UK: The social centres roundup

For all its small size and general impoverishment the libertarian socialist movement actually runs a surprisingly large amount of real estate around Britain, all on non-hierarchical lines, by and for the people of the cities and towns we’re in. Housing co-ops, bookshops, bike collectives, archives, distros, printers and the like are all part of the collective mix. Below, Freedom News briefly rounds up some goings-on at 15 radical social centres and spaces over the last few months. [Read More]

Brighton: Land occupation evicted, so activists squat £100m development

A homeless camp set up in Brighton on April 5th to protest against a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which has been imposed on the city’s parks and seafront was evicted on Wednesday — and activists have responded by taking over a building linked to a £100m development project.
The Circus Street DIY Squatted Social Centre has been set up at the city’s old university building and are planning to hold it as a radical space and rebuke against the council, which they say is socially cleansing Brighton of its homeless by denying them a place to stay and sleep.

In a statement, the occupiers, who are involved in campaigns including Raised, Fist Collective, Screw the System, SolFed, Alt SU, Brighton Anti-Fascists and the camp itself, said:
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Brighton: Radical Bank communique2

So today [open day june 15] was a roaring success!

We hosted various workshops throughout the day from first-aid to digital security. We curated various film exhibitions from local artists and activists. We were able to provide free vegan food all day, and all manner of artwork was created to adorn the space. All in all we received overwhelming support for our ongoing project and with much respect and gratitude we would like to thank everybody for the time and energy devoted, it was truly beautiful to see so many people interacting with the space we have worked so hard to make safe, available and free for everybody to enjoy!
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Brighton: Radical Bank

I am writing on behalf of The Radical Bank of Brighton & Hove. We are a diverse group of people who have come together partly in response to the deprivations of the austerity measures enacted by European governments. We refuse to accept their claims that austerity is necessary, indeed, we understand that it has done nothing to improve economic health. Instead, we recognise that this current economic regime has only resulted in impoverishment and misery; it is a means of weakening the public infrastructures relied on by so many, for the purposes of privatization and profit. We refuse to watch as our future is sold to the highest bidder. In response, we have recently reclaimed an abandoned building on 1 Preston Road, in Brighton, previously used as a bank.
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UK: Why #ACAB? One person’s experience of Political Policing

Given all the media attention on Police malpractice recently, and the constant, repetitive wheeling out of the “few bad apples” analogy, it seemed timely to explain why Anticapitalists hate the Police so much. Rather than present some dry, academic thesis full of depressing facts and figures (there are plenty of those about at the moment!) we have decided to simply post one local Anticapitalist’s experience of dealing with the Police as a “Political Activist” and homeless person.
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Brighton: 3 days stand-off at a squatted church

Brighton_Montpelier_Baptist_Church_squatted

Just over a week ago, an interim possession order was served on a squatted church in Brighton. Deciding to resist the IPO, the squatters barricaded the building, and took to the roof in protest and a large group of people gathered outside.

A Banner was hung from the roof stating “The meek shall squat the earth” in reference to some religious nonsense found within the church, and a black flag was flown whilst the squatters maintained a presence on the roof for 3 consecutive days.

Out of the numerous police patrols that passed, one cocky sergeant decided to parade around the church and threatened that the police would return at 5am in the morning to evict the squatters. [Read More]

Brighton: Fuck s144! Some quick analysis

Our three friends who were accused of the “offence” of occupying an unused allegedly residential building have all now been cleared of any “crime.” The three were arrested in Brighton last year, just two days after the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO 2012) had become law. When they came to trial, two had charges dropped, the other one was convicted purely on the word of a copper. On appeal, this conviction was quashed on October 31, over a year later. So finally we can celebrate!

Now at last we can talk about the case and what it means for squatting. Basically, the news is good. Very good in fact. This new law is unenforceable, just as groups such as Squatters Action for Secure Housing (SQUASH) and the Squatters Network of Brighton and Hove always maintained.
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Brighton: Section 144 appeal successful! Calling Mike Weatherley MP a coward case continues

We won the appeal!!

A squatter convicted under s144 had the conviction unanimously overturned for lack of ANY evidence. Our barrister was ninja and the judge laid down some stringent guidelines on what the police must do to establish proof that someone lives in a squat. Unfortunately he refused to define what constitutes residential…

A deeper analysis will follow, for now we can only say if you are accused of squatting a residential building, don’t talk to police at all (no comment interview) and plead not guilty. This law is fucked and unenforceable.

Also, the #mikeweatherleyisacoward case continues so our @housingwar twitter will continue with court updates. Continue reading for tweets from court today:

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Halloween in Brighton (and Hove)

So tomorrow (Thursday 31 October) the appeal against the s144 conviction continues in Hove Crown Court (today went quite well, we will be posting a full report after the trail concludes) AND also the two day trial of a man accused of calling Member of Parliament Mike Weatherley a coward begins at Brighton magistrates court (yes it does really).
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Brighton: Appeal coming up!

The appeal of the third squatban resister is coming up in Brighton!

In a week and a half, on the 30th and 31st of October, our friend Dirk will finally have his appeal against his conviction for Squatting a Residental building. We call on all squatters to come to this appeal and support Dirk! Fuck S144!

Down with Weatherley, up the squatters!
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Brighton: Result of May Trial

We are pretty shocked to report that the third and last defendant was found GUILTY under s144 on May 24. He was sentenced to 40 hours unpaid labour and a £250 fine. Previous updates can be found here. This decision was immediately appealed and we will let you know the next court date asap.
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Brighton: Statement At Adjournment of the Trial

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:
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