Saturday, 28 February 2015

A Lamb For The Slaughter And Grandmothers Are Included

Oxford Street here in London’s very busy shopping West End, provided me yesterday evening with why standing up and actively fighting for housing is so important.

The person that I'm thinking about in this post, I came across last night and who one does not expect, to find sleeping rough on one of Europe's most polluted streets, with the highest levels of toxic air in the world, but which never stops those who remain as keen as mustard, to take the risk and risk all the toxic, to off load or unload themselves of hard earned earnings in these robbing shops and restaurants.

What can I say, it’s hard to say...But last night, I came across hidden in between two shops, covered with a sleeping bag and sat on a fold-up-chair, was this lovely looking old lady, she reminded instantly of my own grandmother, she must have been in her early eighties, sitting with all her worldly possessions as a young office worker stopped on her way home to talk with the old lady. My mate spoke to the lady as well asking her if she was keeping safe and well. She was very shy and retiring and I think she just wanted to be left alone.

On our way home we discussed the situation, a senior citizen, who could be someone's grandmother? She may even be the grandmother to many and yet still sleeping rough on Oxford Street?

I am not making this up, I was witness to this last night and words do fail me, I have none as this is horrific to even think of in this so-called modern day and age, proof if any were needed that our welfare system, the provision of caring and looking after the welfare of the young, old and sick, has been butchered like meat for the market.

Why should anyone be a lamb for the slaughter, and yes young friends who read this, even grandmothers...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

What the Qataris own in Britain who are evicting the Love Activists London from 11 Conduit Street W1

Qatar Airways bought a 10% stake in the parent company of British Airways.

The move cemented a close commercial relationship between BA and the airline, whose owner, the Qatari government, is a significant investor in Britain.

The state’s investment fund owns Harrods, the Shard skyscraper in central London and stakes in Sainsbury’s, Barclays bank and Heathrow. The airline’s chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, already sits on the board of Heathrow where Qatar owns a 20% stake.

“Qatar Airways’ treatment of its workforce is cause for serious concern, and is currently subject to a formal complaint to the UN’s international labour organisation.

Qatar Airways owns 11 Conduit Street, the 5 story building in upper-class, posh Mayfair and has now reached new heights, by gaining an IPO to evict the Love Activists London from this property that has stood empty for all of 4 years, we continue to resist any eviction, and may picket their other business.

What the Qataris own in Britain who are evicting the Love Activists London from 11 Conduit Street W1

• HSBC Tower, the bank’s global headquarters in Canary Wharf
• The Shard on the south bank of the Thames (95%)
• Harrods, bought in 2010 for a reported £1.5bn
• The Olympic Village in east London
• Numbers 1-3 Cornwall Terrace, Regent’s Park – denied planning permission to be turned into a £200m single home
• A 50% stake in the Shell Centre on London’s South Bank
• Half of One Hyde Park, the world’s most expensive apartment block
• The former US embassy building in Grosvenor Square
• The site of Chelsea Barracks in west London, being turned into a luxury housing estate
• 20% slice of Camden market
• Stakes in Barclays, Sainsbury’s, the London Stock Exchange and Heathrow
• And coming soon: Canary Wharf, after the controlling group capitulated and recommended a £2.6bn bid to shareholders

Holding on to 11 Conduit Street in rich Mayfair

Morning comrades and friends all...

We are still in occupation and hold onto 11 Conduit Street, the former head office of Olympic Airways sold off as part of the austerity package imposed on the Greek people and now the building owned by Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century and now an absolute monarchy with a very bad human rights record and According to Human Rights Watch in June 2012 hundreds of thousands of mostly South Asian migrant workers in construction in Qatar risk serious exploitation and abuse, sometimes amounting to forced labour.

We cracked the building and 14 others during course of the last 4 months as part of a campaign to highlight the mounting housing crisis now engulfing our country particularly in London.

This is day 2 of our defence, in defiance of our occupation and disobedience of a court imposed IPO, resistance and refusal to vacate on our part and as housing activists is part of the overall protest.

We are on lock-down and the fortifications, the barricades are in place, 16 Love Activists London and supports stand together whilst others hold onto two other buildings in rich Mayfair, our numbers are growing as more activists join our ranks from around the country, we are all in it for the long haul.

More from me latter comrades and do have a great day, but if you can make every day count in the class war!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Another day one eviction delayed and one eviction pending

The start of another week brings with it and yet sadly more evictions pending in that old pipeline... But first lets start with some good news for a change, the appeal for resistance and active assistance that I made late last night in regard to a specified illegal eviction in Kilburn of Mother and her young boy-son and where the local council failed and did not follow procedure, has been called off, thank the Gods for that. The council has deferred and postponed this abominable act until Friday.

