Thursday, 31 October 2013
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Why we are occupying a £3m council house | Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth | Comment is free | theguardian.com
Our protest is also a challenge to the law that came in last year to criminalise squatting in residential buildings. Section 114 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act threatens homeless people seeking shelter with jail. The law makes it a criminal offence to squat a residential building with the intention of living there and there has been talk by politicians of extending the squatting ban to commercial properties as well. Any extension of the law to criminalise squatting could prevent communities making use of empty residential buildings for community action, such as ours, as well as preventing homeless people from accessing shelter in empty buildings. We are trying to show that people can still use empty residential buildings to protest. When the police visited last night, they acknowledged that we were not committing a criminal offence with our occupation of the building.
NEWSFLASH ITS NOW OK TO SQUAT RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS AS A PROTEST Squatters take over Britain's most expensive council house on same day Southwark sold it for £3m - London - News - London Evening Standard
Monday, 28 October 2013
Residential council houses occupied squatted as a protest against sell off 21-23park st southwark help needed network it
Friday, 25 October 2013
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Occupy London 2 years old -Occupy London: Day 1 on Vimeo -This short video shows some of the early stages of the occupation.
Somewhere I have a video from the first day and filming around 360 degrees and the area around St.Pauls was filled with a sea of thousands of people.All come for change,time to rearrange.
This short video shows some of the early stages of the occupation.
Keep networking Keep occupying keep doing it for a better future.
Occupy London: Day 1 on Vimeo
Phoenix on Resonance FM today -Counter Culture from 60s to Noughties MADAM MIAOW'S CULTURE LOUNGE RESONANCE 104.4FM Presented by Anna Chen Tuesday 5.30-6.30pm 22nd October.
MADAM MIAOW'S CULTURE LOUNGE
Tuesday 5.30-6.30pm 22nd October.
Tonight's exciting programme from Anna Chen looks at the counterculture and today's Chinatown shutdown.
Listen to Madam Miaow Says on air and on the internet at Resonance 104.4FM Tuesdays at 5.30-6.30pm from 15th October.
TUESDAY 22ND OCTOBER - COUNTERCULTURE AND THE CHINATOWN SHUTDOWN
Monday, 21 October 2013
Hi, illegal eviction is happening in 1-5 Alfred st, near Bow rd station. Mercenary bailiffs with dogs threatening people, police working with bailiffs, help needed urgently...
Sunday, 20 October 2013
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Transition talks at the Bohemia Wednesdays 7-9 pm this week the Friern Barnet Library reopened - Keith , Daniel and Phoenix
762 High Road, North Finchley
FRIERN BARNET LIBRARY REOPENED
A talk by Phoenix,
Daniel Gardonyi and
Wednesday 16 October 2013 at 7pm
This is a free event, and copies of
Friern Barnet – the library that refused to close will be available for purchase.
£10.99, of which £2 per copy will be donated to Friern Barnet Community Library.
Monday, 14 October 2013
Open Letter: The Debate
On the 2nd September 2013, Labour politicians, Chuka Umunna, Tessa Jowell and Lib Peck wrote a letter to Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, reprinted in theEvening Standard, asking that squatting in commercial premises be criminalised. The Labour politicians cited three specific examples from the London Borough of Lambeth which demonstrated why criminalisation should be extended, namely:
1] 111 Westminster Bridge Road – claiming costs of £100k+
2] Patmos Lodge – claiming costs of £150k
3] Nettlefold Hall (Library) – claiming costs of £150k
In response SQUASH sent an open letter to the three politicians in question, challenging their position, which was picked up by a number of commentators and journalists, including Owen Jones who wrote an article for the Independent. A more investigative blog was posted by Prolapsarian (“The Violence of Chuka Umunna (on squatting)”)] who looked into the cases cited in more detail, and found the following facts:
1] Patmos Lodge – This was previously a sheltered and residential care home which was decanted in 2010, and planned for demolition in order to make the site attractive for developers. The costs, according to the council, were largely due to security and eviction costs, procuring specialist (and notorious) eviction team UK Evict instead of negotiating directly with the squatters.
