Serving 7000 meals a day

Glad to share that we are serving almost 7000 meals per day in Delhi through our seven community kitchens to stranded migrant workers who are without access to food and need to survive 21 days lockdown to defeat Coronavirus.  Help us buy/cook for most vulnerable excluded from welfare measures. Put Delhi in the donation memo.




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Feeding Informal Workers in Delhi

Our ACORN Affiliate, Janpahal, is serving food to migrants in Delhi, India to support them survive 21 days lockdown. We are serving 5000 plus meals on daily basis through our 7 community kitchens to those not having access to food and any welfare measures. Kindly donate generously to help us defeat hunger and defeat corona. All donations will go to feed migrants in India.  Please write Delhi in the paypal memo.

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India’s Lockdown Leaves ACORN Members Without Food

ACORN India members are informal workers, hawkers and vendors, who have to work each day to get shelter and food.

Coronavirus lockdown: With no food or hope, truckers stranded across India

Modi’s poorly planned lockdown won’t save us from coronavirus, but will kill economy

Why India doesn’t seem to care about its poor even during a pandemic

ACORN India is desperately trying to get food to members.  Our shelters are overrun and members are getting beaten in the streets when they go out to try to get food.



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Ciara Lenihan, Kiera White and Brooklyn Ward of Acorn’s north-east branch in Newcastle. Photograph: Mark Pinder/The Guardian

Community union Acorn reports glut of applications: Election prompts people across England to join direct action group unaffiliated to any party

Copy of the Article The Guardian.

Boris Johnson’s election landslide has prompted hundreds of people to join a fast-growing community union that organises direct action on social problems instead of relying on party politicians.

Acorn has reported a glut of applications across England, which began within minutes of last week’s exit poll predicting a Conservative landslide. Organisers of the self-help project, which already has 11 branches, have also been asked to set up eight new units from Bradford to Weymouth after it issued an online call urging: “Don’t mourn, organise!”

Acorn has campaigned on housing but is now considering branching out into workers’ rights, immigration and the environment. It is not affiliated to any party and is funded by the dues of its members, who can come from any part of society. Its popularity appears to be a sign of growing appetite for non-party political action, not only as people brace for five more years of Conservative government but also as they lose faith with Labour’s ability to deliver change.

In the north-east, where Acorn’s young activists are using the organisation to circumvent councillors and MPs, Labour lost eight stronghold constituencies to the Conservatives, causing one outgoing veteran socialist MP to attack his own party’s “bloody lazy” representatives.

“The Tories have come out in Blyth and done exactly what we used to do,” Ronnie Campbell, the MP for Blyth Valley since 1987 until his retirement before the election, told the Guardian. “Their councillors work and work. Our lot [were saying] ‘When do we get our money?’”

The training organisation Campaign Bootcamp has also seen its courses three times oversubscribed in the last year and has now trained over 1,000 new activists who “find party politics off-putting, or feel that their cause is not represented”. It focuses on training ethnic minorities, working-class people, disabled people and women outside the south-east.

The developments come amid a post-mortem for Labour that has seen repeated calls for the party to reconnect with its historic voter base in northern towns through grassroots activism. Labour peer Lord Glasman is among those who have argued that Labour needs to return to community values based on trade unions and voluntary groups like Acorn.

“The kind of organisation they are doing, building closer relationships, is in tension with the idea [advanced by Labour] the state should be doing these things,” he said. “Labour’s campaigning has been based on policy ideas rather than doing stuff.”

“We’ve had hundreds of new members join,” said Nick Ballard, founder and national organiser of Acorn UK. “They started coming in just after the exit poll and haven’t stopped since. Communities are going to have a rough time of it over the next parliament. [They] need to be organised and, we would say, outside of political parties.”

“Parties shouldn’t engage with local campaigners solely with an eye on polling day,” said Johnny Chatterton, who runs Campaign Bootcamp. “People across the country campaign on a variety of issues for lots of different reasons. Trying to restrict them to, or corral them into, party agendas will not work for anyone.”

