Category Archives: Fighting Back

Sell! Sell! Sell! Join The Fuck Parade And Let’s Burst The London Housing Bubble

fuck-parade4

London is currently a giant building site.  Wherever you go new developments, in identikit glass and steel, snake up towards the skies, blotting the light, and the life, out of the capital.

Nobody normal can afford to live in these so-called luxury apartments – so-called because they are being built on the cheap as quickly as possible.  You wouldn’t know that from the price however – even modest flats in the poshest postcodes can cost a million pounds or more.  According to the Financial Times there are around 50,000 properties planned or under construction in this price range as every last brick in the city is turned into an investment opportunity.  The losses to the capital’s history and culture are incalcuable.  The end of Tin Pan Alley, once the heart of London’s music industry.  The destruction of Soho’s gay scene.  Half of Camden Market flogged off to a dodgy developer to build high price flats.  London’s skyline damaged beyind repair.  And, most tragically of all, the mass social cleansing of every working class area of London. Pubs, markets, community centres and libraries all gone to make way for the global super rich.  If you are on a low or even moderate income, and stuck in the cut-throat private sector, then you’ve probably left already.  If you are in social housing, hold tight, they are coming for the council estates as well.

But there are signs that the feeding frenzy is coming to an end.  There may well be 50,000 high value properties on the way, but as the FT also points out, just 3,900 homes costing more than £1m were sold in central London in 2014.  The villains at Foxton’s have recently announced falling profits whilst financial experts are warning openly of a crash.  And the Office for National Statistics recently revised how house price statistics are calculated which resulted in a shock fall in London’s prices between January and February this year.

Now is the time to send a message to every pampered hipster, spiv banker, property developer and global billionaire that we do not want you in our fucking city.  Let’s crash their party and their market.  Rage against horrifying inequality in the capital grows ever fiercer and it is the rich who are becoming the targets.  There have always been consequences when the decadence of the upper classes becomes too visible or obscene, and there is an obscenity taking place in London right now.  It’s time to make them feel unwelcome.  To let them be the frightened ones for a change.  To take the class war to their fucking front doors just like they have done to us.  The battle of the capital is just getting started.  Don’t be late.

The fourth London Fuck Parade will take place on May 1st.  This boisterous anti-gentrification street party made headlines around the world last time.  The parade starts at One Commercial Street, Aldgate East, London E1 7PT at 6pm.  For the latest news visit the website at: https://fuckparade.wordpress.com/

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The Government Is In Chaos, Now Is The Time To Move Beyond Marching

minnie

Minnie says let’s all meet in Whitehall in 2pm and have some fucking fun.

We all know the fucking script.  This weekend tens, or possibly hundreds of thousands of people, will march through central London.  According to the People’s Assembly, who have organised the protest, we will be demanding jobs, homes, health and education.  The march will be followed by the usual speakers, who mostly all have health, jobs, homes and an education themselves – but it’s nice that they care enough to tell us what we want.  Most of them will also tell us to vote Labour.  Some stale old union boss will pretend there’s going to be a general strike.  The Socialist Worker Party will sell some newspapers.  Then everyone will go home and complain about a conspiracy because the BBC didn’t run this boring political non-event as headline news throughout the weekend.

It doesn’t have to be like this though.  The current Tory government is a fucking shambles.  Whatever the results of the EU Referendum they are set to tear themselves apart.  Their paper thin majority means they can barely even pass the laws they want.  The string of financial dodgy dealings, not least by dodgy Dave himself, is reminiscent of the worst of Tory sleaze to those old enough to remember.  The wheels have even come off the welfare reform gravy train as Iain Duncan Smith’s flounce has thrown the DWP into chaos, forcing Cameron to give his job to an obedient little chipmonk who believes in magic.  Osborne and Boris are at each other’s throat, cabinet ministers are plotting against the Prime Minister, toffs are going off message accusing those they once called hard working families of being under-achievers and only a miracle will see a Tory Mayor in London’s City Hall come May.  There has not been a weaker government in the UK than these clowns in living memory.

Civil disobedience, occupations, strikes, riots  – these are the things that cause government’s to crumble, backtrack or even implode.  Fuck this sham democracy if it means that a fraction of the population – the group with real capital power – can vote to destroy the lives of the rest of us.  Waiting for the next election is not an option.  Whoever wins our lives will still be shit.  If we are serious, if we really want change, then it is vital to move beyond marches, votes and empty sloganeering. There will not be a better time than this, the wind is with us.

