Category Archives: local

Marx Trot 2014

Marx Trot on sunday 13 July, starts at 2.30 archway tube…

Mshelfie

A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday 13 July. All welcome. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace House BYO libations for the first part).

[word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and sunscreen, umbrella as weather dictates and dosh for dinner (possibly in a footba-oriented venue). The early part of our route involves considerable walking - on the heath - kids are very welcome for the first few hours but after 7.00 it possibly gets a bit adult oriented - well, I mean we visit pubs Marx used to haunt - gespenst-like - in Soho. Mostly harmless, but its cup final night]

Previous trots = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/marx-trot-this-sunday-2-30-archway-tube-2/ and http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/and here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Quid pro Quo (I will eventually explain all – (dm me if you can read a draft, on East India Co and value extraction)

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Bonfire night got a whole lot more interesting

bonfire of Austerity | 5 November 2013

Tomorrow (Tuesday 5th November) The Peoples’ Assembly is calling for a day of protest in every town and city in the country. The South East London People’s Assembly are hosting a ‘Bonfire of Cuts’ in Lewisham:

Bonfire of Cuts – 6pm @ Grassy Knoll opp. Lewisham DLR
-Bring effigies of politicians, bankers or the 1% to burn. Will be music, speakers and fire.

Procession against austerity, the bedroom tax and local
cuts – 4.30pm @ Catford Town Hall
-Bring placards or effigies for the route which will pass Lewisham Hospital, still under threat, and other key local places affected by the cuts on our way to the Bonfire.

Performance about austerity politics – 1.30pm @ Deptford Lounge Public Square

Action against poverty – 10am @ Deptford High Street/New Cross Road
-Led by the local food bank

Come to one or all of these acts of civil disobedience against austerity organised by the South East London People’s Assembly. All of them will be family friendly, and welcome participation from everyone.

Go see Convoys Wharf on Saturday

Convoys Wharf Site to Participate in Open House 2013
Hutchison Whampoa are delighted to announce they will be opening the Convoys Wharf site to the public on Saturday 21st September 2013, as part of the London Open House.

Open access to the site will take place between 11am-5pm. Visitors can look forward to viewing an exhibition of the masterplan proposals in the historic Olympia warehouse, while meeting members of the Convoys Wharf development team and also enjoy a riverfront pop-up café.

Open House London celebrates London’s premium buildings, places and neighbourhoods and offers a cost free, unique opportunity annually to discover the the city’s innovative architecture, with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone.

To find out more about London Open House 2013 and to see what other activities are taking place around London, please visit their website at:

http://www.londonopenhouse.org

See also:
here,
here and here

This, from the East India Company ship yards to the return of Whampoa opium capital to London, is the topic of my talk the day before at the Zeitgeist workshop in Bielefeld.

Lewisham and Southwark College

Save floristry and science at LeSoCo
Support our strike for jobs
The Floristry and Science departments at LeSoCo (Lewisham and Southwark College) are at risk of closure. These departments have provided our community with excellent services for many, many years. What’s more the college is facing 28 full-time job cuts across the college.
Access provision is also under threat and our Learner Services department is now facing a restructure. We are opposed to all compulsory redundancies. Following large-scale support for strike action (86%) and action short of a strike (96%) at LeSoCo, we are taking an hour’s strike action next Weds 17th July over the continuing threat of compulsory redundancies.
Strike and rally 12.45 – 2.45, Wednesday 17th July, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT. Please come and bring banners.
Please sign our petition to save jobs and courses for future generations https://www.ucu.org.uk/lesocopetition
Check out our campaign blog at http://cargocollective.com/UCU-Campaigns-LeSoCo
where details of future actions will be posted

billion dollar farrell

But the transport links are questionable, the condo thing is a land grab, the capital is dodgy… and the locals upset.

