The Leeds People's Charter

For the closing session at Re:connect (a day of workshops exploring austerity and division) we drew on stories, strategies and ideas from the day, to write a Leeds People’s Charter – a set of demands – to create a legacy for the day.

What is a People’s Charter? The first People’s Charter was produced in 1839 by the Chartists, from which they took their name. The Chartists were a working class movement aimed at reforming the electoral system and giving all men the vote, rather than only men who owned land. This People’s Charter had six key demands to reform electoral system, which they believed would alleviate working class suffering. Some of these demands were the right for all men to vote, for any man to be allowed to run to become an MP (not just the landed class), and for every constituency to have an equal population. Their demands were presented to the House of Commons, and became the ideological basis of their successful movement. 5 out of 6 of their demands were achieved. 

Why are we writing one? After many conversations with friends and mentors, we felt that co-creating a People’s Charter could be a practical way to end with a collective action, exercise our demands, and also synthesise the ideas we have taken away from the day’s workshops and conversations. We wanted this Charter of demands to be a shared resource (emailed to everyone after the event) that can be taken forward to our organisations, elected representatives, and built into our own work and communities beyond the event.

The Leeds People’s Charter, 14.10.17

We, the people, demand that…

Welfare and Services

  • Everyone has their material, health, social, cultural and economic needs met in a rights-based system responsive to individual and community diversity
  • The welfare system guarantees all people a good standard of living, including the resources to have adequate, secure housing
  • “A good standard of living” comprises of:
    • not being dependent on the labour market for survival
    • time and energy for relationships, creativity, meaningful personal activity
    • dignity and respect as standard
    • freedom from violence and discrimination
  • All public services put out to tender, MUST be open to an Equality Impact Assessment
  • A free and reliable public transit system for the Leeds / West Yorkshire area, which is democratically accountable

Migrant rights

  • Equal Access – same rights as residents – education, healthcare, jobs, benefits
  • Translation – ensuring that all migrants are able to access a translator if they need one
  • Simplification of documents
    • Stopping the hate peddled by the media:
    • Islamophobia / other religious discrimination
    • Making it clear what is acceptable & what is not
    • Stopping the spreading of inaccurate info
  • Stop people acting as informants
  • STOP VIEWING PEOPLE AS NUMBERS

Education Reform

  • Abolition of all special schools
  • Compulsory awareness training only from people with life experience
  • Make all schools inclusive, including universities
  • That the university concede to the UCU and drop the sackers’ charter
  • Grants to be brought back
  • Scrapping of fees
  • Stopping of the privatisation of higher education
  • An accountable face

Land Reform

  • Community Land trusts – empowers and brings together people, acts against gentrification
    Peston model of cooperative municipal development

 Power

  • People’s PPE (politics, phlosophy and economics) education is brought to Leeds to build collective community conscious, to overthrow the idea that there is no alternative; to show people that empowering democratic life is possible
  • Develop a social, economic and political struggle that is beneficial and fair for all the people of Leeds.
  • Make people in power accountable

 

Download as PDF