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
by TOM FOOT

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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See our facebbook page for more photos

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.
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The Fight for Decent Housing

Contact:

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Blog: wewantournhsback.tumblr.com
Website: www.revolutionarycommunist.org/index.php/branches/london

 

Fighting cuts and sanctions in south London

Fight South London Southwark March 9

Southwark Labour Council has just announced a further swingeing £19m of cuts in its 2014/2015 budgets. South London RCG is on the streets every week, campaigning, organising and speaking out against cuts in services and benefits. Southwark is already one of the ten most deprived of London boroughs, with a slew of shameful statistics to its name. For example:

 

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February days of action: Focus E15 mothers campaign steps up the pressure

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February has been a busy month for the Focus E15 Campaign, with organised and lively events stepping up the pressure on Newham's Labour council, and building the campaign. Lets hope March will be an even busier month, pushing the message - social housing, not social cleansing!

On Friday 21 February, the Focus E15 campaign held their 'Focus Fun Bus Big Day Out'. Focus E15 mothers and their supporters, including FRFI/RCG, and friends took thousands of signed petitions to hand in to Boris Johnson, mayor of London, at City Hall. Travelling on a decorated open top bus, the campaign was heard loud and clear as the bus went from Stratford, east London, to the embankment near Tower Bridge, singing and chanting 'social housing, not social cleansing', demanding the basic right of secure social housing, not insecure private-sector rented accommodation. 

 

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Protest against Atos 19th February London, Euston Head Office

 

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Joined the London National protest against Atos called by Black Triangle, Disabled People against Cuts and others outside Atos head office.

A lot of new jargon is necessary to understand what is happening to benefits cuts at this time. But the strong message of the protest was that we had all better understand because any one of us could end up unable to work for the long or short term because of an accident, the onset of mental illness, disability or disease.

The £500 million contract from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the multi national company Atos Healthcare was set up in 2010 with the aim of testing all 1.5 million people on sickness benefits in the UK. The Work Capacity Assessment (WCA) is a computer-led points-based assessment by often medically non-qualified Atos staff to determine whether to move people from Disability Benefits (DI) and put them on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

 

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Focus E15 and Newham Council: The Lies and the Truth

The Focus E15 campaign has now been fighting for social housing in East London for over six months. The Newham Labour council has responded with lies and spin, attempting to cover up their attacks on the working class, and their absolute complicity with the project of cuts and austerity. Below we republish, with permission, an exchange from the Focus E15 Mothers Campaign Facebook page. Daniella, a supporter of the campaign had written to councillor Ellie Robinson, the executive member for Safeguarding and Community Affairs, and received the predictable slippery reponse. Below this Jasmin Stone, one of the mothers leading the campaign, explains the reality of the behaviour of Newham council and the East Thames housing association. FRFI/RCG continues to support and organise with the Focus E15 Campaign. Social housing not social cleansing!

 

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Focus E15 mums say keep us in London, social housing not social cleansing

On Friday 17 January, Focus E15 mothers, their babies and supporters of the campaign held a tea party in the showflat in the East Thames Housing Association offices, with decorations, party poppers, balloons - the children had fun, the mothers were happy and the message was clear - secure social housing in London.

East Thames is the landlord of Focus E15 hostel, where the young mothers and babies who are on the homeless list of Newham Council, have been temporarily housed. The young mothers have been offered properties as far away as Hastings and Birmingham, in the private-rented sector, while East Thames has thousands of properties in East London and Essex, and Newham Council has boarded up properties in Stratford such as the Carpenters Estate.

 

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Brixton: Town Hall protest against Lambeth College sell-off and Bedroom Tax benefits cuts

Members of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) joined 200+ protesters, including students, teachers, campaigns and people from the community assembled outside Lambeth Town Hall last night to tell the council they are against the bedroom tax, benefits cuts and the sell-off of Lambeth College.