1BillionVision

Sayes Court Garden (by Roo Angell and Bob Bagley)

John Evelyn’s garden at Sayes Court was one of the most famous and revolutionary gardens of its time.  Evelyn’s many visitors included his friends Samuel Pepys and Christopher Wren, and even Charles II himself.  Through surviving documentary evidence the garden’s legacy lives on, but the garden itself fell into sad neglect shortly after his death in 1706, and through the vacillations of fate has come down to us today as a corner of the parcel of Thames-side Deptford known as Convoys Wharf.  Now scheduled for development, the current owners intend to build directly where the most innovative and influential parts of the garden lay, destroying any future possibilities for discovery.  The project Sayes Court Garden is founded on the belief that this crucial piece of our national heritage is not only a once-beautiful historic garden, but also has a vital role to play in the success of the new development for the community at large.
Deptford is now perceived as a deprived neighbourhood of south-east London, classified as an Opportunity Area in the Mayor’s London Plan.  The forty acres of Convoys Wharf dominate the river; long closed off to the public at large, at first glance it looks like any other brownfield site in need of some urgent and much welcome development.  However, this is not entirely the case.  The whole site has a rich history, and just under the concrete skin lie not only the origins of the garden, but also the granite docks and slipways of Henry VIII’s Royal Dockyard, founded in 1513.  For 350 years this was the foremost Naval Dockyard in the realm; Raleigh, Drake and Cook all have their stories here.  In Evelyn’s time the manor of Sayes Court was walled off from the Dockyard, but they were closely linked.
In 1856 what remained of the house and grounds were purchased by the Admiralty and incorporated into the expanding Dockyard.  As new ships became too large with the silting up of the Thames, the site was sold.  The proposals from the current owners, Hutchison Whampoa, consist of 3,514 new homes in a mixed-use development, to include retail and office space, a primary school and a working wharf.  The success and longevity of such a development depends to a large extent on a sensitive response to the site and its surroundings – both cultural and physical.  To achieve these aims the design needs to be distinctive and engaging: heritage assets hold the key.  Restoring John Evelyn’s garden at Sayes Court would bring immeasurable benefits to the area, and stimulate interest and recognition from around the world.  Along with the potential to mark Henry VIII’s Dockyard on the same site, this neglected corner of London could become a tourist destination in its own right, complementing nearby Greenwich along the Thames Path.  For the neighbourhood itself, this extraordinary garden could help to define the character of the new development, giving a strong sense of identity and becoming a source of local pride.
One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the garden’s capacity to function as an open space under the democratic guardianship of the community: a new “common”.  It would be a place of delight and beauty for everyone to enjoy, a challenge to the trend which sees access to our exceptional heritage reserved for the wealthier boroughs.  Planting the numerous trees and medicinal herbs would bring sorely needed and ever-increasing advantages to health and the local environment, and the garden could become once again the setting for experiments and research.  All in all, it would be a fitting remembrance for two great and generous-hearted men who dedicated their lives to improving conditions for all strata of society: John Evelyn himself and also his descendant, William John Evelyn, who donated his ancestor’s garden to the people of Deptford.  After everything that has since passed, it is proper that it should belong to the public again.
Hutchison Whampoa need to be persuaded that these benefits outweigh any difficulties in re-structuring part of their design or possibly losing a small portion of building land.  The current proposals completely ignore Sayes Court Garden, and support is urgently needed if this unique piece of London’s past is to be saved – to become part of our future.

 

Roo Angell and Bob Bagley

Deptford is… – post on Convoys Wharf transport issues.

Convoys Wharf transport #2: public transport

posted on Deptford is... 6 July 2013
One of the strongest arguments against allowing Convoys Wharf to be developed to the density that Hutchison Whampoa is suggesting, is the fact that the public transport accessibility of the site is so poor.
This situation has not improved with the new masterplan, so many of the comments made in our last assessment still apply. Many of the people living in these new properties will have to travel into London for work on a daily basis, so how will they do this?
Planners measure public transport accessibility by measuring it on the PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) scale. This provides an assessment of how easy it is to get from the site to public transport, and ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest rating and 6 the highest. In London a rating of 4 is generally a good level for major developments such as this to aspire to.
The PTAL rating of Convoys Wharf ranges from 1 to 2 across the site, with 2 being the level at the exit on Princes Street. With Hutchison Whampoa’s plans for redevelopment, the rating will rise very slightly, but will still be an average of 2 across the site, and 3 closest to Princes St.
The diagram below indicates the transport plans for the site – in simple terms, HW is in discussion with TfL about the possibility of having a pier for the Thames Clipper river bus, and also proposes either a new bus through the site, or the diversion of one of the existing services that go along Evelyn Street, the 199 having been suggested.