This single Mother has been able to win four more days, not much I know, but a start has been made after discussions with both the council and bailiffs were held and breathing space won, albeit for a short time we can still prevent this eviction altogether, if enough of us turn up on Friday.

I will keep everyone posted on any developments in regard to this case, in the meantime a big thank you to everyone who bothered to turn up this morning and at very short notice.

Interim Possession Order Made Against Mayfair Occupation

The Love Activists London who have been actively occupying buildings in London’s West End since last year as a protest against rising homelessness and gentrification and who currently hold 11 Conduit Street in posh Mayfair, have been served or rather we are waiting to be served with an IPO, that will in effect give us 24 hours to obey the order or we may be arrested and on conviction sent to prison and/or fined. This follows a 15 minute court hearing this morning in the County Court at Central London, this order was made by a presiding officer who said that he could not deal with our arguments because they were political, even when he was reminded that the law he was implementing were also political that favoured one class, the rich as against the poor the working classes.

The last line of resistance will now be taken, we will put into action our fortifications, the barricades and the lock-down will start from when the 24 hours runs out, the line has been drawn in front of this building, and as I close this post a height court bailiff has served the IPO on us, we have until 3 pm tomorrow.

Waiting for the Bailiffs and TSG

Most of the residents here in mega-rich Mayfair are well, as you would expect... The mega-rich, except of course, the occupying cure and crew here to relieve and if nothing else, exposing that disease which is really best described as excessive greed.

The Love Activists London and others who have travelled around together (squatting) in harmony for some time now, have taken their 13th and 14th building yesterday, all a part in exposing the many empty buildings that stand idly uninhabited in rich parts of London, bare of laughing and happy children at play, bare of families in the homes that provide the stability you would expect to find in a civilised and sane society.

This is no sane society and last night this was very much confirmed to me, when I counted 28 people sleeping rough just up the road from us and around Berkeley Square alone, a residence in Berkeley Square is highly sought after apparently, and residences do not come up on the market very often. The limited supply and great demand has created a market where a residence in Berkeley Square commands higher prices on the property market than similar residences in equivalently affluent neighbourhoods, any wonder then, that Mayfair is the top sought after location on the Monopoly Board originally produced by Waddingtons.

Conduit Street

We still await the bailiffs, the clock is ticking and the IPO comes into force at 3 pm this afternoon, they can come any-time after that but I think it could be early morning, as the bailiffs don’t work after 5 pm, we will see and I will keep you all updated as and when things start to take off.

In addition yesterday two of the Love Activists London faced court proceedings following the ‪#‎EvictTheBailiffs‬ protest this month. One activist has had his case adjourned until June, after pleading not guilty to allegations of assaulting a police officer.

The other, who represented himself, was sentenced to 8 weeks in prison after he pleaded guilty to his charge. Our crew has temporarily lost a valuable member, who will be hugely missed during their holiday.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The True Benchmark of a Civilised Society

Being on active, moreover with The Love Activists (London), means you have to take everyday as it comes, no-day is the same for any participant or crew member. We all except that squatting in Central London’s re-developing West End means we will not really hold any building for any real length of time, the West End is really like a massive building site as Crossrail and others, disgracefully tear-down, churn up and destroy old London Town.

I was only reading the other day, that the tunnel machine that broke onto the eastern end of Liverpool Street a week or so ago, is named after HM the Queen, this follows on from her sister machine named after her great granny Victoria, and of course, amongst all of this is the drive to redevelop the city, property developers are set to make millions from building luxury housing and turn this city into a massive playground for the very rich, whilst thousands are driven out and denied housing.

In the first decade of the new millennium, the number of working class people in the capital fell by 620,000 - equivalent to the entire population of Glasgow moving out.

It seems to be more about how a new affluent society connected to the 1% is rising and replacing the old, the descendants of working people who made this city rich and defended it during the course of two world wars, they are now and by one way or the other, are being forced out. The developers who will reap huge profits from the coalition government’s latest planning policy, which absolves builders of the responsibility to include affordable housing.

When I think about it more, we are all living through the legacy that was left in place by Margaret Thatcher (may she rot in hell for evermore) and added to and indeed protected by New Labour in office, under Cameron and the coalition of the rich, for the rich by the rich; we see things are much worse. 

