This week for Mayday a group of squatters opened a community centre in Lewes as part of the ‘Stop the G8′ anti-capitalism movement. The centre has an organic, locally grown, donations based vegetable shop, a comfy tea room, a well stocked free shop, and a sunny garden.
Everyday workshops are being held on things such as Fracking and extreme energy, Combe Haven defenders, stop the G8, Hunt sabbing etc.
Today, many people are facing eviction because of the unfair welfare changes which will force people into debt and arrears. How can we campaign to keep people in their homes? Join us for an afternoon of housing related discussion, international skill sharing, developing ideas for creative protest action and networking!
Speakers are housing activists from Berlin and Barcelona, Isabel Counihan-Sanchez from the Counihan campaign, a solicitor and the Branch Chair of Unite Housing workers Paul Kershaw, a former anti-poll tax activist.
A supporter of families at Dale Farm who was arrested during the forced eviction in 2011 has been awarded damages this week. Lu Smith, one of many arrested during the eviction, has settled her claim for damages against Essex Police. She was arrested at Dale Farm on 19 October 2011 while there as an activist protesting against the eviction of Travellers from the estate. Police said she was obstructing a bailiff – a minor offence for which the maximum penalty is a fine. Once Smith was already under arrest, and after she had been lifted and carried to a police vehicle, she was handcuffed despite already being in police custody and having shown no resistance. Smith was held in a police van and thereafter a larger police vehicle referred to as a “prison bus” for five hours. Her handcuffs remained on throughout the full period in the van and she was denied access to toilet facilities as well as water. Eventually, she and other protestors were forced to urinate on the floor of the van with no privacy and while in handcuffs.
Today the squatting trial in Brighton was adjourned until the 24th May as it ran out of time due to extreme faffing.
Two squatters had already had the case against them thrown out of court when the magistrates realised the prosecution hadn’t actually presented any evidence that they lived in the building. And the case against the third squatter looks pretty flimsy.
One of the freed defendants, said:
To tie in with the courtcase starting Monday in Brighton, when three squatters are going on trial under s144 and will not be pleading guilty, here’s some analysis of the criminalisation of squatting in England and Wales..
In 2012, as we all know, new offence of squatting in a residential building was created by the Government, following a moral panic in the media whipped up by a few right-wing politicians. After a rushed consultation, a last-minute clause was added to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO) which meant that it was never properly discussed in the House of Commons. The bill was then pushed through the House of Lords at midnight. Section144 criminalises trespass in a residential building with up to 6 months in prison and/or £5000 fine. Previous campaigns to criminalise squatting in the late 1970s and mid 1990s had failed, unfortunately this time it partially succeeded.
In Greece a social and ideological war is being conducted, with global consequences for the current economic and political governance model. The state has pulled off the mask of neo-liberalism. Now It Nazi salutes and cannibalizes; it attacks basic social and labor rights, represses violently any form of resistance, as only these totalitarian methods that will guarantee its survival. Currently the anti-authoritarian community receives regular brutal attacks from both the State and Fascists. Anarchists are portrayed as terrorists, many of whom face heavy prison penalties. Their spaces are being violently evicted and their infrastructures and means of communication; (printing presses, radio stations) destroyed. Social centres within neighbourhoods with many immigrants, act as bulwarks against the Neo-Nazi’s and their murderous practices, where reactionaries are motivated by a fascist paramilitary organization / political party which holds 18 parliamentary seats; Golden Dawn.
In October 2011, Basildon Council violently evicted 83 families from land they owned (at Dale Farm) because they did not have planning permission. Now, Basildon Council has told families who have virtually nothing left that they must pay £4.3 million for the cost of the eviction!
Many of the families had lived in Basildon for over 10 years: their children were born in the borough, attend the local school and were the first generation in the community to learn to read and write. The bulldozers turned this once thriving and close-knit community into a virtual wasteland, creating deep troughs and huge banks of earth to make it uninhabitable.
Are you a private renter?
Do you want to take action against high rents and rip-off letting agent fees?
Saturday 6 April, 2.00-5.30pm – skillshare: come and find out how to get involved
Unite Community Centre, St George’s Town Hall (basement), 236 Cable Street, London E1 0BL (map) – 2 mins from Shadwell station. (Please let us know if you’re a wheelchair user.)
We’re holding a skillshare for anyone, with any level of experience of protests and campaigns. We’ll be exploring what makes creative protest action, and why we might choose to do it. We’ll come up with ideas for action we could take as part of a day of action on 27 April, and work out what it would take to carry out these actions.
After 6 amazing weeks of self-organisation, hosting events and supporting communities, Self-organised London was evicted last night by High Court Bailiffs and Cops. At 4am in the morning, they stormed Eileen House, kicking in the front door of our social centre and causing mayhem. Luckily, we were well prepared; no one got arrested and we got our personal things and most of the social centre equipment out of the building. Just a short reminder: Once Boris Johnson finally (!!!) takes a decision, Eileen House is likely to be demolished. The planning application envisages the construction of a 41-storey biggie with 335 flats, NONE of them socially rented, not even 20% of them shared ownership. While SOL was trying to provide a space for the public, for the communities of the Elephant, for London activists, Eileen House is now sealed off and inaccessible to the public, awaiting its demolition.
The Self-Organised London (SOL) squatted social centre continues to resist eviction at Elephant and Castle despite a court of their Order awarding its corrupt owners a possession order three weeks ago. In truth, the current occupiers never held any hope in the current State-Capital system to yield any justice to the local community, as the social elite push for more luxury homes for their own in the heart of London. To expect justice from a partnership which projects only to degrade everything public by converting it into a means for profit, which is the inherent desire of the ruling class in a world where the heads of the multinationals are the heads of State, is foolhardy indeed. And, like in Argentina, the majority of the population in the UK continues to live within the consumerist bubble without protesting, while people are being duped into the poverty of slavery by a lying Press which lives by the same axiom as the economists themselves.
A brief update on our situation and upcoming events…
As Self-Organised London Social Space, we have now been squatting Eileen House at 80-94 Newington Causeway in Elephant & Castle for three weeks against welfare cuts, gentrification and the privatisation of space.
In response, we aim to provide space for community self-organisation, and have so far hosted events such as; People’s Kitchen, housing action meetings, talks, film screenings, theatre, music, workshops and discussions. It’s now been over two weeks since we lost possession in High Court with bailiffs due at any time, but we are continuing to run the social space from Wednesday to Sunday from 2-10pm.
Coming up this weekend in our event listings we have Spanish-English language exchange nearby and a local ‘workfare sleuth‘ to support on Saturday, with on Sunday the weekly political theatre and tango lessons from Library St London, as well as the new Queer Cinema from London Queer Social Centre. [Read More]