one of those was "case con"which gave itself,eventually the strap-line of"the magazine for revolutionaries in social work".whilst critical of "professional practices in social work"and advocative of change,it quickly developed the view that such changes could at best become "best practice"and were essentially reforms,rather than funadamentally radical,let alone revolutionary in challenging the basics of a welfare state in a then liberal democracy.i became involved in that publiucation in the mid 1970s whilst training to be aprofessional social worker.inevitably a primary focus for me was as a student,organising for a tiem successfully organisations for social work students which then became a section of the nus/national union of students.at the wider level,i supported the perspective developed by "case con"which argued that the key focus of organisation for change was to join trades unions and to campaign within them.with the growth of self confidence amonsgt social workers,increased trades union membership and the development of strong and militant rank and file organisations,which might be the focus of another posting another time,"case con"fell victim to its own success and made a decision to close,encouraging members,supporters and readers to organise as i have indicated.
however,just before doing so,we alongside other groups of activists published a"call"for a publication and possibly an organisation that linked struggles across the welfare state/public sector,and to argue that in what were becoming increasingly defensive struggles and campaigns against cuts,for a perspective that placed centre stage the unity of workers across the welfare state and beyond and for positions which argued for defending public services that were defensible.that is services that would serve the working class and present essentially a socialist perspective.
that would have been "public con"or hopefully would have had a better mor appropraute name than this working title.that was the early 1980s and the project never came to life as in fact the wealth of indpenedent organising and publishing enterprises shrank at least partly in the face of the onslaught on the working class and public services by thatcherism.
this did not silence radicals or revolutionaries who despite defeats continued to work in unions and in whatever social spaces they were able.i a,m aware for example that some people previously engaged with £case con"went on to write in csp/critical social policy,although that eventually became an increasingly academic journal and ceased to be published by its collective,independently.
i dont know about others but over the last several years,if not longer the accumulated change in the reverse and negative direction,and i would suggest some break in the continuity of socialist thinking within what is left of the now very different welfare state,begs a lot of questions,especially as that welfare state now shares the crisis of the rest of capitalism.
i am aware that in the last month,reports on or the nedw deaths of children,raises some fundamental questions afresh.childrens safety is being placed below the impact of public sector cuts.a major private sector agency responsible for 726 care home sfor 31,000 vulnerable elderly people is now in adminisration,and finally the abuse of people with learning difficulties in a private hospital has come to the attention of the media and the public is a fair indication of the crisis in the public sector/welfare state that is not simply reducible to money.
it seems to me that this makes it a matter of urgency to organise using the advantages the internet offers to again consider what public servivces do we want and what should they look like.whilst we cannot blueprint for the future,we can articulate what services we want and what we want them to look like now,and to consider how they should be organised and both who by and for whom?
given their class the capitalist class are clearly failing and in crisis,we cannot do any worse.to leave the thinking and campaigning for what we want now is to abdicate responsibilty.the future is determined by what we do now.thinking about it,articulating it,is a start.i do not claim that socialism alone will solve problems like child abuse and neglect nor sex crimes nor the abuse of women.but again soocialism woujld give us a foothold in our own destiny in which we need to come to grips with what appears currently intractable and in which it is undeniably the case that money,and profit comes before peoples welfare,safety and lives.
we cannot delay.just as we cannot wait for socialism "until this pub closes"so we cannot wait for socialism before tackling the destruction of women,childrens and indeed mens lives.
we all have a right to a quality of life now,nor in some arcane and utopian future.it does not require a vanguardist party but it does require socialists to be in the vanguard at making the better life and the better world we have to win.
to that end i would again welcome to herar from others in the construction of such a project.