of privatisation under the Tories”.[30] And Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON suggests that “The Government is simply washing its hands of providing decent public services and using volunteers as a cut-price alternative […] Public services must be based on the certainty that they are there when you need them, not when a volunteer can be found to help you”.[31]

Of the political weeklies, the left leaning New Statesman said “Cameron’s hope that the Big Society will replace Big Government is reminiscent of the old Marxist belief that the state will ‘wither away’ as a result of victorious socialism. We all know how that turned out. Cameron has a long way to go to convince us that his vision is any less utopian”.[32] Also referring to Marx, the award-winning political cartoonist Steve Bell in the Guardian on 21 January 2011 and the Guardian Weekly newspaper on 28 January 2011 adapted Marx’s slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” for the Big Society: “From each according to their vulnerability, to each according to their greed”.[33][34]

Dr. Lorie Charlesworth, an academic from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,[35] compared the system to the Old Poor Law, and suggested that “any voluntary system for the relief of poverty is purely mythical”.[36]

Anna Coote, head of Social Policy at the independent think-tankNew Economics Foundation, interviewed in Channel 4‘s investigative programmeDispatches (broadcast on 14 March 2011), stated the Big Society is about “privatising the welfare state on a massive scale”. The programme explored the increasing degree to which the companies Serco, G4S and Capita are being paid to carry out work previously performed by central and local government authorities, in competition with local charities and the voluntary sector; the latter are unable to compete with these groups, which are making large profits from such outsourcing contracts.

Approaching the two-year anniversary of the Coalition, commentators have noted the lack of big society thinking across the policies of the Government. The lack of employee-owned mutuals and social enterprises in public sector reforms and the changes to tax relief on philanthropic donations in the 2012 Budget have been especially noted. This has been seen by some as vindication of the view that the big society was little more than a cover for cuts. Some other previously more positive commentators have seen the first two years of the Coalition as a missed opportunity for the big society.

I begin with David Cameron’s plans for a Big Society were branded ‘hot air’ today after it emerged more than 7,000 charities had been forced to close last year.

The Prime Minister’s mantra aims to encourage good causes to take on services normally provided by councils and central government.

But the boss of one struggling support group, which is due to shut next month because of a lack of funds, said it was ‘all talk and no action’.

David Doonan, the chief executive of Sharp, which helps families and friends of prisoners in Shropshire, said: ‘It’s a load of hot air.

‘We have made more bids and requests for funding than ever before and it’s not forthcoming.

‘It’s down to the basic economic climate in the country and it’s inevitable the weak and vulnerable will suffer.

‘There are people in the world of politics who know Sharp. Some have talked a good talk, but they never want to get their cheque book out.’

Nearly 7,400 charities were wound up in 2011, an increase from 6,398 the previous year, according to figures reported.

Meanwhile, the Bridge project, which offered childcare to women in Sunderland while training for work, blamed going into administration on changes in central funding within education.

Shadow Charities Minister Gareth Thomas said attempts to encourage more charity work on the back of the Olympic legacy were in jeopardy because of funding cuts to good causes.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: ‘It’s misleading to suggest that the numbers of registered charities has fallen.

‘It has actually increased slightly over the last three years.’

In Sutton, Liberal Democrat council leader Sean Brennan and the chief executive of the Sutton Centre for Voluntary Services, Andy Wilson, welcomed the news and said the “big society” idea had been up and running for years in the borough, with several projects to engage residents in influencing services that would now be expanded.

When the Tories made a big play at it’s conference to launch the Big Society many of public services unions recognised that it was the code word for cuts in public services and voluntary organisations. Yet most of the voluntary sectors disregarded the advice of the trade unions as some of the charities had made some form of donations to the Tory party with the promise of sweetener attached to it in return for funding’s to their large organisations which they are now being let down by the Tories. Most of the voluntary sector was caught shot as voters did not trust the Tories or Labour to form a government. The Fibdemswere in negotiations with both Labour and Conservatives to milk both parties for what they could get out of them which changed the level playing field for the voluntary sectors.

