there have been numerous demonstrations against an intransigent,some would say vindictive council.these cuts are part of the wider slash and burn ideologically informed cuts handed down by the con-dem central govcernment as they attempt to hand the bankers-induced capitalist crisis onto the working class in general and the most vulnerable in the community at large.
these cuts have been handed on and down so fast that they indicate a number of problems and cracks in the strategy.whilst idealogically driven and functional,they are still poorly thought through.
nevertheless the labour party led council in this borough seem eager to do their capitalist masters bidding.so eager indeed that they did not undertake the full consultation they are obliged to undertake,properly.indeed they planned a meeting with their electorate to follow the fund cutting budget.
one of the points i made when i spoke at the public meeting held in my locality was that early in the 20th century at least one coincil leader had gone to jail from where he continued to run the council(in a different borough)rather than impose government diktat.if their class can choose how and when to break the law,and central government has broken its contract with the people then so can we.i think we will need to break the law in due course.
since that public meeting there have been weekly planning/campaigning meetings in our community and there are 4 other campaigning groups,amongst 6 libraries.
it is unfortunate that in considering alternatives,which is more than the council did,some of the alternatives presesnted but not supported consisted of some options which included closures of several of the libraries.many at the meeting oppossed such devivise alternatives.one of the things that unites the various groups is the need to run fundraising events to raise £20,000 to challenge the councils consultation and cut-making decision.
a quiz night at the pub in my street raised £800 on monday night.
other events in various localities and across the borough are planned.
numerous people are clearly working very hard in this campaign.i would argue however that we need to look for as many wasy to unite the campaign.one route is to see all and any of the libraries as organising,supporting and pulling in other initiatives,in support of those in any struggle or defence of our conditions and needs.
it is to our advantage that whilst libraries may not be seen as of the same standing as some social services,social care and refuse,for example-they are not popular targets either.
children from the local school hare in hundreds of letters to the dcouncil indicated their use and appreciation of libraries nand how neccessary they are for children who do not have a quiet space in which to work at home or access to computer or other facilities.
both locally and at much wider levels many writers are defdending libraries,as assisting young people to develop for the future.it seems to me these please have not been made out of crude self interest(authors recieve some ryalties based on library lending).opponents of such thinking tend to show themselves up as "philistines"completely out of touch and out of sympathy with the cultural lives of ordinary people and the poor.they only seem able to see libraries as purely instrumental and inneficient in the process.
this offers us the chance to refuse and to go beyond economics.i dont even like the discussion of cultural capital-whatever that is.we can refuse to accept commodification itself.in this locality the library is the only community facility that does not exclude whole sections of the community(pubs exclude children and those who do not drink alcohol).this is also an opportunity to argue and campiagn for a library that we want and not just to accept the"crumbs"the council are NOT offerring.
i say this because the council seem unnaturally attached to ideas of self-aggrandisement rather than community service.they want to centralise services in a super-mega-town hall development that swallows money but gives them prestige.i and others reject prestige
there is a "fall back"position for the community in establishing a charitable company to run a community library based on volunteers,altrhough there are a number of dangers and difficulties with this.at oen level it represents the politics of accomodation,during a time when the space for such accomodation is itself at a minimumn and under attack.
-to be continued-