On Wednesday evening in Newcastle’s East End a dozen Acorn activists assembled in the community room at the bottom of a Byker council tower block for the annual general meeting of the north-east branch. The agenda included considering whether to set up a group to oppose immigration raids, how to report unregistered landlords, providing pre-school breakfasts and starting a red gym – a place where activists can meet and work out, a healthier alternative to bar-room politics.

“A lot of people are angry the Tories have got into power and they feel powerless,” said Kiera White, 24, who works as an administrator and is secretary of the branch, which now has 140 members. “But there is a limit to what you can do by writing to your MP. We’re here and we will address the problem.”

The branch has fought for a return of 24-hour concierge services in social housing blocks, better security and improved fire safety after a spate of arson attacks. They have formed action groups to confront landlords unfairly withholding tenants’ deposits, protest against estate agents and form human chains to block evictions.

“It gives you satisfaction and a feeling of power that I haven’t had before,” said White. “I am not looking forward to the next five years because it will be dangerous for a lot of people, but I think we are on the edge of something.”

Among the other activists, Brooklyn Ward, 24, the branch membership officer, said she had found party politics too “abstract”, John Evans, 27, a software engineer, said he felt being involved in party politics “requires living in London so you feel connected to it” and Ciara Lenihan, 28, an artist, said she was attracted by the group’s lack of political links and remarked that no-one canvassed her during the election.

“I want more people like me helping run the world: marginalised, queer, people of colour, poor people, disabled people,” she said. “I mean everyone who hasn’t had a go yet!”

The Newcastle branch covers some of the north-east Labour heartlands that were lost to the Conservatives, including Blyth Valley. In comments that will reinforce a sense of a party adrift, the outgoing MP, Ronnie Campbell, told the Guardian that “too many people [are] coming into the Labour party thinking they can get a career out of it,” rather than dealing with voters’ problems.

Speaking at his Blyth home, he said the infrastructure of trade union chapels, the co-op and the Labour women’s clubs that stitched voters to the party for decades has all but gone and the influx of new party members from the £3 membership drive in 2015 had little effect and attracted members of the Socialist Workers party.

Kath Nesbitt, a Labour councillor for Blyth on Northumberland county council, said she does voluntary work almost daily and has seen demand growing over the last eight years. She is a local politician but, tellingly, prefers to be called a community activist, saying: “I very much care about our town.”

“It is going to get worse,” she said, taking a brief break from helping at one of several Christmas lunches for the elderly this week. “They come about universal credit, about housing, about problems with antisocial behaviour. This government may do something for us at first, but then we will be the forgotten town again.”

Momentum, the leftwing campaign group affiliated to the Corbyn project, is considering launching an online tool next year to encourage its members to connect with community action groups. It has previously focused on getting its activists placed as candidates and social media campaigning, but a spokesman said direct activism “means that when you go to communities at election time no-one says ‘Where were you?’”

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ACORN Around the World

Organizers’ Forum

El Comita, ACORN Tunisia and the Jasmine Foundation hosted the organizers forum in Tunis, Tunisia from September 12th to September 18th. The Organizers’ Forum annually visits different countries.  In Tunisia, we met with unions, NGOs, environmental, and women’s organizations along with communities where ACORN’s affiliate, La Comita, was organizing.  ACORN representatives induced Olivia O’Conner from Hamilton ACORN, Adrien Roux from the Alliance Citoyenne, Eloise Mallet from ReAct and ACORN Africa, Sammy Ndirangu from ACORN Kenya, and Marius Beloch from ACORN’s affiliate in Cameroon.

Cameroon

After months of campaigning, the threat of an action by the members of ACORN affiliate OnEstEnsemble led the agency to pay the hostesses of the GCG agency after waiting for months. The repair of the main pipe has been completed which will reconnect households to the network of water Bonewanda. Local residents have asked the Metropolitan regulate the parking of motorcycle taxis to avoid congestion.

