Stand with Bahar Mustafa and Tony Cox: once again on free speech and liberty

When I first heard about the controversy over Bahar Mustafa making some jokes on the internet, I dismissed it as being pretty much a big fuss over nothing: some students with nothing better to do getting all worked up over some student activist making some ill-considered daft jokes. I would still feel that way, if it weren’t for the fact that, earlier this week, the story took a much more serious turn, with the news that the Crown Prosecution Service intend to press charges against her, seemingly for using the hashtag “#killallwhitemen”.

I don’t think that hashtag is a particularly good joke, or of much political use that I can see, but that doesn’t alter the fundamental political principle at play here: no-one should have to face serious criminal charges for making a joke, even if that joke’s not very funny. If that poor, much-abused concept “free speech” means anything at all, surely it means this.

If the story of the CPS deciding to charge someone for apparently using a daft hashtag is bizarre in itself, things become positively farcical when we consider the likely complainant, a nasty little piece of work called Andy Keene.

Keene’s twitter header consists of the following image:

top bants, yeah?

Now, obviously, this is a joke. A crap, stupid, ill-considered joke, to be sure, but it’s hard to imagine even the most lily-livered communist looking at it and feeling genuinely threatened. I think it’s important that people should be able to make jokes, even crap, stupid ones, without having to worry about the state prosecuting them, so I wouldn’t advise anyone to grass him up to the cops for using the internet to make a threatening or grossly offensive communication, funny as it would be, because he should have the right to make that shit joke without being prosecuted. But you would think that someone with that kind of sense of humour would be a bit more appreciative of the freedom to make ill-considered, violent jokes.

Even more confusingly, he apparently considers himself a libertarian:


And claims he would “die for free speech”:

nobody's stopping you...

If someone had a certain sense of humour, someone might be tempted to make a joke about “well, why don’t you fucking hurry up and do it then?” But I wouldn’t, because, as this case shows, making provocative jokes on the internet can be a very dangerous business.

What’s more fascinating here is the claim to be a libertarian. I don’t have space here for a full history of the term, but in short, libertarianism is an idea that arose out of the workers’ movement: as against the authoritarian socialists who saw social freedoms as less important than economic equality, the libertarian socialists saw freedom and socialism as inseparable, or, to put it another way, thought that equal access to material resources had to be accompanied by equal access to decision-making power.

This great ideal, that was developed in publications like Joseph Dejacque’s Le Libertaire, and inspired movements like the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth, was eventually hijacked by people using the same term to refer to a completely different set of ideas derived from conservative philosophy. This impostor libertarianism saw freedom as being solely about freedom from the state, so conditions that amount to slavery are fine as long as they’re imposed by a private concentration of wealth and power. While these two libertarianisms are extremely different, one of the few points they have in common is a concern for individual freedom from state oppression, so it’s a mystery to me how anyone could reconcile even the most twisted, bastardised libertarianism with the attitude that it’s fine to grass people up to the cops for saying stuff you don’t like.

To their credit, the right-libertarian contrarians at Spiked have managed to be a bit more consistent, and let their long-held commitment to their understanding of free speech win out over their almost equally strong commitment to being wrong about everything:

Support Bahar Mustafa's right to an ITV show

This quote, while being relatively laudable in terms of getting the basic issue right, also shows exactly how confused the right-libertarian understanding of “free speech” is. Yes, for what it’s worth, I support free speech for Dapper Laughs, in that I don’t think he should face prosecution for his shit jokes either, but seeing as, to the best of my knowledge, no-one’s suggested it, it seems like a bit of a non-issue. Unless their understanding of free speech means that they think Dapper Laughs and Bahar Mustafa should both be given their own ITV show, which would be an interesting position, it’s pretty obvious that they’re comparing apples and oranges here.

