Read all about it. Real news hits the streets of Newham
Focus E15 campaign and Debt Resistance UK joined forces to launch a one off publication, the Newham Nag on Saturday 20 May outside Stratford station in London. Both campaigns agree that Robin Wales and the Labour council in Newham continue to pull the wool over the eyes of residents and this needs to be exposed. The Newham Nag draws attention to the official publication for Newham council, the Newham Mag. This latter publication paints a rosy version of Newham that is unrecognisable to those who are facing the effects of years of austerity and council cuts. Clearly an alternative voice is needed in Newham!
Passersby flocked to get their free copy of the Newham Nag and stayed around to chat to campaigners. Speakers on the community sound system included Debt Resistance, Focus E15 campaign and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! with a special Newham news and weather bulletin from our very own correspondent. Points were made about the financial scandals, the growing disparity in wealth in the borough, gentrification, social cleansing, the corruption in the Labour Party at local level, the ongoing cuts to services and the appalling state of temporary and emergency accommodation that people are being forced into as evictions and homelessness increase.
The event was brought alive by some special guests including someone dressed up as Sylvia Pankhurst, the revolutionary, anti-fascist, communist, who was also campaigning in east London for the rights of working class women a hundred years ago; there was someone dressed up as Lyn Brown, the local Labour MP who received a fair few boos and also someone dressed up as a council worker and a cockroach, a symbol of the overcrowded slum living conditions that many residents have to put up with in Newham.
Just as members of the public came forward to share their stories the police and local enforcement officers approached campaigners and suggested that there may be a problem with the street event under S137 of the Highways Act. It was hard to take this seriously given the amount of space available outside Stratford station and no passersby were complaining. After some discussions, with police officers ominously hanging around, the enforcement officers came back to announce that they were now going to ‘take enforcement action’, which turned out to be the threat of issuing a penalty notice, which they never did as campaigners took to the community sound system and made points about police harassment – a fine lesson in standing your ground and knowing your rights and garnering the support of people on the streets.
The council may not want us distributing real information but we won’t be silenced.
Come and get your copy of the Newham Nag, available every Saturday on the Focus E15 stall 12-2pm outside Wilko’s on The Broadway, Stratford E15. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more information about the work of Debt Resistance UK and their involvement in exposing local council financial scandals all around Britain, see lada.debtresistance.uk.