The Revolution Will Not Be Amortized

"Besides, in those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point out."
- Animal Farm

Come the Revolution - the New Cross 'revolutionary community cafe' based inside an estate agent - has triggered an industrial dispute.

At launch, the proprietors promised that they were different from the plutocrats who ran other local cafes telling us:

"Lewisham People Before Profit, is about empowering people from all sectors of our community, it deserves support, will really make a difference, and show that you can run a viable business run for people, not shareholders."

Now, it seems that its low, low prices come at a terrible cost - revolution is fomenting at Come the Revolution. On Facebook, Matt Collins writes:

"We are a group of workers who have unionised a local cafe. Following a campaign to win minimum hours contracts which would provide secure employment for all workers at the cafe, our union rep and a number of other union members have been victimised and summarily sacked.

"At a time when there is an average of 35 people chasing each job vacancy in Lewisham, and trade unionists are the only people taking effective action to stop the cuts, we feel it is vital to take a stand and fight for our jobs. We can’t win this fight alone and so we’re calling upon the unemployed, trade unionists and the community of Lewisham to get behind our campaign. To hear our case and find out what you can do to support our struggle to win back our jobs, and improve our terms and conditions of employment, please come to our public meeting at the Amersham Arms, March 30th, 7.30pm."

And so, the Marxist dialectic unfolds.

With thanks to Monkeyboy on the Deptford Forum.

37 comments:

mb said...

Loving the Orwell quote. It really is Animal Farm with added muffins.

Citizen Smith said...

If you want to find out more it's actually on the Deptford Forum on South East Central.

Mr Pilkington said...

Ha! Can't wait to hear from Napoleon Hallam.

Welcome to 2012 said...

This is not a surprise. This was as inevitable as the whole thing is daft.

Anonymous said...

First they explicitly exclude unemployed people from the houses they commandeered from the rightful owner, our local democratically elected borough council!!!

Now they treat workers in a way that makes McDonalds seem like a model employer. What jokers. Still they do serve a useful social function. They spilt the idiot vote, making it harder for the equally silly mung beans to win elections.

mb said...

"splitting the idiot vote"...says anon trotting out a tired cliche.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the phrase 'a tired cliche' a tired cliche?

I can understand why you are upset, you want to sneer at your co-ideologists, but not their ideology, which fundamentally you share. The real cliche here of course is the lazy assumption of moral superiority that hangs around a lot of your contributions like a bad smell.

Furious Gerals said...

Who would have thought a marxist estate agent who has stood for election for 4 different political parties could have made such a mess of things!

Mb said...

Sigh..... Sandels? You've not mentioned sandels. Or my big fat Edleman cheque.

I've never been a fan of PBP but I defend their right to be wrong.

Now, about the sneering. Over to you.

Mb said...

4 different? I thought it was just the three.

NAT said...

He must benefit from extensive views.

NAT said...

Still nice to see his workers become chain free

Mb said...

"The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades. There were only four dissentients, the three dogs and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides."

Cats, duplicitous opportunists. Obvious when you think about it.

Anonymous said...

The cafe and PBP have never had a formal link - a member of PBP opened the Cafe and it was set up to provide a meeting place for any group that would wish to use it.

The Cafe is closing but the meeting area will still be available.

PBP is funded solely by a membership subscription and you can pay anything you wish.

If you wish to find out why, of if, the staff have a valid grievance you can go to the public meeting and find out - you can even take part if you wish.

If you go to the meeting I'm sure that you could create an opportunity to meet the proprietor and he'll be only too happy to explain, from his point of view, what led to this change of purpose.

Until then, all you will hear is gossip, rumour and speculation.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that they are quite good and sell at a very cheap price but as I don't support PBP I don't go out of principle.


If they were sensible socialists they would have be run as a co-op and then there wouldn't be disputes with workers and management because they would all be both.

Tamsin said...

It is a really good book - must revisit it. I just hated the Guernica picture on the Penguin classic we had at school.

A real shame, though, if "Come the Revolution" is falling apart - such a lovely idea. Should have worked...

Anonymous said...

Maybe every party should have had a shop/cafe/restaurant - Tories, Labour, Greens, Lib-Dems, UKIP, BNP, Communist (oh yes that's PBP)...


Any humorous ideas for names that they would have been called???

Anonymous said...

Is the union involed UNITE?

The union that is a major contributor to the Labour and reportedly funded local MP Heidi Alexander?

Lewisham has an elected Labour mayor, People Before Profit embarass the Mayor by taking over some council properties.

Now this....Mmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

The Tories could have
'Teresa May, Widdecombe Won't'

Labour
'Meet Balls'

Lib Dems
'Clegg Eaten'

Jim Jepps said...

"Eat your Greens" Green, doh
"Clegg of lamb" LDs
"May contain nuts" UKIP

More seriously, sorry to hear the cafe is closing and I hope people can explore ways of maybe keeping it open and retaining staff, perhaps under new management.

Osh said...

Is Lou on holiday or something?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should have a coup by the staff.

Anonymous said...

Lefties run everything into the ground, from little cafes to the british economy.

NAT said...

Mmm, just checked the Leveson site.

No sign of him there.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon

"The cafe and PBP have never had a formal link..."

Perhaps, on reflection then, you'd agree it was a mistake to allow the cafe to use the People Before Profit logo in the centre of their own:
http://bit.ly/GXibtq

Brockley Nick said...

And maybe they could have refrained from setting themselves up on Facebook as "LPBP Come the Revolution" http://on.fb.me/GWZPIn

Ironically, the last post on their Facebook group was:

"Support for striking public sector workers on November 30th
Lewisham People Before Profit will be giving material support to local workers striking over the government's plans to make pensioners pay for the bankers' mismanagement by supplying hot drinks to those on picket lines and also by giving out leaflets in advance of the strike day explaining what is happening and why."

Anonymous said...

The whole thing is hilarious, perfect material for a sitcom.
I'm inclined to think this must be a wind up?

Anonymous said...

Have any of them ever done a job? Not withdrawing from a trust fund.

THNick said...

Anon 22.37 - have any of the cafe workers ever done a job? Is that the laziest sneer I've ever read?

Anonymous said...

I think there is a place for a political cafe.

Over in Putney, they have a bar called Citizen Smith.

http://www.citizensmithbar.co.uk/index2.htm

We have plenty of Citizen Smiths hereabouts but the workings of a service economy are a mystery to them.

Danja said...

Great title, Nick, very amusing.

Anonymous said...

is it a wind-up? must be.

NAT said...

'World is more spiteful and gay than one supposes'

This is funny, even speaking as a Lou Baker trot.

Anonymous said...

I would urge all those interested in this issue to come along to Friday's meeting on the 30th.
The simple truth is that the social enterprise running the cafe has just not produced a surplus in the current hard times.
LPBP support the cafe and have been promoting it , holdings meetings, socials etc at the cafe but it is run, managed and financed by a LPB member .

Anonymous said...

I thought the simple truth is it was 'run' (poorly) 'financed' and managed (barely) by a complete bully. A bully who used workfare labour no less. 'Socialism in one borough'

Anonymous said...

Get a proper F#?king job!

Anonymous said...

The simple truth is that the whole concept of the cafe from its name to the whole concept of PBP was wrong.

I don't know anything about their food, service or management as I never went in on principle. And I guess I wasn't the only one.

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