Sweets Way update

From Radical Housing Network

On the 23rd of September, the eviction process of the Sweets Way Estate began. By the afternoon of the 24th the eviction was complete, all squatters and Mostafa, the last remaining tenant, were removed from the site.

During the event a total of 19 people were arrested. The majority of these took place on Thursday the 24th, when many squatters and other activists climbed to the roof of some of the houses near Mostafa’s in defiance of the eviction attempt by the National Eviction Team, The Sheriff’s Office, and Dorman & Co., all High Court Enforcement agencies.

7 people were released on bail pending charges, the majority of which are for suspicion of contravening Section 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 1977. This offence can be described as actively resisting or obstructing an officer of the court in their duties.

Another 3 were formally charged with Section 10, and released on bail with instruction to appear at Hendon Magistrates on the 23rd of October.

6 were held in custody until a court appearance 48 hours later, in which 4 were bailed after being formally charged with Section 10. These 4 have had trial dates set for the 16-18th of December.

2 of the 6 have chosen to remain anonymous, and unfortunately have been denied bail despite police records showing that they have no prior convictions or any reason to keep them in custody. These two are now being held on remand in HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

It is an outrage that any of these people have been arrested in relation to the eviction on Sweets Way. The local police service were even reluctant to be involved in the whole process, however unfortunately in the execution of a high-court writ HCEO’s are imbued with the power of arrest. And of course the police have a reputation for “just doing their job” at the end of the day.

The fact that 2 have been jailed despite no evidence for concern of character being put before the court by the CPS is a complete travesty and we are doing everything to show our support for them and fight for their release. This has been very hard on everyone both emotionally and physically, and many people from the campaign have disappeared since the eviction, their silence through our ongoing struggle has been deafening.

We call out for anyone reading this to join us as we continue to fight, both for Mostafa’s family as he seeks to find appropriate accommodation, and for the brave souls who have put their lives and futures on the line in defence of their convictions.

We are holding a open meeting at 78 Oakleigh Road North, N20 9EZ on Tuesday night, 6th of October, at 6:30pm. We need both perspectives for deciding how best to continue as well as physical support to continue doing what we are doing.

The 2 anonymous arrestees will be re-appearing at Hendon Magistrates, NW9 7BY on Thursday the 8th of October at 10am. Please join us to show your support for these two selfless people. We only ask that should you know them, or find out that you know them when you arrive, please do not mention names or any details that may reveal their identity.

Your support through these hard times is appreciated.

If you can’t make either, any messages of solidarity or ideas you want to share will be warmly received to keep up morale of campaigners and those inside – if there are any good ones we can write them on boards and hold them up for the arrestees to see on Thursday morning.

Send to Sweets Way Resists

Eviction Resistance in Redbridge

Yesterday UNITE Community Waltham Forest and supporters successfully prevented the eviction of Jenny, an Ilford resident. Jenny, a parent with health issues, was threatened with eviction from a house which is in a bad state of repair and from which she wants to move. However Redbridge Council only offered her temporary accommodation in a one bedroom flat in Harlesden, far from her disabled parents, her surgery and hospital. For now she and her family have a roof over their heads.

Messages of support can be posted on UNITE’s
Facebook page

Here are some videos of the action:

Osborne’s National Living Wage is a Complete Con

Budget day protest in Parliament Square, London 8th July 2015. Photo: Steve Eason

Budget day protest in Parliament Square, London 8th July 2015.
Photo: Steve Eason

Eleanor Firman, Unite Community activist and Left Unity member, shares her views on yesterday’s announcement by Chancellor George Osborne.

The compulsory National Living Wage which Osborne announced today is a complete and utter con. The media are hyping it as the Tories stealing Labour’s clothes but the miniscule Living Wage is not about Osborne getting tough with low wage-paying bosses – the reality is in fact the complete opposite: the Tory Chancellor is merely instructing businesses to return a tiny fraction of the money that has been stolen from our (social) wages and handed to bosses in the form of the employers’ National Insurance ‘allowance’ that began last year (up to £2000 per employer) and was increased by Osborne yesterday to £3000.[1]

Society seems to have forgotten that Employers’ N.I. contributions are actually part of wages – they are the portion of the wage that instead of being paid direct to the employee is forwarded directly to Treasury by the employer where it is pooled with all N.I. contributions and returned to workers in the form of the social wage i.e. the welfare state provisions of pensions, the NHS, compulsory education and social housing. So employer’s contributions are actually our wages but we don’t see it because it is paid on our behalf and then collectivised before we get our pay packet. This collectivisation includes spending in the form of social assistance for those who cannot work due to their impairments or those whose pay is inadequate.

This system of social insurance that began in 1946 is commonly referred to as the post war social settlement but understood by the left as a compromise between labour and capital to fend off rising social unrest: capital could keep a certain amount of profit if workers laboured not just for subsistence wages in the form of cash, but also improved social conditions.

Now public services and welfare are being dismantled and employers are being made to give back a tiny portion of their new N.I. allowance to the workers in the form of the new ‘national living wage’ – but the overall amount of tax and N.I. allowances bosses receive will more than offset a marginally more expensive workforce. Let’s not forget corporation tax was also cut to 18% along with other tax breaks for the rich.[2] So this national ‘living wage’ is not just a downgraded replacement of the higher voluntary living wage as many are pointing out, – but is actually a cut to the existing compulsory minimum wage.

