Highlighting Newham's empty homes

On Sunday 10 July, comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group from all over London joined Focus E15 campaign on an exciting action to expose Newham's Labour council's housing situation.

Congratulations to the Balcony 4 who successfully dropped banners from the disused, sold off and boarded-up police station in East Ham, London E6, opposite the town hall.

This action took place on the second day of the Mayor’s Newham Show 2016, to let people know what is really happening in the Labour borough of Newham with Mayor Robin Wales at the helm. As the Mayor's Newham Show took place, this action unfolded.

The banners fluttering from the building read – 'Hundreds of empty homes'; 'Room for everyone, No room for Racism'; 'Stop social cleansing, keep us in London'. This was timed to coincide with the busiest time of coming and going to the park for the mayor’s show, many cars hooted and passers-by joined in the protest, took leaflets. These points needed to be made on a day when Robin Wales and his entourage are having a party in the park, when the reality for thousands of people in the borough is no fun at all, with rising rents, loss of council homes, empty buildings, and a borough with more people in overcrowded appalling-condition temporary accommodation and more people facing eviction out of the borough than any other borough in London. 35% of Newham residents earn below the London Living Wage, yet the mayor has a salary of £80,000 and last year the same again was spent on his expenses.

Robin Wales has not been happy with being exposed at the Newham Show in the past. In 2014 he reacted badly to young mothers talking about rights to housing and after a complaint was lodged, he faced the Newham Standards Committee and was found guilty of a breach of the code of conduct (watch from 1.45:

In 2015, Robin Wales’ got his private security to stop campaigners handing out leaflets and had them ejected from the park

The previous day, Robin Wales was at the Labour Party's Progress Group conference, entitled, 'Governing for Britain: local answers to national questions'. He opened the conference, speaking in the session: 'Learning lessons: what can local government teach the Labour Party?'. Comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group and Focus E15 campaign joined other local campaigners outside that conference to protest at the cuts being implemented by Labour councils. 

The Balcony 4 came down at end of the protest to cheers from the campaigners on the ground. Speakers gave facts about Newham and housing, about the LOBO loans scandal and increased debt, about austerity and the £50m cuts to public services and against the Housing Act and Immigration Act, that will increase the racist discrimination in housing. The protest extended our support and solidarity to the Black Lives Matter protests going on in Britain and the US.

Alongside the RCG, were supporters and speakers from Feminist Library, Boleyn Dev 100, Newham Green Party, Tower Hamlets Renters and East End Sisters Uncut – who have just started an occupation in Hackney to highlight the cuts to services for domestic violence and the closure of refuges.

Another successful day challenging Newham Labour Council.

Repopulate the Carpenters Estate! No social cleansing! Open up the empty buildings!