I suppose you could say, that our campaign is about and against the gentrification of working class London, this is clearly a movement that is growing throughout London not only amongst squatters but in all the areas and the dimensional (shrinking) shape of housing provision for working people. The excellent March for Homes, held almost two weeks ago is indeed evident of this. Whilst I can... I would like to congratulate, all those who took part, it was always my prayer that the march brought together and in unity, the many different sections of our movement, so I’m very pleased to say, that I was not disappointed, however, now more than ever, we should all build and re-double on all our very best and earnest efforts, to make the provision of good quality housing a clear and clarion call during and before the general election, as an expected basic human right for all... That is the true benchmark of a civilised society.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Challenge all the Mainstream Players after the London March for Homes

And what a morning song of delight do I sing...What a ‘turnout’ by Londoners yesterday, on what was after all a very cold and in every sense a real winters day, but it didn't stop thousands of us taking to the streets to demand homes for all those in need 35 years after the Thatcher government made the push to turn the nation into a land full of homeowners and of course as we now know with disastrous consequences for (no exaggeration) millions.

Two legs one from the South and the other from East London merged on and over Tower Bridge creating the massive march, the biggest on housing ever seen in London for many a year.

I joined the south London leg with my comrades from the Love Activists (London) and the Bohemians the occupying crews at the 12 Bar in Soho and on our second day in defence and in defiance of the court IPO, we still hold the Bar and what a joy that is to behold, for the people and by the people, power to the people!

On Friday night we had a celebratory cabaret program of performing acts and artists, it went on rather late and as they do into the early hours of Saturday ment without not much sleep the troops at the Bar took some raising and getting out of bed, but they got to it as they do. We had to leave some of our number behind in order to keep the place safely secure from enemy invasion, that done we still had a good turnout from our comrades.

It’s a thing that dreams are made of, to have the many different sections of our movement come together and also, a movement one could say, is rebuilding itself in the face of an enemy intent on destroying the network of welfare and support that past generations fought so hard for including good old council housing, thinking about it alway reminds me of what the late great Bob Crow said: “ I was born in a council house and I will die on one”...Bless Him!

During the course of the last few months, it’s been a real pleasing pleasure, to have been able to assist in pushing onto the spotlight (in our own small way) and to highlight the real extent of the housing crisis in this capital city and indeed in many other parts of this country. In human terms this Christmas just gone we concentrated on the thousands who are now sleeping on our cold streets this winter, the Love Activists have help to propel the plight of homeless people whilst many buildings stand empty, that was the case with 2a Charing Cross Road, the former bank. We have helped to win over public concern and I would like to think, changed public perceptions on how homelessness and the homeless are seen today and always ensuring, drawing attention to austerity and the big part it plays.

Whilst having said all this, that’s in no way dismissing all the many other campaigns that are emerging all over the city surrounding housing, New Area and the Focus 15 Mothers are just two of the better known, but there are other fights going on.

Challenge all the Mainstream Players...
In my second part of this update I will now let you into a few secrets or rather reveal some more of the direct actions we have been involved in but up till now not made public for obvious reasons. But I can safely reveal, as well as holding the 12 Bar, we hold two hotels one in Victoria, which is a bit rundown and in general in a very poor dilapidated condition and yet the owner still sent in the heavies and thugs, but we resisted and sent them on their merry way peacefully. The latest addition to our expanding people’s property portfolio of holdings is a hundred room grand hotel in a very up-market part of London, at last we have some luxury to offer the homeless. Following the March for Homes more squats were opened around London, more homeless people have been housed at a time of very great need, and we have started to keep a promise to open up more empty properties and help the homeless into empowerment, as against the social and economic discrimination they suffer and which has no place in this century.

Yesterday, we participated in occupying a luxury block of flats just across the way from the city hall during the march for homes rally, that's until the police turfed us out and arrested some of our comrades, however, a banner was dropped and a point was made. Following this action we took the police who chose to follow us on a little march to the Aylesbury Estate, where now an occupation of this huge empty South London estate is well under way. Could this take us closer to challenging the law on squatting residential empty housing in defying the law that this government has put in place? Mass invasions could now be considered by the wave of squatting now under way challenging both gentrification and the march of the developers bulldozers?

In regard to yesterday's arrests, I will provide more information when it is appropriate to do so.

As I sit in this wonderful old building the 21 Bar which we are squatting for the community, music lovers and the people, just trying to rest today, I feel that a formidable movement is now gathering around austerity, new talents are coming to the forefront, bridges are being built and peaceful direct actions are taken place, leading a light and showing way out of the darkness.

Let’s make this general election a time full of actions, that challenge all the mainstream players on behalf of the people and make the case for scrapping austerity.                           

This is only the beginning...

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