For a Thames Clipper service to call at the site will require the refurbishment of the existing jetty and the construction of a new pier on the jetty. Although TfL has acknowledged the possibility of a new pier at Convoys Wharf, there is no firm commitment to a date other than during phase one, which is five years long. There is also no confirmation of whether the service would be the regular London-bound boats, or just a shuttle boat to Canary Wharf.In either case, use of the riverbus service is impractical for many people – not only in terms of its restricted capacity, but also because it serves so few destinations and is slow in comparison to other public transport options.Aside from the bus and boat services, future residents at Convoys Wharf will have to travel somewhat further afield to access trains or DLR services. Naturally Deptford station is the closest train station to the development, and as the transport strategy points out, the station has recently been refurbished. But although the station is now more pleasant to use and easier to access, and the capacity of the station itself may have been increased, there has been no change to the capacity of the actual trains.The analysis of available capacity on services from Deptford station depends heavily on completion of Crossrail in 2018; this is predicted to reduce the number of people using London-bound trains from Woolwich, and is entirely credible. However there is no reference to the most recent Office of Rail Regulation figures which showed Deptford station experienced 7.1% increase in usage last year, and this is expected to continue as redevelopments continue and residents move into the new properties.According to the trip generation figures, 258 people from Convoys Wharf will take the train towards London in the morning peak hour between 8am and 9am. This seems a very low figure considering the total population that could number 10,000 or more. But even taking this point aside, the addition of around 44 passengers to each already-overcrowded train is not a pleasant prospect.Bus services are also likely to suffer – while the transport plan envisages a bus route through the site, there is no firm commitment to a new service as yet, so it could well be an existing route diverted and hence making journeys longer and more overcrowded than they are now. Almost 500 people from the development are estimated will be catching the bus during the morning peak hour, many presumably going towards Underground or Overground services elsewhere.

Meanwhile less than 200 will catch a river bus, although with only four services in the peak hour, that’s still an estimated 50 per boat. The boats in the current fleet each have 220 seats.

“Battle of Convoys Wharf”

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 10.09.43Evening Standard piece on Convoys Wharf by Kieren Long

Published: 26 October 2011

Does it matter what’s underneath the pavement? Under our feet, in the earth, are the traces of the 2,000 years of Londoners, their coins and clothes, their trinkets and tools, the remains of their buildings and roads.

The question of whether this material, this soup of memories, should have any bearing on how our city develops is an open one for those building our city today, and one that has sparked an argument over the massive Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, which I visited last week. If Hong Kong developer Hutchison Whampoa gets its way, this 16-hectare riverside plot (the size of about 20 football pitches) in the borough of Lewisham will soon be home to 9,000 people in 3,500 homes, with a new school, shops and space for “cultural uses”.

So far, so good. But this isn’t just any slice of the river. Convoys Wharf was formerly the King’s Yard, built by Henry VIII in 1513 as London’s military dock and known across the world. It was the harbour to royal yachts, where Francis Drake was knighted aboard the Golden Hinde in 1581, and where Elizabeth I’s Spanish Armada-defeating fleet was built. It is a place of astonishing, nationally important historical significance.

Greenwich, just a mile down-river, with its colonnaded Old Royal Naval College, has become a world heritage site and will officially become a “Royal” borough next year. But it was Deptford that built the boats that made England powerful enough to conceive of and fund that architectural setpiece in the first place.

The plan submitted by Hutchison Whampoa is a regulation piece of urban design by commercial architect Aedas. It’s pretty uninspired, with the usual precision about residential unit numbers but vagueness about the kind of public life that might be found there. But the plan tries hard to link into its surroundings, and the proposed development will be much better than the gated communities of riverside west London. There is a recognisable street pattern, a bus route through it, along with a school and an attempt to make a high street with a mix of uses. Broadly, the plan is based on work in 2005 by Richard Rogers, whose principal insight was to try to continue the line of Deptford’s high street towards the riverside.

Perhaps most importantly, it also proposes public access to the riverside here for the first time.

But a group of local people accuse Hutchison Whampoa of recklessly ignoring the historical remains, and are pleading with the developers to reconsider their plan. They say the site should be given back more of its original character, that ancient remains below the ground should be available to public view, and that water should be reintroduced to the site by digging out the former Great Basin of the dockyard.