As I have mentioned in my earlier articles in my blog in regards to the #Bigsociety it was away this #coalition will continues to hide behind cuts for public sectors and it’s another way to hoodwink charities that depends on public funding to serve their own communities which require a service.

I start with speaking ahead of the launch of the Big Society bank, Nick Hurd, insisted that the concept is now at “delivery stage”.

MrHurd, the minister for civil society, also said the government is also discussing plans with major banks for a “Big Society Isa”, which will allow people to invest in and earn a return from community projects in their local area.

“We are very much in the phase of delivery,” he said. “We are very conscious that people need to touch it, feel it. We need to move beyond the abstract to where people can feel activity happening around them. It’s not just speeches.”

He acknowledged that the Big Society project still had to win over its critics: “There has been scepticism and rock chuckers, especially amongst the commentariat.

“But (the new bank) is exactly what many people out there want to see and we can point to some real successes.”

He added: “If you come up with positive long-term visions that are idealistic you will always get the knockers and the cynics some of whom are politically motivated.”

Opponents have attacked the Big Society, which hoped to engender a boom in volunteering and charitable giving, as being thin on substance and an excuse for public sector cuts.

However, after two years in gestation, Mr Cameron will this the launch Big Society Capital, after it finally negotiated a number of regulatory hurdles.

Harnessing money from long-dormant bank accounts and donations from banks, it will fund social projects, such as playgroups, credit unions and residents’ groups trying to take control of their post office, local shop or library.

Mr Hurd said the bank’s launch is on time, but official documents and even sources close to Big Society Capital suggest that it hoped to be operational by April last year.

Alongside the National Citizens Service (NCS), the launch of the bank is one of a select number of Big Society initiatives already up and running.

The NCS – still in pilot form – last year set 8,000 16-year-olds to work in their communities on projects including tidying parks and building playgrounds

It remains to be seen whether the projects planned will be enough to address ongoing scepticism about the Big Society agenda, even from within the charity sector.

There has been no upsurge in charity giving or volunteering since the Prime Minister first launched the initiative two years ago.

In a report on the Big Society makes even less sense than the rest of the discussion on the theme to date. The Public Administration Committee has said that there needs to be a coherent plan that cuts across the whole of Whitehall, looking at how the Big Society is applied. The suggestion is deeply, and sadly, ironic.

It might be a badly chosen phrase, but the Big Society has the power to transform much of Britain. We have a state currently spending over half of GDP. This has squeezed out meaningful activity by individuals and communities. If we want to see vibrant grassroots activity, fuelled by strong family and neighbourhood connections, we must give people a reason to develop those connections. We cannot simply sit back and expect to see these community links built on their own.

To use a well-worn cliché, people get to know their neighbour when they need to borrow a cup of sugar. They connect to people around them when they have shared mutual interests, such as raising money to build a local sports club. We do not form communities or relationships just because we are told it would be a good thing to do. The need for us to develop these relationships has largely disappeared with the expansion of the state into almost every area of our lives.

The Big Society is about a state of mind, not a big state. The report’s idea of establishing the post of a minister for the Big Society is not a bad one. But their role should not be to oversee the minutiae of government departments or develop a policy agenda. They should solely be a figurehead for the ideas that government cannot solve all our problems, and that this country would be a better place to live in if we had more meaningful relationships with people around us. They should provide a voice for charities and communities, and profile the great work of voluntary organisations and other islands of hope around the country. For this they would need almost no budget.

What we need is a change in our thinking. Society is not the same as the state. If they are serious about developing a Big Society, there are three key actions David Cameron and his government can take. The first is to simply use their influence as cultural leaders, and tell inspiring stories of what our communities can do. The second is to shrink the state massively, to allow space for communities to develop; and the third is to deregulate, so communities are able to function without overbearing bureaucracy swamping them.

For now, discussion seems to be focused on all the wrong things: this should not be about a switch in procurement to focus on using small charities for public service delivery. Fundamentally, the value of small charities is their independence. Many are haphazard in the way they operate, and it is this that makes them so nimble and effective. Making them dependent on state funding and forcing them to develop accountability mechanisms for government would take this away.

