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Guest blog: #stopMIPIM

This is a guest blog from Digs, a grass roots group supporting and empowering Hackney renters. Digs are one of the groups involved in organising #stopMIPIM. These actions are part of a week of strikes and protests that are seeing people reclaim the political agenda after the political party conference season. Join in this Saturday at the big demo in London.

 

Why does London have 344,000 people on council waiting lists? Why is homelessness soaring despite Boris Johnson’s promise to rid London of rough sleeping? And why are more and more people pushed into bad housing in an exploitative private rented sector?

These are the kind of questions politicians are finding it more and more difficult to ignore, as peoples’ chance of decent, secure housing is torn apart by a historically brutal housing crisis.

For answers to these questions, more people are looking to the dark, murky world of property investment, represented in perhaps its most odious form by MIPIM, the world’s largest property fair. This is the prestigious annual event where wealthy, profit-hungry developers rub shoulders with local councils and public bodies to sell off public land.

MIPIMMany of the ‘regeneration’ projects which have left local people displaced and short changed can be traced back to MIPIM conferences of previous years. And these deals have led to terrible results for local people as they are forcibly removed from their homes and communities into housing that is neither secure nor affordable. Social housing units are replaced with luxury flats. And meanwhile leaseholders are forced by developers to sell their homes at significantly less than market value.

Boris Johnson, who opened MIPIM this morning, argues we need to build our way out of this housing crisis. But build what, and for whom?

The vast majority of new housing stock being built in London is sold to investors seeking lucrative returns. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t producing the genuinely affordable housing people of London so desperately need. MIPIM normally happens in Cannes, France but this year it comes to London for the first time. An error of scheduling you might think when you consider the movement for housing justice growing so rapidly across the capital.

This year’s #stopMIPIM actions promise to be bigger and louder than previous years. The devastation wreaked by the current housing crisis has acted as a tidal wave pulling more and more people into action. People who have never seen themselves as political before are tired of standing by while their homes and communities are sold from underneath them.

As well as the swell of grass roots activism that MIPIM has inspired, local councils have been boycotting the event, voicing their opposition to the housing policies MIPIM represents. Tower Hamlet, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington Council are among those who’ve confirmed they won’t be attending MIPIM.

Here’s some of the ways you can get involved:


CALL OUT: October 18th and week of actions

Join the UK Uncut bloc on the TUC rally on Saturday 18. Meet under Waterloo Bridge at 11am. Look out for the UK Uncut flags. We’ll join the main march and have some fun along the way. At the end of the rally in Hyde Park, meet at Hyde Park Corner to join Occupy Democracy in Parliament Square.

The political party conference season is finally over – now we can get on with some real politics. They’ve had their say, now we’re going to have ours.

Let’s talk about tax dodging by the super-rich costing us £100bn a year. Let’s talk about CORPORATE welfare hand-outs that cost us £85bn a year. Let’s talk about how the 5 richest families in the UK are wealthier than the bottom 20% of the population – 12.6m people! Let’s talk about how in the world’s 6th richest country, there’s more than enough money to ensure everyone has a place to call home, food on the table and access to vital public services: free education, health and care. Let’s talk about how austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Let’s talk about the alternatives.

The Conservatives attack the poor. We can’t believe a word the FibDems say. UKIP blame foreigners. And Miliband forgot most of his speech – the bit about taking on the banks, making the super-rich pay up, reversing the cuts and standing up for people.

Political parties are rapidly proving themselves to be obsolete. But that doesn’t mean that politics doesn’t matter. Politics doesn’t belong to the architects of austerity in Westminster, it belongs to us, the people.

The ‘big’ parties have a membership of less than 400,000. The trade unions have a combined membership of over 6.5m. And they’re mobilising. On Saturday October 18, hundreds of thousands of people will be on the streets of London, demanding an end to austerity from the government and poverty pay from the big companies. Join the UK Uncut bloc on the demo.

marchBut marching alone won’t change things. In the week leading up to the march, workers will be taking part in strikes. Strike action is direct action. And people will be mobilising to make themselves heard on issues from fracking to housing.

UK Uncut has always supported workers taking action. On March 26 2011, when half a million people were on the streets, UK Uncutters took part in one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in this country for decades when we occupied Fortnum and Mason. When 750,000 people went on strike on June 30 2011, UK Uncutters supported their pickets with Big Society Big Breakfast. When 2m people went on strike later that year, UK Uncutters supported them with SolidariTEA. And when hundreds of thousands of workers marched on October 20 2012 UK Uncutters joined the march, and then joined up with DPAC to block a major road.

solidariTEA4In the lead up to the march, support the people on strike – go to their picket and take them a cup of solidaritea. Take a pic and share it on twitter with #UKUncut. And find the local actions and protests happening near you.

