London AF will be running a stall at the Radical Bookfair this Saturday, 12-6. Come along and chat:
Members of London AF attended and supported the joint actions by Independent Workers Union of Great Britain and United Voices of the World Union at the LSE and Senate House in support of cleaners and security staff on Wednedsay May 17th.
Later on the same day London AFers supported the picket by Cleaning and Allied Independent Workers Union outside HSBC at Canary Wharf in support of cleaners there.
Where now for the grassroots housing movement? Come and join grass roots campaigns and housing activists to discuss where we are now, where we want to go and how to get there.
When: on Nov 14th 10 am to 6 pm
Where: All Saints Community Centre, 105 New Cross Rd. London, SE14 5DJ
The sessions are:
- The Roots of the Crisis
- The State: On our side or On our backs?
- The Activist Response
Tonight is a major protest outside the Jack the Ripper Museum (12 Cable St): 6 pm
Read why we are protesting.
The East End is under siege. Everywhere housing estates, markets and pubs are under threat as the property developers, aided by councils and housing associations, eye up the profits to be made by driving out the working class that have lived here for so long. The Blitz didn’t do it but the property developers, with a big thumbs up from this government, think they can.
East London is rapidly becoming the playground of the rich as luxury flats go up everywhere. Not content with this, they want to steal our history too and see the East End as a theme park peopled with the token Pearly King or Queen or the odd sanitised pie and mash shop if you’re lucky.
One glaring example of their attempt to take over our history is the new Ripper Museum in Cable Street. It was originally pitched to Tower Hamlets Council as a museum dealing with the history of women in the East End by the businessman Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, former diversity officer with Google (joke!). Permission was granted in October 2014. However, there is evidence to suggest that he planned from the start to open a Jack the Ripper museum. As Guardian reporters discovered Palmer-Edgecumbe “first became interested in opening such an “attraction” in 2008, when he was involved in an exhibition about the serial killer at the Museum of London Docklands. He declared this on the museum’s website, although the page has now been taken down”. He has had a number of Jack the Ripper companies, the most recent one being Jack the Ripper Museum (London) Limited, founded in May 2014. We know that he started buying Ripper artefacts from the Police Museum in London quite early on. When the wraps came off in July local residents realised to their horror that the museum was now one devoted to a serial killer and mutilator of working class women.
The real history of the East End is a history of struggle. It’s the Match Girls strike, dockers’ strikes and tailors’ strikes. It’s a history of Rudolf Rocker and the Jewish anarchist movement, of Sylvia Pankhurst and her papers Women’s Dreadnought and then Worker’s Dreadnought. It’s the Battle of Cable Street where local people stopped Mosley’s Blackshirt fascists marching through a Jewish area. It’s about the mass squats of the 1960s and the fight against the National Front in the 1970s. It’s about self-organisation and direct action.
It’s not about a sordid glorification of a serial killer to make a fast buck. East Londoners will not accept this insult to our culture and heritage.
This museum must not be allowed to continue. Tower Hamlets Council now needs to throw-out the application and close the museum down or we will do it for them! If there is to be a museum on Cable Street, it should be one devoted to the rich social history of the East End, to women’s struggles or indeed the fight against fascism for which Cable Street became famous.
Tell Mark the Rip-Off to get lost and stand proud for our class and the East End.
London Anarchist Federation
In the last issue of Rebel City (Summer 2015) we published an article from Haringey Solidarity Group about their long-term campaign against North London Hospice. We are pleased to announce victory. Here is their press release.
28/07/15 – MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTH LONDON HOSPICE PULLS OUT OF WORKFARE
Following 9 months of protest from Haringey Solidarity Group , North London Hospice has agreed to stop taking part in the government’s workfare scheme. The charity, which has been using the six-month forced, unpaid “Community Work Placements”  to staff its charity shops, has agreed to replace all forced labour with the work of volunteers. Running 18 shops in North London and a major supplier of Community Work Placements, the charity’s pledge to pull out will have a significant impact on the scheme’s viability in Haringey.
