London: Queens in Furs guided tour of Brixton

In the 1970s Britain was saturated in political activity right across the board. Not just in the Labour movement, trade unions and the Left but also the new social movements were particularly active in challenging the oppressive established order especially the black, women’s and gay liberation movements. The environmental, countercultural, squatters’ and claimants’ organisations were also fully engaged in defending people against poverty, homelessness, the destruction of the environment and experimenting with ‘alternative’ lifestyles. Throughout this period the anti-apartheid movement, the Anti-Nazi League and Troops out of Ireland challenged the racist regime in South Africa, the growing menace of racism and fascism and the continuing military occupation of Northern Ireland. In the early 70s there were still lively anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. Much of this ‘crucible’ of radical activity provided the ingredients for how politics were practised locally in Brixton.
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London: Streets Fest on Monday!

CALL OUT TO ALL SQUATTERS / HOMELESS / TRAVELLERS
All Day Free BBQ / Hairdressers / Doctors / Vets / Showers / Opticians / Housing, Squatting, Boat Advice / Free Clothes /

#STREETSFEST #STREETSKITCHEN #FINSBURYPARK #NFAAF

Bringing together 50+ groups and services
Monday 10th September – Finsbury Park (2pm – 8pm)

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London: Check out that A.S.S.

Squatters beware – there have been multiple cases in the last few weeks of people being arrested for burglary when squatting a place. With that in mind the Advisory Service for Squatters (A.S.S.) would like to remind people a few things to keep them safe if faced with arrest:

  1. No comment – You might be able to explain your situation to the police, but in 99% of cases what you say to them will not get you out of the cells any faster, and can be used to incriminate you or any other people arrested. If you go to court it can all be used against you, especially if you are caught fibbing to the rozzers. Say NO COMMENT to any questions the police ask you and keep you and your crew safe.
  2. Have a bail address – someone who doesn’t mind telling the police that you stay with them sometimes and that you can possibly stay with for a bit if the police do put any bail conditions on you. You don’t want to give them an excuse to keep you in prison.
  3. Know a legal firm to call – don’t in any circumstances take the duty solicitor provided by the police. Remember the name of one of the solicitor firms on the bust card, available at all good anarchist soical centres and refuse t have an interview until your lawyers are called.

Good luck out there! Feed the pigeons!

From Squatters of London Action Paper Issue 9 (pdf) – back issues here

NFA Antifascists

London: Report back from TAA May

Temporary Autonomous Arts was in May determined to return to its roots as a squatted exhibition. A decrepit long term empty in Bow was transformed into a blank canvas by the TAA mob, who then were boosted after 24 hours notice after a rapid-response possession order requested them to attend High Court in Birmingham. Undeterred, a second building was snatched in North Woolwich and repurposed against the clock. The TAA opened as planned on the Wednesday to a splatter of spoken word,followed up by a blinding cabaret gig featuring public urination, wild drag anarchy from Jizmik Hunt and the body-positive monarchy-bashing of Glittasphxia.

Saturday things started turning sour, with a day of escalating violence and conflict between the squatters and locals over accusations of the graffing of a pie’n’mash shop and breakins by kids into thee building culminating with 20 roided-up cops turning up to face-off against the 60 or so mob holding the courtyard. The gigs were
cut short after the cops broke out the Criminal Justice Act and threatened to seize the sound system. Concerned for the safety of the artworks, equipment and liberty of the guests, the TAA crew elected to keep the music off and let the night deflate like a wet fart in a wet paper bag. Opinions are divided, with some people furious
that another building in London has been burnt for the sake of a “anarchohipster lollapallooza”, and others
arguing that the TAA crew made a tactical decision in a tight spot.

From Squatters of London Action Paper Issue 9 (pdf) – back issues here

NFA Antifascists

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London: Kurdistan Place

Kurdish youth and supporters, some linked to Plan C, have occupied a vacant building near Edgware Road.

Kurdistan Place was occupied by friends of Anna Campbell last week in solidarity with the Kurdish Freedom Movement. In a statement, the occupiers said:

We want this space to enable learning about Kurdish culture and Kurdish liberation’s emancipatory politics. We also want this space to enable solidarity and anti-capitalist organising. Anna was involved with a similar project in 2012 called Palestine Place, an occupation of a building in Chancery Lane, which was set up to highlight the need for solidarity, support and knowledge about the occupation of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the ongoing siege of Gaza by Israel and Egypt. We want to use this space as a means to promote radical social change and revolution.

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UK: Should we be worrying about a further assault on squatting rights?

On the 8th May the Evening Standard carried an article titled “Squatters law has wiped out almost all illegal home invasions in London” pointing out that less people were arrested for squatting in residential properties last year than when S144 first came in (what a surprise!).

On the 11th May some Tory MP called Philip Davies wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice [sic] to ask “what assessment he has made of changes in the prevalence of squatting in commercial premises following the introduction of the criminal provisions contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012” (to which the answer was that no data is collected).