On Friday night, the day before the People’s Assembly event, hundreds of people will join to March With The Homeless through central London.  This annual march takes place at night, going where it wants, and not asking permission from the authorities.  To take the streets, without asking them if they mind awfully in advance, to cause disruption and not agree to a policing plan, this is the kind of march worth having.  It will be meeting at Downing Street, 6pm, 15th April.  Spread the word.  Liverpool is also marching, details here.

On the day of the People’s Assembly march itself Class War have called on people to gather at gather in Whitehall at 2pm, for fun.  Later in the afternoon protesters will gather outside Top Shop’s store on The Strand where the odious Phillip Green has decided he would rather sack workers than pay them the living wage.  Meet at 4.30 pm, Top Shop on The Strand.  This is just down the road from Trafalgar Square where the People’s Assembly march finishes.  If you’re lucky, and leave early enough, you might even miss some of the speakers.  That’s the choice,  Stand around listening to some Labour Party apologist lying to you that they will make everything alright one day.  Or get up the road and join those being fucked over by one of the richest men in the UK and show all the bastards ripping us off that we mean fucking business.

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April 15 Is Workfare Day – A Chance To Tell The Truth About Benefit Sanctions And Forced Work #esday16

#esday16

Wave your hands in the air. Like a fucking idiot.

The welfare-to-work industry is planning a gushing celebration of forced work and benefit sanctions with the UK’s first Employability Day due to be held on April 15th.

According to ERSA, the trade body established to lie on behalf of companies running workfare and forced training schemes, this exciting day will offer a chance to show the impact of ’employment support’ in local communties.

Welfare to work companies are being encouraged to invite employers, MPs and other local agencies to their premises to show off all the wonderful support beig inflicted on unemployed and disabled people by companies like G4S, Atos and Maximus.  Perhaps they could also take them to a local foodbank and show them all the people who have had their benefits sanctioned for being late to a meeting with their so-called Work Coach or not turning up for workfare.  Or organise a tour of closed local libaries and other public services to show how funding has been much better spent forcing disabled people to endlessly attend CV workshops and recruiting young people to work in supermarkets without pay.

And it is funding that lies behind ERSA’s shabby promotional drive.  Be in no doubt, the welfare to work industry are collectively shitting themselves.  With George Osborne turning off the money tap and chaos at the Department of Work Pensions then for the first time in two decades the future of this sector does not look so rosy.  There has never been a better time to escalate the struggle against these parasites.

Luckily ERSA insist you do not have to be a member of their organisation to take part in Employability Day.  Just turn up, let yourselves in, bring a cake they seem to be saying.  Let’s not disappoint them.  Let’s fucking trash their workfare party.

Companies taking part in the day are using the hashtag #esday16.  ERSA have also produced a map of where events are taking place – although predictably, it doesn’t really work.    There will rarely be a better time to show the real impact that benefit sanctions and forced work have inflicted on our communities.  Be creative and spread the word.

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First Demonstration Called Against New DWP Boss Demanding #CrabbMustGo

crabb-resign-stickerIf new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb had any decency at all he would resign from his position as patron of the local branch of Mencap.

Ever since Crabb voted to slash benefits for many disabled people to little over £70 a week the Haverfordwest based charity, who run a once popular community garden, have faced outrage from the public over their relationship with Crabb – and with good reason.  It is beyond belief that a member of a government that has so ruthlessly attacked disabled people has he gall to hide his sins beneath a charitable facade.  And it is beneath contempt that he would rather see this charity destroyed then do the hornourable thing and step away.

This is sadly unsurprising however.  Crabb happily referred to his own mother as welfare dependent when he gave an interview about saving her from a violent attack by his father when he was just eight years old.  He has no shame in dragging his family’s traumatic past out under the public spotlight when he thinks it might win him some sympathy with voters.  Even a recent re-union with his father – which conveniently took place just days after his appointment to Scretary of State – appeared to be little more than stunt to further his political aspirations.  After what must have been a difficult and emotional meeting for both of them, Crabb’s first thought on leaving was to ring the Daily fucking Mail and tell them all about it.

A broad coalition has now emerged in Crabb’s home town demanding that he step down in his role as Mencap patron.  He should step down as Secretary of State as well.  His nasty affiliation with a ‘gay cure’ Christian cult seems to be the only sincere thing about him.  We got rid of the last bastard now let’s get rid of this one.  Join the fine folk of Pembrokeshire for a demonstration against Crabb this Saturday April 2nd from 11am-1pm outside his constituency office, Upper Market St, Haverfordwest, SA61 1QA.

