Areas with shifting population: local organising possible?

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Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 13 2005 16:33
Areas with shifting population: local organising possible?

I'm talking about areas with a lot of students, for example, or with a lot of recent immigrants (from inside or outside the UK) in transit. Places with a truly settled population are rare -- retirement towns and sink estates being two of the few examples.

Do the settled and shifting populations always develop different interests? This often happens in places with a big student population who often squeeze out/harrass the other residents.

With all this in mind, will organising be possible across these interests? The thread could also have been called 'is organising possible in places with a mixed middle/working class population?'

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 13 2005 23:16

Of course it is.

I don't really understand what your problem is. Students still want improvements to their lives surely?? Ditto immigrants.

As for mixed middle/working class - who cares?? If the middle class wanna back a cause that will further working class emancipation, let them. I'm middle class and I am...oh shit, send me to the firing squads. (Doubtless Jack will turn up with an incredibly tired comment about the CAG Disciplinary Squad in about 12 hours, ho ho ho.)

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 14 2005 08:02
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Of course it is.

I don't really understand what your problem is. Students still want improvements to their lives surely?? Ditto immigrants.

As for mixed middle/working class - who cares?? If the middle class wanna back a cause that will further working class emancipation, let them. I'm middle class and I am...oh shit, send me to the firing squads. (Doubtless Jack will turn up with an incredibly tired comment about the CAG Disciplinary Squad in about 12 hours, ho ho ho.)

Well look at greenstead for an example of a student/non-student mix, or think about some of the areas around here with sheltered housing in which houses ex-cons, homeless or mostly young male immigrants.

Ignore how vacuous lazlo's terminology is, he's just on an IWCA trip right now. The actual bulk of the arguement up for discussion is quite useful.

john

Mike Harman
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Jan 14 2005 09:54

I don't think student populations have different interests to more settled populations in terms of their relationship to capital, but they do constitute a community in themselves. Any work they might do is probably viewed as outside both their studies and their social life. Students are as much defined by their age as they are by the fact that they're students - and many people that age who aren't part of the shifting "student population" will be living with their parents and possibly working, as will a lot of mature students possibly be settled in the area already.

As individuals, students will probably be in the same area for 3-4 years, but the "student population" as an entity is there fordecades. If you were working in an area with a large student population it'd be worth trying to build structures that could survive individuals passing in and out of them.

Stuff like transport, housing, environmental conditions, cost of living is going to affect both groups and the focus should be on breaking down artificial distinctions in the interests of groups rather than defining politics based on those distinctions.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 17 2005 17:55
Catch wrote:
As individuals, students will probably be in the same area for 3-4 years, but the "student population" as an entity is there fordecades. If you were working in an area with a large student population it'd be worth trying to build structures that could survive individuals passing in and out of them.

That's a good idea -- but communities and community groups are made up of individuals, and it's difficult to have a 'statutory' representative of, say students. In an area where most of the 'activists' are recent in-comers and likely to leave in a year or so, it is difficult to build up the consistent connections that good local organising needs.

I think this is one if the biggest reasons why the anarchist/direct activist scene hasn't given rise to a range of community based groups.

gregorya
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Jan 17 2005 18:27
Quote:
Well look at greenstead for an example of a student/non-student mix

I always wondered where the students in Colchester lived. (Yes, I'm another Colchester boy, although I moved away when I went to uni).

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 23 2005 17:26
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Catch wrote:
As individuals, students will probably be in the same area for 3-4 years, but the "student population" as an entity is there fordecades. If you were working in an area with a large student population it'd be worth trying to build structures that could survive individuals passing in and out of them.

That's a good idea -- but communities and community groups are made up of individuals, and it's difficult to have a 'statutory' representative of, say students. In an area where most of the 'activists' are recent in-comers and likely to leave in a year or so, it is difficult to build up the consistent connections that good local organising needs.

I think this is one if the biggest reasons why the anarchist/direct activist scene hasn't given rise to a range of community based groups.

You mean anarchists are lumpen scum or drifters. Wow are you sure, man you really have been slaving away on this theory then haven't you grin

Now the basic problem you have here is that you have a crude conception of what the proletariat want, and are trying to lump everyone under one roof, when its fairly obvious that you can't do that, you can't even know what 1 person wants let alone thousands. I mean its fairly obvious that different parts of the populations have entirely different consumption/work habits, old age pensioners for example can't be approached in the same way that 16 year old kids could.

Unless we're talking about specifics here then i don't see the point of this post, because without any context this is just a wankfest for ''community organising' without any real examples

rebel_lion
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Jan 26 2005 22:42

Not all students are transitory. And those that are are often forced into being transitory by fucked up housing and financial policies designed to segregate students from local working class populations (i'm dealing with this shit at the moment, trying to live in an intentionally mixed student/non-student household and getting mass bureaucratic shit thrown in my way)...

The same is often true of immigrants etc... it's not that populations are "shifting" because they want to be, it's because capitalism and our strictly divided society make them so... lots of people who are "transitory" because of current circumstances actually crave lasting local community, even if only subconsciopusly, but maybe don't think it possible...

IMO the local organisation that is needed in these types of areas is local organisation designed specifically to combat the shifting population... housing co-ops and projects towards local food sufficiency for example... only not just involving a bunch of hippy idealists, but conecting with the gras roots of local people... such a thing being harder said than done, i know...

also bear it in mind that people often need to do a bit of "shifting" to find and decide on a place where they want to commit to or stay in long term... for instance, after ending up in leamington spa as a student, i've decided to "settle" there, whereas other ppl i know have decided thru the same experience to go back to their original home towns, or to keep on looking for somewhere...

localism is a concept that, despite its somewhat middle class associations, can IMO if reclaimed enthuse a lot of ppl... with a genuinely radical approach to it...