My Christmas reading

I’m about a year behind in my reading – I had a busy 2013 and am now getting round to reading some of the books I bought at the end of 2012.

This book has some compelling arguments for associative democracy as a means of democratising the economy and creating a more responsive welfare system.  I know that the way you do politics determines the change you can make, and, whilst this book leaves plenty of questions unanswered, it makes a strong case for services and businesses governed in a way that puts the people they are supposed to serve in charge.

Everything I have learnt in my decade in Tower Hamlets has taught me that power and resources need to be in the hands of people seeking to build their own future.

There are plenty of examples locally of people and organisations that changed the world for the better from the ground up.

Matchgirls, dockers, Labour leaders, suffragettes– their ghosts everywhere.

In Tower Hamlets, local government is never boring, and at its best it can achieve so much.

I ran a seminar on the East London Federation of Suffragettes last year,  and this year I’ll edit and publish my account of how east end women united to fight for the vote and for their families and communities before the 100th anniversary of the creation of the federation this summer.

This account  of how local elected politicians, council officers, parents, young people and school governors, backed by national government, transformed education in Tower Hamlets, is fascinating – I hope I can talk to enough people to give a locally rooted version of it.

The battle of Cable  street is well known, the story of fight against the National Front and BNP in east London in the later part of the 20th century has not been fully written.  How can we change that?

There are a number of organizations in Tower Hamlets that hold enormous expertise on how to support individuals and families to change their lives.  I won’t name them without their permission, but I hope to write up some of what I have learnt from them.

On this blog I will try to write as I learn, and I hope that if you’ve read this far you will be interested enough to comment, tell me where I’ve got it wrong, tell me what I should read and who I should talk to.  A huge number of extraordinary people have already made their contribution to creating a united east end.  It is for us to build our shared future.