Hackney people get ready, for another assembly

Chats Palace Clapton Hackney London 2012 © david.altheer@gmail.com

A PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY is being launched in Hackney. It supporters describe the opening event as “an evening of conversation and action with local campaign groups fighting the austerity agenda”.

Housing pressure group DIGs, Disabled People Against Cuts, Campaign for Benefits Justice, the National Union of Teachers and Sustainable Hackney will explain how they are trying to oppose cuts to local services.

The meeting will then try to “create new and inspiring alternatives to the austerity agenda”.

Owen Jones, the Oxford-educated newspaper columnist and Hackney resident, told Loving Dalston: “Hackney is one of the poorest boroughs in the country and its communities are being hammered by the longest fall in living standards since Queen Victoria sat on the throne.

“The Hackney People’s Assembly is part of a national movement to fight for an alternative and, above all, give people hope.”

Jacob Burton, of DIGs, said: “I got involved with Digs because it was so difficult for me find somewhere to live in Hackney in the private rented sector.

“I was on disability benefits when signing my contract, although this has since been cut off, and I think the discrimination against people on benefits from landlords and letting agents is appalling. There is nowhere for us to live.”

A local activist told Loving Dalston that the People’s Assembly concept came from Ken Loach’s film The Spirit of 45 and was therefore open to almost any interpretation, from “Owen Jones’s Labour Left ideas” to an “array of people who want to form a new workers’ party”.

Another local campaigner said he believed that trade unions were behind People’s Assemblies around the country. A Hackney People’s Assembly member responded that “trade unions are certainly not ‘behind’ our group”.

* Hackney People’s Assembly, Chat’s Palace, above, Mon 16 Sep 2013, 7pm. Free but a donation a may be requested. The building is wheelchair-accessible and disabled toilets are on the ground floor. No lift, but 27 steps to first floor.

Hamish Scott

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