Manchester: Shock eviction of Cornerhouse centre puts 20 people on streets

Homeless people rounded on Andy Burnham’s Labour administation in Manchester today after 20 people were rousted out of the well-regarded Cornerhouse squatted centre in an early-morning raid.

Manchester Activist Network, which has been heavily involved in the space, said today they will be looking to hold highly-paid council bosses to account for promises made during Mayor Burnham’s election campaign in May that his team would “end rough sleeping by 2020”:
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London: Because they were poor: The Grenfell

Angry Londoner writes: “The people who died and lost their homes – this happened to them because they are poor,” Akala, rapper and poet, local resident.

“Regeneration is a euphemism for ethnic and class cleansing”: Kensington resident and writer Ishmahil Blagrove.

Guilty: Boris Johnson. When Mayor of London he put through cuts including the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of 552 firefighters jobs despite pre-election promises not to do so. When questioned over this at the Greater London Assembly he said: “Get Stuffed”. The loss to the fire services meant a slower response time to the fire, with fire teams having to be called in from outside London.

Guilty: Kensington and Chelsea Council. They repeatedly ignored warnings for years from residents about fire hazards. They attempted to close down a blogger, Francis O’Connor, member of the Grenfell Action Group (GAG) after he warned about fire hazards at Grenfell. They sent a lawyer to threaten him, which he ignored. Nicholas Paget-Brown, leader of the council, attended a private dinner to which he was invited by organizers of the MIPIM (property developers’ event) conference in 2015. The council has had plans to cleanse the residents and build luxury flats in the neighbourhood for the last three years. Now Paget-Brown is trying to put blame on the residents by falsely saying that they objected to water sprinklers. [Read More]

London: Grenfell Tower must mark a turning point for UK housing

Grenfell Tower must mark a turning point for UK housing – community protest called for Saturday 18 June, 12 noon.

In response to the horror at Grenfell Tower, Grenfell Action Group and Radical Housing Network have called a protest at Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) Town Hall this Saturday.

Radical Housing Network is a London-wide alliance of grassroots housing campaigns of which Grenfell Action Group are a member. The group are calling on estate campaigners, community groups and tenants from across London to join Saturday’s protest to demand #Justice4Grenfell. [Read More]

London: Justice for Grenfell Tower

‘Managed decline’ of council housing and contempt for tenants contributed to fire

Radical Housing Network, a London-wide alliance of groups fighting for housing justice, said the Grenfell fire was a tragic consequence of systematic disinvestment in council housing alongside disregard for council tenants safety and their concerns – and called for #JusticeforGrenfell.

The catastrophe at Grenfell Tower was foreseen by a community group on the estate. Just 7 months ago, Grenfell Action Group, a member of Radical Housing Network, warned that failings in the estate management organisation’s health and safety practices were a “recipe for a future major disaster”. These warnings were dismissed by Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) council.

It’s been revealed that Gavin Barwell, Conservative Chief of Staff and ex-Minister for Housing, ‘sat on’ a report warning that tower blocks were vulnerable to fire. Last year, Barwell was one of 312 Tory MPs who voted against making properties ‘fit for human habitation’. [Read More]

Squatting: the urban space as a common good

London_squatters_outside_the_Mayfair“Housing is a need, not a privilege”, “Housing for people, not for profit”. Banners with slogans like these hang from windows in any number of European cities. Across Europe, increasing social inequality is making some urban spaces inaccessible to those who used to inhabit them. Gentrification, corporatization and so-called “urban regeneration” projects are leading to the demolition of social and accessible housing, replaced by unaffordable apartments. This leads to the increased eviction and displacement of tenants from their homes and their relocation to the suburbs and peripheries.

Houses, once owned by councils or their occupants, have become investment opportunities for large corporations. With up to 200,000 living spaces intentionally kept vacant in the UK, houses are being stripped of their social value and becoming objects to secure the elites’ wealth. Workers in precarious positions, families, low wage households and students are being displaced or made homeless, while surrounded by vacant properties. [Read More]

Manchester’s self-organised homeless challenge Andy Burnham to join them

201705_Cornerhouse_Cinema_ManchesterOrganisers at squatted former arts space Cornerhouse have called on new Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to go a step further than simple charity donations and engage directly with homeless people in finding solutions to the city’s rough sleeping crisis. Cornerhouse, owned by Network Rail, has been occupied by homeless people and Manchester Activist Network (MAN) since January and successfully saw off an eviction attempt late last month.