Please share the facebook page for the event and help keep up the pressure on Pembrokeshire Mencap to get behind the people they claim to support and sack Crabb immediately.  And keep up the pressure on all the other charities hiding dirty little Tory secrets as part of Operation #ToryDump

Sign the petition calling for Crabb to step down as a Mencap patron at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stephen-crabb-resign-as-mencap-patron-pembs-immediately-voted-for-disabled-to-lose-ps30-a-week-esa-1

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Rage @mencap_charity Grows As Thousands Demand Crabb Must Go!

mencap-boss

Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles explains the charity’s position.

If you want to know how Tories sleep at night, how they salve their consciences or make peace with their non-existent Gods, then just ask Mencap or one of the other charities happy to accommodate those destroying the lives of disabled people amongst their ranks.

The horrible, homophobic, new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Stephen Crabb is currently a trustee of Pembrokeshire Mencap despite the main UK branch of the charity campaigning against everything he stands for.  The message this sends to Crabb is clear – don’t worry, it’s not that serious, don’t expect any real consequences from Mencap for slashing the already meagre incomes of those the charity claims to support.  Sure Mencap will huff and puff, will write petitions and issue strong statements, but when it comes right down to it, when Mencap are actually tested as an organisation, they will choose sucking up to their local MP over actually fighting for people with learning disabilities.  That is how Stephen Crabb sleeps at night.  After all, if he’s on the board of the local Mencap then how can anyone say he doesn’t care about disabled people.

Of course it is not just Stephen Crabb’s conscience that is cleared.  The PR value to the Conservative Party is plain to see.  Tory MPs on the boards of charities helps maintain the party’s lie that they are not really attacking disabled people, they are just helping them, by making them a bit poorer to encourage them to strive.  From a purely cynical campaigning angle what charities like Mencap are doing is not just helping Tories to get elected, but also to push their vile agenda that insists benefit cuts are good for you.

Over the last week thousands of people have expressed outrage at Mencap’s involvement with Stephen Crabb.  Over 11,000 people have signed a petition demanding he resign from his post.  Mencap’s facebook page has been bombarded by those disgusted at the charity’s behaviour.  The response, as ever from the disability industry has been mealy-mouthed excuses and a refusal to act.  The main branch of Mencap say they are powerless do anything, that this is a local branch of the organisation who they have no influence over. You’d think anyone can set up a branch of Mencap, use their name and logo for fundraising purposes, and that’s just fine.  They must think we’re fucking idiots.  They could have Crabb removed with a phone call.  They don’t want to.

Instead they are calling on people to write to him, to wish him luck in his new job and ask if he would mind awfully being a champion of people with a learning disability.  It’s important that he gets things right say Mencap, despite the fact he has been getting things wrong for the last six years.  Crabb has voted for every cut to disability benefits that has been implemented, including the introduction of Personal Indeendence Payments designed to remove benefits from a fifth of disabled people.   He voted for the Bedroom Tax, and the Benefit Cap, and more recently in favour of cutting the payments to many sick or disabled people by £30 a week.  Give the chap just one more chance Mencap seem to be suggesting when they should be showing him the door.

It is vital to keep up the pressure and make sure that charities who harbour dirty little Tory secrets learn that there will be consequences for their betrayal.  Disabled People Against Cuts have released a guide to which charities have Tory MPs on their boards.  And these consequnces should reach to the very top, like Mencap’s chief executive Jan Tregelles who in 2013 gave a nauseating interview to The Guardian explaining how she’s worth every penny of her whopping £137,442 a year pay-cheque.  If despite all this money she can’t cleanse Mencap of politicians who support policies that have driven disabled people to suicide then she should go herself.

And it is her huge salary that is part of the problem.  Charity bosses like Tregalles are far closer socially, economically and politically to the likes of Stephen Crabb, then they are to those who depend on benefits.  She will never understand the icy terror of seeing a brown enevlope from the DWP drop through her letter-box. Or personally experience the constant insecurity and life-sapping stress of living under a government that is happy to condemn people to economic destruction on little more than a whim.  She’s not on the receiving end of the so-called help currently being inflicted on claimants in the form of endless assessments, benefits sanctions, workfare, forced training and quite possibly soon forced medical interventions.  It is all abstract to her, not something lived directly.  If she is angry at all about the current situation it is because she is being paid to be.

