Education, Learning, Unions

The Closures Foretold and the Common Good Awareness Project

“Culture and Sport Glasgow”, morphed into “Glasgow Life” and will no doubt morph under present pressures from closure campaigners into something else, equally devious.

In Glasgow we should not really be surprised by the closures of our community institutions. If only we would have paid more attention in 2007 when the city council under the then chief Steven Purcell announced that. To quote from Glasgow Lost a website at the time “In January 2007, the leader of Glasgow City Council (and now board member of Culture and Sport Glasgow) announced that the management of Glasgow's Common Good assets, museums, libraries, social and community policy and much more, would be transferred en masse to a private company (with, for now at least, charitable status). The decision to transfer control of Glasgow's treasured heritage and future social policy was taken without any consultation, discussion or debate involving or including the people of Glasgow; instead Purcell and a very small number of ill-advised, sycophantic colleagues, together with paid external consultants, worked for months putting a highly questionable business plan together, while the Glasgow people had no idea anything was being planned.”

During this theft of Glasgow's Common Good, Variant Magazine produced a multi page article laying out the players of this theft and their business relationship to each other. Variant, till then, was freely available in council premises but was instantly banned when he article titled The New Bohemia by Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt  appears in the Variant, The reason for the ban? In order that the public or the present and future effected council workers, privatisation and theft of the cities common good assets could be kept in the dark. A theft that was being perpetrated in the public's name under Culture And Sport, without their permission. And the fraud has continued to through Glasgow Life o this day which is why we find kids reading books on their library steps, rather than in the comfort of a building that was once part of their Common Good. The Variant was one of the few publications that put effort into critiquing and exposing these frauds. Obviously the magazine needed to be defunded. We can't have media working in the public’s interests.

The Common Good Awareness Project
was created around the same time, just before the article mentioned above, which describes in detail the workings of city administrators when we leave them to their own devices. But the CGAP was created not just to record the fraud and misdeeds of those who’s job it is, to be the custodians and stewards of our public owned assets.

Rather the project was set up more to deal more with the lack of response in the general public to understanding, or to see the value of these historical assets and in helping to renew the social bonds that created them. The social bonds that can be seen lacking, particularly in working class communities today through a process of disconnecting people from their commons and particularly working class institutions.

The problems we face today through neoliberal policies, cuts and privatisation are what we should expect from corporate profiteers. It is what they do and always have done. One of the main problems the CGAP sees in drawing back from these crude and inhuman acts of exploitation is a brake down in citizenship. The struggle for rights needs to be connected to the citizens obligation to participate. There can be no agency without participation. The proof can be found in the Peoples Palace, one of our closed venues which holds the inspiring stories and history of working class participation in the struggle for sustainable change.

Common Good Awareness Project