I’ll even do a bit of the legwork for them: if they really wanted to defend freedom  for misogynists, a much better example would be Julien Blanc, the arsehole who Theresa May denied a visa last year. As it happens, I agree that he should have been let in, and then been ferociously challenged everywhere he (and his supporters) went; done well enough, this would acheived the goal of denying him a platform to spread his misogyny, while also not setting any precedents that could then be used against anyone else the tories don’t like, such as Tyler the Creator.

So, I think people who support free speech should stand with Bahar Mustafa. Anyone who said #jesuischarlie, and meant it with any form of sincerity, should also be declaring #jesuisbahar, and, given how much of a fuss some people were making earlier this year about the freedom to offend, perhaps also coming up with other new hashtags – #killeveryonewhoclaimstobealibertarianbutthengrassespeopleuptothecopsformakingjokestheydislike, perhaps?

But this isn’t the whole story. The charges against Bahar are far from being the only attack on freedom of speech happening at the moment. Just as important, and far more under-reported, has been the ongoing prosecution of Tony Cox, who was arrested at a Scottish jobcentre at the start of this year for accompanying a claimant to their interview. If you care about freedom of speech, or the freedom to organise collectively, there’s something very concrete you can do to help: if you live near enough to turn up for his next court date at Forfar Sheriff’s Court on the 13th, that’d be great, but if not, you can still help answer the UK-wide call for people to turn up to jobcentres on the 12th or 13th and talk to claimants about the right to be accompanied. Confirmed local events include Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Doncaster, but the organisers also thank “Cymru Wales IWW, Cardiff Anarchist Network, folk in Doncaster, Liverpool IWW, Bristol AF, Norwich Sol Fed, Manchester IWW, Teeside Solidarity Movement, Aberdeen IWW, Inverness AF, Leeds IWW, Brighton Sol Fed, Edinburgh Sol Fed, Edinburgh AF, Clydeside IWW, Sheffield IWW, London Wobblies, Haringey Solidarity Group, Dorset IWW, Nottingham IWW, Stirling Anarchists” for their help, so if you live in an area where one of those groups are active you can contact them for more info, or if not, it’d only take a very minimal amount of organisation to print a few leaflets off, get two or three friends together, and pay a trip to a jobcentre near you (and let the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network know you’re doing it – there’s not so much point showing solidarity with Tony Cox if he doesn’t get to hear about it).

Finally, anyone really concerned about free speech might also want to support the campaign to delist the PKK – not because the PKK are a perfect organisation, or even one that I support, but because it should be possible to discuss whether they’re worth supporting or not, and the role they’re playing in the fight against ISIS, without worrying that anyone will end up facing serious criminal charges as a result of having that discussion.

Posted in Repression, Students, Unemployment/claimants and welfare | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Enjoy hipsterphobia as part of a balanced diet

As the somewhat improbable level of fallout from the Fuck Parade rolls on, Cava Sundays has offered a more radical critique than the standard “what kind of a monster targets small businesses?” platitudes. I don’t think that their critique of hipsterphobia is wrong as such, but I do think it’s somewhat beside the point, and not particularly helpful when offered at this particular moment in time*.

To recap: the media backlash against Class War has been on two main fronts, with the right-wing press taking up highly personalised attacks against Lisa MacKenzie, while the left liberal media has offered a patronising stance of “it’s all well and good to protest against gentrification BUT NOT LIKE THAT”, followed by explanations of how gentrification is in fact caused by the big capital invested in the property industry and not by small cafes, however wanky they may be. And, of course, underlying all this, is a shared distortion of the facts that turns an anti-gentrification protest that happened to stop off at a hipster café for a bit of high-intensity piss-taking into a an anti-hipster café protest.

Look at these fucking hipsterphobes having a go at this poor hipster estate agency just because it’s got a beard and rides a fixie.

At a time when CW are at the receiving end of such a high level of media criticism, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong for radicals to criticise them – criticism is always legitimate and necessary, and adopting a “with us or against us” attitude is dangerous – but I do think it’s important to frame our criticisms in such a way they avoid playing into the media’s campaign**. At a time when the Guardian’s berating CW for thinking that gentrification is caused by hipster cafes and not the property industry, it seems more useful to re-state the actual facts – that the call for the Fuck Parade explicitly discussed the role of international finance capital in re-shaping London***, and that the demonstration itself actually targeted at least two estate agencies on the day – instead of offering a very similar argument, but couched in more ultra-left terms.

