Justice for Eric Garner - protest in London

Eric Garner protest blocks the road in west London

Members of the RCG and the Focus E15 Campaign attended the Eric Garner demo called by London Black Revs on Wednesday evening.  

600 Londoners, mostly young and black, came out in solidarity with victims of the US and British police force.  Chanting 'we can't breathe', the last words of murdered black man Eric Garner, this protest took the form of a die-in, as protesters lay in the middle of the Westfield Shopping Centre. 

With security and police quickly colluding to shut the centre, protesters locked outside took to the roads, closing the roundabout opposite the Shepherds Bush Empire and holding speeches, most notably from Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg, who was killed by the British police force in 2008. 

Speeches talked not only of fighting the police, but ultimately fighting against imperialism and the state.  

Police defend private property from protesters

Marching back to Westfield, protesters overpowered police to once again gain entry and disturb west London's Christmas shopping. The protest lasted approximately 3 hours with chanting, direct action and serious confrontation with security and police.

This is an example of the type of action that must be taken in order to challenge state racism and police violence around the globe. 

This was a demonstration that linked struggles, as chants of 'London, Gaza, Ferguson, no justice no peace!' were heard above the Christmas jingles. London's police were out in force and seized upon a moment to corner and arrest a group of 76 protesters. We stand in solidarity with those arrested and will support any defence campaign. Fight racism! Fight Imperialism! 


Focus E15 campaign helps to win important victory for local mother

On Tuesday 25 November the Focus E15 campaign helped win an important victory for young mother Candice and her 18-month-old baby.

After hours of negotiations in Bridge House, part of Newham Council's housing service, Candice and her baby were offered a two-bedroom home (in the private rented sector) in Newham.

Candice and her baby had been relying on friends and family, sleeping on sofas and in living rooms. Last year they were offered a place in Liverpool as part of the Newham’s social cleansing policy to send council tenants out of London. But why should she be sent hundreds of miles away family, friends and support networks.


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Keeping up the pressure against social cleansing: Focus E15 campaign occupies East Thames offices

Photo by Rosie Hallam

On Wednesday 29 October, Focus E15 campaign, including supporters of FRFI, occupied East Thames Housing Association offices in Stratford to keep up the pressure regarding the treatment of the residents from Focus E15 hostel (they insist on calling it a foyer) which East Thames manages for Newham Council. Increasingly, residents are facing evictions from the hostel, with many ending up homeless; sofa-surfing or on the streets. 

Banners were put up, sleeping bags were laid on the floor, children played and teenagers danced to the music from our sound system. 

Catherine Rowley, head of communications at East Thames, came to speak to the protest. She went to look for Chris Woodhead and Sheila Harper, two staff members who relate directly to the residents of the hostel and came back to say that unfortunately Chris was on leave and Sheila was out of London for a meeting.

The protestors demanded to see the new chief executive, Yvonne Arrowsmith, and she agreed to meet ten of them in a separate room.

Jasmin and Sam, leading mothers from the campaign, explained very well the reality of living in Focus E15 hostel. They explained how their evictions threats were subsequently retracted after they began their political campaign. They spoke from experience about how badly people are dealt with there, how little support they actually get, and how the hostel is now using bailiffs for evictions and then banning the evicted young people from the building.

Arrowsmith would not be drawn on the intended future of the hostel. However, from what is happening to staff and residents it seems clear that it is being emptied and is likely to be used for further luxury apartments in the future - like so many other sites across London.

The delegation which met with Arrowsmith agreed to a list of points for her to report back on:

  1. When was the last person moved into the foyer.
  2. How many people are currently living there (ie. are there empty rooms that people could be using).
  3. What support are people in the foyer actually getting prior to eviction processes starting.
  4. Information on the post-eviction bans and how to justify such hostile treatment of vulnerable people.

Yvonne Arrowsmith said that she would meet with people from the foyer to establish the issues that we raised. The campaign will organise that meeting for her and ensure that the voices of those directly affected by the housing crisis are heard by those at the top of such institutions.

