Saturday, October 30, 2010

Demonstration against Lewisham Library Cuts

A really good turnout on the demonstration today against the threatened closure of five Lewisham libraries. More than 200 people set off from outside Crofton Park Library.

The march headed off down Brockley Rise and then along the South Circular to Catford.

Lewisham Pensioners Forum turned out on the march...

As did St Hilda, or to be more precise the banner of St Hilda & St Cyprian's Church in Crofton Park:

Outside Lewisham Town Hall there was a rally, with a 'Lewisham Libraries' coffin being delivered.
Blackheath and Crofton Park banners outside the Town Hall:

Lewisham People Before Profit - 'Books not Bail outs'

All in all a good day, the only dischord being at the beginning where local Labour MPs Joan Ruddock and Heidi Alexander were almost drowned out by hecklers when they spoke. I'm all for people criticising Labour councils for implementing the cuts as well as the Tory/Lib Dem government for imposing them, and a bit of heckling's fine by me. But one of the good things about the march was that it wasn't just the usual Lewisham politicos, I spoke to some neighbours and work colleagues who had come along with kids and some of them felt uncomfortable with the rancour. If the anti-cuts movement is going to involve people like them, perhaps activists need to be a bit less self-indulgent. Just because what you're saying may be correct, it doesn't mean that you have no responsibility for the impact of how you say it or the atmosphere it creates. Plus chanting 'Labour Out' on its own -as some did - seemed rather a strange slogan and let the ConDems off the hook - remember their local reps are absurdly arguing that cuts in Lewisham are nothing to do with them!


Ian said...

Hi, I'm a member of Voices for the Library, a group of library workers who have got together to campaign for libraries in the face of impending cuts. We publish stories on our website from use and library workers to highlight the great things that they do. If anyone would like to write about Crofton Park library and the campaign for our website, we'd love to hear from you. We are also on Twitter (@ukpling) and Facebook (Voices for the Library). We'd love to hear from those involved in the campaign and wish you all good luck in fighting the closures.

Transpontine said...

There's another report on this at Green Ladywell.

Just to clarify, I don't really want to hear from politicians either, I would rather be hearing from library users, workers and other anti-cuts campaigners. Politicians who are implementing cuts should be made to feel uncomfortable. But I also want people who turn up on protests, perhaps for the first time in their lives, not to feel they've walked into some inter-leftist slanging match.

Melanie said...


I am a journalist working for, I am writing an article on the library cuts at the moment, and wonder if I could please use one of your photos from the march?

We will credit you for the photo,

Transpontine said...

Sure Melanie, go ahead and use the pics, a link would be good.

Anonymous said...

Its a disgrace
Join the resistance
fight the Cuts

Unknown said...

Hi Transpontine, would it be OK to include a couple of your 2011 Lewisham Libraries demo images in my Goldsmiths sociology PhD thesis? I study the impact of austerity on public libraries and New Cross is one of my case studies. I will of course credit you as you wish and happy to share the research when completed (this summer). Alice