If Class War stand accused of hipsterphobia, then Cava Sundays is in danger of veering into hipsterphobephobia – that is to say, reinforcing the media’s attempt to summon into being a subject so simple-minded as to view gentrification as just being reducible to aesthetics. If such a subject exists, it certainly doesn’t seem to have been on display at the Fuck Parade, an event which – and I know I’m repeating myself here, but it really does seem to be worth restating – explicitly criticised the role of big capital in causing gentrification and smashed the windows of at least two estate agencies. Indeed, if I was really in the mood for trying to coin new terms, I might suggest “cerealsplaining” for the act of explaining to a group of people who’ve just smashed the windows of an estate agency that really they ought to be angry at the property industry.

In some ways, the dispute between the supposed hipsterphobes and the “it’s the economy, stupid” approach to gentrification is just a restatement of the well-worn disagreement about viewing class as being an economic relationship (do you sell your labour power to survive, do you have the power to hire and fire) or a cultural status (what accent you have, what your education was like, what your favourite cheese is). In both cases, what’s needed is not reductionism one way or the other, but an approach that’s sensitive to the way economics interacts with culture, whether that’s feeding off cultural distinctions among different groups of wage workers or promoting a certain set of aesthetics (and yes, that can include cereal cafes) as a way of raising the perceived economic value of properties in an area.

To get a grasp of what this interplay between economics and culture can look like, it’s worth leaving the beardy cereal twins alone for a bit and thinking of a different, but related subject: art. There’s a fair bit of writing on the subject of art and gentrification: the subject’s been addressed as far back as 1987 in this article about New York’s Lower East Side, this indepth look from Southwark Notes is very good on the role played by art in that area, and this plea for an uncreative city from Rotterdam is interesting. There’s also a fascinating in-depth essay about these subjects from comrades in Hamilton, Canada, that’s well worth reading to get a fuller understanding of these issues. But perhaps the most concise summary is this article from Oakland about the Rock Paper Scissors art collective. Rock Paper Scissors is under threat of being evicted due to the area it’s in becoming unaffordable. However, as the collective themselves admit, they’ve also played a role in gentrifying the area they can no longer afford to stay in****:

“This space has become attractive to wealthier tenants BECAUSE of the years of hard work we have put in to building a community of engaged artists, musicians, and performers, and as a reward we are being kicked out to make way for a wealthier class of renters.”

The Rock Paper Scissors collective aren’t the same thing as the big corporate players fuelling the property boom in Oakland, but they did play a role for them by helping to make the area more attractive for higher-income residents, and more businesses catering for those incoming residents. The reason why I can afford to pay my rent this year, and am reasonably confident I’ll still be able to pay it next year, is because the Northern city I live in is not perceived as “desirable” or “up-and-coming” enough to fuel a property bubble. Things that change the way an area is perceived, whether they’re public art or quirky small business, can affect how likely capital is to invest in property in that area. Economics is not wholly separate from culture and aesthetics.

There's something about the graphic design poster in the background of this image that sticks with me.

There’s something about the graphic design poster in the background of this image that sticks with me.

In this light, we can see the targeting of businesses and developments that help promote a certain image for an area as being comparable to, for instance, defacing political party billboards ahead of an election. It’s not going to defeat those parties, but it’s also not completely pointless as a moment within a broader struggle against those parties. And, of course, something like the Fuck Parade can only ever serve as a spectacular image of the anti-gentrification struggle: the real work has to take place on the estates and in the council housing offices, and without that base, the Fuck Parade could smash the windows of every property speculator in London and all it could really mean would be a stressful day for some insurance companies and a very profitable day for some glaziers.