The fight goes on. Social housing not social cleansing!

Join us at the Focus E15 campaign street stall - every Saturday, 12-2pm, outside Wilkinson's, Stratford Broadway.


Focus E15 public meeting: ‘Repopulate the Carpenters Estate!’

On 20 October, Focus E15 campaign held a public meeting in Docklands and Carpenters centre and brought together those who have built the campaign over the last year, those who contributed to the extraordinary success of the recent Open House occupation of boarded up flats on Carpenters Estate, residents of Carpenters Estate and housing activists from around London.

One year to the day since the original eviction date for the mothers and babies of Focus E15 hostel, over 100 people packed into the hall.

The meeting was opened by Jasmin and Sam from the campaign, who set the background of the fight against social cleansing and for social housing.


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Another victory for the Focus E15 Campaign

On 2 October, FRFI supporters joined over one hundred other supporters outside Bow County Court for the second eviction hearing of Newham Council versus the occupied social centre which was set up on the Carpenters Estate by the Focus E15 Campaign. Russell Brand, who has visited the centre and lent his support to the fight against homelessness in London , was present as was commentator, journalist and Labour party member Owen Jones. The chanting and speeches were led by those supporters of FRFI who have attended and organised the regular Focus E15 Saturday street events in Stratford for the past year.

The Court agreement with Focus E15 was that the social centre on Carpenters Estate will be vacated on 7 October and the council will bring no charges. The campaign and its supporters, many of them mums and kids, then marched to occupy East Thames housing association. After that the march made its noisy way to the Housing Office, which had locked its doors. Finally everybody arrived at the social centre on Carpenters Estate to enjoy good communal cooking together.

The events of the day increased the number of people who are determined to take a stand for social housing rights. The message is clear, social housing is a right, take to the streets and carry on the fight.

Come and join the Focus E15 campaign and supporters of FRFI at weekly street stalls:

Saturday 12-2 - outside Wilkinsons on Stratford Broadway, E15.

Press statement

Victory to Focus E15 Occupation

The fight for council housing in Newham and London continues

Despite Newham Council’s attempt to evict us, we can today confirm that the E15 Open House occupation will continue until 7th October as planned.

We called Newham Council on the first day of the occupation to negotiate with us. The plan was never to stay indefinitely. They refused to speak to us. Instead they chose to use draconian and expensive legal procedures, threats and dirty tricks. They cut off our water and vandalized the water mains, served an unlawful court summons with only two hours notice and they have repeatedly misled the public.

If Newham had come to talk to us we could have agreed to leave within two weeks. Instead, they refused to enter into a dialogue. We would like to know how much taxpayers money has been spent on taking us to court, and how many people that money could have housed.

Our demands to the Council continue to be:

  • Repopulate the Carpenters Estate with secure long term council tenancies now
  •  An immediate end to the decanting and evictions of existing residents
  •  No demolition of the estate
  •  The management of Carpenters Estate by the residents, for the residents, no third party or private management

This experience has shown us that there is a broad based movement for council housing in London. There are empty homes in every borough, every town and every city in the country. Focus E15 show us that there are simple, community based solutions to the housing crisis.

We will continue to fight displacement and evictions and to campaign for secure, council housing through direct action, mobilisation and legal means. See you on the streets, in the courtrooms and in our future actions.

This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.


Focus E15 Mothers: organise to fight for social housing

Interview with Jasmine Stone and Sam Middleton, from the Focus E15 Mothers campaign, which formed one year ago to fight their eviction from a hostel in Stratford. Filmed on 26 September 2014, they were speaking from the new social centre opened up by activists in some of the hundreds of flats left empty on the Carpenters Estate by the Newham council. Produced by the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG).


Focus E15 Mothers set up E15 Social Centre in vacant council homes

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On Sunday 21 September, on the occasion of its first anniversary, the Focus E15 campaign stepped up its fight against social cleansing by occupying vacant council housing in Newham, East London.

