Should anarchists be involved in the Scottish Tenants Organisation

89% (8 votes)
0% (0 votes)
11% (1 vote)
Total votes: 9

Posted By

Nick Durie
Oct 13 2005 11:07



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Nick Durie
Oct 13 2005 11:07

What are your thoughts?

I think it could be very important.

Oct 13 2005 11:13

what is it?

Nick Durie
Oct 13 2005 11:25

Set up after the rent strikes in the run up to WWI the STO is a federation of tenants associations and tenants organisations. It's had a long history as a pressure group, a forum, and a kind of STUC of tenants associations.

A woman who sat on the commitee really ran it down recently (there is speculation as to her motive - was she an intelligence plant? Certainly a queerlike time to be fucking it over in the run up to so many stock transfer ballots etc.) through behaving in a truly scunnersome, embezzling fashion, and so many associations left (the greater part really) leaving about 200 (or thereabouts) affiliates. Still has some clout but so far zero anarchist presence, hence organisational structures are not what we would want them to be, but also because it is just a rump of what it used to be there is a very real opportunity to shape its future.

I went to the last national committee meeting which was actually very small (10 people or less really) and mostly consisted of long-standing committee members and Tayside Tenants ( people, many of whom are also in the SSP, altho their activities don't seem really to be endorsed by the SSP.

Oct 13 2005 11:41

It's tied in with the council, right? What could anarchists do to get involved, and turn round to a more radical, participatory organisation?

Nick Durie
Oct 13 2005 12:07
It's tied in with the council, right? What could anarchists do to get involved, and turn round to a more radical, participatory organisation?

No it's not. It does have occasional meetings with Communities Scotland but. The recent clauses re 'tenant participation' in the Housing Act (Scotland) 2001 were the result of such communication.

W.r.t. getting involved you can go along to the committee meetings, I think, (leastways I've been able to) and you need to get your TA to affiliate. Aside from that you have to put forward a position coherent with your beliefs in meetings and try and argue for greater democracy and focus on more direct methods of achieving results. It would also be about puting forward a manifesto, a programme that goes beyond patching up the social consensus and trying to get it adopted nationally as STO policy. At the moment tho they are not a huge organisation and have a really wee budget. Basically it needs left-wing types (and in my view more especially anarchists) to give it energy and turn it into a combative working class organisation in my view.[/i]

Oct 13 2005 12:17

The Scottish Tenants Organisation's chairperson, John Carracher, altough not a Glaswegian, took the trouble to get good anti-Glasgow Housing Association letters printed in the Glasgow Herald (moved to their pay archive site, so I can only quote the abstracts):

John Carracher wrote:
Not 'tenant-led' [Aug 2005]

MALCOLM Chisholm, MSP, along with Angiolina Foster should be extremely careful when making claims which contain the terms "tenant- led" and "community empowerment" (Letters, July 29). Glasgow Housing Association Ltd was not constructed or established by the tenants of Glasgow and so therefore was not "tenant-led".

The board of GHA Ltd was also not established by the tenants of Glasgow and is similarly not "tenant-led". ...

Housing-transfer voting is also disgraceful [May 2005]

Perversely, this was ignored by Scottish ministers who chose to misrepresent the provisions of the 1987 act in the case of the Glasgow housing transfer, where only a little over 29,000 voted Yes against an eligible vote of more than 80,000.

For instance, if only 60-per cent of tenants respond to a transfer survey and just over half of those say Yes, then ministers can ...

The Scottish Tenants Organisation are about the only organisation to back tenants and take a critical line on housing transfers. Not surprising then if attempts have been made to do them in.

Incidentally I helped put together this report on the Glasgow Housing Association But failed to get it picked up as a news story - is a real media blackout on the Glasgow Housing Association, and council housing transfers generally.

I have no qualms about getting involved in Community Councils, Tenants Associations, Trade Unions, local politics, etc. - whatever it takes. But I understand and respect those anarchists who want to avoid things like that.

Oct 13 2005 13:25

it's a tough one nick, i'm not sure what i'd do - i would probably be interested in getting involved in the STO if i was you, but if it's that fucked, and a load of TAs have quit it, might it be worth starting something new with better oporational structures straight away?

Oct 13 2005 13:55

It's probably a lot easier to take over a pre-existing organisation that people already know about, and to, er, reform embarrassed its organisational structures, than to set up a whole new one from scratch and have to do all the publicity and recruitment that that would require.

On the other hand, you'd have to do a fair bit of that anyway, since the STO's reputation is obviously somewhat tainted.

It is a tough one...

Oct 13 2005 14:12

Get involved, and at least get access to their list of contacts before doing a runner Mr. T

Seriously, if it's moribund, people with new energy could take it in a new direction -- contact the assoc that have left and find out why. Maybe some kind of re-founding conferece to address the new circumstances? If it was set up after ww1 it'll be 90 years old in 2008-9, so maybe plan for an event then?

All of this depending on you being able to do this and keep up the, much more important, grassroots stuff 8)

Nick Durie
Oct 13 2005 14:22

I mean I knda know my own mind on this one which is roughly as garner suggested, but also I wanted to promote discussion on this issue. You see we can argue about the makhnovschina or the Parisian sections or the constitution of Switzerland all day, but organisationally it's not all that relevant.

I would like to see an advisory body like Tayside Tenants set up in my area (defunct Maryhill Burgh), and I see that tied in with a general strategy of 'recover the burgh' activities (reclaiming institutions, organizing in community councils and building up working class mass participation) - essentially a platformist, libertarian municipalist strategy Mr. T.

I see the STO in quite a different light. While I'm in NW Glasgow there is next to fuckall that I can do for those areas which have little or no anarchist presence (almost everywhere outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh and to some extent Aberdeen; my home city, Dundee [pop 250,000], for example has fuckall anarchist activity that I'm aware of). Therefore it is pressing importance to find some way of setting a model, spreading a meme of a particular method of organisation and resistance for the future across Scotland.

We are literally faced with World War IV in the next 5 - 10 years. I am utterly convinced that the energy starved world we are entering is to be the biggest social upheaval since the second world war and if we do not set the organisational model and tone for the resistence of the working class then some scumfuck fascist or authoritarian socialist will do it for us, and then what - no progress comrades. We get shafted. it is therefore, in my view, a discussion that should be given great primacy, scilicet 'how do we spread our organisational methodology?

Oct 13 2005 15:43

pretty much agree with everything your saying nick - the only question is whether the STO is too tainted by its past to recover - but the only way to find out is to do it.

Oct 13 2005 16:17

Damn, I hoped this was about the Sojourner Truth Organization...