Report: Hands off Syria demonstration, 5 December 2015

On Saturday 5 December, members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group assembled in Trafalgar Square for an open mic protest against British airstrikes on Syria.

As the sound system powered out roots reggae rhythms, comrades gave some excellent speeches, denouncing British imperialism, the destruction of Iraq, Libya and now Syria. All these countries have been attacked on false pretences, with infrastructure as the primary target of bombing and capitalist profits as the motive.

 

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Victory to the Intifada picket of M&S takes BDS message to Oxford Street (15/10/15)

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On 15 October, comrades from the RCG joined a variety of pro-Palestine activists on a picket of Marks and Spencer's flagship shop on Oxford Street. The picket, called and organised by the RCG campaign 'Victory to the Intifada', was held weekly for thirteen years in previous Palestinian intifadas (uprisings), and for three months in 2014 following the brutal Israeli assault on Gaza. M&S is one of many British businesses which sell huge amounts of Israeli produce, but it also offers political support to Zionism. The Palestinian people called for a 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' (BDS) campaign against Israel in 2003. With the Palestinian people rising up against the Zionist occupation once again, in what many are calling the 'Third Intifada', the picket took the message of support for the Palestinian resistance to the streets, and called for a boycott of M&S and all companies supporting Israel. The response was overwhelming, with chants of 'Free Palestine!' drowning out the tiny but aggressive Zionist counter-picket. End British support for Israel!

 

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Focus E15 March Against Evictions - We will not be cleansed! We will not be silenced!

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The Revolutionary Communist Group joined the Focus E15 campaign on the streets of Stratford, east London, on Saturday 19 September, for the March against Evictions, marking the second anniversary of the campaign. The RCG banner read ‘Housing is a right, not a privilege!’ - and that is the message that the march put across as around 700 people joined the march from Stratford Park to the Carpenters Estate.

 

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London march in solidarity with refugees - 12 September 2015

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London RCG branches joined the 'Solidarity with Refugees' march in central London on Saturday 12 September. We marched with the Asylum Clinic from West London, and the Focus E15 housing campaign from East London. Assembled behind a banner which read: 'Fight Britain's racist immigration laws!' we made clear that any movement which fights in solidarity with refugees must also fight British imperialism and its racist state. Our militant and lively contingent operated an open mic for all to speak out about the crisis and how we can build a movement in this country against racism and imperialism.

 

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Focus E15 campaigners violently assaulted at ‘family fun day’ as Mayor of Newham looks on

On Sunday 12 July supporters of the Focus E15 campaign for decent housing, including RCG comrades, were subject to intimidation and harrassment by members of the Labour council, by private security firm APS and the police, when they attended the ‘Mayor’s Newham Show’ at East Ham’s Central Park (supposedly a family fun day) to distribute materials exposing the social cleansing being conducted by Newham’s Labour council.

 

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Lewisham protest demands housing for Sandra, housing for all!

Protesting against Lewisham Council's housing policy

Supporters of south London Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), People Before Profit (PBP), Focus E15, and supporters from various organisations including south-east London People's Assembly and Left Unity gathered outside Lewisham Council offices today together with Sandra, a Catford resident who has been homeless since last year.

Sandra, who has health issues (including diabetes, back problems, high blood pressure), has been living on the floor at the flat of her daughter (who has five children, two with severe disabilities). 

 

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Victory! No charges to be brought against Jasmin Stone of Focus E15 campaign

On 13 April, Jasmin Stone of Focus E15 campaign and supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! was arrested on suspicion of squatting in a raid organised by Newham council and police. There followed a loud and militant demonstration at the police station where she was held and she was bailed to attend a police station in mid May. We have just heard that no charges will be brought against her.

 

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Sweets Way campaign takes to the streets (Photo and video report)

Yes – the day before the 2015 General Election Sweets Way Resists put out a reminder of what the real political struggle in this country is about – social housing – public services – people before profits. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! joined former residents and other supporters of Sweets Way in a show of solidarity with a mother who had been evicted by Barnet Council and placed in temporary accommodation in west London. As Juliet explained to a Sweets Way Resists campaign meeting the night before, her life, and that of her four children, had been destroyed. She was unable to travel to her job; her eldest child was expected to make a one and a half hour journey to her school morning and afternoon, despite being in her GCSE year. The letters she had received from the council after a three months silence following her appeal were threatening bureaucratic bullying.

 

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Voting against cuts and privatisation in North London

North London RCG gave the people of Holloway the chance to vote early this Saturday during our regular weekend stall against the sell off of the Whittington Hospital and the privatisation of the NHS. As well as collecting petition signatures and handing out leaflets, we invited people to submit their vote to the ballot box. Unlike the charade that will pass for democracy on Thursday, our election wasn’t about voting for career politicians and corrupt political parties. Instead they ticked for free education, healthcare, social housing, no to austerity, imperialist war and racism and, particularly popular, send corrupt politicians jail and end corporate tax evasion.

