Lambeth Council has agreed to demolish Cressingham Gardens Estate, despite 86% of residents voting against the option, and their OWN reports saying the option was not viable, that it would raise rents and mortgage payments and that it would do nothing to address Lambeth’s housing waiting list.
The estate is virtually crime free, with a strong and supportive community amongst tenants, leaseholders and freeholders that should be being held up as an example of a model estate, not being torn down to make money out of “regeneration”. Now many people face the prospect of not being able to afford to stay in London.
The events in this video, including extensive coverage of the council meeting where the decision to demolish was taken without even bothering to vote, shows just how rotten the new Labour project had become.
Help the residents save their homes
The decision from a Labour council is so disgraceful that the residents have been granted leave to challenge the decision in the High Court – but they need to raise £10,000 to do it. They’ve launched a crowdfunding appeal, so please click here to donate what you can, even if it’s only £1– as one tenant says, “Lambeth Council are just ruining people’s lives.”
Refugees and migrants from the jungle camp in Calais stage a march ending in a protest at the town hall demanding freedom of movement and human rights. 5-9-15
THURSDAY OCTOBER 8, 7:30PM
181 STOKE NEWINGTON CHURCH ST. N16 0UI
Our regular North London night on the second Thursday of every month – join us for films, drinks, chats and discussion – FREE!
THIS MONTH: THE REFUGEE CRISIS
On a recent trip to Hamburg in northern Germany, REEL NEWS witnessed first hand the brilliant response from ordinary German people and activists to the unfolding European refugee crisis. GUY SMALLMAN will be doing a talk and showing photographs of events in Hamburg, and also about the recent solidarity trips to Calais.
On the day that Blacklisting construction firms again find themselves in court for illegal conspiracy, we’ll be showing films of two major disputes involving blacklisting – in TEESSIDE, where trade unions are denied access to the site of a huge construction project and workers on the blacklist are denied jobs, and in LIVERPOOL, where notorious blacklisters Carillion have been granted the £4.7 billion Royal Liverpool Hospital project – despite still refusing to employ blacklisted workers.
On a recent trip to Hamburg in northern Germany REEL NEWS witnessed first hand the brilliant response from ordinary German people and activists to the unfolding European refugee crisis.
In the main rail station activists have set up a permanent reception area for refugees arriving by train. They are given food, tea and advice on how to claim asylum or travel onto further destinations if they wish. Meanwhile the city’s main conference centre is presently hosting 1,200 refugees with the adjoining exhibition space being used to sort tons and tons of clothes, tents and toys donated by local people and businesses.
It is a considerable task. At weekends a car or van arrives with donations every 30 seconds. Each day 6-700 volunteers come through the building to help process the numerous items. Sanitary packs are made up for women and children. Clothing and toys are safety checked then bagged up for either immediate distribution or to be sent elsewhere in Northern Germany. Such is the scale of generosity in this one city that they are now exporting aid to other areas.
As volunteers leave the building after their shifts, they stick their nametags to the corridor around the exit. In just a few days the area has become literally wallpapered with the names of those taking part in the relief effort. A visual testament to the scale of this one aid operation.
Meanwhile activists are also responding in solidarity with deteriorating situation for Kurdish people both in Turkey where a bombing campaign by the government has recently begun. Also in Europe, where small Kurdish communities are being threatened. By both repressive anti terror laws (the PKK is falsely branded a terror group), and also from local Turkish nationalists.
On Friday September 11th local antifascists staged an impressive show of force against in solidarity with both German Kurds, recently arrived Kurdish refugees and those fighting for autonomy. Particularly in the Rojava rejoin of Northern Syria where Kurdish forces are reclaiming territory taken by the murderous islamist ISIL group.
The protest marched through the city led by Kurdish groups and finished with speeches and music outside the local detention centre. Flares and fireworks were let off on the roof of an occupied social centre on the route of the march. Anti fascists are clearly making the link between the current situation in Turkey and the activities of far right Turkish nationalist groups like the Grey Wolves who had a protest planned for Hamburg the following Sunday.
Then on Saturday September 12th Hamburg became a police state as a modest 2,800 riot cops were drafted in from all over the country along with 10 water cannons and a helicopter. The reason? A threatened march by German neo Nazis. The police had argued that the march should be banned as they did not have the resources to control the backlash from local people. A feeble excuse, given the size of the police operation.
