Category: Action

Marching from tower to tower

Photo by Peter Marshall

On Saturday 12th August, as part of our ongoing strategy of linking up with grassroots housing activists, I attended the March of the towers: Resistance in the East End! protest organised by Focus E15https://www.facebook.com/focuse15/ – and supported by a healthy range of groups and individuals. The march started at Ferrier Point in Canning Town, went on from there to Tanner Point in Plaistow and finished up at the Carpenters Estate in Stratford. Both Ferrier Point and Tanner Point have cladding similar to that used at Grenfell Tower – understandably, residents of both blocks are fearful about what could happen and frustrated at being messed around by Newham Council. The Carpenters Estate is being depopulated by the same council in a cynical bid to offload it and trouser a huge wedge from a developer.

It wasn’t the biggest march (in terms of numbers) I’ve been on this year but certainly the most passionate and for it’s size, pretty damn loud as well. It was visually impressive with the banners and the smoke flares, particularly as we were coming into Stratford. Loads of flyers were handed out to the people we passed by to let them know what was going on and why we were marching. This should be standard practice on marches but sadly it ain’t – credit to Focus E15 for doing this and spreading the message.

It was great to be not marching alongside the usual suspects but with feisty working class people for a change. It was also good to see Movement For Justice – https://www.facebook.com/movementforjustice/ – and East End Sisters Uncut – https://www.facebook.com/eastendsistersuncut/ – amongst others coming along to support the march. This shows that a diverse range of groups can effectively work together as and when the need arises. This fits in with our support for making alliances as and when the need arises without getting hung up about ideological purity.

Also, there were no cops intervening at any point…brilliant! ‘Whose Streets? Our Streets!’ actually had some serious meaning yesterday…

All in all, it was a good day where alliances were formed and strengthened and morale raised. We’re more than happy to continue to continue to offer our solidarity to Focus E15 and the other groups who stand alongside them…

Dave (the editor)

Advance notice – March of the towers!

We’ll be going along to this to show our solidarity with housing struggles in East London: March of the towers! https://www.facebook.com/events/1951128301839783/

Date: Saturday August 12th

Join us for a march and speak out to demand safe homes, not social cleansing in East London.

The flats of Ferrier Point and Tanner Point are both tower blocks with the same cladding as Grenfell Tower. Carpenters Estate in Stratford is marked for demolition by Newham Labour council.

Let us meet to raise the issues of secure housing in our local community and demand that the council provides suitable housing for residents.

Meet 12 midday: Ferrier Point, Forty Acre Lane, Canning Town E16 and/or 1pm: Tanner Point, Pelly Road, Plaistow E13.

From there we will be marching to the Carpenters Estate, Stratford E15.

And from 2.30pm we will be having a ‘hands around the Carpenters Estate’ solidarity event and speak out with residents to organise resistance to decanting, demolition and social cleansing.

Take action to defend people’s right to homes and safety.

Join us at Midday, bring your banners and your voices and your hearts!

As we’ve written and said more times than we care to remember, what happens in London with social cleansing as a consequence of ‘regeneration’ in the service of making the capital a welcome home for the global super rich and their money has a direct impact on us out here along the estuary. This is why we show solidarity with housing activists in London fighting this tide of social cleansing from the capital – as far as we’re concerned, the housing struggle, regardless of where it takes place, is one struggle.

Newham Council…it’s just got personal…

I took part in a protest organised by Focus E15 today (Monday 24th July) outside the Newham Council housing office at Bridge House, Stratford. The protest was called to offer solidarity to Chantelle who’s facing eviction and possible relocation out of Newham this week and also for Elina who has been re-located by Local Space Stratford to Pitsea miles away from her family and support network. We support protests like this because what happens in London as people are socially cleansed as part of the project of making the capital a welcome home for the global super rich has direct consequences for our communities out here along the estuary: Booted out of London…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/booted-out-of-london/

Along with Basildon & Southend Housing Action, we’re doing what we can to support Elina, working closely with Focus E15 in the process. We know that as far as Newham Council and Local Space Stratford are concerned, once their residents have been re-located out of the borough, they have effectively washed their hands of any meaningful responsibility for their welfare. Not only that, communication between the likes of Newham Council and the local authorities receiving their former residents are pretty much non-existent. When people being booted out of London are dumped on estates in Basildon that already have more than their fair share of problems, it exacerbates existing tensions…

This is why we’ve produced the above flyer to explain to locals in Basildon what the situation is, to not blame the people being relocated out here but instead, aim their anger at the authorities in London complicit in social cleansing. We know there are divide and rule merchants out here who will exploit this situation to promote their own reactionary agenda – we’ve no intention of letting these bigots get away with it. The actions of the likes of Newham Council in dumping people out here make our lives as activists more difficult as we have to deal with the consequences. Outside Bridge House today when I took the mic for a few minutes, I let Newham Council know in no uncertain terms that as a result of their actions, they will have to deal with us and Basildon & Southend Housing Action as well as Focus E15 and their allies. To put it bluntly, it’s now got personal…

