Saturday, 8 February 2014
Understanding the machinations of the local state. Landlordism is a reality of life in 2014 but it is nothing new. Reading the North Tyneside CDP report (1978) North Shields: Working Class Politics & Housing 1900-1977 it offers a fascinating historical dialectical critique of the local politics in Tynemouth Council up to its reorganisation in 1974. This publication not only records the way socialist alternatives to Conservative/Liberal rule was thwarted by a propaganda of 'red scares' but also explores how Tynemouth Council in 1912 was packed with landlords, building society associates, builders and estate agents and how they resisted implementing the 1890 Housing Act, which made it incumbent upon local authorities to carry out slum clearance and build low rent housing for the working class. Too many councillors had their vested interests to look after - in keeping rents high and maintaining profits from private building - despite the health dangers of open sewage, an infant mortality rate of 280 per 1000 births and small pox epidemics on the North Shields banksides in the early 1900s.
Thursday, 6 February 2014
The North Shields Community Development Project 1972 - 1977: how a liberal experiment in the social control of poverty led to protest and a critique of the local state; eventually to a realignment of radical left politics in the 1980s. What can we learn from this?
Thursday, 21 November 2013
Willie Thompson considers the reasons why efforts to achieve transformations in class relations and projects of emancipation have historically proved so hard to accomplish and why twentieth century hopes in particular have been so disappointed; and emphasising that a realistic appreciation of the obstacles – the pessimism of the intellect – is an essential preliminary to overcoming them but also inspiring confidence that they can be overcome. Finally, suggesting the importance of history societies (like the NELH group) for keeping alive the memory of the struggles so far, as well as analysing what went wrong.