For those residents wishing to oppose the Nazis without actually having to look at them a non-confrontational protest was organised in a square addressed by the mayor and other politicians.
Meanwhile local antifascists, trade unions and leftist groups organised a march starting from the main station where Nazis defying the ban were expected to arrive. The police estimated the total attendance of both protests to be at over 20k.
As the march from the station began Antifa called their activists into the station as a train carrying a small group of boneheads was spotted arriving. Concerned that the Nazis trapped in the carriage might be overheating; the anti fascists took immediate steps to improve the ventilation of the carriage with those conveniently sized rocks that lie around railway lines in abundance. Riot cops were briefly prevented from getting to the platform in question as more anti fascists linked arms to obstruct their passage. The Nazis remained trapped on their train, any plans of marching in Hamburg destroyed by militant action.
Then around 45 minutes later a second group of fascists arrived. This time they managed to leave the station as the march had left. But within about 2 minutes they were running for their lives back inside as reports from spotters reached the demo.
Protected by a ring of many riot cops the Nazis (most of whom looked like a cross between hipsters & metal fans) started doing that usual thing that the far right specialise in. I.E. acting all tough and doing their utmost to provoke the increasing numbers of anti fascists, while enjoying the protection of the state. Before long, it was raining cobblestones on the police lines whom brought in water cannons for protection.
The fascist were then informed by their protectors that they would be searched ID’d and then removed from the city for their own protection. By now hundreds of Antifa and other activists were had them surrounded and more cops were brought in to keep them at bay.
Antifascists jeered at the Nazis as they were searched and corralled. Not exactly shining examples of Aryan perfection that they claim to be the ‘masterace’ whined that they were being victimised while dodging flying bottles and masonry. All in all it was a very bad day for National Socialism as those of them who accepted the ban on their event in Hamburg were also attacked and prevented from marching in Bremen.
Here at REEL NEWS we are very far from naïve about the real reasons for the supposed generosity of Angela Merkal towards refugees. Not least the economic incentives for recruiting grateful workers from desperate situations. However a weekend in Hamburg has done much to boost our faith in the ability of ordinary people and activists to organise in solidarity with refugees and against the moronic racists who are trying to exploit this crisis for their own purposes. Nice one Hamburg!
“I think this has got the capacity to be the biggest thing in this city since the dockers strike in 1997.” So said Roy Bentham, from the Blacklist Support Group, organisers of the direct action at the Royal Liverpool Hospital site which brought chaos to rush hour traffic.
The dispute has erupted over the awarding of the hospital contract – a 5 year building contract costing £492 million – to notorious blacklisters Carillion, despite Liverpool Council having a policy of not awarding public contracts to known blacklisting companies.
Carillion have refused to employ any workers on the blacklist, despite being handed a list of names of currently available people. They are also ignoring national agreed rates for the job, people are working as bogus self-employed, and clauses in the contract for the number of apprenticeships and the amount of local labour employed are being completely flaunted.
Ryans Bar, 181 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0UI
The politics of austerity, and the established parties who have implemented it, are being increasingly rejected by ordinary people across Europe – but the exhilerating mass movements that are appearing as a result are largely ignored by the mainstream media. Tonight, we’ll be showibng two of the most significant ones, in Iceland and Spain. N.B. We’re expecting a lot of discussion this month, so FILMS WILL START AT 7:30 PM SHARP.
ICELAND: REYKJAVIK RISING (Conscious Collective, 55min)
In response to widespread media silence, this documentary explores how the people of Iceland resisted the measures imposed on them following the crisis of 2008, eventually overthrowing their government. It explores how the writing of the new Icelandic constitution was a truly inclusive and democratic process and how grassroots movements can change the course of history.
DANNY MITCHELL from Conscious Collective will be present to answer questions on the “pots and pans revolution”.
SPAIN – THE END OF AUSTERITY? (Reel News, 34min)
Amazing scenes as citizens platforms representing the mass social movements take over the councils of the biggest cities in Spain, with radical anti-austerity programmes – and no, we’re not talking about Podemos here (although they are involved)!
