Candidate’s campaign to reclaim Newham from inequality

Amina Gichinga, centre, hopes to solve inequality in Newham Picture: Take Back the City

Amina Gichinga, centre, hopes to solve inequality in Newham Picture: Take Back the City - Credit: Archant

Activists hoping to give a new lease of life to democracy are fighting inequality in Newham with songs of resistance, political poetry and bus-based theatre.

Amina Gichinga, a 26-year-old candidate for May’s London Assembly elections, has been leading a campaign across east London for people she says have been let down by elitist politicians.

Over the past two weeks she and activists from her party, Take Back the City, have been staging performances on buses tackling issues such as housing and gentrification.

“We’re a group of Londoners who feel London isn’t being run by and for the people it should be run for,” said Amina, of Upton Lane, Forest Gate. “There’s a real lack of democracy here and it’s time we took the power back.

“We’ve been getting on east London buses dropping leaflets, performing theatre and reading poetry – it’s about taking politics to the people.”

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As well as the bus campaign, the group also led a “songs of resistance” workshop on Saturday with leftist activists from Spain’s protest party Ahora Madrid.

Amina said she fears people are being priced out of Newham and that it’s time for tougher measures.

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“Housing is the biggest issue we face,” she said. “We need rent controls like New York and Berlin, more social housing and more control of landlords who can do what they want right now. People feel powerless at the moment.”

Amina claimed to fight inequality in Newham if she succeeds in her bid to be elected as Assembly Member for City and East.

She said she believes her party is the only one to offer real people, not politicians, the chance to shape the future of her city.

“Our People’s Manifesto was built from the demands of workers, students and youth groups,” she said. “We’re asking people what they want, whereas every other political party tells people what they need and tries to sell it to them.”

Amina said she was particularly concerned that young people are being “left out” of the political process, adding that in her day job as a singing teacher she comes across “far too many” young people whose voices aren’t being listened to.

“We need to lower the voting age to 16,” she said. “There’s a whole swathe of people who aren’t being listened to because of their age.

“But they’re having to grow up fast because of the brutality of this city.”

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