Notes from The Crisis of Community Discussion

‘The crucial factor is that around 25 people turned up on a Sunday lunchtime and I think that indicates something positive about what is happening. Maybe what is required is simply a forum where people can air their views.” James Kelman

The following are some of the points, (not all), and interests raised at the Reshuffle discussion, Sunday, June17th. Many themes come up again and again and could useful as a basis for this discussion. The purpose of these events is to think about. Can we consolidate some of these ideas to organise more concise meetings with specific aims towards collective vision building?

• How do we survive as a group, campaign, organisation.

• How do we maintain independence.

• How do we simply get on with doing things rather just than coming up with more ideas.

• Strengthen the social base of our communities.

• How do we build historical knowledge.

• Create regular meetings just to talk about things.

• Build a vision based in radical politics.

• Finding ways of working with each other rather than sitting around discussing political theory.

• Ways of progressing. The longer we act in reaction to things we do not progress.

• The coming together of people in different stages of organisation, age group differences, experience of campaigning, political position and such like.

• Need independent places where campaigners can share experiences which is very broad.

• Drop-ins and allow an organic flow to happen.

• That no campaign has more validity than another campaign. This struggle has more validity than that struggle.

• Regular meetings in george square to just talk. Occupy? Speakers Corner?

• Sharing contact details creating resource.


How to survive as a group

• Needs to be radical, fun and a whole mixture of things to normalise activities.

• How do we draw things together different issues at meetings keeping on topic.

• People want to become involved but working – using internet – but lack face to face conversation. Need more regular drop in centre’s to support working people.

• Conversations, sharing interests and just talking.

• Do we go for funding or not raise it ourselves, keeping the freedom to keep the space and all the attendant issues around that.

• When involved in funding the people who do the work are the volunteers.

• Those who get paid from funding close the door at 5 o’clock and go home not in the community. (Generally).

• Things need to be done to fast – difficult to involve people.

• Tendency is to just do it yourself, easier than getting people involved.

• Partly because granting system tied up in time frames and particular procedures. Same people taking up all of the grants.

• People need to be involved in deciding the questions.

• Folk involved in campaigns, get a bit sick of being offered ideas when what they need is work to be done. We know what we are doing and what is needed. Can you move some stuff for us, give us a hand, make a plate of soup.



Practicalities of moving forward

• Keep the practical going and some kind of governing idea that keeps things together and makes folk want to be here rather than watching telly. Get people talking, walking to school, dominoes, things that engage.

• In it for the long run, sitting about, the boring bits, sticking at it, tired people.

• Also folk want to connect with establishment groups rather than radical groups.

• Politics for the day to day and the principals of how we live our life.

• Community centre should be a place for all age groups with a sense of independence of activities.

• A drop-in that folk can visit anytime particularly if they are working. we need to have the keys of this place not controlled by authority (autonomous).

• Refugees being lifted out of our community under our nose and understanding refugees are members of our community and need to be protected as such.

• The crucial need for volunteering.

• Fetishisation of volunteerism, over emphasising the social structure over the economic structure.




• Occupy is a way of reaction need to be act through positive activities.

• Politics getting in the way of involving people.

• Not involving community members enough.

• Forget about councillors etc.

• Bureaucracy of council procedures slow down and stop things from happening. (By design) using up our energy.




• Projecting positive ideas about campaigns.

• Getting angry.

• Start of campaign outrage and solidarity.

• In some campaigns a basic notion of humanism and solidarity is enough such as (asbestos campaign) where support for families. and making peoples lives a bit easier is important.

• Recognising there is a problem – then doing something about it.

• Making the invisible visible knowing what is available. campaigns support groups.

• Being visible (Art shops) in vicinity of drug dealers.

• Keep it practical.

• How do we keep folk pushing forward with daily life. just keep the work going, within the practicalities of the community.

• Action at Pearce Institute. Get education policy, reconstitute original remit of building.

• Situation at Pearce Institute, why even bother with it?

• Legacy of community lead campaigns School closures, to other thing happening in the community. Part of history, way forward.

• Process of school campaign. Other groups come up with different politics ideas.



Archive, history.

• The Spirit of Revolt group Left wing archive at Mitchell, who volunteers to look after it?

• We each represent connections Each of us (here) are a source of information and energy that can create a powerful resource.

• Importance of knowing radical history.

• Building knowledge through doing things .

• A battle of histories the official powerful media and our own word of mouth.

• Commemoration run for wee boy who drowned trying to save somebody. Important to remember community achievements, and humanism, history.

• Free University and Workers City Group 25 years ago

The Workers City group was made up of areas of sophisticated knowledge and ran for three years. The group was formed from an area of knowledge and folk who had been radicalised in some way, including, disaffected members of the left, anarchists, artists, Transmission, (gallery) and had groups of connections of various. overwhelming experience from some elderly people to the young and had a vision based in Glasgow radical politics. It could not be gainsaid

Some people: Hue Savage Les Foster, Janet McGinn, Isabel Anderson, Freddy Anderson, Lots of people who came from a real strength of political activism, The thing that drew people together was a knowledge of how to act and you didn’t need to sit around having a theoretical discussion.

People in different stages of organisation, age group differences, experience of campaigning, political position

Coming from different areas of political sophistication – finding ways of operating together.

Workers City had different areas of experience and politicking. But did not stop people from coming together to do things that needed to be done. No time to sit around discussing political theory. You have to organise quickly and be in support of each other. Folk don’t come together in a campaign at the same time.


Govan 80s

Creating social blight in Govan emptying housing, leaving dereliction, decay no hope. (favourite ploy of council) To lie in pre-demolition state for years. Wanting Govan to be a place to die because they (council) were ashamed if it. A demoralisation had set in early to mid 80s

These are not economic issues they are how we live our lives. To do with your quality of life your culture. it is to do with the demoralisation of Govan which has a history.

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