Scheming Schemes: A Street View of Social Cleansing

We’re re-blogging this piece from ASH as we feel it will be of interest to the numerous Hammers fans living across the region we cover. It’s a long read but worth the effort as it shows how the gentrifiers have appropriated the football culture of West Ham United, sanitised it and used it as a marketing tool while trashing it at the same time!

architectsforsocialhousing

I’m dreaming dreams, I’m scheming schemes,
I’m building castles high.
They’re born anew, their days are few,
Just like a sweet butterfly.
And as the daylight is dawning,
They come again in the morning!

– Jaan Kenbrovin, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles (1918)

There’s been a lot in the papers and on social media lately about West Ham football fans and how much they hate their new ground in the London Stadium. This culminated in the recent pitch invasion and protests during the Hammers’ home defeat to Burnley in March, when hundreds of angry fans demanded the removal of the board that oversaw the club’s move in August 2016 after 108 years at Upton Park. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who last year had to take back control of the management of the stadium after it was revealed that the move has cost the public £300 million – the same cost…

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Sara made ‘Intentionally Homeless’ by Newham Council

We’ve written numerous times about how the housing crisis in London has a direct impact on those of us living out along the Thames estuary. A housing crisis exacerbated by an intentional policy of social cleansing as part of the project of making the capital a welcome home for the global super rich to park their money in property ‘investment opportunities’. That’s block after block of empty apartments flipped to make a profit while the number of rough sleepers on the streets of London soars and more and more people are forced out of the capital. However, as you’ll see from this piece we’ve re-blogged, the architects of social cleansing are not getting it all their own way. Focus E15 are a Newham based group of activists who have been tirelessly standing up to the complicity of Newham Council in the project of social cleansing and this is a report of yet more actions they’ve taken to call the council to account.

Focus E15 Campaign

The following blog post is taken directly from a report written for the Revolutionary Communist Group’s website. Thank you for allowing  Focus E15 Campaign to reprint this report in full below.

No such thing as intentional homelessness – Sara must stay in Newham

Robin Wales, head of Newham Labour Council since 1995 and Labour Mayor of Newham since 2002 is facing the end of his reign. Rokhsana Fiaz is standing against him for the Labour mayoral candidacy and the results will be announced on Friday 16 March after local Labour members have voted. This situation came about after a trigger democracy process which has forced Wales to accept a challenger for the first time. All Newham wards voted for someone to stand against him. Wales is running scared and after decades of vicious treatment of working class people in the borough, he now proclaims himself a socialist leading a radical…

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A little reminder about why people are moving out of London

There are proposals to build 32,000 homes in Thurrock over the next 20 years. These were discussed at last week’s full council meeting. See here for the full report from the Thurrock Independent: Concerns over 32,000 new homes expressed at Full Councilhttp://www.thurrockindependent.com/2017/11/01/concerns-over-32000-new-homes-expressed-at-full-council/

Legitimate concerns about the necessary infrastructure required to support this new housing were raised by a number of councillors. There was also some discussion about who these homes were intended for, with some references being made to outward migration from London. Philip Gibbs, a local campaigner whose concern seems to be restricting the number of new homes being built in Thurrock had this to say: “We were assured that only 11 per cent of the houses would be for people coming into the borough, but for that to be true it would require a natural population growth of over 43 per cent over 20 years. To achieve that rate you need people to be having an average of five children per couple. Given the real figure of about two children per family the population would grow only about four per cent in 20 years. So even ignoring the people who leave, the truth is that at least 92 per cent of the new housing would be for incoming migration.”

We think it’s time for a little reminder about some of the major causes of outward migration from London, one being social cleansing by the London boroughs, many of them Labour controlled, who are in thrall to the developers. Here’s a leaflet we produced a while back to explain what the situation is…

Here’s pretty much everything we’ve ever written (or re-blogged) on the Stirrer about the housing crisis in London and the way it’s impact spreads right out into Essex and beyond:

Marching from tower to towerhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/marching-from-tower-to-tower/
Newham Council…it’s just got personal…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/newham-council-its-just-got-personal/
Booted out of Londonhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/booted-out-of-london/
A housing reading listhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/a-housing-reading-list/
Clusterfuck! Labour’s Shameless Council Estate Rip-off (re-blog from ASH)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/clusterfuck-labours-shameless-council-estate-rip-off/
10 Myths about London’s Housing Crisis (re-blog from ASH)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/10-myths-about-londons-housing-crisis/
No More Fake News! This is reality (re-blog from Focus E15)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/no-more-fake-news-this-is-reality/
A reminder of why we support housing struggles in Londonhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/a-reminder-of-why-we-support-housing-struggles-in-london/
Why I am a Focus E15 campaigner (re-blog from Focus E15)https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/25/why-i-am-a-focus-e15-campaigner/
The housing domino effect…https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/the-housing-domino-effect/

This is a pretty comprehensive reading list so please…take your time to read this and absorb what we have to say. We’ve said this more times than we care to remember and feell doomed to carry on repeating it until the message finally sinks in…

What happens in London with social cleansing has a direct impact on the housing situation out here along the estuary which gets exploited by the divide and rule merchants.

This is why we support housing struggles in the capital as residents battle against so called ‘regeneration’ schemes that amount to social cleansing.

We will challenge every attempt by the divide and rule merchants to exploit concerns about housing and twist them to suit their nefarious, reactionary agenda.

Fours years on the street and the struggle goes on

A comprehensive update from our friends at Focus E15 on various activities and initiatives. Pay particular attention to the section about Newham Council and how they’ve run down the Carpenters Estate in Stratford so they can offload it to a developer and trouser the cash. Also good to see a few Focus E15 people at the Clapton FC game at the Old Spotted Dog – reinforcing the kind of links that need to be made to build a real movement for change…

Focus E15 Campaign

Saturday 7 October was a busy day for Focus E15 campaign as we celebrate four years of campaigning for social housing and against social cleansing. 

On our lively weekly stall on the Broadway in Stratford, Focus E15 campaign was joined by members of the Renters Power Project and the London Renters Union, along with Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

Then we had our monthly campaign meeting (first Saturday of the month, 2.30-4.30pm Sylvia’s Corner, 97 Aldworth Road, E15 4DN). The meeting had updates on people working with the campaign and their current housing situation, including the racism of detention and threatened deportation, the isolation of families socially cleansed from Newham when they run into local difficulties, and the threats of people being separated from their children in desperate housing situations despite Section 17 of the Children’s Act regarding keeping children and parents together.

During the campaign meeting we…

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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)

Coming soon…

Below is the housing flyer we’re planning to distribute with our friends from Basildon & Southend Housing Action on selected estates in Basildon in a bid to de-bunk some of the myths and rumours about the housing situation that are circulating and to explain in plain language what’s actually going on. We’re experimenting with short sharp flyers instead of our usual papers to see if they’re more effective in getting the message across…