Posted by Left Luggage on July 20, 2009
We’ve argued previously that the Left needs to tackle such thorny issues as anti-social behaviour, crime, and morality if it is to launch itself from the political wilderness to centre stage. Blogger Vengeance and Fashion took up these issues in an excellent post that furthered this debate. Generalising from the case of teacher Peter Harvey, who was charged with the attempted murder of one of his pupils, the writer goes on to discuss problems of behaviour in the classroom and how this relates to wider changes in society.
He relates his analysis to the Independent Working Class Association’s identification of a “lumpen attitude”, highlighted in a previous piece on Left Luggage, that is ultimately counter to working class values and destructive to communities. The writer correctly argues that the Left as a whole needs to recognise such attitudes and behaviour as something that needs to be countered:
It doesn’t do the left any good to pretend that the attitudes of a significant section of the school population stink. The constant invokation of ‘rights’ and selfish disregard for anyone else (be they other pupils or teachers) is prevalent in many classrooms. As is the baiting of teachers, who have little real power over pupils.[…]
The lumpen attitude, as identified by the IWCA, of ‘venal and brazen opportunism’ and the decline of working class ideals, is undoubtedly as a result of the atomisation and decline in traditional working class organisations and institutions. This has in turn led to a decline in the working class values identified in the quote above, to which I would add the spirit of self and collective improvement. This does seem to have been a significant factor behind the escalation of problems in the classroom over the last 30 years.
Much of the Left might find fault with this analysis, given the strong tendency to romanticise an idealised “working class” while largely remaining distanced from it. Even if such a heretical notion were permitted, the solutions offered would not doubt be along the lines of: “Unless we abolish capitalism…”, merely reinforcing the Left’s impotence as regards practical politics in the here and now. V&A attempts to bridge this gap by suggesting a “twin-track approach”:
Posted in Education, Morality, Strategy, Youth | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Left Luggage on April 23, 2009
The spirit of the Glasgow school occupation and the Visteon workers has spread and parents of children at Lewisham Bridge School in South London have occupied the roof of the school in protest at its closure.
You can read about the background here. There is also a facebook group.
Parents involved in the occupation would really appreciate any visits to the school or anyone who can do shifts on the roof. The BBC, Evening Standard and others have already been down to cover the occupation.
There will be a public meeting outside the school tomorrow (Friday 24/4) at 3.30pm. The school is on Elmira Street, Lewisham, SE13 7BN. A map can be found here. Messages of support can be put on the facebook group and sent to email@example.com.
We fully support the parents involved in this protest and wish them every success.
Posted in Education, News | 1 Comment »
Posted by Left Luggage on April 9, 2009
Parents in Glasgow continue to occupy two primary schools that are under threat of closure as part of a city-wide plan to close 25 schools affecting 2,000 children. We featured news about this action in an earlier post. This video features an interview with the mothers involved in the action by an organiser with Glasgow Save Our Schools campaign:
Posted in Education, News | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Left Luggage on April 4, 2009
About 30 parents in Glasgow yesterday occupied two primary schools that are under the threat of closure.
The actions at Wyndford Primary and St Gregory’s Primary in Maryhillare are over plans by the local council to close both schools by merging them with other primaries. Glasgow City Council is proposing a series of cuts that would result in 13 primaries and 12 nurseries either closing or merging.
The protestors denounced a “sham” consultation process undertaken by the council and said the closure of the schools tear the heart out of the community. One of the mothers occupying St Gregory’s said: “They are the heart of our community. If they take the schools away it will just kill it. I’m a former pupil and this school means a lot to us.”
As of last night, reports from Wyndford Primary said the occupation was going well and the parents had “barricaded themselves in” for the night. A demonstration is planned outside the school for midday today (Saturday, April 4).
Posted in Community, Education | 3 Comments »