Bridge House, where the protest was held, is just round the corner from the Carpenters Estate with its iconic tower blocks surrounded by low rise housing. In its heyday, the estate had a reputation for being a thriving community where people got along regardless of who they were or where they came from. The tower blocks are now empty and Newham Council are now putting pressure on the remaining residents in the low rise housing to leave. This is so the council can flog off the estate to developers and trouser the cash. In their greed and hubris, they’ve killed off a community. Newham Council along with all the other London councils engaging in social cleansing need to be told that breaking up communities and decanting residents right out of the capital has consequences and they will be made to pay for them…

Dave (the editor)

Whatever you do at Tories Out! on Saturday, don’t rock the boat…

…because if you do get angry or depart from the script in any way, shape or form, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be really, really upset with you! As usual with a People’s Assembly event, everything is being as carefully choreographed as possible for what to all intents and purposes is going to be a massive, pro-Corbyn march and rally in the centre of London. There will be musical entertainment laid on to put everyone in a bouncy mood… There will be endless chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’… The usual suspects will be mouthing the usual guff from the stage… One more push and Corbyn will be Prime Minister…so whatever you do, don’t rock the boat…

There’s musical entertainment before and presumably, after the march… Let’s just put this in context… This will be taking place a few miles down the road from the still unfolding horror of the Grenfell Tower disaster where the death toll will not be known / revealed until the end of the year: Grenfell Fire Death Toll ‘May Not Be Known This Year’http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/grenfell-fire-death-toll-may-not-be-known-this-year_uk_5953b719e4b02734df2ef257 This shows an utter lack of respect, not just for for survivors in the community around Grenfell but also for the considerable number of people attending the march who feel saddened and angry about this needless tragedy and would appreciate a more serious atmosphere to reflect that.

The subliminal message from the People’s Assembly is ‘don’t get angry and rock the boat’. How the ***k is it possible to not get angry when Grenfell Tower survivors have been banned from attending the first full cabinet meeting of Kensington & Chelsea council because of fears of ‘disruption’? See here for the story: Grenfell Tower: Survivors Banned From Council Meeting Because Of Fear Of Violencehttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/grenfell-tower-council-survivors-meeting_uk_595437c1e4b05c37bb7bdad6 How the ***k is is possible to not get angry when the retired judge appointed to head the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, basically gave the green light to social cleansing from London when he ruled in 2014 that Westminster council could re-house a single mother in Milton Keynes, 50 miles away from her support network? See here for the full story: Grenfell Tower inquiry judge has controversial history in housing caseshttps://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/28/grenfell-tower-inquiry-judge-retired-martin-moore-bick

Let’s not let the Labour party off the hook… Do you want to see what they’re really like when they get their hands on the levers of power? These are just two out of hundreds of examples we could quote that shows the reality, and how far that is from the rhetoric they’ll be coming out with this Saturday… Firstly, there’s this about the sheer arrogance of Newham council and their complicity in social cleansing in the name of ‘re-generation’: No More Fake News! This is realityhttps://focuse15.org/2017/05/19/no-more-fake-news-this-is-reality/ Then there’s this from Labour controlled Haringey council where they’re demolishing the Sky City estate in Wood Green and pretty much telling tenants they have no right of return to the area: Sky City, Wood Green – set for demolitionhttps://www.facebook.com/paul.burnham.31/posts/10211012337199605 How the ***k is it possible to not get angry when this is going down?

But, we’re not supposed to get angry and rock the boat on Saturday are we? That’s a tough call when the Tories have climbed into bed with the creationist, climate change denying, homophobic, anti-abortionist, religious fundamentalist, corrupt, loyalist terrorist loving scum otherwise known as the Democratic Unionist Party. The list goes on and on but we hope you’re starting to get the picture by now…there is a lot to be angry at right now! With the numbers expected at Tories Out! on Saturday, with the will, bottle and imagination, it could be a lot more than just another point A to point B march. At the very least, there should be a few buildings occupied / squatted to make some salient points about the housing crisis. A march like this should be angry and disruptive with the aim of putting the wind up the political establishment.

