Court picket for Sweets Way wins first victory


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On Monday 23 March the Revolutionary Communist Group joined with residents, housing campaigners and activists in a picket of Barnet County Court. An injunction in the name of Annington Homes had been served on a string of organisations who have been occupying Sweets Way housing estate in Totteridge & Whetstone. Annington Homes is wholly owned by the private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners which is headed by the financier and speculator Guy Hands.

Barnet Council, in collusion with Annington, evicted 153 households on 13 February and most have been placed in entirely unsuitable, run-down, cramped accommodation out of the borough where their children go to school and nursery. They are leading the fight back to reclaim their homes. Annington Homes issued the injunction against the occupation of the estate last Thursday with a summons to appear in court today, Monday.

The judge today said that it is entirely unjust and unrealistic for a defence to be prepared in three days and adjourned the hearing until Monday.

Join in the fightback against evictions and in support of social housing: Join the picket outside the court next →

Monday 30 March, 10 am.

Barnet Civil and Family Courts Centre
Regents Park Road N3 1BQ
Finchley Central tube

 

Sweets Way Resists

Activists from the Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined occupiers, residents and other supporters at Sweets Way housing estate on Tuesday night for ‘a fun night of people coming together to protect the Sweets Way estate’ after comedian turned social-housing activist Russell Brand used his clout on social media to announce the Sweets Way sleepover.

Sweets Way is a housing estate in Barnet, North London, which is owned by Annington Homes property developer. Barnet Council have given Annington planning permission to knock down 160 homes in order to build luxury apartments. Just 11% of the new premises will be deemed ‘affordable’ – slightly below ‘market values’ but well out of reach of working class families. First, however, Annington and the Council have had to remove the existing residents, a diverse community including many families with children who have lived there for years. The homes are in excellent condition, with multiple bedrooms and spacious kitchens. French doors lead onto private gardens, with a shed and the houses are surrounded by green space. It is criminal to knock down these homes.

The first eviction took place on 2 January 2015, and by mid-March all but 10 families had been turfed out – violently in some cases with their possessions dumped on the floor outside – and dispersed across London. Some Sweets Way children are forced to travel up to two hours to get to school each morning.

Under capitalism housing is a commodity and land and properties are viewed as investments, regardless of people's needs. With complete contempt for the community it has torn apart, Annington Homes is now advertising this development as ‘a wise investment’. Their website announces: ‘savvy house hunters are now snapping up homes in the equally desirable but more affordable neighbouring Borough of Barnet, which enjoys excellent transport connections and access to green parkland.’

On 8 March, one of the empty homes was occupied by housing activists, including people from Focus E15 Mothers campaign, Our West Hendon (another local campaign fighting evictions) and the RCG. Their action was supported by the already-evicted residents of Sweets Way and by those whose evictions are pending. The familiar banners that had decorated the Open House in the Carpenters Estate, occupied by Focus E15 last autumn, were draped along the garden fence ‘These People Need Homes’ and ‘These Homes Need People’. The protest squat has continued since then, with residents taking a lead in planning how the campaign moves forwards. Everyday there have been campaign meetings, workshops with advice and homework club and other activities for the children. There is now a nursery in the space opened up in the neighbouring home. There are always residents at the house, getting organised and taking the campaign forwards. On Monday, they took the protest to Annington Homes headquarters in central London. The children of Sweets Way led the protest.

Annington Homes response has been to start legal proceedings to evict the occupation and thugs have been sent in to smash up water pipe, electric and gas supplies and even destroy some of the homes from the inside.

The Sweets Way sleepover was attended by over 100 people, including the media who shied away until Russell Brand turned up last Saturday. The RCG took our sound system and held an open mic for political speeches, poems, songs and chants. Russell Brand provided an ice cream van. There was a fire and music, creating a festival atmosphere. In the midst of the revelry, another empty home was opened up to loud cheers and occupied.

The RCG will continue to support Sweets Way Resists and contribute to the growing movement to defend social housing in London. Focus E15 Mothers campaign and the New Era estate campaign demonstrate that when working class people get together, get organised and resist we can see off the greedy investors and the politicians in their service.

Protest in support of Kevan Thakrar – 16 February 2015

 © Peter Marshall 2015

On Monday 16 February supporters of north and south London RCG were among those protesting outside the Ministry of Justice in support of long term prisoner Kevan Thakrar, alongside campaigners from Brighton Anarchist Black Cross, Payday Men’s Network and JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association).

The demonstration sought to highlight the continued mistreatment suffered by Kevan since 2010, when he was acquitted of the attempted murder of three prison officers at HMP Frankland. Despite the not guilty verdict, Kevan has remained isolated and brutalised within the ‘Close Supervision Centre’ (CSC) system.

For more details on Kevan’s situation and that of other prisoners confined to the CSCs see articles on our website:

search?query=kevan%20thakrar

Police attack Aylesbury estate occupation - call for solidarity

Around 100 riot police attacked the Aylesbury estate occupation on Tuesday night at 7pm. Crowds of protesters gathered, including comrades from the Revolutionary Communist Group and other local organisations, to oppose the violent police eviction which was responding to an IPO issued by the court earlier in the day.

Police are confronted by Aylesbury Occupation protesters

Police used angle grinders and battering rams to enter the occupation, surrounded by masked up police with riot helmets and video cameras. 6 people were snatched, trampled and arrested for supporting the protest. However the occupation continued to resist, moving to a nearby building next door, outwitting the police and local authorities. On the night protesters also confronted bailiffs and council workers who had been employed to weld shut the previous occupation, guarded by police.

Bailiffs and council workers confronted

Police finished their attack by applying a 24 hour dispersion order on the estate, in an attempt to squash the political support for the protesting occupation.

Riot police violently snatch and drag away a protester

The Aylesbury Occupation has called for an increase in solidarity, and to help defend those arrested.

You can visit the occupation at the Chartridge block on the Aylesbury Estate, off Westmoorland Rd. You can come at any time in the day. Bring friends and solidarity (see blog on what items are required most)! There will be a full program of events again starting at the new occupation from Saturday 21st February.

A statement released by the occupation can be read here:

https://fightfortheaylesbury.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/aylesbury-endures-2/

The Occupation lives on in a nearby block

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