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...