Amidst a ‘Fun Day’, organised to celebrate the one year anniversary of the campaign, supporters of the campaign occupied four properties on the Carpenters Estate, which the local Labour council has earmarked for demolition and redevelopment. With Newham’s Labour Mayor away at the Labour Party conference, an occasion which saw Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls reassert Labour’s commitment to savage service cuts – ‘balancing the books’ -, what better time to step up the fightback against cuts, social cleansing and gentrification?


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Palestine protestors visit Tony Blair's house

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Sat 23 August: After the Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration outside 10 Downing Street, FRFI supporters were among those who initiated a spontaneous rolling picket from Whitehall to Oxford St, Edgware Road and finally to the house of Tony Blair, UN 'peace envoy', shouting and chanting at each business with links to Israel on the way.


Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street blockaded in solidarity with Gaza

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On Thursday 7 August, supporters of FRFI campaign Victory to the Intifada blockaded the doors of Marks & Spencer (M&S) on Oxford Street in response to M&S' support for Israel. The doors were blocked with banners reading, 'Israeli Apartheid – Leave the Shop' and 'End the Siege of Gaza' attracting a good response from passing shoppers. There was a great turnout expressing the popular anger at Israel's massacre and blockade of Gaza, and Britain's continuing complicity.

Hundreds of people participated over the course of the demonstration, making this picket one of the loudest and most powerful yet. There was an open microphone with constant speeches and chanting supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people, and attacking British support for Israel. Demonstrators declared their solidarity with the activists from London Palestine Action who were recently arrested for closing down the Elbit arms factory near Birmingham, which produces engines for Israel's murderous drones. Hundreds more people signed our long-running petition calling for a boycott of M&S.


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Newham Mayor Robin Wales under investigation for abusive behaviour

Focus E15 campaigners with their banners

On Thursday 31 July, members of the E15 housing campaign, including RCG supporters, attended a meeting of the Newham Standards Advisory Committee, which was discussing how to deal with a complaint of misconduct against Newham Labour Mayor Robin Wales.

The complaint was made after the Mayor of Newham’s Show in East Ham Central Park on 13 July, where Wales lost his temper when the E15 campaign exposed his social cleansing agenda on his ‘family day’.

See the following video:

After 45 minutes’ discussion behind closed doors, the Standards Advisory Committee agreed to take the complaint forward and carry out a formal investigation. The outcome will be announced in September.

No to Social Cleansing! Yes to Social Housing!


London marches against Zionist brutality

As the Zionist death toll in Gaza mounts, on 19 July comrades from London Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters of our Victory to the Intifada campaign joined a massive, angry demonstration through London, called by the national Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al Aqsa and other organisations. 

We marched from Downing Street to the Israeli embassy, using our powerful mobile sound system as an open mic, which attracted many protesters to join our contingent, chanting slogans and making speeches about the unfurling atrocities.  We also used the mic to focus on British support for Zionism, highlighting branches of Marks & Spencer, MacDonalds and HSBC (which underwrites the Israeli economy) along the way. And we booed loudly as we passed the French embassy in response to the French government’s blatant capitulation to Israeli genocide in Gaza, by banning pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris.


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Long live Palestine! End British collaboration with Zionism - 12 July 2014

VTI Boycott Israel Protest Oxford Street outside Barclays Bank

In response to Israel’s continuing genocidal onslaught on the people of Gaza, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and our campaign Victory to the Intifada staged a militant rolling picket the length of London’s busiest shopping street, highlighting some of the many British and US corporations which provide financial support to the Zionist war machine.


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Protest outside Judicial Review of Work Capability Assessment

On 8 July 2014, London RCG comrades joined a demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice against the hated Work Capability Assessments (WCA), which are used to humiliate, punish and sanction people claiming disability benefits. The protest was called by the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).

A previous successful challenge to WCA brought by the MHRN forced the court to conclude that people with mental health problems are unfairly disadvantaged by the so-called 'medical' tests which fail to ensure claimants can submit further medical evidence to support their benefit claims and to accurately reflect how their condition affects their ability to work. 