A number of Spanish activists will be coming to join in the discussion afterwards…
Join us for a night of film, discussion, drinks and music to see what we can learn from these incredible movements…as always, FREE!
MAJOR NEW REEL NEWS FILM: Completely ignored by the mainstream media over here, the social movements in Spain have just sensationally taken control of the councils of the biggest cities in Spain. The “citizen’s platforms” have agreed everything collectively in assemblies throughout the cities, from who would stand as councillors to what their policies would be – and are now implementing an anti-austerity programme which prioritises an end to all evictions, bringing privatised services back into public ownership, providing free water and electricity to those who can’t afford to pay, guaranteed access to healthcare for all, and an urgent plan to tackle youth unemployment. People are talking about a second 1936…is this is the beginning of the end for the politics of austerity in Europe?
This half hour film also explains the origins and connections between the 15M movement; social movements such as the PAH; Podemos; and the citizens platforms. Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and get inspired and excited…
This is the major industrial dispute in Spain at the moment. Coca-Cola workers in Spain have been fighting to save their jobs for 17 months, when Coca Cola attempted to shut down all four factories there. Milltant rank and file action alongside a boycott of Coca-Cola has forced the company to reopen the factories, but only as warehouses…now the workers are calling for the boycott to be extended beyond Spain as they continue the fight to save their jobs. Support their struggle – boycott all Coca-Cola products.
Mass pickets at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar bring traffic chaos and local approval as UNITE, GMB and UCATT members take joint action for the first time in 20 years. They are now on their 16th Friday of direct action and civil disobedience against the conditions on a new construction project, run by SITA UK.
SITA UK are exploiting foreign workers and marginalising local workers at the project by paying foreign workers as little as 6 – 8 euros an hour – way short of the £16.10 an hour they should be paying according to the NAECI national industry agreement.
The pickets are demanding that everyone is treated equally – pay the foreign workers the proper rate, and give the many experienced local workers a chance of employment. This is a major dispute – and in the words of one picket, “it needs to go national.”
On Monday REEL NEWS attended an inspiring action by supporters of the Blacklist Support Group at the site of Morgan Stanley in the heart of the Canary Wharf financial district. Though in modest numbers the determination of picketers caught both the police and private security off guard. The site entrance was blocked with all 2 workers respecting the picket line. Nearby the management, their private security and the police stood around scratching their heads wondering what to do. There were scuffles at the front door when the protest moved to the main entrance. Within a few hours of the protest management capitulated.
Blacklist Support Group Press Release:
Graeme Boxall, the UNITE shop steward sacked at the Morgan Stanley HQ in Canary Wharf on Friday has been re-employed. See link to today’s Morning Star front page headline for details:
Graeme was dismissed immediately after he requested direct employment for the electricians he represents but following a picket line this morning, negotiations took place between UNITE official Guy Langston and Lee Crompton Phoenix Managing Director. The outcome was that the sacked steward is now re-employed and the union will participate in continuing talks with the company about the direct employment issue.
Police threatened to arrest pickets and managers tried to intimidate the pickets by waving paperwork in front of them saying, “you are on private property and this is document is a High Court injunction which bans this protest” The rank and file sparks reply was, “so what?”
Following the successful re-employment, protests have now been suspended to allow the union to negotiate the outstanding issues.
Graeme Boxall commented: “I would like to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all those who came down to support me today. I would especially like to thank the vast majority of construction workers on site who showed such solidarity by respecting the picket line, despite all the intimidation from the police and senior managers. Millions of workers are being denied their basic employment rights by the use of zero hours contracts, employment agencies and umbrella scams. But we don’t have to passively accept these abuses. Today has proved that if we fight back, we can win”.
Another attempt to criminalise the right to protest was thwarted today – by Tory cuts to the crown prosecution service. Due to staff shortages, not enough time was allocated to the trial of Blacklist Support Group secretary, Dave Smith, for a peaceful protest. As a result the trial had to be adjourned today, and will no go ahead on January 25/26 2016.
Dave was arrested on a protest over the sacking of UNITE member Dan Collins from the Crossrail project:
For the background to blacklisting and the campaign against it up to two years ago, watch this (Frank Morris won his reinstatement shortly after this film was made):