Islington Council uses divide and rule to justify cutting vital services. We do not accept responsibility for choosing who should suffer worst. Take wealth from the bankers, the corporations, the politicians and give resources to those who need them. No cuts, full stop!

 

Court picket for Sweets Way wins first victory


See more photos on Facebook

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

 

Labour MP Diane Abbott faces hostility and anger at housing meeting in Southwark


Photo: Peoples's Republic of Southwark

How can we solve the housing crisis? This was the question set by a public meeting called by Southwark Defend Council Housing (SDCH) on 10 February. Following the recent protest occupation of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark - a huge council estate earmarked for demolition and 'regeneration' - there was a new mood in the meeting, with several speakers suggesting that a housing movement is starting to develop. The majority in the meeting were clear about how we can solve the housing crisis - we need to escalate the fight and we cannot trust our politicians. Headline speaker Diane Abbott MP refused to publicly support the occupation or condemn the actions of Southwark Labour council. Her useless speech only served to confirm the mood and comments from other speakers and the floor - that the Labour Party does not and will not represent working class people.

 

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Lend Lease Corporation Limited – another octopus

The South London Revolutionary Communist Group leaflet supporting the occupation of the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark (fight4theaylesbury.wordpress.com) says of Southwark’s Labour-led council that its attacks on the Aylesbury Estate are just like their attacks on the Heygate Estate; ‘The Heygate was sold for £50m to Lend Lease even though it cost Southwark £65m to evict the tenants! Several council members then went to work for Lend Lease! Lend Lease paid for a trip to Cannes for the head of Southwark council!’ On 5 December 2014 Southwark Council announced that Lend Lease had received planning permission for the next phase of its £1.5bn regeneration of the Elephant and Castle. Southwark Council approved plans for 593 new homes and 43,000 square feet of retail space at Elephant Park, to be named West Grove. This follows the launch of 360 homes, known as South Gardens, earlier in 2014; ‘Lend Lease will build nearly 2,500 new homes on the site between now and 2025’, said the Council. So why is Lend Lease so favoured by Southwark Council?

 

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Whittington Hospital - stop cuts and outsourcing! Local activists speak at Whittington Hospital board meeting 4/2/2015

We have been campaigning against cuts and outsourcing at the Whittington for more than two years now. During this time, hundreds of thousands has been spent by Whittington Health to pay consultants, for example Uniparts Consultants. Plans for a sell off of land, presumably drawn up with the help of these private consultants, ended up being scrapped last year after local protest. According to the Camden New Journal 10 board members have resigned since then.

So it should be no surprise that local people are angry and want answers about the future of the hospital. A number of points were raised in our letter to you ahead of this meeting, which you gave partial answers to, but important questions remain.

 

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Focus E15 campaign censored by Channel 4

 

On 19 December 2014 Jasmin Stone from the Focus E15 campaign appeared on Channel 4 News as part of a live housing debate with Ryan Bourne from the free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Jasmin responded well to Ryan Bourne’s free market mantra, putting her points clearly and simply. What viewers would not have known is that beforehand Jasmin received strict orders from the Channel 4 news team about what she was allowed to talk about.

 

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March for Homes - Social Housing! Not Social Cleansing!

On Saturday 31 January, London supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! were on the March for Homes, setting off from South London and East London to meet at City Hall, seat of London mayor Boris Johnson. In the South we marched with Lewisham Homeless Persons Union and Lewisham People Before Profit, setting off from Elephant and Castle. As we stood by the Strata tower and the new ‘regeneration’ projects, and passed the space where the Heygate used to stand, we spoke on our open mic about the local Labour council responsible for the evictions and sell-off of social housing that is ongoing in the area.

 

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Press release: Residents fighting against the privatisation of the Whittington hospital

Whittington Hospital management board. 4 June 2014

Residents fighting against the privatisation of one of London’s largest hospitals of one of London’s largest hospitals are set for a showdown with its management.

Locals angered by the contracting out of services at the Whittington Hospital in Archway will rally outside the hospital ahead of the board’s monthly meeting on the 4th February.

The rally, which is being organised by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG), aims to raise awareness of the hospital’s plight.

The organisation, which has already asked to be included in the meeting agenda, will question senior figures of the board, including its Chair Steve Hitchins, about creeping privatisation at the hospital.

 

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No deportations! Defend Ife's right to stay!

‘The most important thing is my child. They know – they know it won't be the same care and yet they want to dump the child’ Chino, Ife's mother

Two-year old Ife and her family have been threatened with deportation from their home in Peckham, south London to Nigeria, and they are determined to fight back. Chino, Ife's mother, fears for her future; Ife, born with Down's syndrome and health complications, relies on essential healthcare and support here. FRFI supporters met Chino during a local street stall against benefit sanctions. Together we started a campaign to defend Ife's right to stay.In addition to facing the vicious immigration system, the family are enduring NHS charges and financial insecurity, effects of increasingly racist and hostile government policy.

 

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London branches

North London
020 7837 1688
northlondonfrfi@gmail.com

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