2] Nettlefold Hall (Library) – the library was closed because someone stole copper off of the roof; Lambeth council decided to close the library and hand it over to multinational Cineworld Ltd for redevelopment; while the council sat on the asset for a year, the building was squatted and put back into use. The clean-up bill was not due to the actions of the squatters, but from the hazardous asbestos the council had refurbished the building with.
The politicians, under pressure from various sectors of the online and political community, tried to justify their anti-squatting sentiments, with Chuka Ummuna posting the following on his website and Councillor Lib Peck responded to SQUASH directly with this email-letter:
Cllr Lib Peck wrote to SQUASH on the 13th September 2013:
Thank you for your letter regarding our position on squatting in commercial properties.
Squatting in commercial properties in Lambeth is a serious problem. It is causing distress for our residents and mounting bills for the council. I visited the former library in West Norwood last week which had been trashed by squatters. The damage to the property is so serious the clean-up bill is likely to rise to well over £150,000. The damage also means the opening of a new library, cinema and cafe on the premises has been delayed by months. You say that ‘Squatters have a proud history of taking over abandoned buildings and bringing them back into use to make homes’. This is clearly not the case here. And sadly this is just one of a number of examples of commercial squatting in Lambeth, and I know there are many more across London.
We cannot afford to do nothing about squatting and our residents cannot afford the damage squatting is doing to their lives.
I agree with you that many people squat because the other options open to them are worse. That’s why we need to do far more to increase house building levels so everyone has the chance to rent or own their home. In Lambeth we are working hard to deliver new affordable social housing. Next year we will deliver new social housing in the centre of Brixton, in properties which were formerly squatted. And we are providing support and assistance to thousands of our residents who are in need of housing. However we, like many other councils, are suffering from the failure of the government to invest in new homes. Affordable housing funding has been cut and house building is at its lowest level since the 1920s.
I would like to work with you to pressure the Government and the Mayor of London to pursue a far more ambitious and bold policy on affordable housing which delivers the new homes that are desperately needed in Lambeth and across London.
Councillor Lib Peck
Leader of Lambeth Council
The Leader’s Office
Finance and Resources
Governance and Democracy
Phone: 020 7926 1167
Fax: 020 7926 2049
Lambeth Town Hall
Lambeth – the cooperative council
SQUASH replied on the 18th September 2013:
Dear Councillor Lib Peck
Thank you for your reply. However we would like to address some of your points.
We understand your concern at the costs supposedly associated with squatting. However, we would ask you to note the complexities of the matter. Squatters make use of wasted property, thereby reducing Council housing benefits bills as well as the demand for housing in a starkly overpriced market. Moreover, those instances where squatters maintain and improve properties rarely make the news yet constitute a genuine contribution. Damage through vandalism and decay will remain a problem where properties lie empty.
Allow us to draw your attention to just one notable case, similar to the one in hand, where squatting brought value to the community in the short term and saved a most precious library resource at a time of historic cuts: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/boyd-tonkin-squatting-public-property-helped-to-save-my-first-library-dont-make-it-a-crime-8485457.html
Squatters who protect buildings and serve the community are common and systematically overlooked. From an economic and social perspective, their efforts are difficult to value by comparison with the damage noted in your case, and therefore seem absent from discussions on the matter. Nevertheless, this is a complex debate which seems to be coming to the simplistic conclusion of blunt criminalisation. The ugly repercussions of this on housing and homelessness must be recognised and measured alongside the unseen upsides of squatting.
Furthermore, although you claim that Lambeth Council is “working hard to deliver new affordable social housing”, recent events show that this is not the case. The often violent evictions of short-life co-operatives and licensees over the last two years (Clifton Mansions, Carlton Mansions, the Lambeth United Housing Co-ops and Rushcroft Road) show a complete disregard for the long-term residents of Lambeth in favour of high-value asset disposal and attracting well-heeled professionals. The case of Clifton Mansions, where Lambeth spent £440,000 on security and guardian fees on a previously occupied building [http://www.squashcampaign.org/2012/04/council-pays-440000-so-security-firm-can-treat-exploit-tenants/], and the sale of properties on Rushcroft Road and other short-life co-ops to private developers are a case in point that taxpayers’ money is being squandered in favour of private interest groups.
