Protests all look the same in pictures, and sadly these days they all feel the same too. Bigger than you feared, but not as big as you hoped.
We’ve had years of cuts. There’s no way more won’t hit an artery or two and bone. This year Lambeth Council is proposing selling Waterloo and Minet library, and using the proceeds to allow communities to run (poorly) three more for which ALL other funding will be cut — Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood. Goodbye librarians we love and services we need. Jason Cobb has done a brilliant rundown of what the Lambeth Council Cultural Consultation holds in store when you slog through all 22 documents — the first part can be found here. There are lots of other cuts to investigate.
The Tories know that once we lose this land, lose these services, lose these qualified and wonderful workers, we will never get them back. And they are profiting from all of it.
The Council’s just carrying out their hatchet job. Reprehensible as I feel not taking a stand and doing that is, we really should have brought down the precarious coalition government by now, shamed anyone with actual power in the Labour Party for refusing to fight and supporting their councillors to fight. For bowing to neoliberal logics and refusing to be an alternative. For being so stupid and lame.
All I want is a real fight. This wasn’t it.
On the positive side, however, standing outside City Hall is so much nicer when not surrounded by SWP signs branding everything, but nice hand-drawn ones instead. And flags, I love flags. Unions are good for flags, if not for leading the battle against austerity and preserving their own existence into the future. I don’t want to be too pessimistic and say it’s all over for the unions once the librarians are gone, but it might very well be true.
But more than puppies on signs and flags, I love Cressingham Gardens. Like the Ritzy Living Wage Campaign, like the Guinness Trust Occupation, like the Co-op tenants, they are keeping some hope alive with their awesomeness.
You can find more photos on Brixton Buzz, and get updates on the campaign to save libraries here. There will be a public meeting on 11 March to plan further campaign steps.