The Home-page of this; site provides a list of key issues for a 'Sustainable Hackney'.To see them click on the small green 'map' labelled, 'Issues'. They are significant Issues but there is an important one missing: 'Community Relations' does not appear on that list. This omission, however, does chime with my experience with groups hosted by this site.. After several years participation and monitoring of Mill Fields Users Group, from a promising opening to the burnishing down to its present form, I have seen virtually every aspect of community relations stripped from the agenda of the group . The only role offered to the public is that of approving the policies of the leader of the group, carrying out various horticultural tasks, playing sports or nominal recreation associated with green areas or dodging the aggressive cyclists on the footpaths. All efforts at bridge building to excluded groups has been sidelined and negated. In response to the subject of participation of racial 'minorities' it was said, ( we ) 'don't like the direction this conversation is taking'. A planned mural on temporary industrial hoardings, involving the participation of excluded youth was sidelined and blocked with various contradictory reasons give. *
It was after the annihilation of the mural project that, for the first time, it seemed to me that riots were a possibility in Hackney. The fresh middle-class incomers to the neighbourhood just do not get the plot. They do not understand the function of such low scale community arts projects. They are blind to the fact that the miraculous balancing act of the various diverse communities in Hackney was partly feasible because of the two decades of faith and hope and hard work in 'bridge-building. It was the work of years of Community Arts projects, Youth and Community Work and low level community politics; much of it informal, unpaid and under the radar of the 'Local Authority'. This 'Social Capital' is just about used up now, and we are running on empty; borrowing from the notional goodwill of the Olympics.
The use of the prisons and the psychiatric wards and relocation schemes for the 'cleansing' of the boro' quietly provides the assurance that the property price bubble can continue to tremble and swell a little longer. 'Change'! I notice that this site uses the same keyword as Barack 'Peace-Prize' Obama and David Cameron, the universal keyword of United Nations Agenda 21 but also of the citizens' action and investigation groups such as 'We Are Change'. Change is happening now, but the values of loving mercy and justice never ever change and 'Truth' is not quite so 'relative' as our politicians and public consultation fraudsters believe it to be. It will, eventually, find us all.
* The persons at the centre of this process of exclusion and appropriation may have the opportunity to read this. No suggestion is made here or inferred about motives. However the single-minded determination to achieve 'green' political goals, no matter how commendable, must sometimes be asked to stand back to allow for the propagation and slow cultivation of networks of kindness.
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