Then join the UK Uncut bloc on October 18. Join the facebook event and check back here for details. Bring flags, bring banners, bring your friends and family. And watch this space for some surprises to be announced.

See you on the streets.

Actions and strikes:

Saturday 11 – Global Frackdownhappening everywhere! AND European wide day of action against TTIP

Monday 13-Wednesday 15 – strikes in NHS, local government and civil service! Happening nationwide

Wednesday 15-Friday 17 – Homes for People not Profit – actions in London

Saturday 18 – demos in London, Glasgow and Belfast

Join the UK Uncut bloc on the TUC rally on Saturday 18. Meet under Waterloo Bridge at 11am. Look out for the UK Uncut flags. We’ll join the main march and have some fun along the way. At the end of the rally in Hyde Park, meet at Hyde Park Corner to join Occupy Democracy in Parliament Square.


Crash Clegg’s Conference Speech

It’s time for Clegg’s big speech, and time for us to take action. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. At 1pm today let’s tell Clegg what we think of four years of Con Dem government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way.

On Twitter:

At 1pm click these links to tweet at him, or make up your own. Tweet .@nick_clegg and use #ldconf and #UKUncut

Four years of Con Dem government

Clegg’s lies about tuition fees

More broken promises

Hands off our NHS

Letting the Tories into power

On Facebook:

At 1pm go to the Liberal Democrats facebook page and comment under their latest post. Be creative, and tell them what you think of the Con Dem government. Or you can copy and paste these comments below:

1.

Under the Con Dem coalition we’ve seen four years of savage cuts to public services. The public have been punished for a financial crisis that was caused by the rich. And what has Clegg done to rein in the Tory tyranny? Nothing. Instead we’ve seen the Fib Dems break promises and back policies that have caused suffering for millions of people. In the world’s sixth biggest economy, nearly 1 million people have been driven to food banks to feed themselves while in the last five years  the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has more than doubled and super-rich tax dodgers avoid over £100bn every year.

2.

Nick Clegg we’re sick of your lies. You promised a fairer tax system and to introduce a mansion tax. You promised you wouldn’t raise university tuition fees. You promised you’d protect the NHS and Sure Start Centres. And what happened? You climbed into bed with the Tories, went back on your promises and pushed through a whole host of ruthless austerity measures. You’ve demonised the marginalised as ‘benefit scroungers’ whilst letting the bankers and corporate tax dodgers off scot-free.

This is only going to work if everyone gets involved, so join in.

See you online


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #ldconf

We’re coming for you Clegg!

We’ve already heard from the Tories and Labour, where Cameron/Miliband/Balls/Osborne gleefully sang the same song on austerity and cuts. Now the Liberal Democrat conference is upon us and no doubt they’ll be joining in loud and clear!

At 1pm on Wednesday October 8th, while the Lib Dems gather to hear Clegg’s big speech, we’re going to crash their conference. When Clegg starts talking, let’s flood the Lib Dems on facebook and trash Clegg on twitter – let’s tell Clegg that we will never forgive his lies and never forget that none of the cuts would have happened if he hadn’t teamed up with the Tories. More details here.

clegg-crown-copyright-prime-ministers-officeUnder the Con Dem coalition we’ve seen four years of savage cuts to public services. The public have been punished for a financial crisis that was caused by the rich. And what has Clegg done to rein in the Tory tyranny? Nothing. Instead we’ve seen the Fib Dems break promises and back policies that have caused suffering for millions of people.

They promised they’d implement a fairer tax system and introduce a mansion tax. They promised they wouldn’t raise university tuition fees. They promised they’d protect the NHS and Sure Start Centres. And what happened? They climbed into bed with the Tories, went back on their promises and pushed through a whole host of ruthless austerity measures. They’ve demonised the marginalised as ‘benefit scroungers’ whilst letting the bankers and corporate tax dodgers off scot-free.

Last week together we hijacked Cameron’s speech. Now it’s Clegg’s turn. Let’s not let the Lib Dem architects of austerity off the hook!

Nick Clegg will be making his speech this Wednesday at 1pm. Be ready.

See you online.


Crash Cameron’s Conference Speech

It’s time for Dave’s big speech, and time for us to take action. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. At 11:30am today let’s tell Cameron what we think of four years of Tory government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way.

On Twitter:

At 11:30am click these links to tweet at him, or make up your own. Tweet .@David_Cameron and use #CPC14 and #UKUncut

Hands off our NHS

Let’s talk about the real ‘scroungers’

Dave’s tax dodging chums

Sick of Cameron’s lies

On Facebook:

At 11:30am go to the Conservatives facebook page and comment under their latest post. Be creative, and tell them what you think of the Tory government. Or you can copy and paste these comments below:

1.