Hipster cafes, art spaces, and the like are not the motors powering gentrification. But they are part of those processes, they play a role that’s useful for the developers. A concerted struggle against gentrification can’t be limited to them, but it might well be useful to target them as a particular tactic within a larger struggle. A part of something is not the whole of something , but the part is not entirely separate from the whole either.

*This is really just a response to part 1 of the 3-part series – I’m sure parts 2 and 3 will make valid points and be worth thinking about in their own right.

** for instance, if anyone really wanted to serve up valid criticisms of CW, a good place to start would be their brand-building attitude – the way they’ve been happy to keep publicity focused on them rather than trying to use it to raise awareness of other groups like the Sweets Way occupiers.

*** indeed, one of the many curious things about the media coverage of this event is the way that CW have been simultaneously cast as EDL/Britain First-esque “national socialists” for the way in which they’ve personified “foreign” finance capital, and as cereal-hating simpletons too thick to grasp that the real problem is in fact big capital and not small cafes.

**** along similar lines, it’s perfectly possible to imagine a potential future – maybe ten years down the line, maybe more, maybe less – where the beardy cereal twins might want to join forces with Class War to resist new waves of incoming residents and businesses raising property values to a level that would drive them and their customers out. Gentrification is always relative, and stranger things have happened.

Posted in Activism, Anarchists, Bit more thinky, Debate, Housing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Happy birthday to me! (and to Recomposition)

This may not be of much interest to anyone else, but it’s now been five years to the day since I launched this blog with a post about not getting worked up about the newly-elected leader of the Labour Party. The more things change…

For a taste of the years since then, you can take a look at my reviews of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. During that time, a few of the things I’ve written that seemed to get a good response have included sharing information about your rights at the jobcentre, writing snarky replies to daft articles (not something I would’ve thought of as my greatest achievement, but a lot of people seemed to read it for whatever reason), pleading for an end to liberal snobbery posing as anti-fascism, and spreading the news about state repression like the Grand Jury that targeted anarchists in the Pacific North-West.

Meanwhile, fellow anarcho-bloggers Recomposition also celebrated their fifth birthday earlier this month, having published their first article a few weeks earlier than me. In all honesty, their blog’s a lot better than mine, so you should definitely try and keep an eye on it if you don’t already. During those five years, they’ve published a book, which is great and well worth worth reading, as well as a load of other articles that have inspired me and helped me to gain a much better understanding of what my ideals can look like when put into practice. Their series on sleep, work and dreams was a particularly impressive piece of personal/political writing. I’m tired and a bit stressed right now, and my writing is even more uninspired than usual, so instead of trying to come up with an inspiring statement for the next five years, I’ll just steal their conclusion:

Over the last 5 years, we’ve managed to post hundreds of these snippets of working life, and we can only hope that we continue to inspire people to write, and show that history is not just for academics, and professional writers, but for us. We weave the fabric of our lives with our everyday stories of fright, joy, desperation, and our lifetime stories of organizing struggles, of victories, and losses.

So write. Write about your life, about organizing, about your triumphs and dumb mistakes. Write about what we can do better and what we’re doing so well. Write if you love writing, and write if you’ve never written before. Especially, write then. Nobody else is going to do it for you and everyone at the party is waiting for you to say something. Your turn, fellow worker.

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A myth is born: on paper tigers and shaggy dog stories

It’s been fascinating to watch the way that the media narrative of the Fuck Parade has been created. To recap, the estate agent Marsh & Parsons got its windows put through, while the worst the cereal cafe got was a bit of paint and cereal-shaking.You might think that the only possible way to report on this story would be something like “angry mob attacks estate agents, stops off at cereal cafe for a bit of particularly aggressive piss-taking”, but instead it seems to have become “angry mob attacks cereal cafe, who are these cereal-hating maniacs and why do they hate cereal so much?”

The terrifying moment a hate-filled anarchist thug waved a box of cornflakes around.