Chris Mazeika, who lives in the Master Shipwright’s house on the eastern side of the site, is part of a network of local bloggers and campaigners asking questions of Hutchison Whampoa’s proposal. He believes that there is something important about the history of the site that should be drawn out by revealing the remains or perhaps echoing the original layout of the dockyard.

“To reveal the remains would make it a much more distinctive and layered place,” he says. “When you walk down a road that has been established by hundreds of years of getting from A to B, and one that’s drawn by a planner – it’s a very different experience.”

The site today is rather eerie, a huge expanse of concrete with a few Sixties and Eighties warehouses still standing. There are no roads and no sense of how it all once fitted together. The riverside is spectacular, though. The wharf juts out into the river and the view from it takes in a vista from Surrey Quays to the west and Greenwich to the east. This timber platform will be transformed into a public park in Hutchison Whampoa’s plans, complete with river bus stop.

The Grade II-listed Olympia Warehouse (built in the 1840s) stands in the middle of the site, slightly askew to the riverside, a magnificent iron structure most recently used by Lewisham council as a storage facility for wheelie bins. It is the only historic building left above ground, and the proposals designate it vaguely as a “covered public square”. They aspire to something along the lines of Spitalfields Market. This all feels a bit sketchy at this stage, and the developer’s preference is to retain just the beautiful iron frame, perhaps adding to it a new glass envelope.

In anticipation of these remains being covered up by the new development, a huge archaeological dig is under way between the Olympia Warehouse and the river. The foundations and remains of the huge Tudor storehouse and the docks are clearly visible in the trenches. Two slipways, complete with timbers used to brace and support ships as they were constructed, look amazingly complete to my untrained eye. All this will be recorded, then covered over again and the new residential buildings built over the top. The remains will never be seen again, or at least not until Hutchison Whampoa’s buildings are themselves demolished, which could be 200 years away at London rates of replacement.

It must be said that the King’s Yard has long lost its Tudor character. Since the Second World War, successive idiotic owners chose to demolish the remaining buildings on the site and fill in the basin and slipways. Most jaw-dropping of all is that in stages between the Sixties and as recently as the Eighties, a Tudor storehouse was demolished and its foundations concreted over so that huge distribution sheds and warehouses could be built.

It is heartbreaking that so much has been lost.

None of that is Hutchison Whampoa’s fault. The group and its architects see Convoys Wharf as an opportunity to create a residential quarter they believe will be “modern and positive”. The architects say that the arrangement of the proposed apartment buildings perpendicular to the river somehow mirrors that of the historic slipways, and a proposed park on the site of the former double dry dock will evoke the history of what’s underneath, perhaps by using materials that suggest its former use. That to them is enough. My visit to the site convinced me that while the developers are very aware of what lies beneath, they don’t feel it of sufficient significance to prevent or slow London’s development. Aedas and Hutchison Whampoas have made a judgment that to preserve any remains for public view, or to reintroduce water into the site (as the Rogers plan proposed) would be uneconomical and (they told me) would be a hindrance rather than a help to make it a better place to live.

As for the campaigners, they are vague about what they are calling for and appeal to notions of memory, meaning and history that are not part of the usual property development vocabulary.

Mazeika, like many of us, finds it difficult to describe exactly what difference it makes to resurrect ancient street patterns, to uncover old docks. He favours gradual, incremental development, but that is never going to happen with such a large site under single ownership.

This seems an unbridgeable intellectual gap in today’s London. The nuanced understanding of the place that the locals advocate here in Deptford is mirrored all over the city by local interest groups, amateur historians, and concerned residents near large regeneration projects. But it has no way of gaining traction in a development process involving this much money, and that is a failure of our planning system and of imagination of the politicians who are the guardians of our city.

I respect Hutchison Whampoa and Aedas for trying to make a decent, mixed place that links into the surrounding community. I think (unlike some Deptford residents) that the scale and character of the spaces around the Olympia Warehouse will be fine, certainly better than the meaningless public spaces at equivalent developments of a decade ago (Paddington Basin comes to mind). The quantum of development, and its skyscraper-scale apartment towers, aren’t a problem to me, and the new public space by the river almost can’t fail to be enjoyable.