This is the reason for the disconnect that has repeatedly emerged between disability, homelessnes or anti-poverty charities and those they are funded to support.  It is not just that they don’t feel our rage, they consider it their jobs to mitigate it.  To channel it in safe directions, to explain to us how we just need to trust them and see the bigger picture.  The bigger picture being that they are doing very well out of austerity and would really rather the plebs didn’t derail the gravy train.  We should be grateful for all their hard work munching vol-au-vents at glitzy fundraising dinners on our behalf.  Here have a vol-au-vent yourself.  Just kidding.  As if a service user gets to have a vol-au-vent.

Please sign and share the petition calling for Crabb to resign from his local Mencap branch.

Visit Pembrokeshire Mencap’s facebook page and let them know what you think of their trustee Stephen Crabb.

Or contact the national organisation on facebook or twitter @mencap_charity

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Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

The Wealth Creators Are The Topshop Workers, Philip Green Is Just A Parasite

philip-green

Businessman Philip Green, Chief Executive of Topshop, produces nothing of value.  Nothing.  He doesn’t design the clothes his stores sell, you only have to look at him to see he knows or cares little about fashion.  He doesn’t make them either – sweatshop workers overseas, and here, take care of that.  He did not build his empire with the sweat of his own brow but with the labour of low paid shop assistants, cleaners, security guards and delivery drivers.  And that empire is now controlled by an officer class of buyers, marketing executives, stylists and middle managers whose main role is to keep his exploited workforce in line and promote unrealistic ideals of beauty and success to impressionable teenagers.

Even the government dances to his tune.  He is supplied with an army of workfare workers – his former company BHS was caught out using Jobcentre schemes to get out of paying wages.  His staff are educated and trained at the public expense with bogus apprenticeships that do lttile more than teach people how to make Philip Green more money.  An ever ready to be violent police force patrols shopping districts waiting to pounce if his profits might be affected by just a few pounds – whether by shop lifters, peaceful protesters or unauthorised industrial action.  The social security system tops up the poverty wages he pays with Tax Credits and Housing Benefits.  And if he falls suddenly ill or one of his stores burns down, then it will be the tax payer funded emergency services that come screeching to his rescue.  Yet he doesn’t expect to pay for any this – he pulls every trick in the book to avoid paying his fair share in tax for the services his business needs to prosper.  And they call benefit claimants scroungers.

Whilst all this time and money is being spent protecting his cosseted lifestyle, Philip Green lives like an international playboy, holding glitzy parties that cost millions of pounds and sleazing up to super models and pop stars who he pays to pretend to like him.  He thinks nothing of flying across the world in his private jet every week to visit his wife and money, both carefully stashed away in Monaco.  The man oozes destruction on every level, leaving a trail of pollution and exploitation wherever he treads.  And exploitation is his only true talent.  A public school drop out he started his business as little more then an over-privileged Del Boy, flogging off old clothes for more than they were worth.  He has continued that way ever since.  Green’s billions are generated merely by his ability to cream off the productive value of his workforce – to pay them as little as possible for the work they do whilst reaping huge profits for himself.

At Topshop’s flagship store in London, Green does not even pay many of his workers the Living Wage – the amount calculated to provide the most basic existence in the capital.  Those who rise in the early hours to clean his fucking toilets are expected to survive on a pittance, despite the fact that he could double their wages out of his own pocket and barely even notice the money was gone.  To the so-called wealth creators this is perfectly natural – the people who really generate the money, us,  are expected to spend our lives undertaking ever more arduous toil, living in shitholes with no time or resources to take any enjoyment from our lives.  They want us to never complain, to be positive and hard-working, and unlike them, to pay our taxes to fund the infrastructure that creates the lavish lifestyles of the global rich.  Meanwhile they sip champagne and chortle to themselves that they are getting away with it.  It’s time to stop them getting away with it.

Only collective action can defeat these shameless parasites.  Only by working class people acting together – not competing as individuals – can we bring an end to this ugly, destructive manifestation of cut-throat capitalism.  Just because the official voice of our class – the giant trade unions – have long ago surrendered, does not mean we should give up.  By organising together and using the creativity and skills we have for our benefit not their profits, we can start, slowly but surely, to create a better life for all of us.

