The last few weeks have seen impressive action on two different fronts, as struggles over both housing and education have been heating up recently. On the housing front, there seems to be an increasing willingness to resist evictions, as direct action has blocked evictions in places as distant as Newham and Newcastle recently. It’s terrible that such action is even needed, but it’s always inspiring to see people using practical direct action tactics to make real gains that affect people’s lives. The high profile of the Focus E15 and New Era campaigns has also been encouraging.
In education news, the student movement seems to have revived a bit, with protests in London, Birmingham, Chichester, Bath, Hastings and Brighton yesterday, and a day of action that saw Warwick, Manchester, Universities UK (if you haven’t heard of it, which I hadn’t, it seems to be the exclusive club for university bosses), Sheffield and Lancaster all being occupied, with the last two still being in occupation as I write this, along with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills receiving a midnight visit in Cambridge. Hopefully this wave of militancy on campuses might encourage more action from university staff, as some of the most interesting workplace organisations of the last few years, such as the Pop-Up Union at Sussex and the 3 Cosas campaign at the University of London, have involved university workers. Speaking of the 3 Cosas campaign, Jason, one of the key organisers, was threatened with deportation recently, but it’s now been confirmed that he’s managed to get a visa.
In other workplace news, two recycling workers in Sheffield have just been sacked for their role in organising strike action. I’ve not yet heard of any action being organised in solidarity with the two, but you can email email@example.com for more information about the dispute, or if you can organise a meeting to publicise the case.
So, that’s what’s been going on recently, now for a look at some upcoming events:
Two pensioners from Barnsley who were arrested during the Freedom Ride campaign were due to appear at Sheffield Magistrates Court tomorrow, but the charges have now been dropped, so the call-out for support at court has now been changed to a celebration of the victory.
Other court cases that haven’t yet been dropped include the one against A, a victim of racist policing due in court in London on Tuesday, and G, who’s in court in Stratford on the 11th for monitoring the police. On a related, but lighter, note, the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence are also holding their Christmas social soon.
Police racism and brutality has been in the news a lot recently, and the ongoing wave of largely self-organised protests around this issue continues, with upcoming protests against the killing of Eric Garner this Wednesday in London, Manchester and Swansea. The Manchester to Ferguson Solidarity Campaign are also setting up an email list, which you can join here. As a side note, it’s interesting to see how hostile many of these protests are to political groups attempting to co-opt them, with some of them requesting “Do not bring stalls, do not bring banners, do not bring magazines.”
If you want to get involved in the growing resistance to evictions, and the housing movement more generally, there’s a few things you can do: Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth, a group who have a good record of preventing evictions, are asking people to take action tomorrow to support T, a woman threatened with eviction in Southwark, and you can join their phone network to stay informed about other evictions in future. They’re also having a Christmas party and kids’ day on the 13th. The New Era tenants are also setting up an eviction response network, and are asking people to sign up to their pledge to defend the estate. The Focus E15 Mothers are going to be hosting a NYE party, and there’s a benefit party planned for January that also sounds fun.
Finally, a look at two long-running campaigns: the fight against forced unpaid work continues with Bristol AFed’s anti-workfare street party on the 13th, and the Blacklist Support Group are holding an end of year event on Wednesday the 17th, with a lobby of the ongoing high court trial over blacklisting in the morning and festive drinks in the evening.