Category Archive : ACORN Scotland

ACORN Scotland, Living Rent,

ACORN Scotland: Elections, Evictions, and May Day Celebrations

Living Rent, ACORN International’s branch in Scotland, has been hard at work recently defending members against landlords, protesting forced evictions, and speaking out against injustices in their local communities.

Here’s what they’ve been up to lately:


Living Rent continues their ongoing campaign against evictions, with members being featured in the media in their fight against unfair or forced evictions.

Living Rent: Croftamie member Marjorie was threatened with eviction for not “having a durable connection to the area”, also known as: xenophobia

Evictions have been widespread in Scotland, including areas such as North Lanarkshire, Govanhill, Edinburgh, and Pollokshields. Tenants have been threatened and intimidated by landlords, and have also been subjected to inhospitable living conditions, including intense mold.

Living Rent’s response has been to file for an extension on the eviction ban, and group support to protect individual members.


Scotland recently held elections for the next Government, and Living Rent worked to raise awareness among voters to boost their familiarity on candidate and party policies on relevant issues to each Living Rent branch, such as the developing housing crisis, arrears, rising rents, and climate change.

Check out the link to find out more, get involved, and take action with Living Rent.

ACORN Scotland: Maryhill campaigners ‘occupying’ land in response to sale dispute with Glasgow City Council

From Glasgow Live:

Community activists are currently occupying land in Maryhill earmarked for sale by Glasgow City Council.

The derelict land on Collina Street, known locally as ‘The Valley’, was used as the main location in Still Game but has now become the centre of an ongoing dispute.

Campaigners have set up a wooden hut with one volunteer at a time taking turns to occupy the land. They plan on maintaining a presence on the site until the council stops the sale and engages with locals.

A temporary extension to the sale has been granted due to the pandemic to allow offers of interest to be submitted. The site is currently being marketed for 125 units of low-cost homeownership.

But locals are considering a community buyout over concerns that the social housing needs of the community are being ignored in favour of selling to private landlords.

Living Rent member and Wyndford Tenants Union committee member Norman Cunningham accused the council of failing to speak with the community about the plans before the original sale deadline.

He says he community have developed their own vision and solutions for how the piece of land could be used for a ‘sustainable, environmentally-friendly, community housing development’.

He told Glasgow Live : “We decided to occupy the land and then the next day the sale was postponed – but we only found out through the media. We decided we would still go ahead with the occupation because they never communicated with us about what was going on.

“We’ve set up a wooden hut called Boabby’s Bothy where one person can sit in at all times. We won’t stop until they sit down and talk to us. So far, the council has failed to respond to our attempts to meet with them and have continued to gaslight us.”

The sale of the land is part of the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area which Mr Cunningham has been described as ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The Collina Street site will deliver 125 new low-cost home ownership properties in Maryhill, homes that will complement the wide range of affordable housing already built – and to be built – in the area.

“The low-cost home ownership properties cannot be sold to private landlords as there is strict assessment criteria for the purchaser and unless they meet this criteria (first-time buyer, income threshold and so on) they will not be permitted to purchase. When completed, most of the homes in the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area will be in the socially-rented sector, underlining the reality that affordable homes will be a feature of the entire regeneration area in Maryhill, and providing low-cost home ownership offers a choice for those who prefer to buy.

“The wider project will transform the quality of housing in this part of the area, and it should be noted that this is a community-led masterplan that includes mixed tenure projects across a number of sites. That master plan is supported by the local housing association.”

The Still Game for The Valley group will be holding a public meeting at 6.30pm this evening to discuss the campaign and proposals for the Community Right to Buy.

To join the meeting, click here.

Living Rent Campaign Affiliates with ACORN International

Living Rent Campaign in Scotland has formally affiliated with ACORN International and ACORN Scotland! They have been doing outstanding work, so we’re honored to have them formalize the affiliation. Adelante!

ACORN Scotland’s Leith Chapter

First meeting of ACORN Scotland’s Leith Community Organization starts with a bang. Good crowd assembles, does its business, breaks into small groups, and then after lots of discussion and democratic voting, makes the list to start taking names and kicking it up in Edinburgh!
























ACORN Scotland on the Move!

Members of ACORN Scotland went on education campaign to get the word out about ACORN Scotland. And they also just had their 3rd Organizing Committee meeting.
















ACORN Scotland 2nd Organizing Committee Meeting







ACORN Scotland’s First Organizing Committee Meeting





Scottish Gas Demonstration

ACORN Scotland Gas Demo


Scotland’s Activists Call in the Daddy of Them All


Monday, 13 May 2013 Reprinted from National Network for Change and Community (

WADE Rathke from the USA is a one-off.  Original has to be his epithet.

