Ranters of Mow Cop

Ranters of Mow Cop

Saturday, 17 October 2015

On not keeping pure....

A while ago I blogged on the issues currently shaping the activities of

Our Second-Rate Third Sector? Charity in the Age of Austerity  

I endorsed the view of

National Commission for Independent Action (NCIA) (that) , voluntary services face a bleak future as 'servants of the Government'. The NCIA challenges voluntary groups to take urgent action to fight for the rights of the people they serve, protect their independence and resist the privatisation of public services.
Subsequently there has been an extended discussion in the mailing list of the network that emerged from NCIA about the reality that
that mainstream think tanks and 'sector leaders' are slowly 'waking from their dogmatic slumbers' about the fundamental shift that appears to have overtaken the voluntary sector in the welfare field
and debates about how radical practitioners and academics should deal with this mainstreaming of concern
and the blog articles on the theme at
I wonder if the elephant in the room is that all of us who work in the sector (whether as service delivery practitioners, academics or agitators/connectors) actually have vested interests in that we need to find a livelihood - unless of course we have private means such as a pension or a fortune... or unless we are willing to earn a tiny living by a minimum wage job... gone are the days when you could finance your subversive activity by being on the dole...
That means that most of us are beholden to funders (be they statutory, charitable or private sector) if we want to keep and fulfill the roles we have in our jobs. That means that it's impossible to be totally pure and uncompromised...though we can all make some attempt to stand up and be guided by the fundamental values we believe in..and shape our work activities according to them. But it's a familiar problem as Jermy Corbyn among others has discoverered... Not everybody will agree with you...and people are going to take different stances... some are going to be more opportunistic in taking funding or power when it comes...
Yes, it is very frustrating when those in the vanguard of a movement find late arrivals at the ball, better resourced and either reinventing the wheel without acknowledging the previous work or domesticating the issue with mild reformist rather than radical measures.. But in a sense that's just life and politics and we need to get on with it...
And some of the getting on with it is about organizing and trying to built a movement.. I've been dipping in and out as an observer rather than a convinced follower to the broad based Community organizing movement over the years.. and recently been reading Luke Bretherton's book

Resurrecting Democracy
Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life


It's quite deep and academic in political theory and theology but it covers a lot of relevant issues.. What I like about the BBCO approach is that it works out a way to be confrontational on issues yet relational with the enemy at the same time... What I find frustrating is that by building a movement by consensus it can lose the radical cutting edge and fail to see or make use of the clear analysis that shows the hegemoniuc system is rotten...and you end up in reformist mode.. just chipping away at winnable issues
Ther is an interesting reflection on this in this blog...
Have read and see what you think...