Up Against the Welfare State: The Claimant Unions

Hilary Rose

Abstract


The late 1960s saw the upsurge of a new form of political action, called variously community politics or community action : organizing around the neighbourhood and the home became a significant political activity. Yet to grasp the significance of community politics, embracing squatting, tenant associations, anti-urban-renewal groups, community workshops and claimant unions-to name some of the more permanent groupings, is extraordinarily difficult, not least because of the ambiguity of the word community.l A notoriously Humpty Dumpty word, community" is as likely to be found on the lips of Edward Heath as on those of the Angry Brigade or the Young Liberals; at times it threatens to replace with a populist wooliness the unambiguous concept of "class". For these reasons it is important to relate this widespread if often fragmented activity to the working class movement as a whole.

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