CAL in the News Shopper

June 24, 2010

LEWISHAM: Community Action Lewisham to take on cuts

A COMMUNITY group is planning to cut out politicians by tackling social issues itself.

Community Action Lewisham is asking people in the borough to share their concerns and the things that need changing.

It has been set up in the light of the government’s cost-cutting programme, outlined in today’s budget.

Spokesman James Holland said: “Community Action Lewisham think that these cuts are not necessary – it’s not our crisis and we don’t see why we should pay for it.

“But we’re not going to beg for them to stop the cuts either. Instead we’re going to organise ourselves and take control.“ To get in touch with your concerns email

how you can be too angry for stale politics?

June 22, 2010

A intelligent young man with so much passion and justified anger, in fact so much that ‘politics’ doesn’t want him.

CAL ‘Launch’ Press Release

June 21, 2010

Press release

New Lewisham community group wants to hear about your issues and work together to solve them

Community Action Lewisham is a new group for anyone who thinks that people and communities should take action for themselves on the things that affect them, rather than relying on politicians. They are launching with a request for the people of the borough to tell them their concerns, problems, the things they want changed and work together to achieve them – whether you’re in an existing campaign that wants to find new ideas and support or you’re the only one that knows about an issue and want to start something, we want to hear from you. Because unless we work together the prospects for ordinary people, in this post-election era of cuts, could be bleak.

CAL spokesperson James Holland said “Elections are supposed to be the way people get things changed but things seem to have changed for the worse. We know that people have many issues relating to housing, education, planning, benefits and many other things and also many concerns about how the coming cuts will affect them. Community Action Lewisham think that these cuts are not necessary (it’s not our crisis and we don’t see why we should pay for it) but we’re not going to beg for them to stop the cuts either, instead we’re going to organise ourselves and take control.“

James Holland continued “A choice once every few years between 2 or 3 very similar and massively simplified packages of options isn’t democracy. Especially as governments and councils only ever act within the strait jacket of what is ‘good for the economy’ (by which they mean the already rich and powerful). We think that people and communities should just do the things they know need doing.”

This is a really good time to get involved in the group as they are discussing and deciding what issues to work on and how. They already have lots of ideas (including fighting for decent housing for everyone and exposing what passes for democracy in Lewisham) but want you to get involved to tell them about the issues you care about. Come along to their regular meetings (contact them for details)

Exporting our inconvenient residents

June 12, 2010

Story from the Evening Standard about London Boroughs, including Lewisham, who are ‘outsourcing’ children and teenagers who need help and support to other areas. Presumably the council has excuses that convince themselves this is a good idea, but to me it all seems part of a pattern of wanting the borough to be clean, new, shiny, modern, prestigious and profitable and not wanting to deal with the reality of people’s need.

Could Lewisham be the starting point for Labour and the people to fight back?

June 11, 2010


Lewisham is a place where Labour could round on the coalition’s cuts programme, and begin to restore the ‘tacit covenant’ that Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford believe Labour must have with constituents – ‘a covenant about housing, work and security, a sense of neighbourliness and community.’
Would third-term mayor Sir Steve Bullock be my kind of Labour? I thought Sir Steve might say a few fighting words about wrangling extra funds out of government for Lewisham’s poor. At the very least, he might pretend resistance.


Steve Bullock’s AGM address … sounded less like a warning to the Cameron-Clegg coalition than a job interview for it.

Read full article on

Goldsmiths school takeover collapses

June 6, 2010

Goldsmiths University’s attempt to set up a ‘trust’ to takeover the running of 3 secondary schools in the New Cross / Deptford / Brockley area seems to have ended in failure. The idea of using a trust is a new method of effectively privatising schools – removing them permanently from any kind of democratic control (and while the council isn’t that democratic it’s better than the opaque workings of an unaccountable body like the trust).

It’s also part of the ongoing process of favouring a certain kind of aspirational ‘middle class friendly’ education (which i call “blazerisation”) which includes the transfer of primary schools to the Haberdashers empire (Monson school transferred last year and they are now targeting Merlin school in Downham) instead of schools being genuinely comprehensive hearts of their community.

Martin Powell-Davies, Lewisham NUT Secretary, said: “This is tremendous news for everyone who supports comprehensive education. The Trust was always a half-baked idea. Its supporters were never able to show how a Trust would really benefit education. It would have taken staff out of Council employment and would have been a significant step towards the break-up of Local Authority schooling in the borough. We hope that we can now work together to strengthen genuine partnership between schools, not a divisive Trust”.

Des Freedman, UCU Secretary at Goldsmiths, said: “We are delighted that the proposers of the Trust have finally seen sense. We hope that they will continue to demonstrate their support for comprehensive education and not be swayed by the false promises from the Conservatives for more Academies”.

story on the NewsShopper

New CAL Flyer – elections don’t work

June 3, 2010

We have produced a new flyer which may be coming to a street near you soon with the headline elections don’t work, so we need to do things for ourselves. It includes an open request for the people of the borough to tell us their concerns, problems, the things they want changed and to join with us to work together to achieve them and email them to

Elections themselves are the real problem, not just the system of voting

May 9, 2010

Elections treat people as if they’re stupid, like all we can handle is a choice once every few years between 2 or 3 very similar and massively simplified packages of options.
And on the very rare occasion that it becomes accepted that the result is no longer legitimate or right, the best we can hope for is to repeat the process. Along with this, the people and organisations with real power are never on the ballot papers – the power of corporations, civil servants and the international financial markets set the constraints on the policies that get into the manifestos and the whole outlook of the politicians and their parties.

And while I welcome a proportional voting system, it isn’t going to make much difference, it might mean there’s more of a choice of packages, but we’ll probably still end up with the same kind of lowest common denominator government (albeit one formed from a wider spread) which operates in a vacuum totally isolated from real people. The only real difference will be that more opinions will be heard in criticism of the government (including from the far right)

Food not bombs

March 24, 2010

Lewisham now has its own Food not Bombs group, (if you’ve not heard of them, they take food that would otherwise go to waste, cook it up into delicious meals and give them away to people in need). They distribute their meals every monday at St Mungo’s hostel in Exeter Way, New Cross and, as always would appreciate more volunteers.
Bexley/Lewisham/Dartford Food Not Bombs website
Story from News Shopper

Tower Block Development Delayed By Direct Action

March 22, 2010

Work on the Loampit Vale development was disrupted today by a small group of protesters who locked the gates and prevented work until the police were called and workers cut a chain with bolt croppers. They had a number of banners including one that read “Build for need not greed”.

The development is due to build 15 tower blocks over 3 sites in the town centre up to a height of 24 storeys, but with only a tiny proportion of social rented housing – the majority will be sold to people who can afford to buy. There are more than 17,000 families waiting for council housing in Lewisham and nearly 900 are accepted by the council as homeless.

The development is only going ahead now due to a ‘sweetner’ of £20.5m from central government, but if this kind of money is available surely it should all be spent on a 100% social rented housing, rather than subsidising a development which itself is supposed to subsidise local community benefit.

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