Rebel Cities 11: As Newham Transforms London, Democratic Socialists Awaken

How One London Borough is Challenging Big Finance

Fiaz announced in July that Newham is suing Barclays, a bank that sold them LOBO (Lender Option, Borrower Option) loans. The problems with LOBO loans are well-documented. In a 2015 Parliamentary inquiry, a former Barclays trader said he “would not do these deals if you put a gun to my head.”

Rethinking Local Politics in Newham

Mayor Fiaz has sought to rectify another dubious financial decision, initiating a public investigation that found the Newham council had wasted £40 million on a loan for Newham’s former Olympic stadium.

Municipalism and Reclaiming U.K. Labour and U.S. Democrats

The new era of activist government in Newham is far from isolated. After a grassroots campaign to prevent bulldozing a nearby community, another Labour-dominated London borough, Haringey, has deselected its mayor.

Democratic Socialists Should be Municipalists, Not Use Them

Returning to Newham, the new administration is doing just that. It is backed by a substantive argument that the banks are taking money that could go into public services. But its foundations lay in the social movements and people power, which challenged the old regime and enabled the new mayor to replace the former. Fiaz is not just a representative: There is a movement to continue as allies support her, and they can also hold her feet to the fire if she fails to follow through.

Read: Part 1 (Brazil) Part 2 (Rojava), Part 3 (Chiapas), Part 4 (Warsaw), Part 5 (Bologna), Part 6 (Jackson), Part 7 (Athens) and Part 8 (Warsaw & New York), Part 9 (Reykjavík), and Part 10 (Argentina)

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Steve Rushton

Steve Rushton

Freelance journalist focused on political alternatives, universal rights and ecological survival