Community Organising in Clackmannanshire

by Grant Aitken, CfS member in Clackmannanshire CLP

Comrades, in our fight to win back Scotland it is important we are active and organising within our communities. This can take many forms but the one I am going to discuss is the community initiative we ran in Clackmannanshire, the school stationery campaign.

For anyone seeking to follow in similar paths it is important to recognise that this requires a lot of time and effort and if you have an unsupportive executive in your CLP it can be frustrating, and you will almost certainly be doing most of the work yourself. 

With this I will detail some simple steps you can follow to run something similar in your community.

First, I would recommend that you approach this as the labour movement, write out to your local TU branches and their national offices. Taking this approach will gain you resources and ultimately you will be tackling an issue as the collective rather than just your CLP, but in all honesty it is always best to run campaigns with the trade unions they are pivotal to our movement and working together going forward will only strengthen your CLP for the task of winning at the next election.

From my experience, before making stationery packs or whatever you may do you must make a google document survey to gather details of whom you will be helping. With this you can even add in an option for people to stay in touch with the Labour Party about future campaigns. Once this is created you will have to promote it on Facebook, this can be done with funds that total around £10-20 depending on how big your area is, but it is crucial that you do this as you can reach thousands of people within days. Although in our campaign we never set a deadline I would suggest that this is done, just so that you can cope with the influx of applications that will come in. 

Once you have the fundamentals set up as detailed above write out to your local press, they should cover such stories and it will get the campaign traction and raise awareness of your issue. You don’t have to necessarily make party political points straight away, that can be done in the aftermath. For example, in a press release explaining how the campaign went after you have done everything.

Now to the mechanism of such campaigns. If you were to do something similar to ourselves we bought roughly £360 worth of stationery this included pencil cases, rubbers, pens, pencils, sharpeners, notebooks and whiteboards (also various resources from the trade unions). Also, if you are struggling, Scottish Labour HQ donated to us and I’m sure they would help others so don’t be afraid to ask.

As soon as you have your resources you can engage your CLP by running packing sessions and this way everyone is chipping in, in whatever way they can. You will also need to find ways of delivering the packs once assembled. I recognise not everywhere is as geographically small as clacks but we delivered 150 packs across the whole county with volunteers from each area taking about 40/50 packs each.

Finally, make sure you are creating graphics and updating the community of what you are doing through social media and local press. If anyone wishes to contact me for tips or help on any of the things mentioned above feel free to email me and we can have a chat.

The Labour Party needs to show communities that we are still on their side and still helping our people despite not being in power.