Why Should We Pay?

note: Patrick McCrudden has been in touch and we urge others who are interested in standing independent working class candidates to contact us.

Why Should We Pay ? – letter in Hackney Gazette 23rd January 2001

The following letter appeared in this week’s edition of the Gazette. It wasn’t sent by an IWCA member but echoes many of the things we’ve been saying about standing independent candidates against the middle class councillors we have now. If the writer of the letter is serious in his points here, we would urge him to get in touch.

Hackney Council, its present concillors, and managers etc. want to increase tenants’ rent by up to £8 a week, plus increase our council tax by £84. What services are we residents in Hackney really getting and why are we the people/ residents/ workers in Hackney having to foot the bill for the council’s mismanagement ? Why should the people of Hackney suffer and pay, especially those on low incomes ?

Max Caller’s on a nice little earner, but I bet he’s not taking a pay cut. No, but these people who provide services will take pay cuts. This is why I am in full support of strike action…This is what all tenants, residents and council workers should do to those bosses and councillors in Hackney Town Hall – direct action, residents’ action groups, non-payment of council tax. Enough of this softly, softly approach. It’s time the people of Hackney got off their backsides and take the councillors and bosses by the neck and tell them “you’re not making us pay for your mistakes and incompetence”.

What we really need is to elect independent candidates who will stand in the next local elections on anti-cuts/anti-corruption. This is why I and othyer sactive in Hackney have decided to stand against the Liberal/Labour/Conservative coalition. Residents of Hackney – it’s time to stand up and come to the call to arms. The councillors voted in the cuts to jobs and services, so dump your rubbish on the councillors’ doorsteps.

Patrick McCrudden, Stamford Hill

Power to the People
letter in Hackney Gazette 8.2.2001

As the letters page of your paper shows, more and more people in Hackney are fed up with how our lives are being made a misery by the incompetence and political careerism of councillors who “run” the borough. Some of your correspondents have called for marches, demonstrations and produced the odd snappy slogan, but where have these things got us in the past ? I was more interested to see Patrick McCrudden’s letter in last week’s Gazette which called for independent candidates to be stood in council elections.

The IWCA has long argued for this, but it is only part of a bigger picture of community politics and can’t work just on its own; a recent event might highlight this. Two weeks ago, around 100 tenants from all over Shoreditch attended a meeting of the New Deal where proposals to demolish entire estates were being put forward. At short notice, and with impressive self-organisation, these people forced the New Deal to back down: a display of the power that working class people can have when we work together (a fuller report is available on the news page).

If we are serious about changing Hackney for the better for its working class majority, then we have to be serious about how we approach it. Standing candidates is one part of that, but those standing should be prepared to get involved in the issues that working class communities themselves feel are important, not just appear overnight and hope to pick up a few votes the next day. We would be genuinely interested to hear what Patrick McCrudden is proposing.

Dan Carter (Hackney IWCA)