A community organiser, a self-appointed role he adopted at nineteen years old, today and 40 years later he is helping ordinary people to change swathes of societies the world over.
Founder of ACORN International, this unique individual focuses on what he calls ‘citizen wealth’ with an astounding optimism and immediacy that works for, and often achieves, transformational results.  He never doubts any citizen’s capacity to make a difference, despite the battle scars earned along the way. “The fight for change is progress itself,” he told the Network.
Activists in Scotland, no matter what their campaign, can learn from this experienced veteran who advocates less talk, more listening, direct action and being clear about the issues as key components for kick-starting change.
ACORN is the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now. Wade resigned from that board in 2008 after 38 years as a founding member.  He is now ‘chief organizer’ for
ACORN International, built on similar lines.  His latest book Citizen Wealth:  Winning the Campaign to Save Working Families, documents his journey with enthralling stories.
Rathke is known globally as the premier organizer of low and medium income labour and community groups and an inspiration to change makers who recognise that “a personal problem becomes a political issue”.  It was on an ACORN project in Chicago that Barrack Obama cut his political teeth, a process he proudly documents in his biographies and has since staunchly defended against sometimes vicious attacks.
Sharing the story
IN May 2013 Wade Rathke visited Scotland for the first time in his long career.  He was invited and hosted by several organisers of Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group (Eptag).  The enterprising, entrepreneurial young people who have founded this already influential organisation set up a day-school workshop in Edinburgh University’s Teviot building.  It was well attended by committed activists from Glasgow, Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland.
The goal was to seriously consider starting another ‘affiliate’ or outpost of ACORN International.  The buzz in the room became palpable as Wade’s direct style identified doable campaigns, an organising committee, weekly meetings and achievable goals.  He clearly enjoyed moving away from “litanies of despair” to tongue-in-cheek reminders that “community organisers don’t stutter”.   He engaged keenly with his audience and you could see the light of vision in his eye.
Since 2008 Rathke has travelled globally to help ordinary people do extraordinary things.  Canada, Peru, South Korea, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Kenya and Mexico are some of the affiliates of the global group mushrooming globally at grassroots level. Ordinary people are learning how to organise and mobilize.  Their mentor focuses on pragmatism, encouraging ‘winnable’ campaigns that drive people out of a sense of political hopelessness into a can-do state of mind.
“Justice is just-us” said Wade whose blog at daily records, probes and supports the struggles that working people face against minimum wage abuse, inequality and injustice both in his home state of Louisiana (rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina), across the United States and the world over.
“Individuals alone don’t have the capacity for resolving long-standing grievances,” he said.  “The process is messy, it’s difficult and it can be a fight.  You need to identify and organise your constituencies, you need strong organisations to achieve the change you believe must happen to protect and empower ordinary people.”
Expect to pay up front
UNIQUE to ACORN is the payment of ‘dues’ or membership fees, a concept that Wade says does not initially sit comfortably in some cultures, but creates a strong and vital sense of  accountability.  This fundamental principle is crucial to project success, and ironically, he notes, it is the lower income members amongst diverse constituencies who pay most willingly.  At the same time, it is more often the organisers who stumble over asking.
“The key issue is the asking, not the getting,” says Wade.  “Often it’s the organisers who need to change their approach as lower income people find it incredible that anyone else would fund their fight for change.  They expect to pay dues and it is the poorest who pay most consistently and continuously.
“But with those fees comes a ‘testing’ from the members as they decide if you are making their case.  You should expect that testing, another reason to set winnable goals that are achievable within a reasonable time-frame.  Members will gauge success and develop confidence with that good feeling from wins, even though those achievements are small and incremental. ”
At the peak of its success ACORN had 500,000 members, all paying dues, and subsidiary partners amounting to 168 corporations within the “family”.   “We got big,” says Wade, “Perhaps too big and it became more difficult to manage such a big organisation.”  He admits that he has learned from some of the past experiences.   “ACORN International is built out of the US experience,” he says.
He looks back to Little Rock Arkansas in May 1970 where the National Welfare Rights Organisation (NWRO) had sent him as an organizer.  It was here that ACORN began and his first campaign was to help welfare recipients gain their basic needs.  It was the starting point from which all the rest has unfolded.   As a young man already dedicated to ‘Adequate Income Now’ he knew that “people have to come together to generate change” and that mantra still drives him today.  He emphasizes the importance and power of “playing in teams” referring to Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam’s book of the last decade on this subject, listed below.
Our society can learn a lot from all of this in the fluid state of change that is Scotland today.  This article only scratches the surface of the achievements in the life and times of the political force that is Wade Rathke. 
Further investigation may take your own activism to new and better levels.  To learn more, follow the links below.
  • To access the quarterly magazine ‘Social Policy: Organising for Social and Economic Justice’ published by Rathke click here:
  • Also see Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000) New York, Simon & Schuster.

Organizer Trainings Kicks off ACORN in Scotland

Housing activists and organizers in Edinburgh, Scotland participate in an ACORN training by Chief Organizer Wade Rathke on May 11th, 2013


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