Neither of these is unusual, but as the last attack (leading to S144) started with attacks from the “Standard” and some Tory MP, we should be prepared for an upsurge in attacks and for calls for full criminalisation.

But this time round, thanks to the Sofia House squat, other occupations, the Grenfell Tower disaster and other events, squatting, and generally requisitioning empty properties should be more easy to defend/push for. And we seem to have a leader of the opposition who would hopefully be less pliant.

Source

Durham (UK): Violence at protest camp eviction

Since the start of March, campaigners living at the Pont Valley Protection Camp, between Dipton and Leadgate in County Durham, have been protesting against opencast coal mining by the Banks Group, which has only until 3 June to extract coal from the mine before its planning permission runs out.

The camp was set up after petitions, open letters to the Secretary of State and the discovery of a protected species of great crested newt all failed to stop the mining from going ahead.

Between 19 and 21 April, the camp was evicted by bailiffs and seven campaigners were arrested. They have complained that during the eviction, bailiffs showed little consideration for individuals’ safety and subjected then to continuous abusive and sexist behaviour, which the police who were in attendance took no action against.

Instead, police officers used ‘section 35’ dispersal powers, intended for tackling anti-social behaviour, to disperse witnesses from the area.
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Bournemouth (UK): Second Sanctuary eviction

The Sanctuary occupied homeless camp on Ashley Road, east Bournemouth, was evicted yesterday {March13}, leaving rough sleepers struggling to find anywhere safe to stay or put their belongings.

The camp was the second set up by homeless people working with Occupy Bournemouth activists in the wake of a brutal New Year eviction of a site on Exeter Road, opposite the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) in which bailiffs tore down and crushed people’s belongings despite freezing conditions. An Occupy activist said:
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London: Radical Residency

Welcome to the Radical Residency! This is a space created by students, artists, radicals, unwaged and waged workers and activists. Radical Residency was set up by poc, queer and radical peeps who scrawl their joy and their rage upon the walls. We put on workshops and events that challenge traditional education and political institutions. We celebrate through solidarity, music, art and learning. We nurture self-development and self-awareness, being reflective and critical of all that we know and that we strive towards. Drop your binaries and your prejudices at the door and actively engage through radical listening and participation.

On Friday 9th March we are having our hearing at 3:30pm at the County Court at The Mayors and City of London Court Guildhall Buildings, Basinghall Street, London EC2V 5AR. We are calling for support and solidarity. Share with your comrades and help us remind the trustees of the British Museum who the real thieves are.

Below is our manifesto:
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London: Solidarity space

Since temperatures are so low and homelessness is still a big issue, some people came to an idea of opening a safe space shelter available to everyone! [Squatted March1, still there March6]

So the building is at 204 Great Portland Street, entrance from 56 Bolsover Road (Sophia House). At the moment there’s some issues with electricity, however there is possibility to brew hot drinks and despite lack of heating at the moment it is still warmer & dryer than out on the street
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Manchester: Lessons of Cornerhouse

The Cornerhouse is a former theatre in Manchester squatted from January to August 2017 by self-organised homeless people linked to the Manchester Activist Network. This is their story.

As the final pieces of our belongings, donations and clothes were brought out of the infamous Cornerhouse it was time for Manchester Activist Network to reflect back on six months of occupation. From the Loose Space festival and surviving three eviction attempts, to the rough sleepers we housed and three other squats opened over that time, this had been a busy, and at times stressful but productive period that none of us will ever forget.

The biggest thing that came out of the Cornerhouse was a reaffirmation of the need for solidarity when we are faced with big issues. In order to fully tackle rough sleeping and stop the rise in homelessness we all need to be prepared to give a little of ourselves. Not money, but from inside of us. We need constructive dialogues, we need to drop the egos, forget about the “company line,” reflect on what we put our energies into and how we can change as individuals. Only then can we better the systemic problem that is homelessness. [Read More]

UK: Manchester homeless call out council ‘one way ticket’ scandal

Following revelations that Manchester Council has spent £10,000 on one-way tickets to push rough sleepers out of the city, activists have been expressing their disdain for executives’ excuses that the measure is aimed at “reconnecting” people with relatives who can help.

In a statement, Manchester Activist Network (MAN), which has been heavily involved in homeless self-organising in the city explained the real way in which the system works:

Person becomes homeless. Person goes to local town hall. Person is told no housing available, all the money is in Manchester. Person goes to Manchester and asks for help. Person told they have no local connection, go back home. Person kicks off a bit. Person is offered a train ticket to stop them from staying in Manchester long enough to be considered as having a local connection (six months). Decision time. Go back to the place that’s already failed you (and has a waiting least of two years+) or stay and take a chance in a city where at least the public care even if the council doesn’t. [Read More]