But in deploying standard urban design tactics the masterplan does find itself ignoring what makes this place special in the first place. I suspect the history of the site will be signalled in branding and signage more than any real, physical or spatial sense. And while it is a very difficult task to capture all these historical and cultural layers of a city in urban design and architecture, good architects should be able to do it.

When Convoys Wharf has been re-developed, the history of the King’s Yard will lie in a shallow grave underneath shiny apartment blocks and cappuccino bars. Professionals will move into the residential towers, which will probably be named after Drake’s Golden Hinde. And when their dinner party guests ask them where the docks used to be, they will reply: “I don’t know.”

Pantomime Nationalist distractions and puppet-targeting

Notes on the coming disturbance…

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Question Time Today

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Save Lewisham Hospital Demo – Sat 26th January 2013

JOIN THE DEMO through Lewisham and Catford on SATURDAY 26th JANUARY to show Jeremy Hunt what we think of the proposals to close Lewisham Hospital A&E, Intensive Care and some children and maternity services!

Join the 'Save Lewisham Hospital' Demo on Saturday 26th January

__________________

Also: BBC Question Time protest.

Please see below protest this Thursday 10th Jan, about Lewisham Hospital.

Details below from: http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/bbc-question-time-protest/

Join the protest at BBC TV Question Time – 10 January 2013, 17:30-21:30.

Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmith’s University, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Rail: New Cross or New Cross Gate
Buses: 21, 36, 53, 453, 436, 136, 321 Marquis of Granby / Lewisham Way stop

Goldsmiths commits to support students from local boroughs

Promotional feature:
Goldsmiths, University of London has announced a raft of new bursaries, waivers and awards worth more than 1.4million to encourage students from local boroughs and to attract the most promising academic talent from a wide range of backgrounds.
Among those to benefit will be students from the borough of Lewisham who come from low income families or demonstrate academic potential. Ten students will receive free places covering their entire undergraduate degree, worth £27,000 each. A further £5,000 will be awarded to four of these recipients as part of the Mayor’s New Cross Awards.
An additional ten students from local boroughs – Lambeth, Southwark, Greenwich, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Croydon – will receive a partial fee-waiver to cover 50 percent of their entire undergraduate degree, worth £13,500 each.
Goldsmiths’ 2013-14 financial support includes:
•       129 scholarships of £6,000 to students from low income households (National Scholarship Programme).
•       Four scholarships of £4,500 to students with a disability.
•       Five scholarships of £4,000 to students who are care leavers.
•       Up to 10 scholarships of £3,000 for students over the age of 25 who come from a non-traditional academic background and show great academic potential.
•       Up to five scholarships of £3,000 for students studying on Access programmes who demonstrate academic potential.
In 2012-13, Goldsmiths invested 30% of the fee income from all fees above £6,000 on additional measures to improve the student experience and encourage wider access to Goldsmiths. Two of the ten students to benefit from the 2012-13 Lewisham Fee Waivers were recipients Victoria Summers and Maimunatu Sillah.
Victoria, who is studying BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts, said: “I was going to come to university anyway but getting the Lewisham Fee Waiver has made a massive difference to my approach to it. To know that there’s somebody who has belief in what I can achieve is really spurring me on at this quite ambitious time in my life. It has made all the difference.”
Maimunatu, who is studying BA (Hons) Social Work, added: “Before coming I thought Goldsmiths was really posh and out of my league. It was always a university that I thought I would never be accepted into so it was a shock when I my application was successful. It broke down all my stereotypical thoughts about the place.”
For full details of the financial support offered by Goldsmiths, visit http://www.gold.ac.uk/ug/fees-funding/

Fuck the Jubilee

The jubilee, recessionary Britain, and and Johnny Rotten staging controversy in the newspaper again, it may all seem a bit like old money for ropey old jingles, but look – at least the advertising for the event in New Cross on Sunday is up!

So I will be heading along to the New Cross for the “Fuck the Jubilee Street Party” – event details via our friends on you know where (even FB’s share-price is having a Thatcherite austerity moment):

http://www.facebook.com/events/207617176019542/

They say: “Goldsmiths students and New Cross inhabitants alike, join us at [a yet undisclosed location] in celebration of an alternative to the flag waving queenie-idiolising jubilee celebrations.

MORE DETAILS ANNOUNCED CLOSER TO THE DATE”

 

so see the FB site or just hang around in NX looking a little bit 1977 England’s dreaming.

