A quick round-up of news across a few various different fronts:
In housing news, the Hackney renters’ group DIGS has been taking the fight to letting agents who refuse to lease to tenants on housing benefit. So far, their “YesDSS” campaign has led to three letting agents changing their policies, and a number of others shutting down for the day to avoid being targeted. It seems like they have a good, effective model in place, and one that could be quite easily replicated by other people outside Hackney. Meanwhile, the student rent strike that started at UCL and Goldsmiths continues to spread, with action also being taken at Courtauld Institute and Roehampton University – in this article, an organiser claims that there’s over 1000 students now withholding rent. If they can successfully bring the idea of the rent strike back into people’s imaginations, it could be a hugely powerful tool to use elsewhere.
Looking at housing struggles overseas, it would be good if people could send messages of solidarity to Lukasz Bukowski, a Polish comrade who’s currently serving a three-month prison sentence for his part in an eviction blockade in Poznan (he speaks English):
Łukasz Bukowski s. Zbigniewa
Areszt Śledczy w Poznaniu
ul. Młyńska 1
61-729 Poznań, Poland
Staying with the topic of prison solidarity for a moment, June 11th is the international day of solidarity with longterm anarchist prisoners, and further ahead ABC Moscow are calling for the first ten days of July to be observed as international days of solidarity with Russian anarchist and antifascist prisoners.
And closer to home, Shafiq Mohammed, who’s being dragged through the courts after being arrested at an anti-racist demonstration last year, could use some support. Aiden Aslin, the alleged YPG volunteer who’s facing state hassle for allegedly fighting against ISIS, is also continuing his slow journey through the court system, with the latest news being that he still hasn’t been charged with anything, but has been rebailed to appear in court on July 20th.
Staying with the topic of Rojava and Syria, a few new pieces have appeared that might be useful for those of us who struggle to keep up with the complexities of the situation there: the Hamilton Institute have a really good piece reflecting on two different speaking tours, Plan C have an interview with a YPJ commander, Crimethinc have a fairly theoretical piece on democracy and communes informed by the experience of Rojava, Budour Hassan writes about how the Syrian revolution transformed her, and Leila Al-Shami offers an overview of the situation from an anti-state perspective. If you fancy chipping a few quid in, the Feed the Revolution fundraiser aims to help develop Rojava’s agriculture.
Back in the UK, the junior doctors’ dispute is currently suspended while they discuss the latest contract offer, but you can read an article from Red Pepper here reflecting on the Picket the Profiteers actions that tried to escalate and spread the strike. The militant grassroots United Voices of the World union is gearing up for a cleaners’ strike in the heart of the city of London, and workers at Pennine Foods, a company that makes M&S ready meals, have been out on strike in Sheffield.
And to finish off with a few miscellaneous notes: students are preparing to take direct action against the government’s higher education white paper by refusing to take part in the surveys that provide the statistics education policy relies on, libcom has an interesting new interview with West London’s Angry Workers of the World crew, and the next upcoming antifascist callout dates are Dover at the end of May, Bristol, Brighton and Glasgow in the first weekend of June, and Nottingham the weekend after that. Finally, the revolt in France continues to rumble on – there’s way too much going on for me to be able to do it justice, but you can keep up with events at the France page on the dialectical delinquents site.