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Focus E15 campaign – march for decent housing, 5 July 2014

On Saturday 5 July, supporters of FRFI joined the first march of the Focus E15 campaign. 150 people, including representatives from over 25 organisations, marched through the London borough of Newham, beginning and ending in East Ham Central Park. Passing Newham Town Hall twice, the marchers made their feelings known about Newham’s Labour Mayor, Robin Wales, with messages about the housing crisis being attached to the railings. The campaign’s message was heard loud and clear all along the route – social housing, not social cleansing!


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Whittington Hospital board meeting is ‘hijacked’ as protesters hand over petition

Campaigners unfurl their huge petition outside Whittington Hospital

Published: 13 June, 2014

BOSSES at Whittington Hospital stormed out of a board meeting after NHS campaigners delivered a petition containing 3,700 signatures.

The petition, printed on dozens of sheets of paper and presented to the board, raised a range of concerns about creeping privatisation, policy decisions – including the latest A&E shake-up at the Archway hospital – and the threat of cuts to frontline services.

It was organised by north London branch of the Revolution­ary Communist Group, which says it works with the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition campaign group in monitoring the NHS trust.


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Homes that need people and people who need homes

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Focus E15 campaign - Focus on the Future - made a bold statement on the Carpenters' Estate on Monday 9 June in East London to highlight and challenge Newham Labour Council's policy of expelling the poor and vulnerable out of London to towns and cities hundreds of miles away, claiming there is no housing in Newham. Thousands of properties are empty and boarded up in Newham and not least is the example of the Carpenters Estate.


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Whittington Hospital campaigners demand an end to cuts and privatisation - 4 June 2014

THE CHAIRMAN of a hospital under threat of cuts and privatisation stormed out of a public meeting on Wednesday after being presented with more than 5,000 signatures from campaigners opposed to the Board's plans.

Steve Hitchins, who is Chair of the Whittington Hospital Trust Board, refused to answer questions about why the hospital is being privatised and why A&E services are now under review. Instead he instructed his colleagues on the Management Board to leave the room.


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Stop the privatisation of Whittington Hospital! We want our NHS back!

For more than a year, North London RCG have been maintaining weekly street stalls in opposition to the privatisation agenda being pushed through by the management board of Whittington Hospital in Archway.

The response clearly shows the anger in the local community. Hundreds of people stop to sign and talk each week and a group of regular supporters have joined in our protests. On 19 April we took a banner to the hospital made up of hundreds of handwritten messages from local residents demanding the Whittington Hospital is kept as a local general hospital and not turned into a Foundation Trust. 


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Commemorating the Nakba in London

On 15 June comrades and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group took to Oxford Street in central London to show solidarity with Palestine on the day Palestinians refer to as the Nakba (the Disaster). The Nakba commemorates the period in 1948 when over 700,000 Palestinians had to flee their homes, or were physically removed, during the vicious war on Palestinian people by the newly-founded Israeli state. During this period Israel took vast swathes of the Palestinian territory and no Arab-Palestinian state was created. 

VTI protest outside M&S 2014

The protest took place outside Marks and Spencer as it is a British high street business that has vast trade links with Israel. The campaign Victory to the Intifada continues to take an active part in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions street movement to put pressure on the British state to cease financial support with racist and apartheid Israel. 


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Save the NHS and Whittington Hospital

Saturday 12 April, protesting in Nags Head to save the NHS and Whittington Hospital

Since early 2012, North London RCG has held regular stalls in Holloway, North London, petitioning against attempts to turn the local Whittington Hospital into a Foundation Trust, a further step towards privatisation.The Hospital Management's plans have included severe cuts to staff and facilities. Thousands of people have stopped to sign and show their support. With the Hospital's future more uncertain than ever, we continue to hold weekend stalls in Holloway and Archway. Join us to demand a state-funded, local hospital that meets people's needs.
Don't just get angry, get active!

Come to our next free film showing and discussion:

The Fight for Decent Housing


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020 7837 1688



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