Deptford & New Cross Virtual Social Centre. Film Night. Housing. 17.5.2012 7.30PM

Hi,
Just a reminder about tomorrow’s film night:
Subject: New Social Centre / Film night starts May17th at NX Library

Deptford & New Cross Virtual Social Centre present
Films to change the world with: Housing

Films about ordinary people’s direct solutions to housing crises –  from
rent strikes to squatting

@ New Cross People’s Library Thurs 17th May 7.30

283 New Cross Road SE14 nearest station New Cross Gate on London
overground from Dalston Junction etc and train from London Bridge

please publicise through all relevant channels!

Thanks

seven minutes away

- walking distance from my house… The militarisation of London was well in place before the Olympiss, so I am hoping the appearance of these toys in the park up the road gets people more interested. Its not like Britain doesn’t also already sell plenty of these babies worldwide. Scumbag Lords of Death Piggy Pollies. Cute puppy too – I bet your Guardian editor was rapt when they found this pic in the proof sheets – oblique little reference to Bliar/Cameron as Bush/Obama’s lackey-in-chief. Not sure the fence is secure though – joy riders anticipated, does the new Camry even come with a tow-bar these days?

Manifesto manifestation 28.4.2012 Clapham Common Bandstand

Freee’s Manifesto for a New Public will be at Clapham Common bandstand this Saturday (tomorrow 28.4.2012) at 2pm!

Print this, underline the bits you agree with, and join where you wish, and disagree where you must – for the collective (for example, that second last para about not pointing at the rich… I dunno. Got a big stick?)

Declaration

Anyway, generalize this (not just ‘artists)…

 

 

 

 

‘Complicity’ essay for Assembly catalogue 2000

Click on the pages to enlarge and read.

NXRB – Les Back reviews Robson on Millwall FC.

‘No one likes us, we don’t care’

In Robson on March 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Review by Les Back

Review of Garry Robson “‘No one likes us, we don’t care’: the myth and reality of Millwall fandom” Berg Publishers, 2000 203pp.

New Cross Review of Books

About NXRB

Book Reviews from the Big Crabapple that is NX, London.

This is a haphazard collection of reviews old and new. Of course we are not competing with any of the other fine book review rags out there from other towns like New York or London, it’s just that…

We will accept contributions where they are by our friends and comrades, where they are really good and so long as they are approved by the unbiased (non parliamentary, ultra-leftist, no touching faith in reformism or the State) editors. We reserve the right to reject (and hunt down, huff and puff, and burn your house etc.) any sexist, racist or pro-capitalist comments or contributions. You know the drill.

We are for reading, for reading in context, for making reading a part of the struggle to transform lives and life – looking for ways to transmute the nasty slime of Capital into something else, something better, whatever it takes. If it takes book reviews too, then here we go. Culture Industry Reconsidered! Film reviews too people – high-brow elitist theory-heavy auto-reflexive hyper-critique inclusive.

Email the editor-ish (you will see, editorial here is a self-organising collective process) John.Hutnyk [at] gold.ac.uk

Why Cultural Studies in South London

(Note to self for Centre research blurb draft): Stitching between the local and the global in a way that is more than rhetorical, our projects find a geopolitical significance in a South London sensibility. This part of the world has always been global, since the Romans at least. We understand issues – colonial and Maritime history (Greenwich), militarism (Imperial War Museum), race and migration (Stephen Lawrence Centre), commercial and art industry led regeneration/gentrification (Deptford, Tate Modern etc) as examples of a local instanciation of globally significant patterns and events. As modes of production shift, they often shift first in South London. But this does not mean we think this is the centre of the world – our research interests reach out to the global and find patterns of interest in Kolkata, Canton, Niger, Lusaka, Vanuatu, Gabon. More quietly, perhaps, we are also, and maybe even more interested in a planetary ethic than you get in the usual priorities of global (global finance, global trade, global arms sales). Here, we are acutely aware of the planetary or globe girdling movements of protest, creativity, sensibility, meaning. Yet, we see how the planet will eventually make a mockery of all ‘culture’, when we are dust, and a perspective that recalls this terrifying and humbling reality might put our little theatricals into perspective.

Number four million in an ongoing series about why NX is so great great we don’t even need to name it twice twice.

