What we are
ACORN IS A COMMUNITY BASED UNION OF WORKING CLASS PEOPLE – TENANTS, WORKERS, RESIDENTS.
ACORN is a mass membership organisation and network of low-income people organising for a fairer deal for our communities left behind by companies, councils and parliament. We know that the economic and political set up in this country isn’t working for us, so we set up ACORN to win the power and representation we are entitled to.
The idea is simple – 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.
Inequality and social problems are about power: who has power and in whose interests it is used. We believe that the only way we’ll see meaningful action is if we can counter the individual power of money and establishment politics with the power of people taking collective action. Every day we hear the issues facing our communities: rising housing costs, unemployment, 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.
We power society and keep it going. We are entitled to exercise power in that society and to receive our fair share of what we produce. Nurses, shop workers, delivery drivers, carers, parents: we raise the young, support the elderly, and produce the country’s wealth.
ACORN takes international solidarity seriously. We work with our sister organisations in ACORN International to coordinate our struggles for freedom, to create ties of friendship and support across borders, and to unify the working class across the globe.
We know we can win because we’ve already started. Our victories already add up to tens of 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.
WE STAND FOR AN ORGANISED AND UNITED WORKING CLASS
What we believe
We believe that every human deserves the means to a dignified and comfortable life. We believe in the capacity of everyone to decide their own future, and to work collectively to find solutions to the problems facing our neighbourhoods, towns, cities, countries and planet. We believe that solidarity and the desire for justice are fundamental to being human.
We live under a system which degrades these values; a system in which humans live and work collectively, but under which the things we produce, consume, and even the places we live are controlled by the needs of private profiteers. The vast majority of people, the working class, are denied the ability to make decisions about our own lives as we are denied the right to use the resources necessary for a dignified existence as we see fit. We know from experience that women, migrants, ethnic minorities, disabled people, and LGBT+ communities in our class experience this particularly sharply and in unique ways.
We know that governments and businesses cannot be relied on. They tell us that there is not enough to go around but we live in a rich country and a world of plenty. We already produce more than enough for everyone to live a dignified and decent life. But around the globe, our people are poor. Wealth and resources are hoarded by a privileged few.
Historically, our class has fought to take back what’s ours. In trade unions, we fight for better wages and dignity at work. In tenants’ organisations, we have battled against exploitative landlords and their agents. In women’s groups, we have demanded autonomy over our bodies and the course of our lives. In movements for racial, sexual, and disability rights we have fought to live the lives we choose free from discrimination and harassment by the state. All of these activities make up a movement of the working class; a set of separate organisations and strategies that depend on each other and strive towards our collective liberation.
ACORN stands in this tradition.
Our community union is a source of power for our class: an organisation with the strength to defend our interests and build an alternative power base within our communities.
We want a world where all are guaranteed the means to life and to a life worth living. A life operating in the interests of all and allowing the maximum participation of all without discrimination. We want a society organised by and for the people, allowing the full enjoyment of our fundamental rights.
- Climate and Ecological Crisis: That the economic system that has brought humanity and the natural world to the brink of collapse be urgently replaced. To prioritise action against the biggest threat we have ever faced through rapid decarbonisation of the economy
- Work: Dignified, well-paid and meaningful work that benefits our communities and respects the environment. Technology should increase the power of organised labour and enrich the lives of the working class
- Housing: Decent, secure and affordable homes for all. Housing fit for human habitation and respectful of the environment
- Health: A universal health and social care service, free at the point of delivery. This must cover all aspects of health and wellbeing from cradle to grave, including remuneration for informal care work
- Welfare: A welfare state that guarantees a fully comprehensive support system so that your ability to work does not determine your quality of life
- Food: An end to hunger. We want a food system controlled by farmers in which everybody has access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food produced by farmers with control over the process
- Utilities: Publicly-owned and operated utilities delivered on the basis of need not ability to pay
- Transport & Civic Infrastructure: Truly public transport, that is free to use, of the good standard we need and that is properly accessible to all. Clean neighbourhoods and proper maintenance of the built environment.
- Digital, print, broadcast, and social media: Platforms and outlets that represent our communities run by and for the people, properly regulated, free from political advertisement.
- Environment and Nature: The safeguarding and development of a sustainable and ecologically diverse country with access to renewable resources, clean air and water. Comprehensive ‘right to roam’ access to nature and green spaces
- Education: Free lifelong education and training, accessible to all and which includes critical teaching about the histories and roles of our people and communities in shaping society
- Democratisation of everyday life: An advanced and organised society where all that is maintained in common should be enjoyed in common. For the shared ownership of public land. For workers’ control of industry. For a transparent, accountable and proportional political system.
How we will do it
Every tenant in slum housing, every worker struggling on low pay, every person cold while energy companies raise prices. Every person unorganised fights those battles alone. A battle fought alone is a battle lost.
ACORN’s task is to organise the unorganised for power.
As ACORN members we pledge:
To organise and mobilise low and middle income working-class constituencies to secure the essentials of a dignified and comfortable life by strengthening our communities and building networks of the working class.
To practice democracy as an organising principle. Led by our members, we will take control of our lives, our communities, and of our own human potential. We insist on the right to identify the problems facing us and to decide on our own solutions.
To combine and coordinate our activities across and outside our organisation, building social movements to best pursue our mission.
To provide education for our membership and wider constituency to increase our capacity, strengthen our solidarity, and build the power we need to win.
To collectively fund and resource our work through membership dues to maximise our independence, sustainability & fighting potential.
To use direct action to develop our power and take back what is ours.