Unions take note…this is how you take action!

The previous post on here was about the struggle of two striking cleaners, Angelica and Fredy, at the HR Owen luxury motor dealership in South Kensington: Please show some solidarity…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/09/27/please-show-some-solidarity/ They weren’t directly employed by HR Owen – their roles were outsourced to Templewood. Like many outsourced cleaners, they’ve had to endure crap pay and working conditions. Well, they’ve had enough and with the support of the United Voices of the World (UVW) union, they’re taking action… Please consider making a donation to their strike fund if you can – https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/hr-owen/

The first public manifestation of that action came with a protest in South Kensington yesterday (Saturday 30.9). Around sixty people assembled outside the tube station and then started marching, first to the offices of HR Owen just round the corner and then down the Old Brompton Road to their swanky showroom.

It was a lively, noisy and feisty crowd of UVW supporters, other cleaners showing solidarity and Class War amongst others. Not a single Trot paper seller in sight poncing off someone else’s struggle…just people committed to winning not just this fight but to improving working conditions for thousands upon thousands of low paid, exploited workers. It was militant…the showroom was shut down for the afternoon and the road was blocked for two hours.

While militant, it was also disciplined. The (possibly just above) minimum wage security guards lined up outside the showroom weren’t abused or threatened in any way shape or form. In fact, many of us felt sorry for them being put in the position they were in…looking at the facial expressions and body language, their hearts were definitely not in the task at hand and we suspect that most of them sympathised with the cause of the cleaners.

Actions like this aren’t sticking to the mainstream union rulebook but sticking to the rulebook doesn’t get results. The tactics of outsider unions such as the UVW, IWGB and others get results because they get in people’s faces and don’t back off. The action outside the HR Owen showroom was noisy, disruptive and got a lot of attention. FFS, it even got covered by the Mail of all publications! Mop-wielding protesters attack luxury car showroom after it ‘suspended husband-and-wife cleaners who went on strike in bid to win a £2.25 pay rise’http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4937128/Mop-wielding-protesters-attack-luxury-car-showroom.html We wouldn’t normally link to this rag but it shows that the tactics used get people’s attention and get the issue onto the agenda…

Some people out here along the estuary may well be asking why we had a presence at a protest in London in support of striking migrant workers. It’s called solidarity… Angelica and Fredy aren’t just striking for themselves or indeed other migrant workers…they’re striking for all workers enduring low pay and abusive, insecure working conditions. That’s why we offered our support to them because an injury to one worker is an injury to all of us and we will not let the divide and rule merchants get away with their attempts to split us along lines of nationality…


We got it wrong on the turnout…

A few posts back, we predicted that there would be a low turnout at the general election: Election 2017 – some thoughts from outside the bubblehttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/election-2017-some-thoughts-from-outside-the-bubble/ Well…we were wrong on that one weren’t we?! The turnout was up, boosted by many young people registering to vote and then going on to exercise that right: Huge number of young people believed to be behind vote that rocked Torieshttp://metro.co.uk/2017/06/09/youth-out-in-full-force-as-72-of-young-people-vote-in-general-election-6696890/

A fair number of them voted for Corbyn’s Labour. It has to be acknowledged that despite Corbyn starting out from a pretty dismal position in the polls, the ensuing campaign energised a lot of younger people into registering and voting, making May’s campaign look wooden and stilted by comparision. Yes, regardless of our criticisms of Labour, we’re admitting that Corbyn has created a new force in British politics and that has to be acknowledged. The question is, what happens now?

We still stand by every criticism that we and our comrades have made of Labour, particularly the way Labour controlled councils in London are actively complicit in the process of social cleansing in the name of ‘re-generation’: Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-offhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/clusterfuck-labours-shameless-council-estate-rip-off/ However, we also realise that many of the people who were swept up by the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s campaign were not aware of the reality of what Labour councils in the capital are actually doing. Those of us who are calling these councils to task (Architects 4 Social Housing, Class War, Focus E15 to name a few) don’t have the reach or clout we would like to get the message across and we know we have to up our game in order to do so.

The election is over and we would like to leave the arguments within anarchist circles about voting or not voting behind us and start to look at the task ahead. If just some of the people who were energetically campaigning for Corbyn can get stuck into grassroots activism in the community, workplace, colleges and out on the streets, it really would start to make a difference: What now? Fighting austerity in a hung parliamenthttps://libcom.org/blog/what-now-08062017

Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off

Right, if you want the ultimate low down on what’s happening in London with social cleansing, here it is from our mate, Lolly… This piece was originally published in the latest Class War paper and then given an airing on the Net by our friends from ASH. Yes, we know we keep banging on about the housing situation in London – we do so because what happens in the capital has a direct impact out here along the estuary. Also, we believe in that old fashioned word, solidarity…


A version of this article by long-time ASH member Lolly Oii was first published in the new release of Class War, the most dangerous tabloid in Britain and the only paper that speaks to the working class about working-class struggle. We liked it so much we asked the author if we could publish it on the ASH blog and she said yes. This is one of the best summaries we’ve read about estate demolition, what it’s doing to our communities and who is responsible.

Well, where do we begin to untangle this clusterfuck of an issue? Yes, we know there’s a lot to blame Maggie for – introducing the ‘right to buy’ and blocking any cash generated by sales from being used to build new homes; but under carefully hidden layers there’s a lot more blame that actually falls directly at Labour’s feet. In 1997 Tony Blair and his…

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Class War nail it on the housing crisis in London…

Salutations to our comrades in Class War with this piece in their latest paper on the complicity of London Labour councils in estate demolition and the social cleansing of the working class from the capital. This ties in nicely with the front page story on the first print edition of The South Essex Stirrer which deals with the impact of social cleansing from London out here on the estuary. As we keep on saying, it’s one struggle when it comes to housing issues which is why we always stand in solidarity with housing activists in London…

The privileged, contemptuous, sneering faces of class hatred…

On the evening of Tuesday 4th April, there was a protest outside the Property Developer Awards held at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane: Property developers left in no doubt as to what we think of themhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/property-developers-left-in-no-doubt-what-we-think-of-them/

During the course of the protest, the three individuals shown above decided to come out for a quick fag break and a sneer at the protesters before embarking on their sumptuous meal and awards ceremony that had a price tag of £10,000 per table. That’s more than a fair number of the protesters get in income in a sodding year!

What you see in the above image is the privileged, contemptuous, sneering face of class hatred. Note one of them was filming us for on their smartphone for later amusement… The three scumbags in the above image got away with this because at that point in the proceedings, there was a solid line of cops between us and them.

These are the kind of people who think nothing of demolishing the estates, pubs, cafes and shops that form the fabric of life for working class and marginalised communities in London to make way for apartment developments that are unaffordable for anyone who’s not a high earner. These are the kind of people who are playing an active part in the social cleansing of London which as we’ve written before, has a direct and detrimental effect on the housing situation all the way out along the estuary: The housing domino effect…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-housing-domino-effect/

These people are our direct class enemies… Their mates in the right wing media happily do their bidding in sowing the seeds of divide and rule, demonising everyone from migrants and asylum seekers through to benefit claimants. The knuckledraggers on the far right act as their useful idiots as they amplify the messages of (misplaced) blame and hatred.

Ignore the crap coming from the divide and rule merchants who want to split us along the lines of race and creed and have us blaming and fighting each other – the people shown above are the real enemy…

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…