We do need a Big Society, but this is a project for the long-term. It will be built by people, not by government.

Here is another example that the Conservatives would love you to believe some of the local partners in the “vanguard communities” that David Cameron said will lead his “big society” revolution were uncertain about what being in the vanguard will involve.

Many involved in the voluntary sector had been given limited information, and some were warning that voluntary organisations hit by funding cuts will be hard pushed to deliver more.

In Windsor and Maidenhead the Conservative council leader, David Burbage, was more forthcoming. He listed five ideas, including a plan to get help clearing bureaucratic hurdles so energy-generating turbines can be installed at five weirs in the Thames.

He also wants to devise a system raising extra revenue from the owners of pubs and clubs in Windsor to pay for the extra police needed on busy nights in the town, extend a transparency scheme so voters can see where the council’s money comes from and goes to, and expand a programme allowing residents to say how they think the budget should be spent.

Another plan is to devolve power over services such as verge-trimming and pot hole-mending to parishes. Burbage said he talked to parish chairmen to see what kind of things they were interested in taking over. No “big society” funding has yet been agreed with central government.

In the Eden Valley in Cumbria, one of the most sparsely populated areas in England, community groups are hoping to save post offices and pubs, and expand broadband services, using “big society” support, but do not yet know how the new system will work.

Roger Roberts, the chief executive of Action with Communities in Cumbria, who has worked closely with two of the three pilot projects, said: “We are in a situation where there are going to be some really exciting opportunities, we hope, but we haven’t yet seen the structures or whether there are any resources to fund them. Until we do we will not understand what the new opportunities will look like.”

Now this is the hard facts of the so called #Bigsociety when a spokesperson said “We don’t know how it’s going to work,” a spokesman for Liverpool city council said. “We have been given no information about this.

“We gather that this is going to be rolled out throughout the city but that’s making an assumption based on what we have heard from David Cameron this morning. You might want to ask No 10 or Eric Pickles, the minister in charge.”

Others in the area knew less. The manager of Windsor and Maidenhead Voluntary Action, the umbrella body for local charities, had been on leave but only found out morning that the borough would be trialling the system and knew nothing about funding other than a “big society bank” would be involved.

“It’s very difficult to grasp at this stage what it will actually mean for a vanguard area,” she said. “It’s a bit like trying to squint in the dark at the moment, hoping to see a chink of light.

“We look at it as a new opportunity but we’d like to have more meat on the bones in order to understand it.”

She also voiced concern about how local groups would cope with extra demands, saying grants to the voluntary sector had been frozen for the last five years in Windsor and Maidenhead and an expected “performance reward grant” of £100,000 for increasing volunteer numbers was likely to be halved or removed completely.

“I’m a bit worried there’s an assumption that these kind of activities will be free, and they can’t be,” Winrow said. “There must be some costs – things like set-up costs, expenses, training. The sector is so stretched already it doesn’t have the reserves to add any new things to what it’s already committed to do. Resources are already extremely tight.”

A funding advisor for Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services, said that third sector workers were concerned about whether they will receive the funding to maintain services.

“Many organisations cannot follow the social enterprise model of selling services because their service users have poverty-line level incomes or because they cannot secure public service delivery contracts,” he said. “Grant income remains a major part of third sector funding.”

Interestingly I met someone who said to me, who found out about the project warned that volunteeringshould not be seen as a way to address cuts in public services.

“It seems to me that even David Cameron hasn’t thought it through properly and these four projects will flesh out what it means,” he said. “In a sense that’s fair enough. It’s waiting to be fleshed out because I don’t think anybody really knows at the moment.”

For myself I would always continue to support the Movement For Change and look at the comparison to the Big Society this is why I would strongly urge our supporters to Movement For Change main reasons are:

 

Movement for Change launched during David Miliband’s leadership campaign to train party activists in community organising skills, and has been reconstituted as a permanent home for community organising within the Labour movement.

On a practical level, Movement for Change organisers works in partnership with Labour to provide training for local parties and members. We also work in specific areas to support campaigns for change in local communities; to identify and nurture talent; and to develop new responses to the challenges that people face. This isn’t traditional election organising, but it can play a role in helping Labour to win local and national elections.

