Know Your Rights: the campaigns of Bob and Roberta Smith

A review of Bob and Roberta Smith’s exhibition at the William Morris Gallery E17


James B reviews the latest exhibition of Bob and Roberta Smith, finding a powerful defence of art as a human right, source of self-empowerment and tool of protest. The show until January 31 in Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery.

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Teachers at George Monoux College announce further strike action

Teachers at Sir George Monoux Sixth Form College have voted to step up their strike action in defence of two colleagues sacked for their union roles.

wpid-wp-1434999397873.jpegNational Union of Teachers (NUT) members at the college say that Flor Thompson, union health and safety representative, and Diane George, joint college rep, were victimised by college management and that the charges against them are ridiculous.
Flor Thompson was originally suspended in 2013 and sacked after one year’s suspension. She was later reinstated after a governors’ inquiry, only to be re-suspended and sacked in 2015 on a different set of trumped up charges. Diane George was also sacked this year.
After five days of strike action Principal Paolo Ramella and the college governors have remained intransigent and refused all attempts at a negotiated settlement. NUT members have voted unanimously for another 5 days of strike action this term and 3 more at the start of next term.
wpid-wp-1434988427653.jpegCollege NUT rep Pippa Dowswell, a supporter of Left Unity, said: “We are facing a hardnosed management who want to establish an autocratic regime. They have to understand that we will not allow our representatives to be victimised in this way. Our union executive has given our strike action 100% support. If management can pick off union activists, all teachers at the college are threatened.”

Join the pickets outside George Monoux College, 190 Chingford Road E17 5AA from 7-9 am on 24 and 25 June, and 1, 2, 8 and 9 July.

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

Waltham Forest general election hustings – update 3

Here is an incomplete list of hustings where residents will have the opportunity to hear what candidates have to say and hopefully to ask them questions:

Date Constituency Location Time Notes
17 April Leyton & Wanstead Tawhid Mosque, 80 High Road, Leyton 8.15pm
21 April Walthamstow Waltham Forest College 11.00am Awaiting confirmation
21 April Walthamstow St Mary’s Church, Church Hill, Walthamstow, E17 3BD 7.30pm details
22 April Walthamstow Waltham Forest Trades Council: Waltham Forest Girls’ School 6.30pm details
24 April Walthamstow Waltham Forest Islamic Association, 119-121 Grove Road E17 9BU 8.45pm
25 April Leyton & Wanstead Churchill Room, Wanstead Library, Spratt Hall Road 11.00am
25 April Chingford, Leyton & Wanstead, Walthamstow Waltham Forest Women’s Network: Wood St library. Women only. 4.00pm details
27 April Leyton & Wanstead Woodford Memorial Hall, High Road, South Woodford 7.30pm
29 April Walthamstow Sir George Monoux College,
190 Chingford Road, Walthamstow E17 5AA
7.00pm details
29 April Leyton & Wanstead St John’s Church, Church Lane, Leytonstone, E11 1HH 7.30pm details

This list will be updated as we find out more.