In Austerity, London’s Police Are Making Families Homeless

Search form

In Austerity, London’s Police Are Making Families Homeless

In Austerity, London’s Police Are Making Families Homeless
Fri, 3/1/2013 - by Steve Rushton

 

"Save our Homes: Haringey" is a fast growing campaign to resist the Metropolitan Police throwing a community of 21 families out into the street.

Within two weeks of its first public meeting, it held its first protest last weekend outside the Met Police Headquarters, New Scotland Yard, which wants to sell the land where the families live to developers. The campaign needs to move fast: the residents have been served papers and bailiffs intend to remove the first residents on March 11.

Twenty-one families currently live at Connaught Gardens, North London. Some of the residents have lived here for over 20 years. When they first moved in, they were told it would be a "home for life" by the Housing Association. Several years ago, without explanation, they were told they had to sign new tenancy deals that effectively meant the land could be given back to its original owners: the Met Police.

Recently, the locals wrote a statement before taking to the streets: “We have lived here for over 20 years," they said. "The Met Police will be ripping the heart out of this community, as the families are due to be evicted in two weeks time.”

Michelle Mattocks, who lives in Connaught Gardens, commented: “I am outraged by the way we’re being treated. We’re North Londoners – we deserve to keep our community.” Another resident, Caroline Gallagher urged, “I want to fight: it’s unreasonable to be pushed out.”

I asked Joan, another resident, to explain the effect of being thrown out of a house. “The whole thing is absolutely frightening – to lose your home [is] terrifying," she said. "I’ve just lost a loved one and now I am being kicked out. They are splitting our community apart, and for what: financial gain and playing with people’s lives."

Alongside the residents, last weekend's protest garnered support from Occupy supporters, Haringey Solidarity Group and other activists, creating an opportunity to do outreach among local residents and brainstorm resistance strategies, skills and experiences.

These 21 families' plight – at the hands of the police who want to sell the land to developers – represents a microcosm of what’s happening across Britain: people's rights, and lives, being trampled for corporate gain.

With austerity cuts, the Met force faces a short-fall in funding of £500 million. This is part of the nationwide cuts, austerity and privatization that the government justifies due to the country’s debts. However, government seldom mentions how these debts have been caused mainly by the banker bailouts and corporate tax evasion that have cost Britain over a trillion pounds in lost revenue.

These evictions are part of a wider government-led assault on peoples’ rights to housing. Conservative MP Mike Weatherley is one person leading the charge against squatters, with recent research showing he his financial backing by property tycoons.

Then there is the new bedroom tax, which is described as the Cameron government’s equivalent of Thatcher’s poll tax in the way that it targets low-income families. As the independent charity group Empty Homes reports, some 710,000 homes in Britain are currently sitting empty.

A new squatted community center in Elephant and Castle, called Self Organised London (SOL), is an autonomous zone dedicated to anti-gentrification, equal rights and protesting against government cuts. It has invited the residents from "Save our Homes: Haringey" to speak about their experiences.

But the pressing question now is: how long will these same residents have a roof over their heads? And, if acts of "austerity" like this are permitted to continue, whose homes will the London police be seizing - and selling - next?

Article Tabs

Despite propaganda from Big Ag, biotech and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, surveys show vast majority of residents in Washington, Oregon and Idaho want to know what's in their food.

When a journalist in a news article refers to a woman as “strident,” you know what you’re reading is a hit piece – and that's what the New York Times produced about Occupy Wall Street activist McMillan.

A new kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites, from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.

Reporting that CEOs in the U.K. earn 162 times more than the average worker, the High Pay Centre calls on government to put immediate caps on executive salaries.

On Monday, 80 protesters with Utah Tar Sands Resistance halted access to equipment where the company seeks to begin work on the first fuel-producing tar sands mine in the state.

In the 80s and 90s they called them "IMF Riots" – but what the biggest international investment organizations and consultants now see happening looks a whole lot bigger.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Part 3: Chris Hedges interviewed Harvard professor and MayDay SuperPAC founder Lawrence Lessig about his plans to break the hold of big money on American elections.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Patient details were shared with organizations including private health insurance companies, many based in the United States.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

The aggressive foreclosures and water shut-offs are a deliberate scheme to shock the population, drive long-time residents out of the city center, seize property and gentrify downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

All over the world, publics are beginning to reject the privatization mantra – because the privatizers, it turns out, have a serious problem with their pitch.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

At a favela five minutes from Brazil's most famous stadium, every family has been removed by force.

OWS Week

This episode of the show reports on the Guitarmy March to New York from Philly, the L.A. the Chalk Walk event and the Fort Manning demonstrations.

A self-styled group of “guerilla gardeners” camped out in freezing temperatures since January is all that stands between the Georgian capital’s most popular park and a $20 million redevelopment project.

At a time of debate about inequalities of wealth in the U.K., the data leaks reveal how the very richest families dip in and out of British jurisdiction as it suits them

Occupy, Remixed

In this short film, snapshots of the early phase of the Occupy Movement are woven together with the music of NOISIΛ.

Sign Up