1978-2017. South Wales.
In 1978, the last months of Callaghan, ‘community activists’ Mike, Barbara and myself joined the campaigns of council tenants to improve their heating, housing and estates. Action on one estate led to a movement across the valleys and towns of South Wales.
Tenants called their experience ‘waking up’. (I always thought I was useless’, ‘I can’t imagine going back to my old life’, ‘Like throwing away corsets’).
The letters in this book track what happened when Thatcher and Blair ruled ‘There is no alternative’. And Osborne demolished ‘Social Security’. It records the deaths of young men.
The letters consider what defeat does to political consciousness and the profitable housing crisis now engulfing more than the children of council tenants.
There’s evidence for Socialists: Mike’s book, if he wrote it, would be ‘The Poverty of Practice’. Ashley’s post mortem, ‘The trouble was we didn’t define equality’ has our class relation to the tenants in mind as much as global set-backs. And Jean’s, ‘One’s sense that some sorts of inequality are [capital] offences’.
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