Writing in response to Burnham’s recent pledge to give 15% of his pay to homelessness charities and “put words into action” to help the rising street homeless population, MAN said:

This sounds great Andy, however what do (former mayor and new business and economy deputy) Richard Leese, (power player and former Manchester council chief exec) Howard Bernstein and (Manchester city centre tsar) Pat Karney think about this?

From the information we have been provided with it seems that Leese will continue to have the large sway of the Devo (devolutionary budget) mayoral power and you will be pushed out to the outer regions. Maybe this is why Oldham and Rochdale were mooted as potential places for shelters. Will you have any real Mayoral power or is this just a token? [Read More]

Squatters of London Action Paper 7

Squatters of London Action Paper number 7 is out now – pdf

Manchester: Loose Space squatters cleaning up before eviction

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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London: Anarchist Haringey. Brief radical history of a London borough

Tottenham_The_Broadwater_Farm_Estate_N17I guess Tottenham is most known for its riots in 1985 and 2011. These were in no way organised or led by anarchists, and we were a very small part of them. But, they definitely showed the anger sections of the local community had toward the killing of members of their community by the police. This anger was also evident on the streets of Haringey when Joy Gardner and Roger Sylvester were also killed by the state. Local anarchists have always tried to stand side-by-side with those more directly affected.

But disquiet goes back a long way in Tottenham. In 1909 two alleged anarchists held up a payroll followed by a two-hour gun battle with the local police. Maybe not our most positive moment but still part of our local history. For more details, check out “Tottenham Outrage.”

Tottenham and anarchism probably go back a lot further but this is a quick and brief history of the last 30 or so years.

The early ’80s saw three different anarchist newspapers in Haringey. In 1984/5 there was the aptly named Soci@list Opportunist which lasted for six issues. Then there was Haringey Anarchist News in 1986 followed by Haringey Free in 1987/8. [Read More]

London: Belgravia squatters occupy third mansion

How_tall_is_a_tall_building_Buckingham_GateSquatting collective the Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians (ANAL) continue to underline exactly how much high-end housing is lying empty while homeless people sleep on the rain-soaked concrete, having spent last night moving into another mansion.
The group wrote: “Facing a police enforced eviction at 4 Grovesnor Gardens, ANAL have decided to relocate AS CLOSE TO THE QUEENS BEDROOM as possible…. Overlooking Wellington barracks, introducing our new squat, 19 Buckingham Gate.”
19 Buckingham Gate, which is just yards away from Buckingham Palace’s gardens, is the third property in a row to have been taken on by the collective, which took over 108 Easton Square in January (where they fended off fascist attackers) and 4 Grosvenor Gardens in February.
The overall site, 18-19 Buckingham Gate, is currently being given a slightly gaudy-looking makeover by developer Simpson Haugh and Partners, with a view to turning it into 14 luxury apartments for the sort of people who can afford to pay (if it’s anything like the neighbours’ place) £2.5 million a pop for the chance to get a good view of the royal behind.
The developer lists the owner as “private,” however if it’s not “18-19 Buckingham Gate Investment Ltd” then coincidences abound.
If ANAL keep up their current rate of mansion occupations they could have collectively squatted in properties worth well over £100m by the end of the year. [Read More]

London: SLAP! #5

Heads-up for the long-awaited Issue 5 of your friendly, local squatters’ paper.

SLAP! is a squatter’s freesheet first printed in early 2016. After a quick half-year of squat-hopping, sitting around and organising elsewhere, some of us involved in the previous four issues teamed up with others and knocked-together a fifth. SLAP! is back to support the flow of counter-info between London squats and act as a semi-regular message-board for squat happenings, updates and unapologetic ideas.
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