Saturday, 24 April 2010
We link here to some articles on radical history related to Islington. New material will be added as we find it.
Unwaged fightback - A history of Islington Action Group of the Unwaged - 1980-86
The history of an unwaged workers' group in 1980s London, its efforts to establish and run a centre for the unemployed and its relationship to the Miners' Strike and other struggles of its times; a pamphlet produced in late 1987 by the Campaign for Real Life. http://libcom.org/library/unwaged-fightback-a-history-of-islington-action-group-of-the-unwaged-1980-86
Reds On The Green - A Short Tour of Clerkenwell Radicalism
This text is a short sketch of the radical history of the Clerkenwell area, its characters and events.
There has been little easily available to read concentrating specifically on the long and rich history of the politics and struggles of the area. The following account charts the changing fortunes and developments of the communities, classes and individuals involved. It also offers some passing comments on the Clerkenwell of today. http://libcom.org/library/reds-green-short-tour-clerkenwell-radicalism
This text was published as a pamphlet, ‘Reds On the Green’, in October 2005, by past tense. The text is also on their site; http://www.past-tense.org.uk
Articles by or about Dan Chatterton (pictured above), 19th century working class Chartist, secularist, birth control propagandist, communist and radical public speaker who was well known among the early London Anarchist and Marxist circles. Born and bred in Clerkenwell, he self-published the journal 'Chatteron's Commune, the Atheistic, Communistic, Scorcher'. http://libcom.org/tags/dan-chatterton-0
In the April/May issue of "Islington Now" there was a section titled "Having your say" with opinions from three "local voters" who think "it's vital to have your say" and believe that voting makes a difference. Yet there was no voice from the 2/3 majority who don't vote. One person said "if you don't vote and a party or candidate gets voted in who you disagree with, then you can't complain", but what if you disagree with all the candidates? There is no opportunity to express this opinion, no box for "none of the above". Candidates promise to change things, but when they get in power it's usually them who change. One cross in a box every 4 years makes virtually no difference - it's what you do the rest of the time that makes a difference.
If you try to redress the bias by adding to the Council's advertised election blog, you'll find that you can't. What at first sight looks like a blog with various personal views, is in fact just pieces from Council staff promoting elections. All the talk of "participatory democracy" is just like "consultation" - meaningless phrases which might sound like they're inclusive but actually maintain centralized control of our lives.