This has led to a weird inversion of reality, where a demonstration that involved an actual direct attack on the property industry has led to patronising articles explaining that, believe it or not, people angry at gentrification should oppose the property industry. The many pundits who are now claiming that they’d be so much more sympathetic if only Class War would pick the right targets were a lot quieter when they were mounting their lengthy campaign against the poor doors at One Commercial Street, or earlier this year when the Fuck Parade started off at the poor doors and then visited council offices along the way before ending up in Soho Square.

Constructive criticism is one thing coming from people who’re genuinely willing to get involved with, or even just support, activities that they see as being well-thought-out, but coming from people who totally ignore Class War when they go after the “right” targets but are happy to attack them for going after the “wrong” ones it seems totally dishonest. Considering how much publicity this incident’s got, compared to the previous two Fuck Parades, not to mention other housing/gentrification protests like the Focus E15 campaign’s recent march against evictions, all those people saying that Class War have picked the wrong target seem to be saying that the only good protest is one that they can totally ignore, unless someone can point me to the mountain of thinkpieces praising the march against evictions for choosing the right target and not bothering any hipster cafes?

On the subject of misrepresentations of the day, it’s worth briefly taking up the widely-circulated eyewitness report from Posh, Broke & Bored. Clearly, someone who writes an “international luxury lifestyle blog” is never likely to see eye-to-eye with Class War, but it’d be good to get some agreement on the basic facts of the night. The PBB account talks about seeing “a little dog…, absolutely terrified and trying desperately to escape the mob who were kicking at it, throwing cans of beer at it, and trying to rip the poor creature apart with their bare hands.” I don’t want to call someone I’ve never met a liar*, but this sounds very curious to me: as anyone with any experience of the anarchist movement/scene can testify, anarchos tend to be a deeply soppy lot about animals, and anarchists – particularly the kind likely to be drawn to something like the Fuck Parade – have long formed the backbone of the hunt saboteur movement.

For anyone reading this with no experience of the kind of scene I’m describing, I’d recommend a quick look at Rabble, a site that, while not officially affiliated with Class War, certainly shares a similar general approach, where posts promoting the Fuck Parade and previous Class War events sit comfortably alongside posts like “120 hens liberated from cages” and “daylight lobster liberation”. As a general rule, it’s safe to say that you can’t swing a cat (if you’ll pardon the expression) at anarcho events without hitting a vegetarian or a vegan, and so the idea that a protest so heavily attended by the kind of people who spend their weekends getting up very early on Saturday mornings so they can trek long distances out into the countryside to save foxes from being hunted or badgers from being culled would descend into some kind of dog-killing frenzy seems very odd to me. While I understand it’s difficult to prove a negative, I would appreciate any further eyewitness accounts that could help to shed more light on this allegation – if true, it’s worth having a discussion about what to do about dickheads who do pointless antisocial shit on demos, if it’s false, then it should be publicly refuted.

Having said all that, it is worth quickly restating that real change has to be rooted in our day-to-day lives, and transform the way that we relate to bosses, landlords, housing agencies, jobcentres, the council and the like when we come up against them in our own lives, and one-off protests won’t do much to change that – Class War’s big days out might be more exciting than the People’s Assembly’s, but that doesn’t mean they leave much more of lasting significance behind.

Still, at the end of the day, there are some moments in life where you have to choose which side you’re on, and I’d take the likes of the Fuck Parade over the cereal profiteers, Boris Johnson, and the army of defenders churning out articles and tweets about why protests are only ever OK if they can be totally ignored, any day.

*even if they’re someone who can’t even write a three-word description of themselves accurately – the first and third may well be true, but broke? Really?

Posted in Activism, Anarchists, Housing, Protests, The media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Class War’s visit to the cereal cafe gets a frosty reception

An impressive image, but that's all it is

Over the last few days, some sections of the media have picked up on the mild kerfuffle that took place at the Cereal Killer café on Saturday night during Class War’s latest “Fuck Parade”. Class War and the other attendees of the parade are being portrayed as a right bunch of crunchy nutjobs for daring to have a (snap, crackle and) pop at the café, and police are treating the whole affair as being very cereal.