Osborne was deadly serious when he described his budget as a new social settlement. But do the public realise what has really been lost? Less tax and less welfare does not just mean higher incomes for a few, and lower incomes for the many. It means less public services as well as greater financial inequality. Iain Duncan Smith’s reaction yesterday in the Commons and the following day in the Daily Telegraph, clearly signalled that for people like him who only came into politics to realise the vision of Margaret Thatcher, Osborne’s National Living Wage is a dream come true. For the rest of us it’s a laissez faire nightmare.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/employment-allowance

[2] In a bid to reassure businesses, the chancellor also reiterated that the cost to business will amount to one per cent of corporate profits, which he has offset with the cut in corporation tax to 18 per cent. Smaller firms would be helped by a cut in their national insurance contributions. From 2016, the new employment allowance will be increased by 50 per cent to £3,000 and a company employing four full-time workers on the new national living wage would pay no national insurance.
http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/30726-summer-budget-2015-compulsory-national-living-wage-gets-mixed-reception

Walthamstow eviction resistance workshop

Sunday 5 July 4-6pm, St Barnabas Church Hall, St Barnabas Rd, Walthamstow, E17 8JZ

Nearest rail: Walthamstow Queens Rd (Gospel Oak to Barking Line)

Nearest tube/rail: Walthamstow Central (Victoria line, also Liverpool St – Chingford rail)

Map/buses directions

And join us later next door where a pop up pub is selling fine ales from Wildcard Brewery

Organised by Unite Community Waltham Forest, Radical Housing Network and Eviction Resistance

For more information, contact: 0795 404 7527

Save the Independent Living Fund protest: an activist’s report

On 24 June disability activists went to Parliament. Here one activist explains what happened.

The lobby of ILF on 24-06-15 turned into a demonstration. The ILA PA arrived at 0840, followed by the cab at 0845. This demonstration was no surprise, my revolutionary comrade Andy Greene briefed me beforehand. So we all filed into the central lobby, about thirty of us, all defiant. We got our green cards on which you note MPs down, sometimes they will see you. At a given signal we all hurtled down a corridor. At the end there was a door, directly behind which prime minister’s questions were occurring. We raced down the corridor following our inspirational leader followed by thirty police officers, who were determined to get our chairs out of there. We were shouting “save the ILF” and we just outside the main chamber where there was Prime Ministers Questions. We could not get in the main chamber but the police grabbed my chair and I put my brakes on and dug my heels in the floor. Nonetheless they shoved my chair into the main lobby where we shouted “save the ILF” but my PA was very determined, and was helping a disabled lady. The police dragged him out, so I had to leave with him, he was a foreign national so I was scared he would be deported. After this, disabled people went outside and blocked the road, they went outside Downing Street and protested, but I stayed with my PA.

Community stops eviction in Walthamstow

Yesterday a group of campaigners and neighbours successfully prevented the eviction of a family from their home in Walthamstow. Eleanor Firman, of union Unite Community issued this statement:

Today myself and my local Unite Community group along with friends and neighbours plus Focus E15 and Radical Housing Network are all pulling together to help a mother and her two young children. She has complex health needs and is being evicted by her landlord in what looks like a revenge eviction. She had gone to a rent tribunal who lowered the rent to Local Housing Allowance rates. The landlord hardly waited a month before applying for repossession. This is totally unacceptable. I live a few streets away from the family and the property is identical to mine. It’s a friendly area but every year my neighbours and others like them are thrown out – its like clockwork, its so predictable. It’s usually so the landlord can put up the rent and avoid tackling repairs. I see it every week in this neighbourhood.  Property prices have doubled since I moved here a few years ago.  I always make friends with whoever moves in next door to me and warn them about the landlord (and the damp that is never sorted out). But it’s time to stop this exploitation. Everywhere people complain about the benefits bill yet its greedy landlords that are to blame. I love the community spirit around here and it hurts that these landlords spoil this and give Walthamstow a bad name. So today we’re resisting this eviction and sending the bailiffs away so this young mum and her family have time to get help from the council.

The local Guardian newspaper covered the story here and has a video of campaigners repelling the bailiffs

Rabina Khan for Mayor of Tower Hamlets

This statement has been agreed by Left Unity’s executive committee.

Left Unity supports Rabina Khan in the 11 June re-run of the Tower Hamlets mayoral election.

She is standing to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets at a time when the council is being taken over by Tory government agencies, whipping up Islamophobic scare stories to justify sending in Eric Pickles and his unelected commissioners. The continuing case against Lutfur Rahman, who has vowed to clear his name, is being used as an excuse to dismantle the whole democratically elected council.

Rabina has a strong left-wing record. As cabinet member for housing in Tower Hamlets she has overseen the building of thousands of new social and affordable homes, and the investment of millions of pounds in refurbishing council housing. If successful she would become the first elected female Muslim mayor in Britain.

We call on the left to unite in support of the campaign to defend democracy in Tower Hamlets and in support of Rabina Khan’s candidacy.

There is more about the campaign at Rabina Khan’s website.

 

5 things Londoners can do to help Rabina Khan get elected in Tower Hamlets

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