SQUASH believe that there are much more humane, reasonable and cost-effective ways to deal with genuine housing need in Lambeth, such as the implementing of rent caps, using Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) to bring empty properties back into use, promoting housing co-operatives and community asset transfers. We do not believe that blaming the deficiencies of central government is an adequate response to dealing with the housing crisis; we are not a lobby group for private developers or housing associations and therefore will not be assisting with applying pressure on central government or the Mayor to build more housing in London.
Although you would like to demonise all squatters as reckless vandals causing “distress for our residents”, we would like to remind you of the proud history of squatting in Lambeth. Olive Morris, after which Lambeth Council’s Olive Morris House was named, was a key social justice activist in the area, helping found the Brixton Black Women’s Group, promoting squatters rights and the Black Panther Movement (for more information on Olive, visit your own website orhttp://rememberolivemorris.wordpress.com/tag/squatting/) . Other exemplary squats, which have not only contributed to their local communities, but made Lambeth the vibrant place it is today include: CoolTan Arts (199), Brixton Arts Co-op (2005), the 121 Centre (1981 – 1999), St Agnes Place (1969 – 2007) and Exploding Cinema at the Brixton Lido (1993). [thanks for Urban 75 for their archive] Squats and squatters have been crucial to defending the diverse culture in Lambeth, and resisting the racist and repressive policies of both Labour and Conservative governments since the 1960s. These are just a handful of examples of the contribution squatting has made in Lambeth.
The SQUASH Campaign (Squatters Action for Secure Homes)
Cllr Lib Peck has not replied to date
SQUASH, and others, wait to see what next steps the Labour Party and Lambeth Council will take in driving forward the criminalisation of squatting commercial premises.
Bonnington Square Squatted community 80s great video Bohemian community into co-op.made possible by squatting
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Saturday, 12 October 2013
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Earth circus productions and our Bohemia proudly present a night of open mic and cabaret fri 11th oct 7-11 pm at the Bohemia community project
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
Crash space avalable for people helping and numbers probably appreciated. please come help.
Monday, 7 October 2013
We are a collective of community activists, who successfully helped to save the Friern Barnet Community Library.
We have occupied the closed Bohemia Pub Building (762-764 High Rd, Finchley, N12 9QH, Nearest tube: Woodside Park)
We are setting up a community centre project to boost the campaign aimed at reopening it as a community centre/pub.
Some of the activities the community has suggested for the space are:
Theatre, dance, singing, drama classes, games night, kids activities, knitting, cinema, cabaret, quiz night, skills sharing workshops and much more.
Our activites so far are:
Monday 7pm - Community project organising meeting
Tuesday 7-10pm - Cinema
Wednesday 7-10pm - Board games night, come and meet new friends
Friday 7-10.30pm - Open mic and cabaret night
The company said it would not seek consent to frack for gas at Anna's Road in St Annes and would restore the site to its previous condition.
Cuadrilla's chief executive Francis Egan said the background to the move included "technical constraints related to wintering birds".
Anti-fracking campaigners said the company was not welcome in Lancashire.
More here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-24390753
Saturday, 5 October 2013
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Wanderers, adventurers, artists, journalists, vagabonds and gypsies - free love ... Sounds good to me. Will opt for the haute Bohème version, rather than the frugal one, probably. Bit like easycouncil for artist-vagabonds, with an option for a higher charge standard of service, see. The blessings of 'choice', as commended by libertarian Tories, except of course only for themselves, and no one else.
So, anyway: after last Friday's occupation of the Bohemia Pub in North Finchley, a meeting was called, last night, for local residents and all interested parties to attend in order to discuss the future of the pub, and to try to save it for the community.
Risking further opprobrium from the retired and absent right wing blogosphere of Broken Barnet, and accompanied with a rather cutting suggestion from Miss Angry that she would not bother standing bail for her mother in the case of arrest, Mrs Angry went off to the now darkened pub.
By the entrance stood our new landlords, in hi-vi tabards, greeting guests with a grin, and helping them over the step into the cavernous space of the stripped out pub. Hollowed out council, stripped out pub: it's all part of the same picture, isn't it?
Mrs Angry had expected to find only a handful of Bohemia supporters, and was frankly staggered to find an enormous circle of people, sitting expectantly in the candlelight, some old friends, many new.............. read on
Broken Barnet: Bohemia: the occupied pub holds its first meeting