Despite all the attempts to paint it up as something dramatic, this really doesn’t seem like that big a deal (for the sake of clarity, I’ll add that I wasn’t present for the night’s events, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped a lot of the other people who’ve weighed in about it). The only proper damage that took place during the Fuck Parade was a broken window at an estate agent – interestingly, none of the people complaining about the decision to target the cereal café have come out in defence of estate agents – and, looking at footage of the event, you can see people waving boxes of cornflakes, which doesn’t really seem like what you’d do if you wanted to seriously intimidate anyone. August 2011 this was not: if not quite a storm in a teacup, then maybe a tempest in a cereal bowl.

As if it needs spelling out, I don’t think that actions like this are particularly effective in fighting gentrification: the hard work of organising tenants, making abandoned houses liveable, and so on, as seen at places like Sweets Way, Focus E15, the Aylesbury Estate and others, is far more significant in the long term. The cereal café may be a particularly effective symbol of gentrification, but at the end of the day it’s just that: a symbol. Still, by pointing out these limitations, I’m not particularly intending to knock the action: it sounds like something that would have been a bit of a laugh on a Saturday night, which is always better than not having a laugh.

Leaving aside the hyperbole involved in trying to turn a bit of paint and some cornflake-shaking into some kind of riot, a lot of the condemnation of Saturday’s events is rooted in the idea of the sanctity of small businesses: the idea that small employers are somehow outside the class struggle, and only “big corporations” can ever be legitimate targets. At the start of the year, some workers employed at small local business in Oakland wrote a great critique of this idea, which is well worth reading if you’ve not encountered it before: at the risk of repeating them, there’s no magic line separating small businesses from larger ones, and pretty much every big corporation once started off as somebody’s local small business.

Looking at some specific examples, Sheffield IWW’s campaigns against unfair dismissal and unpaid work at the (marvellously aptly-named) Greedy Greek deli and Old Courthouse wine bar have been fights against small businesses, as have most of the wage theft campaigns taken up by Brighton Hospitality Workers. The North London Hospice, target of a long campaign by the Haringey Solidarity Group, is a small local charity, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was complicit in government forced work schemes. To the “small is beautiful” crowd, presumably all these are more examples of the “wrong targets”, and wine bars, delis, cafes and cornershops should be left alone to steal their employees’ wages and fire them at will.

This exceptionalism about small businesses is always a sign of confusion, but it’s particularly wrong-headed when it comes to gentrification. While big financial capital certainly stands behind the players in the property market who decide which areas to invest in, the first waves of gentrification usually rely on new business opening up in an area that make it feel “up-and-coming” and “vibrant” enough to be attractive to well-heeled incomers. Fume all you like about big bland chains, but a new McDonald’s, Greggs, Tesco or Starbucks opening up in an area is hardly going to make it feel “desirable” enough to increase property values and rents, but small, independent, local businesses like quirky cafes, craft ale bars, and “pop-up” anything, on the other hand…

The Cereal Killer café is hardly the greatest evil the world has ever known, and a bit of paint and theatricality is hardly going to put an end to the housing crisis. But any fightback is going to have to pick specific targets at some point, and all those objecting on the grounds that small quirky businesses are somehow outside of capitalism, gentrification and class struggle are displaying exactly how limited their understanding of those issues  is.

Posted in Anarchists, Protests, The media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

More direct action victories: against workfare in Dorset, jobcentre repression in Edinburgh, and crap landlords in Seattle

A few notable direct action victories recently:

First, the comrades of Dorset IWW report that they’ve successfully pressured a Bournemouth branch of the Co-Op into giving up their involvement with workfare.

