Sunday, 25 June 2017

Housing crisis - a radical response




https://static.domain.com.au/domainblog/uploads/2016/08/12141500/2_gqr7zy.jpgWe don’t need to tell you how dire it is for most tenants, with social housing (whether council or housing association) being few and far between and private rentals often just a way for get-rich-quick buy-to-let landlords to keep tenants in increasingly overcrowded and poor accommodation paying extortionate rent with next to no security of tenure.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  But to change things for the better needs organisation by us as renters—whether private, council or housing association tenants.

Leicester AF sees a real need for genuine working class organisation against the worsening situation for those of us who have to rent their homes.  
 
In the short-term, we would like to work with others to help set up a radical housing group in the city.  In the longer term, we would like to see the establishment of tenant-led renters’ unions in the city.

Such organisations should offer vital support and solidarity to fellow renters and should encourage self-organisation and collective action. In other words, the kind of organisation that means ordinary people stick together to get things done to defend ourselves from unscrupulous landlords or anyone else who tries to divide working class people according to our race, sex, age, disability, employment status, sexuality or cultural background. 

If you’re interested in getting involved in such a project, then you can either keep an eye on our website for any upcoming meetings on this issue, or drop us a line at        leicesteraf[AT]gmail.com with the words “Radical Housing” in the subject line.
https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/588444419252232192/OjRm56sR.png 
Some other useful contacts:
Radical Housing Network: www.radicalhousingnetwork.org
Shelter UK: www.shelter.org.uk
London Coalition Against Poverty www.lcap.org.uk
Advisory Service for Squatters www.squatter.org.uk



ORGANISE! issue 88 out now



Organise! is of the Anarchist Federation's magazine.

 Anarchist Federation Organise magazine issue 88 summer 2017

  • This latest issue is a chock-full 46 pages and includes articles on:
  • the prison industrial complex
  • Belarus Anarchist Black Cross
  • Cuban anarchism
  • campaign tactics
  • repression of anarchists in Turkey
  • anarchist women of Turkey
  • beer in a bad state
  • and much more!

The price is £2.50 and it's available from Tin Drum Books, 68 Narborough Road, Leicester LE3 0BR.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Because they were poor - the Grenfell fire

Related imageThis article was written by a member of London AF who is involved with housing activism in the City. Published in the London AF bulletin, Rebel City.  

Angry Londoner writes:

"The people who died and lost their homes - this happened to them because they are poor"
Akala, rapper and poet, local resident.

“Regeneration is a euphemism for ethnic and class cleansing”
Kensington resident and writer Ishmahil Blagrove.

GUILTY: Boris Johnson. When Mayor of London he put through cuts including the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of 552 firefighters jobs despite pre-election promises not to do so. When questioned over this at the Greater London Assembly he said:” Get Stuffed”. The loss to the fire services meant a slower response time to the fire, with fire teams having to be called in from outside London.

GUILTY: Kensington and Chelsea Council. They repeatedly ignored warnings for years from residents about fire hazards. They attempted to close down a blogger, Francis O’Connor, member of the Grenfell Action Group (GAG) after he warned about fire hazards at Grenfell. They sent a lawyer to threaten him, which he ignored. Nicholas Paget-Brown, leader of the council, attended a private dinner to which he was invited by organizers of the MIPIM (property developers’ event) conference in 2015. The council has had plans to cleanse the residents and build luxury flats in the neighbourhood for the last three years. Now Paget-Brown is trying to put blame on the residents by falsely saying that they objected to water sprinklers.

GUILTY: Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation. The “arm’s length” body set up by Kensington and Chelsea Council to manage Grenfell block ignored tenants’ warnings. It was handed £11 million by the Council to manage the block and in 2015-2016 its bosses got a grand total of £650,794 in salaries! As GAG wrote: “We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes” and that “It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice! The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring. We believe that our attempts to highlight the seriousness of this event were covered up by the KCTMO with the help of the RBKC Scrutiny Committee who refused to investigate the legitimate concerns of tenants and leaseholders.” (this was written in November 2016!) KCTMO was given a “deficiency notice” last year by the London fire brigade after an audit at another of its properties.

GUILTY: Gavin Barwell. Now Theresa May’s chief of staff,  the then Housing Minister  in 2013 promised to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010,  relating to fire safety, but the review never happened. This was after the fire at another tower block, Lakanal House in Southwark in 2009 that killed six people. Instead housing ministers have sat on it for four years!