Community organising typically attempts to organiseneighbourhoods but can also focus on groups such as parents, patients or tenants. During the experiment last year, those trained by Movement for Change ran campaigns on issues as varied as holding retailers to account for selling alcohol to teenagers, repairing security doors in estates and holding developers to account for road safety plans

While social change will always be brought about through grassroots campaigns directed at state or private institutions, supporting people to develop their own methods like cooperatives or social enterprises has an exciting role to play as well.

Movement for Change is a genuinely bottom-up organisation which aims to ally the party more closely with communities. It doesn’t make national policy but is free to engage in campaigns which represent the authentic voice of local communities.

Labour already has a rich and historic tradition of organising. The cooperative movement seeks to reorganise the economy for communities, the trade union movement to win power for workers within it. Hope not Hate have been so successful in uniting communities that people now dare to ask if the BNP is finished as a political force. Our organising approach doesn’t seek to replace these traditions, rather Movement for Change learns from, compliments and adds to them. Community Organising is not the single answer but it can be part of the solution to some of the challenges Labour faces.

The tens of thousands of new party members offer a great opportunity to rebuild. But we need to offer them something more than working to make other party members powerful; we need to give them opportunities to make themselves powerful within their communities. Party activists campaigning for the election of Labourcouncillors and MPs will always be the central political purpose of our party. But electoral victory is not the exclusive means of social change available to us. It never has been: just as unions offer workers power through strength of numbers, community organising can bring people together in communities to achieve social change.

By developing new bottom-up approaches to local issues, community organising can offer substance in response to the troubled ‘Big Society’. It can help shake the notion that we are possessed only with statist instincts. And it can help us develop a new and more authentic language of engagement with voters.

I have been on their training I found it to be very useful as a form of campaigning tool for recruiting and campaigning in both the Chinese and other parts of the communities not Just within the Labour Party, but in communities that really want to make a change in both their lives and communities example would be I used the local campaign to highlight the proposal of the demolition of Tower block and managed to attracted the attention of residences to attend a public meeting with our local Housing Liaising Board and Local Councillors to attend the meeting to highlight the concerns of the residence which was taken on board of much needed repairs and dampness, and prostitution. Community action can work with all agencies involve when communities work in partnership with the Local and Health authorities and MP.

Now many of you who may be thinking what planet that I am living in, well I can tell all that I live my life on a daily bases I speak with the most vulnerable and low income and of cause those who are in both employment and unemployment  to get my source of information and do my own research to make up my own mind.

I will leave you with food for thought:

Movement for Change is a not for profit organisation which relies on membership fees and donations. Whether you can afford to give a little or a lot they are very grateful for any financial support you are able to give.

By Cheque made payable to Movement for Change.

Movement for Change
Eurolink Centre
Unit 62
49 Effra Road
London
SW2 1BZ

Tel: 020 7274 6611

office@movementforchange.org.uk

Their obligations under PPERA 2000 (Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act)

  • As a membership organisation which is mainly made up of members of a political party Movement for Change is classed as a ‘regulated donee’ and is therefore subject to controls under PPERA 2000.
  • If you donate more than £500 to Movement for Change you must be on the UK electoral register and a check will be made to confirm this. The Isle of Man and Channel Islands are not part of the UK for donation purposes.
  • If you make a cash or in-kind donation of more than £7,500 your donation will be disclosed to the Electoral Commission. If you make several donations in the same calendar year these donations will be aggregated, and if the total sum is more than £7,500, we will be obliged to disclose the total donation to the Electoral Commission.
  • The Electoral Commission will publish your name, the date the donation was received and the amount donated. We are required to disclose your address to the Electoral Commission so that they can verify that you are on the UK electoral register but this information will not be made public.
  • You should use your own funds to make a donation. It is an offence to pass on a regulated donation from a third party without disclosing the donor’s details.
  • UK registered companies, limited liability partnerships, trade unions and unincorporated associations may also make donations.

 

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