David Cameron we’re sick of your lies. You told us “we’re all in this together”. You told us “we’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. You told us “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. You lied. In the world’s sixth biggest economy, nearly 1 million people have been driven to food banks to feed themselves while in the last five years  the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has more than doubled and super-rich tax dodgers avoid over £100bn every year.

2.

We’ve had enough of your austerity economics. Stop hammering poor people, and start doing something about the real ‘scroungers’ – the super-rich tax dodgers, the bankers that caused the financial crisis, the companies that pay poverty wages to workers.

This is only going to work if everyone gets involved, so join in.

See you online


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #cpc14

Time for the Tories to listen up. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires.

They told us “we’re all in this together”. They lied. They told us “we’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. They lied. They told us they’d “protect the poorest and most vulnerable”. They lied. They told us “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. They lied.

At 11:30am on Wednesday October 1st, while the Tories gather to hear Cameron’s big speech, we’re going to crash their conference. When Cameron starts talking, let’s flood the Tories on facebook and trash Cameron on twitter – let’s tell him what we think of four years of Tory government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way. More details here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullingdon_Club

The Tory government have unleashed a relentless attack on the public with their savage austerity plans. Dismantling the NHS and wrecking the welfare state. Cutting schools, youth clubs, sure start centres, domestic violence refuges and libraries. Slashing local council budgets. Attacking disabled people with inhumane ‘work capability assessments’ and cuts to vital benefits. Deepening gender inequality, as their cruel and unnecessary cuts disproportionately affect women. Removing access to justice through legal aid cuts. Allowing the big six energy companies to push people into fuel poverty. Cutting jobs, wages and pensions. Selling off social housing and moving people away from their communities. Driving hundreds of thousands into food banks and making families choose between heating or eating.

They told us there was no alternative. But this cabinet of millionaires has continued to let mega-rich individuals and companies get away with dodging BILLIONS in tax – £100 billion a year! They’ve cut the top rate of tax for the rich, they’ve opposed the Robin Hood Tax at every turn, and they’ve allowed bankers’ pay and bonuses to rocket.

Instead of making the tax dodgers pay up and the banks pay for the crisis they caused, they’ve made the public pay. The cuts are a political choice, based on ideology, not economic necessity.

We’re sick of their lies. We’re sick of them protecting the rich and punishing the poor. So watch out Cameron, Osborne and the rest of your crony cabinet of millionaires. We’re coming to get you.

See you online at 11:30am, Wednesday October 1st.


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #Lab14

Listen up Labour!

For the last four years the Government have been punishing the public for a financial crisis caused by the banks. They have sold schools, dismantled the NHS, attacked disabled people, cut libraries, closed children centres and domestic violence refuges and driven people out of their homes and into food banks. And the Labour Party hasn’t done anywhere near enough to stop them. If Labour wants us to think they’re different from the Tories, they need to prove it.

Today at 2:15pm Ed Miliband is making his speech to the Labour Party Conference. This is his big moment to tell us what he’s standing for. Well we think it’s time he started listening instead.

Here’s what we need to do:

At 2:15pm, tweet @Ed_Miliband (and use #lab14) telling him what you want to see the Labour Party do if they win in 2015.

If you’re on facebook, go to the Labour Party page and comment under their latest post with your ideas about what should be in the Labour manifesto.

Yesterday the ever uninspiring Ed Balls set out his agenda: to support the Tories’ austerity, continuing their cuts. But we’re tired of hearing about cuts to our vital public services, while the greedy super-rich get away with dodging tax. We’re tired of the poor getting punished for the financial crisis caused by the banks, while the fat cats get fatter. We’re sick of politicians telling us there’s no alternative, and not addressing real problems

Labour have moved so far from their roots it’s an outrage they’re still calling themselves the Labour Party. It’s time for Labour to listen to the people.

See you at the conference!

Here are some ideas to share with Miliband:

People are ready for change.

It’s time for Labour to get their priorities straight.

And do something about inequality.


CALL OUT: Crash The Conferences

Change is in the air. With less than a year to go until the general election it’s time to tell the agents of austerity that we demand and deserve change.

In the next three weeks UK Uncut are going to CRASH THE CONFERENCES.

8

The three biggest political parties are gathering their members for their annual conferences. It’s the big chance for Cameron, Clegg and Miliband to tell their parties and the country what they’re standing for. But we don’t want to hear more about austerity, about tightening our belts, about getting our house in order. Because we know that the house they want to order is one that works only for the super rich, for big corporations and for private companies.