Secondly, the always-inspirational Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty report how, after High Riggs jobcentre management called the police and shut a whole floor of the jobcentre down to stop an ECAP member accompanying a claimant to their interview, even going so far as to threaten to arrest the claimant on aggravated trespass charges just for going to their own interview, they responded with a mass action at the jobcentre on September 14th, which quickly got jobcentre management to back down and allow claimants their right to be accompanied. As ECAP activist Esther McDonald explained: “We hope that this action will mark a growing counter-power through which claimants can make it increasingly difficult for the DWP to impose sanctions, workfare and other attacks.  Jobcentre management need to know that if they attack claimants, then we will take direct action to make jobcentres unworkable.

Solidarity and direct action from below is the way to fight against benefit cuts, against all austerity, and against the profit-driven capitalist society which produces these injustices.  Our message to all bosses is this – If you exploit us, we will shut you down.”

Good stuff, and they’re now building up to the national days of action on October 12th/13th in solidarity with Tony Cox and in defence of the right to be accompanied.


Finally, the long-running and highly successful Seattle Solidarity Network were able to use international pressure to force apartment mangement company Greystar to return money stolen from tenants. There’s more on that story in this interview with It’s Going Down, a new site that’s highly recommended if you want to keep up with US news from an anarchist perspective.

SeaSol members celebrating their victory

In all three cases, well-chosen direct action was able to lead exploiters and bureaucrats to back down. These kinds of victories don’t take superheroes, just a little planning, organising and solidarity. I hope to have more similar stories to report soon.

Posted in Anarchists, Housing, Occupations, Protests, Stuff that I think is pretty awesome, Unemployment/claimants and welfare, Work | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

URGENT CALLOUT: Defend Mostafa and the Sweets Way estate!

Barricades on the Sweets Way estate

Bailiffs are moving in on the Sweets Way estate in London, the site of a lengthy and courageous occupation. The latest from their facebook page:

CALL-OUT FOR TOMORROW. Today’s events have essentially come to a close. Some bailiffs and police are still hanging around but there will likely be no further action today. We lost the Sweetstopia block, but managed to delay and resist eviction of all other occupations on the Sweets Way Estate. It is likely that the bailiffs will be back tomorrow with police to continue the eviction process. We need people to come down tonight or tomorrow to help us continue resisting. Please come down, bring friends, bring sleeping bags. The more we are the stronger our position.

For more context, a longer post from their blog, earlier today:

After more than six months of occupation to prevent the demolition of 142 family homes, Barnet Council, Annington Properties, the London Metropolitan Police and other emergency services are colluding to carry out a violent eviction of the entire Sweets Way estate.

Mostafa and his family remain in their home, but will be in court today at 3pm challenging the use of high court bailiffs for their eviction. If they lose, it seems inevitable that the eviction will extend to 46 Sweets Way immediately, while they are still in at the courthouse.

What we are facing right now is the hard edge of social cleansing; when we dig in and fight to stay in our homes and our communities in London, we are met with violence. This is the brutal truth of ‘regeneration’ and ‘gentrification.’

The use of public resources to carry out this eviction is especially disturbing, and the Met and Council have a lot to answer for. Public money should not be spent protecting Annington’s private investment, particularly as its returns will end up in Guernsey and the Cayman Islands, robbing the British public of any benefits from this twisted arrangement, once again.

With or without the occupation, we will continue to fight Annington and Barnet at every juncture. We will not stand by and accept the social cleansing of our community, or our city.

We have impeded development for more than six months; many families have been rehoused in better situations, and we have shone a bright light on the vile processes through which poor and working people are being cleansed from the capital.

We remind everyone in London and beyond who are facing other battles in the fight for homes and community, that we need to stand together to keep our communities intact, especially as so few politicians are willing to stand with us.

We may lose the estate, but we have joined Focus E15, New Era, Our West Hendon, Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth, the Aylesbury resistance and others in making it clear that social cleansing will come at an immense price for Councils and developers alike.

It is no longer business as usual for the architects of social cleansing.

The fight is not over! Come to Mostafa’s house at 46 Sweets Way by 3pm to help stop the eviction of the final original Sweets Way resident!

Please get down if you can, or spread the word to anyone you think might be able to make it.

Posted in Housing, Occupations | Tagged , | Leave a comment