Earlier that evening 60+ students, teachers and activists assembled outside Lambeth College on Brixton Hill to oppose the sell-off of the site to private developers. Campaigners are demanding the principal Mark Silvermann recognises the groups demands, which also cover issues such as expensive canteens and lack of childcare.

Protesters march down Brixton Hill

Members of the South London RCG with their big sound system joined protesters from the Save Brixton College campaign to take to the roads for a march down Brixton hill and around the Brixton market area. People joined on the way for chants and speeches on the microphone, explaining how the council is doing nothing to stop the sell-off of the college.

 

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Focus E15 mothers: One step forward!

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On Saturday 16 November, Focus E15 mothers, their babies together with FRFI and other supporters were out in force on the streets of Stratford.

A significant victory has just been achieved. The mothers have received a letter from East Thames, the housing association that runs Focus E15 hostel, saying that the support that was removed in September has been reinstated. This means that the council has had to backtrack on its decision to remove the £41,000 Supporting People funding stream to the mother and baby unit.

 

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First public meeting of the Focus E15 mothers’ campaign

On Saturday 12 October, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! with Focus E15 Mothers and friends, family and supporters came together at Ithaca House in Stratford, E15. It was the first public meeting of the campaign, to update everyone about the campaign so far and plan ahead.

Young mothers and mothers-to-be from Focus E15 mother and baby unit are taking action because the unit has lost £41,000 of council funding from the council and faces closure. They have been warned to start looking for accommodation and some of them have been served with eviction notices from East Thames Housing Association, which administers Focus E15.

 

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Support the Focus E15 Mothers!

On Saturday 5 October, the Focus E15 Mothers campaign held a lively rally on the streets of Stratford, East London. Mums, children and supporters made speeches, petitioned and publicised the campaign, encouraging local people to attend a public meeting this Saturday (see details below).

The Focus E15 Mothers are a group of young mothers and mothers-to-be facing eviction from their homes at the FocusE15 centre, a hostel for young people in Stratford that includes a mother and baby unit.

 

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Stop the EDL march - eyewitness report

Eyewitness report of mass arrests at East London demo against the EDL - 7 September 2013

On Saturday 7 September, 5,000 people assembled at Altab-Ali Park, named in honour of a young Bangladeshi textile worker murdered by fascists in 1978, in an attempt to stop the fascist English Defence League from marching through Tower Hamlets, East London, an area with a large Asian population. An FRFI supporter who was at the demonstration reports.

 

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Street Party to resist the threatened removal of the Counihan family - 27 May 2013

The Counihan-Sanchez family from Kilburn are continuing to resist attempts by Brent Labour council to make them homeless. The Counihan-Sanchez Housing Campaign (CSHC) are supporting the family and continuing to fight all evictions and cuts in Brent. The family of seven were made homeless by Brent after they declared £18 a week income from a plot of land in Ireland. Since April 2012, the family have been in shoddy accommodation in Ealing which costs Brent council £500 per week.

 

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UEFA out of Israel! Israel out of Palestine!

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FRFI activists in London and Manchester are participating in the international campaign to demand that UEFA pull its Under-21s final football tournament out of Israel, where it is due to be held from 5 to 18 June 2013.

In London, on 24 May, activists assembled outside St Pancras Inter­national station to receive around 40 activists from several European countries, mainly France, who arrived to cheers and chants of Free Palestine! Boycott Israel! We then set off for a 250-strong march to Grosvenor Hotel in Park Lane where the UEFA annual congress was taking place. FRFI was among the coalition of groups which organised the day of action, along with Football Beyond Borders and Red Card Israeli Racism – which held a five-hour rally outside the hotel. A small group of intrepid activists even managed, later, to get past security and protest at the UEFA dinner itself. In front of guests including David Beckham and Alex Ferguson, one got onto the platform to denounce Israel and another stood behind UEFA president Michel Platini holding a flag.

 

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London branches

North London
020 7837 1688
northlondonfrfi@gmail.com

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