Monthly Archives: August 2017

March of the towers takes off in the East End

On Saturday 12 August Focus E15 campaign, responding to concerns from Newham residents, organised a local ‘march of the towers’. The route of the march encompassed 3 significant tower blocks, starting at a tower block called Ferrier Point in Canning Town, where residents have been shocked and angry to learn that their homes have been covered in the same cladding as Grenfell Tower. The route of the march then went to Tanner Point in Plaistow for a speak out, because this is another tower block covered in flammable material. The last stop was the Carpenters Estate in Stratford, where for 15 years three tower blocks have been left to waste by Newham Labour council who evicted residents leaving 410 flats empty.

Little wonder then that for the whole route this march was noisy, angry and vibrant and passersby and shopkeepers stopped in their tracks to see what was happening in their community. They were met with chants of “the people united will never be defeated” and “social housing is a right, here to stay here to fight”. There were drummers, pot and pan bashers and political speeches. Residents demanded that Newham council provide safe and secure homes for all, and stop social cleansing.

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Excellent observations were made by the many speakers at Tanner Point: that the social murder which happened at Grenfell Tower must not be used by the government as an excuse to destroy our homes and demolish more tower blocks, that organising together in our local community is necessary for building movements of resistance, that the capitalist system will never provide enough secure and safe homes, that housing insecurity is a mental health issue, that women fleeing from domestic violence are being let down by the system as they have nowhere to go and that community action can also be creative and that we all have something that we can bring to a march – including our singing, drumming, chanting, political speech making, our colourful home made banners, and our commitment, solidarity and camaraderie .

At the end of the march on Carpenters Estate a party took place, food was handed out, phone numbers were swapped and children’s games got underway, free haircuts were given courtesy of Fringe Movement and more plans were made to strengthen the movement for housing justice.

Focus E15 campaign would like to thank everyone who took part. The march was supported by residents from all the towers, the Revolutionary Communist Group, Movement for Justice (who kindly supported the march by lending their megaphone when we had a blip with the sound system), the Socialist Party, residents from the Frampton Park Estate, One Housing Tenants Action Group, South Essex Stirrer, East End Sisters Uncut, Whitechapel Anarchists,  Socialist Equality Party, Debt Resistance UK, Housing and Mental Health Network and Journey to Justice.

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.

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Why we’re having a knees up on the Carpenters

Resistance is necessary and together it is fun.

On Saturday 12 August, Focus E15 campaign and friends will be marching for safe and secure housing in Newham, east London, and demanding that Newham council repopulate the Carpenters Estate immediately. Newham has more people registered homeless than anywhere else in the country and 25% of people are living in overcrowded conditions. People are being decanted, evicted, abandoned and forced out of their homes at catastrophic rates; in England someone is threatened with eviction every 90 seconds.

Join us at 12 midday at Ferrier Point, Forty Acre Lane, Canning Town E16, marching, dancing, singing, drumming our way to Tanner Point, Pelly Road, Plaistow E13 for 1pm for a speak out, and then making our noisy militant way to the Carpenters Estate in Stratford E15 by 2.30pm for a knees up with the residents. Come to the whole event or at any place along the way. By 2.15pm we will be at Stratford Old Town Hall for the last bit of the march to the Carpenters Estate.We are marching because rough-sleeping and homelessness is on the rise and social cleansing is a daily reality. Luxury apartments continue to be built and council homes are being demolished.This is making people ill and it is a national mental health emergency. The fire that ripped through Grenfell Tower on 14 June was not an accident but the devastating consequence of housing policies marked by systematic degrading of council estates that are being demolished or ‘regenerated’ for profit.

In Newham, Ferrier Point, Canning Town, Tanner Point, Plaistow and Nicholls Point, Stratford all have cladding that has failed fire-safety tests. Newham council said it was the higher quality cladding than that used on Grenfell Tower, but at the end of June announced that contractors are assessing to see how quickly it can be removed. While extra security patrol these blocks, and smoke alarms and fire doors are in place, there has been no move to inform residents of the next steps. Ferrier Point’s cladding was fitted in a £3.5m contract with Rydon as part of an overall £8.5m refurbishment in 2015. Rydon subcontracted the work to Harley Facades Ltd. Rydon and their subcontractors were involved in refurbishing the Grenfell Tower.

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Meanwhile, in Stratford, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium, three other tower blocks on the Carpenters Estate lie almost empty. The estate has over 400 empty homes, due to people decanted by the council over the last decade, a case of Olympic regeneration for the rich, eviction for the poor. This is the reality of Robin Wales’s Labour borough of Newham, now spending the staggering equivalent of 125% of council tax on debt repayment, after reckless acquisition of LOBO loans and borrowing from the banks has left the council with £563m debt. The Carpenters Estate is marked for regeneration or demolition or both. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the resistance of the residents.

Join us at any point  on Saturday 12 August to raise all these issues in the sixth richest nation in the world! We must be clear that adults and children should not be left to rot in substandard overcrowded slum-like housing, in temporary or emergency accommodation. We must demand safe and secure housing for all.

Please share our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1951128301839783/

Public housing not private profit, social housing not social cleansing!

 

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