The United Voices of the World Union are doing just that.  As a grassroots union they have won significant victories for low paid workers using a range of miliant tactics from boisterous demonstrations to direct action.  Now they have turned their attention to Philip Green’s empire with a protest due to be held outside Top Shop’s Oxford Circus store on Saturday 12th March demanding that cleaners, and all other staff, are paid the London Living Wage.  A new form of working class resistance is taking shape that has no need for union bureacrats, strike ballots or official picket lines.  It depends on the solidarity and support of us all so get down to Topshop,  214 Oxford St, London if you can this Saturday at 3pm.  And please help spread the word – more details on facebook.

Follow United Voices of the World Union on twitter at: @UVWunion

Class War are also out on the streets this Saturday with a walk and talk from veteran working class anarchist Martin Wright discussing the Battle of Cable Street before heading off to the vile Ripper Museum.  Meet 2pm prompt at Tower Hill Station.  Martin’s youtube channel is well worth a look.

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‘Just The Start’ Say Claimants And Disabled People As Blockade Brings Traffic Chaos To Central London

Islington Council have called the scheme Jobs on Prescription. This is an example from MHRN of what those prescriptions might look like.

Islington Council have called the scheme Jobs on Prescription. This is an example from MHRN of what those prescriptions might look like.

Disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters brought traffic chaos to Central London yesterday after blockading a major roundabout in protest at Iain Duncan Smith’s attempt to install Jobcentre funded busy-bodies in doctor’s surgeries.

IDS-old-street

Pic from @paulapeters2

Over 100 people gathered for the demonstration which began outside City Road Medical Centre, – one of six surgeries in Islington where so-called Work Coaches are due to be based.  Iain Duncan Smith himself even made an appearance, dressed as a doctor and handing out work cures such as the prescription above.  The protest was good-natured but determined and made a mockery of the health bureacrats who decided the surgery should be closed for the day due to fears over patients safety.  In truth the people really concerned with the welfare of Islington’s poorest residents were out in the street defending them from the latest DWP attack on disabled people and those with health conditions.

After about hour the demonstrators moved off the pavement to march down the busy City Road chanting “We’ve gotta get rid of the rich” and “the NHS makes us well, the Tories make us sick”.  On arriving at Old Street roundabout, a major central London junction, the growing police presence was out-witted and campaigners managed to block traffic moving in all directions.  A banner was unfurled across the road stating that ‘Working isn’t working’ – a reference to the growing insistence from government that low paid insecure jobs are good for our health.

A large crowd of onlookers gathered with many supportive of the action taken to draw attention to the vicious regime being installed for those out of work due to sickness or disability.  A new Health and Work Programme is planned which is likely to include some forms of forced medical treatment for some of those on sickness benefits.  Already tens of thousands of sick and disabled people have had their benefits sanctioned for not meeting the endless petty requirement imposed by Jobcentres.  Others have had benefits stripped away completely after being declared ‘fit for work’ at a Work Capability Assessment in spite of often serious and even life-threatening conditions.

Appallingly the Work Coaches to be stationed in GP Surgeries will come from the same shadowy private company that runs both these assessments and the local workfare scheme in Islington.  The employment advisors, whilst largely funded by the DWP, will be employed by Remploy –  once a provider of employment for disabled people until they were sold off by the government and turned into a welfare-to-work subsidiary of the hated Maximus corporation.

Claimants in Islington could therefore be found Fit For Work by Maximus, then forced to attend the Work Programme with Maximus and now even be coerced into being harassed by a Maximus Work Coach when they go to the fucking doctors.  So claims from council leader Richard Watts, and other DWP apologists in the borough, that this scheme is officially ‘voluntary’ for participants really don’t count for shit.  There have been no public assurances from either Maximus or the DWP that Jobcentres and Work Programme advisors will not force claimants to attend a GP-based work coach under the threat of benefit sanctions.

What is really going on is that this is a pilot scheme intended to provide evidence to justify the upcoming Health and Work Programme.  But just in case the evidence doesn’t show what the DWP want campaigners have been informed that there will be no evaluation of the results of the scheme.  It is little more than a formality in advance of some of the most brutal policies to be inflicted on disabled people that have been seen in generations.  Lefty Islington Council may claim to have had good intentions when they agreed to the pilot, but in reality they have been mugged, by Maximus and the DWP.  Now they know how claimants feel.

The protest was organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, Mental Health Resistance Network and Boycott Workfare.  A range of other groups came out in support including grassroots trade union United Voices of the World, Class War, Winvisible and Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group.  Doctors, psychologists and healthcare workers were also present in support.  One message rang out loud and strong.  This is just the start of a disruptive and militant campaign to destroy Iain Duncan Smith’s Health and Work Programme.

Watch a video of the protest on facebook.

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