New Cross State of Mind

by Transpontine


New Cross is better than New York is an entertaining new blog by the people who make those ‘I Love New Cross’ bags they sell in the London Particular cafe. As they rightly point out:

- They’ve got Macy’s, we’ve got TK Maxx;
– They’ve got Studio54, we’ve got The Venue;
– They’ve got Carnegie Hall, we’ve got Lewisham Arthouse;
– They’ve got Brooklyn, we’ve got Brockley.

Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys subsitituting New Cross for New York in songs, or indeed as they say ‘substituting the word “Brockley” for “Brooklyn” in Beastie Boys songs. “No Sleep Til Brockley” is particularly good on the night-bus home’. ‘Brockley we go hard’ by Jaz-Z also does it for me.

My current favourite is New Cross State of Mind by Alicia Keys:

Grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name on a flyer in Deptford Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I’m from New Cross
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New Cross
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New Cross, New Cross, New Cross!

On the old A2, there ain’t never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a dodgy cab, takes me down from Brockley to Deptford Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger far more than an empty fridge

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Occultural Studies

New Cross

Neil tours us round Deptford.

Why thanks Neil:

http://transpont.blogspot.com/2011/09/convoys-wharf-latest.html

Transpontine: South East London blogzine – things that are happening, things that happened, things that should never have happened. New Cross, Brockley, Deptford and other beauty spots. EMAIL US: transpontine@btinternet.com Transpontine: ‘on the other (i.e. the south) side of the bridges over the Thames; pertaining to or like the lurid melodrama played in theatres there in the 19th century’.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Convoys Wharf Latest

The future of Convoys Wharf, site of the former Royal Dockyard on the Deptford riverfront, has been discussed here before. A revised planning application for the site has recently been submitted by News International (former owners of the site) and Chinese property developer Cheung Kong (current owners).There is a lot of local concern about the plans – not just about the impact of what is proposed, but in relation to the loss of the potential once in a hundred years opportunity to do something special here that makes a positive difference to people in Deptford. Challenging these plans, put forward by two of the world’s most powerful conglomerates in the world, is a daunting prospect.Enter Deptford is…, ‘a group of local residents who want to ensure that the redeveloped Convoy’s Wharf offers the best for Deptford and its future. We are NOT affiliated to any political party, commercial interest or quango’. This Saturday 24th September, 10 am to 12 noon, they are organising a ‘planning objections workshop’ in the Blue room at the Albany, Douglas Way.They say ‘Many local residents are worried about the impact of the redevelopment, and are keen to ensure that their concerns are heard by the council. But the planning documents are numerous and complex, and many people who want to respond to the application simply don’t have the time to read them fully. Even those who do have time to read the documents may not know enough about the planning system to be able to write an effective response. So we are holding an URGENT planning objections workshop THIS SATURDAY MORNING at the Albany theatre in Deptford, to provide help and advice to people wanting to comment on this planning application’.

Is that all there is?

A couple of weeks ago I took a group of visitors to Goldsmiths on a guided walk around New Cross and Deptford, focusing on the history of the area and some of its buildings. It was an interesting group, mainly from USA and India, including among others critical architects, a photographer, a film maker and a singer/theatre writer.

The theme of their meeting was globalisation and preservation and this seemed very apposite to Deptford. After all it is arguably one of the birthplaces of a kind of globalisation, the East India Company having been based here, and various colonial and slaver expeditions starting out from the Deptford shipyards. And ‘preservation’ is part of what the argument about Convoys Wharf is all about – how can or should any development reflect the site’s history and preserve the memory of shipbuilding and migration (as for instance Shipwright’s Palace argue)? And what about the site of the historic Sayes Court garden?

One thing that is very striking about the area, looking at it through the eyes of visitors, is just how much it is a zone in transition. I kept finding myself saying on the one hand, ‘until recently this was here’ and on the other ‘soon there will be a new tower block here’. Another feature for an area so tied up with its riverine history is how cut off much of Deptford is from the river itself, not least by the walls around Convoys Wharf. The current planning application promises to restore public access to the river, and that is essential. But does that mean we should just accept any scheme that offers a view of the water?

Another theme that emerged from chatting to the visitors was how similar the experiences of urban development, and specifically riverside development, are across the world. Unimaginative identikit schemes, often by the same architects and developers in different countries, with ‘luxury flat’ tower blocks and sterile semi-public spaces. Is that all there is?