It should be, but we know it won’t be as the Corbynistas will not tolerate it. The truth is that anyone attempting to depart from the script on Saturday will most likely end up getting grassed up to the cops. As ever, any point A to point B march these days is a tokenistic exercise that’s designed to stifle people’s anger. Real change can only happen from the grassroots upwards on the estates, in our workplaces, in the colleges and out on the streets but, strictly on our terms…

The Estuary ALTERNATIVE

As regular readers of the blog may have gathered, we’re a bit spiky, gobby and love getting in the faces of certain political enemies to wind them up something rotten. However, we realise that in the project of bringing about radical change, there are times when positive alternatives that are about building the new world in the decaying one that we currently endure need to be promoted for all they’re worth. The Stirrer is NOT the appropriate vehicle to do this! So, in order to promote positive alternatives, we’d like to introduce The Estuary ALTERNATIVEhttps://theestuaryalternative.wordpress.com/

Please note that this blog is very much a work in progress – as you can plainly see from the fact that currently, there are only three posts that have been published! As for the links in the sidebar, we have only just scratched the surface… So, if your grassroots project isn’t featured, feel free to drop us a line at: seradicalmedia@protonmail.com with some information about what you do and the all important URL and we’ll feature you…

Property developers left in no doubt as to what we think of them


(Thanks to Lolly for the photo)

Last night (4.4) saw the annual Property Developer Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane in London. This is where all of the developers who are ripping the heart out of London with their complicity in social cleansing get together to congratulate each other and celebrate their ‘achievements’. This year, the award went to Savills who are playing a major role in offering ‘advice’ on the ‘regeneration’ of council estates. Note the use of quotation marks around the words ‘advice’ and ‘regeneration’ – the result of the intervention of the likes of Savills leads to the replacement of a significant amount of social housing by unaffordable private accommodation and the tearing apart of communities as residents are relocation to the fringes of London and beyond.

Well last night, the developers got a little taste of how pissed off and angry people are at seeing the estates, pubs, cafes, shops, etc. that make up the fabric of their lives torn down to be replaced by yet more swanky apartment developments that act as little more than investment opportunities for the already super rich. A lively, noisy, irreverent and militant picket outside Grosvenor House left the attendees of the awards ceremony in no doubt as to what those on the receiving end of their ‘developments’ think of them. The pile of steaming horse manure left at the entrance was a particularly eloquent expression of what we think of these parasites. Many thanks to the Sexual Avengers (https://www.facebook.com/sexulavengers/) who called the action and everyone else who turned up, including our mates from Class War. What made the action even better was the complete absence of Trots and paper sellers who always end up acting as a fire safety blanket when it comes to protests and actions – they weren’t missed!

Maybe, just maybe the tide is starting to turn in our favour. With the removal of the developers’ apologist, Dave Hill from the columns of the Guardian and more critical pieces like this one from Oliver Wainwright appearing: The property billboards that reveal the truth about Britain’s luxury housing markethttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/04/the-property-billboards-that-reveal-the-truth-about-britains-luxury-housing-market#comment-96119430 it could be that certain sections of the mainstream media are starting to wake up to the extent of the problem. Every little bit helps although we’re not expecting the likes of the London Evening Standard to ever come round to our way of thinking any time soon!

Last night was about us putting our money where our mouth is – going into London to show practical solidarity with housing struggle activists fighting the developers in the capital. As we’ve written before, what happens in London with ‘regeneration’ and social cleansing has a direct impact on us out here on the estuary and beyond as well: The housing domino effect…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-housing-domino-effect/ The housing struggle in London is our struggle out here – we cannot and will not be split apart by the divide and rule merchants who would rather distract us and have us fighting and blaming each other…

See It. Say it. Sorted.

A couple of weeks ago when we were on our way to the park in Stanford-le-Hope where we volunteer as gardeners, we spotted the Polish football ultras sticker shown on the left hand side of the image. We thought it looked a bit dodgy so when we got home, we did a bit of research on the Net and lo and behold, this group of football ultras have links to the far right. This isn’t what we want to see on the streets in Thurrock, particularly as we have our own indigenous fascists to contend with. Anyway, today as we were on our way to gardening, we slapped an anti-fascist sticker over the offending ultras sticker. As for the likely suspect who put the football ultras sticker up, it turns out that one of the community pay back groups who have been doing some heavy duty scrub clearance in the park have a number of Poles in their team. We’ll be monitoring the situation to see if there’s any reaction to our little intervention…

This is part of our strategy of zero tolerance when we come across activity like this. Leaving dodgy far right / fascist stickers up untouched sends out a signal to the scum that no one’s bothered about them and eventually it will embolden them to start doing worse. It only takes a few seconds to marker over crap like this or slap an anti-fascist sticker over it. Admittedly, it’s a tiny gesture but as they say, every little bit helps… Whether it’s dodgy stickers or someone working on a community project who has to be frozen out because they turn out to be knowingly associating with people who have links to the far right, zero tolerance has to be the order of the day. See It. Say It. Sorted.