About the IWCA
The Independent Working Class Association is a social and political organisation that has been active on Blackbird Leys since 1999.
Our successful campaigns of direct action against Class A drug dealing and other extreme forms of anti-social behaviour made national news headlines in the early 2000's and by successfully working alongside residents to tackle these and other issues, we achieved four Oxford City councillors in as many years – much to the unease of the local Labour Party who had taken the seats for granted for decades.
With a clear mandate for change that could no longer be ignored by the local political establishment who had previously been happy to endorse a policy of containment of crack and heroin dealing on the Leys, our councillors punched well above their weight in the Town Hall to genuinely represent the people of the estate and highlight working class issues in the council chamber.
Through the IWCA's newsletter, the Leys Independent, which was hand delivered quarterly to all 5000 homes on Blackbird and Greater Leys for over ten years, residents were kept informed of our councillors surgeries; community campaigns and received regular 'cuckoo in the nest' updates on our council work. The newsletter also featured news of our Travel Club trips to France and Belgium; our theme park and seaside away-days and our weekly children’s cinema. On top of all this, we also organised successful educational events such as an Easter Holiday SATs booster course and various sporting activities including an ambitious six-a side youth football tournament in the summer of 2009 which was contested by teams from Oxford, South Wales and London.
Having reached stalemate in the middle class orientated, Labour-controlled City Council, we decided, for the time being at least, that the amount of time invested on council business does not currently justify the meagre returns, and that our efforts are far better spent away from the Town Hall and in the community where we belong. With this in mind, we did not re-stand for our Blackbird Leys seat in the 2010 City Council elections or for our Northfield Brook seat in May 2012.
Ongoing Blackbird Leys IWCA initiatives include the IWCA Athletics Club, The Blackbird Leys Mile and the Working Class History Month events.