We’re tired of hearing about cuts to our vital public services while the greedy super-rich get away with dodging tax. We’re tired of the poor getting punished for the financial crisis caused by the banks. We’re bored of politicians saying the same old things and not addressing real problems. We think it’s time the politicians stop talking and start listening.

Scotland made Westminster quake – they showed that when enough people speak up, politicians have to listen. But it’s just the start. We have to keep fighting and keep our voices heard. It’s time that people take back politics.

On the day that each party leader makes their speech, get on social media and together we will crash their conferences. It’s only going to work if lots of people get stuck in.

Labour’s Conference is first up.

More details coming soon.

See you online

Labour Party Conference: Sunday 21 to Wednesday 24 September

Conservative Party Conference: Sunday 28 September to Wednesday 1 October

Lib Dem Conference: Saturday 4 to Wednesday 8 October


Guest blog: an apology

This is a guest blog from the organisers of the VodaHome action in London in July

At our recent Vodafone protest in Central London, where along with a number of other activists and campaigners we closed down the Vodafone London flagship store, there was an incident which occurred that was unacceptable, and something the UK Uncut London group would like to publicly apologise for. This blog has been written collectively by the organisers of the London action, and is just one step we’re taking to try and reconcile and apologise for this incident.

A person who was attending the action, was wrongly identified as an undercover police officer, and this was done over a microphone in front of all the people present. Not only was this a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do, which put this man at risk of reprisal from other people; it was also a racist act, as he was a black man in a predominantly white group of campaigners, and the people who accused him were also white.

Subsequent discussions with the man who was wrongly accused, made it clear this incident is another in a lifetime of systematic racism he has experienced, where he has been singled out because of his ethnicity.

We also found out after this incident, that the man who’d been accused of being an undercover police officer, was actually a dedicated and veteran anti-fascist campaigner; and someone who has been targeted consistently by the police throughout his life for being black. Furthermore, that he has close personal experience of police targeting black people and the police brutality which goes hand in hand with that.

We want to take this opportunity to formally and publicly apologise as a group for what happened. We fully accept this was a racist act and it should not have happened. It put you at risk, singled you out as a black man and further marginalised you. We take full responsibility for this.

We also apologise for not doing enough immediately after this happened. We should have ensured a full apology was made to you over the mic, so other people there would have heard too. We realise this lack of appropriate response must have left you feeling even more alienated and excluded.

We also want to assure you how seriously we take this. We recognise that this incident has been extremely difficult for the man who attended the protest and has also effected people of colour who were part of organising the Vodafone London action. As a group we are currently taking steps to learn from what happened. This is an ongoing process and one which we are committed to.

We’ve put together some resources that we’ve found useful since dealing with this, we wanted to share them with anyone else interested in these issues:

1) Unpacking White Privilege www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

2) How to Deal With Being Called Out: http://thinkanddiethinking.tumblr.com/post/38480374534/how-to-deal-with-being-called-out-from-the

3) Tools for White Guys: http://www.starhawk.org/activism/trainer-resources/tools-whiteguys.html


Action Call Out Focus E15

Call Out


Sunday 21st September Focus E15 Anniversary Party followed by Top Secret Housing Action!


Focus E15 campaigners are inviting people to join a day of fun and music on the almost empty Carpenters Estate in Stratford. Later in the afternoon, party goers will become activists as they will be led to a Top Secret Housing Action in the Newham area. Together we can put an end to social cleansing!

We started in September 2013 when some of us as young mothers were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association after Newham Council cut its funding to the Focus E15 hostel for young homeless people. Our campaign now includes ALL people facing housing crisis because

THE BIGGER WE GROW THE LOUDER WE BECOME

If you’re angry about homelessness and social cleansing, come and join Focus E15 as we tell Newham Council:

SOCIAL HOUSING NOT SOCIAL CLEANSING

 Our campaign has gained no sympathy from our Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, whose behaviour is currently the subject of an internal investigation after a complaint was sent to the council about his disgusting behaviour towards Focus E15 campaigners at the Newham Mayor’s Show in July. This video shows what he did when one of the E15 mothers tried to give him a leaflet!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsPxancNiqk

If you’re fuming about unaffordable rents, the bedroom tax, housing benefit cuts, social cleansing, empty houses and millions being left without safe and secure homes, then take action! If it makes you sick that our Labour Mayor thinks he can get away with treating us like dirt then take action!

Its an outrage that people are being shipped out of London while there are thousands of empty homes on the Carpenters Estate and all over the city!

Join us from 2pm-6pm 21st September
Londis Supermarket, Wilmer Lea Close, Carpenters Estate, London E15 2HR

Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487181911524713/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Focus-E15-Mothers/602860129757343

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=focus%20e15&src=typd