And there are plenty of good tactics that could be used by the new people’s assembles:
- Put Britain’s enormous number of empty buildings to good use, and protest the further criminalisation of squatting, and the frankly criminal increase of homelessness, through occupations. Provide spaces for communities and run Black Panther style breakfast clubs.
- Empty police stations and abandoned council estates awaiting demolition/gentrification could provide temporary accommodation for the increasing number of homeless people.
- Banks now own so much of the nation’s infrastructure – like schools and hospitals – through PFI schemes, it’s a pretty raw deal that they continue to suck up public money, dish out bonuses and thrive whilst collective living standards decline. Occupying and redistributing the contents of their tills would boost community reinvestment.
- These days the only things being built are pound-shops and supermarkets. Learning from the Andalusian village of Marinaleda and its mayor Sanchez Gordillo, people’s assemblies could set up their own secular food-banks that source their supplies not from well-meaning donations, but collective raids from local supermarkets. “Community Supermarket Sweep” could catch on, uniting young and old and all the family in a fun day out.
- Parliament Square no longer has a fence around it – a camping trip to coincide with the re-opening of parliament could also be fun. #OPS, anyone?
A final possibility for disaffected Labour councils hit hardest by austerity in the North, and Wales, is to try out ‘Poplarism‘ – that is, a refusal to pay taxes or cooperate with central government. It’s named after the east London suburb and its radical Labour mayor George Lansbury, who in 1921 chose to use local tax-money to provide relief and support for the poor, rather than pay them on to central government. He went to jail briefly, as did many others, but the Poplar Rates Rebellion succeeded once influence and sympathy caught alight, and tax burdens between rich and poor districts were soon equalised by a national government fearing social unrest.