Under Community Work Placements any jobseeker who hasn’t secured employment for two years can be forced to work for free for six months or be sanctioned – losing their benefits for between 4 weeks and three years. Last year over 560,000 claimants were sanctioned (a shocking one in five jobseekers)  resulting in rent arrears, hunger, and poor mental and physical health. Although the government still refuses to publish data on sanction-related deaths, we know these sanctions have resulted in cases of suicide and death by other causes.  Charities are increasingly unwilling to use the controversial scheme and almost 600, including Oxfam, Marie Curie, The Children’s Society and the Red Cross, have signed a pledge never to use forced labour. 
Until this month North London Hospice was one of the few charities in Haringey to remain involved in the scheme. Haringey Solidarity Group has been in discussions with the charity’s senior management for 9 months, taking a variety of actions against the organisation including picketing the shops and, latterly, occupying their shops at Turnpike Lane and Crouch Hill.  While North London Hospice told Haringey Solidarity Group and the media they ‘intended’ to pull out of the scheme, they continued to actively recruit for placements.
They have now committed in writing to pulling out of the scheme. Pam McClinton, CEO of North London Hospice, told Haringey Solidarity Group:
“The Board have decided that North London Hospice will no longer initiate any new placements through the CWP scheme. We are committed to honouring existing placements. The last of these placements concludes in December 2015.”
Tony Woods, member of Haringey Solidarity Group, says: “We are pleased North London Hospice has finally realised that it is unacceptable to force people to work 30 hours a week for no money. Volunteering has to be voluntary and work should be paid, otherwise people are being exploited. We will be keeping a close eye on North London Hospice to make sure they keep their promise to have completely left the scheme by December this year.”
Notes to editors
1. Haringey Solidarity Group is a group of local people who want to get rid of the current system which places profit and power before people’s real needs. We support and participate in local campaigns, spread ideas and help create effective opposition in our community. You can see our website here.
2. The “Community Work Placements” scheme, originally announced by George Osborne as “Help to Work” on 30th September 2013, is one of a number of schemes which uses the threat of sanctions to force jobseekers into unpaid work. These schemes are collectively known by opponents as ‘workfare’. See the provider guidance for CWPs here.
3. A study of UK government figures by the University of Glasgow shows that 568,430 of the 3,097,630 individuals who claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) during 2013/14 were sanctioned.
4. A cross-party parliamentary committee report on benefit conditionality, published in March 2015, notes that the DWP has carried out 49 ‘peer reviews’ into the death of a benefit claimant. According to DWP guidelines, peer reviews are undertaken when a suicide is associated with DWP activity.
Although the DWP refused to specify to the committee how many of these deaths were linked with sanctions, an FOI request revealed recently that one in five benefit-related deaths involved sanctions.
Among the most well-publicised sanction related deaths is that of David Clapson, who died from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin) on July 20th 2013.
5. The pledge and a full list of signatories can be found here through Keep Volunteering Voluntary, which encourages charities to refuse to use workfare.
6. You can see reports of Haringey Solidarity Group’s occupations here (from the Barnet and Potters Bar Times) and here (from Haringey Solidarity Group’s website).
London Anti-Fascists have put a London-wide call-out for a bloc against the fascist Pegida group. 4pm Saturday 4th April / Central London
“We urge all of our supporters to join us on the streets as part of a mass show of strength against PEGIDA and against all far-right movements.”
No to Austerity, Yes to a Million Climate Jobs
The People’s Assembly alongside trade unions and the Campaign Against Climate Change are organising an anti-austerity/pro-climate jobs bloc on the Time to Act Climate Change demo on 7 March.
Come with your placards and banners. Look out for the People’s Assembly ‘No More Austerity’ banner at the assembly point.
Why are we supporting the demo?
We face a climate crisis and a crisis of pay and employment for millions of working people. The market chooses profit and economic growth at the cost of public services and the health of the planet that sustains us.
Working people are expected to pay for an economic crisis they didn’t cause, and up to a million families in Britain have to choose between heating their homes in winter or having regular meals.
Austerity measures will continue to undermine our national response to climate change, notably our frontline flood defences and services.
Fresh solutions are available w ith the creation of one million new climate jobs. This crisis gives us the opportunity to galvanise, and show that as a movement we are stronger, together.
Let’s show we care about the world we will leave for our children and grandchildren. Together let’s bring a message of urgency which will no longer be ignored.
Saturday, March 7 at 12:30pm
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A