Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

Social Change – but what kind of education?

by Lloyd on 28.02.11
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Woodcraft Folk at the March for an alternativeSometimes things never seem to change for the better and then (just like buses) it all comes at once. In less than two months we have seen social and political changes across the Middle East and North Africa, as we never thought we would.

Social change and social movements are all around us, growing numbers of our members are taking part in UK Uncut protests and in the US we have seen some of the largest demonstrations in decades fighting for their rights to form and bargain in a Union. Many of our young people will be radicalised by what they hear on the television or see on the internet and quite rightly they will be angry and often frustrated. How does the education that we offer in our groups deal with this social change?

While other organisations may help people fit into society we mustn’t fall in the trap of pacifying young people for an easy life. In a changing world I believe that our education is as important as ever, education that can direct that frustration, that can galvanise a vision and help build a reality of social change. It is so often in mainstream education that educators are expected to step back and be “impartial observers” of the world, .channelling what they see to inform their young people In Woodcraft Folk, we are not just observers, we are actors and we are not just telling young people what is happening, we are supporting them to express what they see around them. As socialist educators, the new world that we fashion is not dictated out of some manual; our education is based on the reality that our children and young people know. It is based on the premise that through collective action we can improve the lives of everyone.

For this, and may other reasons, the Woodcraft Folk will not just be standing back but actively supporting all its members, old and young, to take part in the demonstration for an alternative on the 26th March in London. We don’t do this to force young people to attend but to help educate our members on our solidarity with the Trade Union Movement and how they can practically take part in the world around them.

I was listening to someone from Cario via the BBC and she said “I see that this is part of educating my child, how to speak out, how to say his word. I don’t want him to be a coward. I want him to be a brave man when he grows up. I will never put him in danger but he has to come and see that people can speak out and be brave.” In this newsletter you will see a number of articles about how to get involved in the demonstration, stories about what other groups are doing and the meetings points for the family friendly part of the march. You will also be able to read the latest IFM-SEI newsletter. One article of interest describes how our sister organisation’s members in Belarus have again been arrested following the elections brings home the old slogan “Protest and Survive”.

You will also see articles from other members around the world, many of whom you will meet face to face at Co-Camp in the summer. Solidarity over the internet is all well and good, but tweeting can only get you so far ( To show solidarity, support and fundamentally build a truly global world based on equality, justice and peace; interactions such as camping, exchanges and marching together will always play a role.

I hope that you enjoy this month’s newsletter and I hope very much to see you on the 26th March (join the facebook page here:


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Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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