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  • ACORN planning meeting: January 08, 2020
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Author Topic: ACORN and "Take Back Our Buses"  (Read 966 times)
grahame
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« on: December 26, 2019, 02:53:59 pm »

Here's a new one to me - "ACORN Bristol [the union for the community]" ... postal address ACORN, CWU Offices, 20 Church Road, Lawrence Hill, Bristol, United Kingdom BS5 9JA. A Facebook link sent to me highlights an event on 8th January 2020 - "Action Planning Meeting - Take Back Our Buses!" at 6:30 p.m. at that address - https://www.facebook.com/events/833541937080584/

Quote
We're taking Bristol's buses back!

On Saturday 18th January, ACORN members are going to be taking to the streets in our human-powered bus and forming the longest bus queue Bristol's ever seen!

This is the first action of our Take Back Our Buses campaign - fighting for public control of our buses so that they work for us, the passengers and drivers, instead of just the shareholders of First Bus.

To make this action a success it needs to be properly planned, roles need to be filled and we need to make sure we get a good turn out. So come along to this planning meeting and be part of making it happen! 

Wednesday 8th January - 6.30pm - ACORN Office, CWU Building, Church Road, BS5 9JA.

Sign the online petition - https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/take-back-our-buses

Event page for the action - https://facebook.com/events/767536373715178/?ti=icl

Research tells me that this is not a purely transport group - their web site at https://acorntheunion.org.uk/about/

Quote
Founded in Bristol in 2015, ACORN is a mass membership organisation and network of low-income people organising for a fairer deal for our communities.
 
The idea is simple but ambitious – to build a national community organisation along the lines of a trade union; organising our communities and fighting for a better quality of life. What began with a few local residents trying to tackle slum housing in their neighbourhood has quickly developed into a national organisation with thousands of members and branches across the country.
 
We think inequality and social problems are about power. We believe that the only way we’ll see meaningful action is if we can counter the power of money and establishment politics with the power of people taking collective action. Everyone has the right to a place at the table and ACORN puts community organisation at the heart of the fight for economic and social justice.

Every day we hear the issues facing our communities: rising housing costs, stagnant wages and brutal cuts that have starved our public services. Wealth is being transferred upwards, and the only solution is for people to get organised and win it back.
 
Nurses, shop workers, delivery drivers, carers and parents: we raise the young, support the elderly, and produce the country’s wealth. We power society, and we are entitled to our fair share.
 
We know we can win because we’ve already started. In a few years we have grown from a small group in a single neighbourhood into a national organisation that is influencing politics at the highest levels, taking-on big banks, rogue landlords and multinational companies. Our victories already add up to £millions, but ACORN is more than just pounds and pence – we are showing that, by working together, we can refresh and rebuild democracy and the fabric of our communities.

They have a joining page with subs ranging from £3 to £25 per month, but I've not been able to find pages such as constitution, governance, setting of policy or budget.  I probably wouldn't read them in detail but thus far they are notable by being hard to find.  But then at times I am notably blind to obvious links.

Follow ups on this thread - which I have started as an information piece and not to indicate any view - would be welcome to help fill me and other readers in.
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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 04:33:23 pm »

I've heard of ACORN in the context of representing renters in conflict with or having problems with landlords, agents, etc, and generally in the context of accommodation. I didn't know about their other campaigns. At the bottom of the page it says "Company No. 9408898", so presumably they're not constituted as a union even if they function as one.
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 04:36:57 pm »

As for the "Take Back our Buses" campaign, I'm not sure I see the point of forming a mega-queue. But anyway, that's just a tactic. They have a page explaining their aims:
Quote
What ACORN is demanding
Tim Bowles has the power to take buses back into public control through franchising or the kind of worker buyout that would deliver partial public ownership and control - but so far he's failed to act.

We know public control is more effective. It's how transport is run in London where the market is regulated by Transport for London (TfL) - buses are more regular, prices are capped, and essential routes are protected.

Franchising or a worker- & council-owned bus service would give us:

control over the bus network, which would mean companies would be forced to put on certain, less profitable routes and more regular services.
control over fares, so we are the ones that set the prices.
control over ticketing, which could mean one single, affordable ticket for the whole of the West of England, like it is in London.
Bristol - and the whole region - deserve better buses.

We demand that Tim Bowles start an investigation into bringing the buses back into public control and that Bristol City Council support franchising or a worker buyout.

Send a clear message to Tim Bowles, Marvin Rees & leaders across the region - we want our buses back!
https://acorntheunion.org.uk/tbob-sw/
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2020, 08:43:29 pm »

Report from last night's meeting, public on Facebook ((here))

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Last night ACORN members old and new met to plan out the logistics of Take Back Bristol’s Buses - Action! on Saturday 18th. It's going to be a big one. Want to get involved? Come and build our bus on Sunday at ACORN 'Crafternoon' - Build a Bus!

They're our buses - why should First get to run them down and cream off the profits? We're taking them back!

I am all too aware of the pressures on First Bus division managers to make a profit for their shareholders and company value - especially at the moment with what's going on in the First Group.  However - I have a lot more faith in the James Freemans of this world running a decent service / operation than I have in the group of people in the Facebook post seen gathered around the table.  I could be wrong, but I suspect that between them all they have less experience in negotiating and running a major bus operation between them than James has alone.

Looking wider, there are areas in the system that are signficnatly weak to put it mildly, with the commercial nature of services giving undue (arguable!) prominence to shareholder return, and competitive operation leading to a "survival of the fittest" situation where operations will be competed off the route, sometimes leaving significant provision holes where competing operators had product differentiators.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 09:20:51 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged

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