Mass outside meeting draws up battle plan

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow, photo Paul Mattsson

Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Linda Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

A breath of fresh air. After being huddled over a computer in endless Zoom discussions for nine months, it was great to be outside again in the town square, doing what the Socialist Party has been doing for five years: campaigning to stop corporate greed disfiguring our town square with monster blocks of totally unaffordable flats.

In February 2018, one of our first mass activities was an occupation-demo in the square involving hundreds and hundreds of people. On 24 October, 100 people responded to the call from the Save Our Square campaign, alarmed at the council’s new juggernaut plans, with a miniscule number of flats for council tenants.

Last year, Waltham Forest council partially stepped back and agreed to save the avenue of beautiful lime trees, due for demolition in the redevelopment.

Next year, the plans would have run out of time, and been wiped off the books. Victory was so close.

With the Covid crisis, these councillors – handmaidens of craven property developers – seem to think that the previous opposition will just die away, that they can bring back the old plans in a new form and get away with it this time. No Way!

The square meeting drew up a battle plan:

  • Lobby and letter write in the consultation period
  • Mass attendance at the planning committee, like last time
  • Mass action and occupation should all that fail

Above all, Nancy Taaffe, a Socialist Party member and chair of Save Our Square, made a call to campaigners and trade unionists to stand for council in the next elections. We, the campaigners, would make different decisions – stopping property giants and start building council homes at council rents.

Everyone cheered at the end of the meeting, pleased that we now have a growing body of people who’ve had enough and are willing to fight – whatever it takes.