Canada

At the national level, ACORN Canada released the report “Barriers to digital equality” which calls for affordable and universal access to the internet. In Toronto, ACORN members won the city vote for effective implementation of the RentSafe Toronto, a landlord registration program that we had won in 2016. In Mississauga, PEEL ACORN members won a proactive inspection program based on RentSafe Toronto which will be piloted in select buildings. In Ottawa, members won a motion at the city council to enact minimum distance and licensing requirements for payday lending companies. In Hamilton, members having fighting renovictions, the city voted unanimously in support of a motion to review the its incentive grant programs to developers to ensure no city funds are given to renovictors.

Czech Republic

Members of the social building cooperative and AKORN gathered on November 17 at the Republic Square to support the Real Left event called the Revealed Revolution. It was a call out for a comeback of the unfinished “velvet revolution” that began in November 1989, marking the establishment of the Civic Forum. Members are working to create a connected platform like the Civic Forum through which power can be shared and people are able to be actively engage and influence or propose programs.

France

ACORN’s affiliate in Lyon, France, Alliance Citoyenne represented its members in an action demanding burkini wearers be allowed to swim in public pools, wearing the ACORN visor hats! This comes in the wake of the proposed banning of the garment by the authorities in several French towns.

India

ACORN foundation in India demanded Indian companies to devise a method to buy back plastic packaging and bottles that get discarded by consumers after usage at a Bloomberg Equality Summit in Mumbai. ACORN India also featured in the award winning article in the Global Post.

Kenya

Members have been planning for the campaigns on Feeding program and that of Environmental sanitation in Korogocho and its neighboring villages.  Members were able to strike a partnership with Koch FM which is the only radio station in Korogocho. This will allow ACORN to have four hours of daily programming with live or pre-recorded on air programs. Further, over 400 women attended an empowerment event in Korogocho in Nairobi, Kenya where six months’ supply of sanitary pads were distributed to all participants.

United Kingdom

In Brighton, as part of ACORN’s National Renters Vote campaign to mobilise people in vulnerable housing to vote in the General Election. Working across Brighton and Hove at soup kitchens, housing advice and community centres, street stalls and in temporary accommodation, the union has successfully registered almost 100 people, including 50 people with no fixed address. ACORN alongwith several allies launched a national renter manifesto which sets out the steps needed to ensure that everybody has a secure, affordable and decent home. The manifesto covers six key themes: Security, Affordability, Justice, Conditions, Discrimination, and Housing for People Not Profit.

ACORN Liverpool held a protest against homes being auctioned off in Kensington Fields. Members managed to get one of the homes pulled from today’s auction, but sadly the other one went ahead. Families with children in Liverpool are facing potential evictions as landlords advertise their homes to be sold off as student house shares. Acorn Liverpool’s AGM was a big when members spent time plotting and scheming to build working class power. A new committee is in place, and members are ready to get back at it.

ACORN started another new chapter for ACORN in England: ACORN Portsmouth!

United States

New Orleans: A Community Voice, ACORN’s Louisiana affiliate alongwith Justice and Beyond, a community group and other scientists and environmental activists were able to highlight the issue of lead poisoning and put forth demands for cleanup in New Orleans. While groups have been trying to call attention to the problem for years, it was only recently that a demonstration with some 50 people outside the water board headquarters to protest high water bills and lead levels brought attention to the issue. A 2016 study estimated that there are 6.1 million lead pipes bringing water to homes in the US, a fact that was hidden for long.

Memphis: Wade Rathke, founder of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), and Diné Butler, community organizer and policy analyst, explored ways large equity firms are reducing homeownership in Memphis’ low-income neighborhoods.

Netherlands

Netherlands is pushing forward to build ACORN and more there. Inquiries about ACORN organizing have come from Tel Aviv where there’s interest in a building an ACORN Tenants’ Union.  Marielle Benchehboune from Lyon is meeting with them in December when she is there for a conference.  Progress is reportedly slow but steady for ACORN in Ireland as well.

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