GUILTY: Brandon Lewis. Another Tory Housing Minister who sat on information about fire risks at blocks like Grenfell because it would “discourage building”. He waved away suggestions about installation of water sprinklers in 2014 saying it was “all red tape”.

GUILTY: The Conservative government itself and back bench Tory MPS who voted against a motion to make “homes fit or human habitation” in 2016 with a clause to undertake regular electrical checking. Among these were 72 MPs who are also landlords, including the present Police and Fire Minister Nick Hurd. The then local government minister Marcus Jones said: it "would result in unnecessary regulation and cost to landlords".

But GUILTY most of all is the whole class system, capitalism itself, that for decades now has unleashed  the policies of neoliberalism on the working class, policies of the unbridled market,  policies of austerity, policies of vicious attacks on social services and what is the robbing of the poor to make the wealthy even wealthier. This system should be sentenced to death.

Pilgrim Tucker from Grenfell Action Group on Newsnight

Grenfell support website 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Comrades arrested and under custody in Turkey went on a hunger strike as of today (May 24,2017)


https://historysshadow.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/403x296_229630_pro-and-anti-erdogan-protests-in-austria.jpg?w=553&h=406 Yesterday an anarchist-comrade along with several others were arrested violently by the police during a solidarity demonstration with Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca*. Comrades in question are held arbitrarily by the police in custody and in protest of their treatment, yesterday they went on an indefinite hunger strike until they are released. As the anniversary of the Gezi Revolt approaches (the end of May) fascist Erdogan government fears another revolt against its violent dictatorial regime. It is keeping every protester it can arrest as hostage. I will update this as more information arrives. As always, but as it becomes more and more clear everyday, our only weapon against the state and sectarian violence directed everywhere against the working class is international solidarity!

*Nuriye Gulmen, a university professor, and Semih Ozakca, a high school teacher, were sacked by the government for no reason except being leftists and participated in the Gezi demonstrations after the military coup last year. The government officials and prosecutors clearly know that Nuriye&Semih have no ties with the islamist/Gulenist coup plotters who were until yesterday partners of Erdogan in repressing the working class and the Kurds. Unsurprisingly though state officials fear the militant working class people more than they fear coupist Gulenist army generals. Hence, Nuriye and Semih were sacked together with thousands of other teachers, professors and civil servants without any real evidence. Nuriye and Semih are on hunger strike for 76 days. Their only demand is to be reinstated at their jobs. Two days ago they were arrested at their home after a night raid by the police. These people are already under surveillance, their passports have probably been cancelled and they never attempted to hide. The prosecutors asked them if "any radical left wing group promised them any material benefit in exchange of their hunger strikes and if they are trying to overthrow the government by triggering a revolt, similar to the Gezi revolt". These outrageous questions constituted the basis for their imprisonment. Clearly this naked state terror is only aimed to intimidate the workers not to oppose the government, whose self-confidence is daily eroding and, in fear, using the only weapon it knows best: violence.

Source: Libcom

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Upcoming events in Leicester...

MAY DAY EVENTS in LEICESTER
International Workers' Day
Monday May 1st 2017

11.30am
Assemble in Jubilee Square at the top of High Street.

12.00 noon
The march sets off towards the Clock Tower. From there it goes up Gallowtree Gate for a rally at the Plaza outside the Tourist Information Office.

Leicester AF will be marching with comrades from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) so look out for red and black flags and IWW flags.



1.30pm
May Day Social Event at
Duffy's Bar on Pocklington Walk
Free entry. Seven bands on.


*March and social organised by Leicestershire & District Trades Union Council

 _________________________________



Leicester IWW 
PUBLIC MEETING
"Why join the IWW?"
10am on Saturday 6th May 
at the Secular Hall
75 Humberstone gate
Leicester LE1 1WB 
 
 _________________________________ 

 


Leicester AF 
PUBLIC MEETING
"No to electoralism, yes to class struggle!"
7.30pm, Wednesday 24th May

Upstairs at the Regent Sports & Social Club 


102 Regent Road, Leicester LE1 7DA  
NB: this meeting replaces the previously advertised Libertarian Socialist Discussion Meeting on the Barcelona May Days