Meze Mangal

Not sure how I feel about mass exposure of this (since its the best food in the borough) but, via Transpontine, here it is:

Eray and Koray – self-styled ‘Cypriot Eminem and Dr Dre’ have a great new track out celebrating the delights of Meze Mangal, the Turkish restaurant in New Cross. Filmed on location in and around the place, the track starts off ‘I know this little place on Lewisham Way (what near the college?), if I had the money I would go every day…’. Look out for those Love, Peace and Kebab Grease T-shirts. All with a little bit of help from Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

 

Goldsmiths Occupation

Mapping Goldsmiths

An open invitation to all students and staff at Goldsmiths:

The Other Survey: Mapping Goldsmiths Workshop

Tuesday 15 March 2011, 5-7pm, NAB 326

The drastic cuts to university funding, tripling of student fees and
ongoing ‘restructuring’ of higher education have been accompanied by an
insistent language of measurement, evaluation and competition.
Intensifying tendencies that we’ve been living with, and enacting, for
some years, the university is being formatted as an institution in which
the “student-consumer” is asked to rank “service providers”, and where
artificially scarce resources are to be allocated according to competitive
pressures, in line with principles that are indifferent or antithetical to
a transformative conception of learning, and to non- instrumental
relationships between those who teach, study and work in universities.

The project that we are trying to build starts from the idea that we can’t
allow knowledge about the university to be colonised by student surveys,
league tables, and indicators of financial performance. Rather, we should
perhaps reflect on how little we know about how the institution works, how
power is distributed within it and what the economic, emotional and
existential realities of the “student experience” are, including how
Goldsmiths relates to its local, national and global environments.

In this workshop we would like to begin this process of collective
reflection, dialogue and mapping using it to improvise a participatory
project on university life. Come along with your questions, stories and
ideas so that we can start to sketch out the experiences of students,
teachers and workers who are a part of the College and explore what other
visions and practices of the university we might develop.

Keith Richards’ First Drug

Keith’s elegantly wasted days started when his grandfather let him have his first drag on a cigarette in New Cross.

From the autobiography p, 46:

Gus never bored me. On New Cross station late at night in deep fog, Gus gave me my first dog end to smoke. “No one will see.” A familiar Gusism was to greet a friend with “hello, don’t be a cunt all your life.” The delivery so beautifully flat, so utterly familiar. I loved the man. A cuff round the head. “You never heard that.” “What, Gus?”

Grandfathers get away with that sort of shit al the time, I’ve noticed.

Dragnets of London

Dragnets of London (for Raul).

John Hutnyk

I was on my way home on the number 436 to Lewisham recently when a woman did something I thought was both impressive and unusual – she spoke out against the delay caused by the 20 police who had boarded our bus. She scolded them for wasting her time and for picking on certain passengers that, she said, should be left in peace to get on with their travel.

We have become accustomed to these all-too frequent Metropolitan Police (MET) dragnet style interruptions. Such hold-ups are now quite common in my part of London, a predominantly black suburb, where ticket checks are used as a cover for an immigration shakedown – itself justified as part of anti-terror vigilance. I watched the police officers explain to the woman, in escalating aggressive tones, that her demand to know why the bus was being delayed was misplaced because officers were ‘assaulted every day by people without tickets’. This seems a strange and disproportionate response to a legitimate query from a member of the public. Travelling in a uniformed strength-in-numbers group of (more than) 20, some of whom were armed, suggests an excess enthusiasm of the transport police for ‘ticket inspection’.

We might be concerned that such policing will soon again result in further deaths like that which was visited upon Brazilian commuter Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005 (shot seven times in the head by officers, no-one charged). There have been other unexamined incidents of deaths in police custody and the UK has an appalling record in terms of prosecution of official crime (see the 1999 film Injustice directed by Ken Fero and Tariq Mehmood). Another tragedy is primed to happen especially where commanders readily deploy disproportionate aggression if challenged by an impatient commuter. She was young, white, articulate, and had the sense to back down when the Officer in charge raised his voice and muscled up to her. No need to guess that any other appellant might not have got off the bus so freely. We other passengers, a few anyway, applauded her courage, but somewhat meekly. It does seem that a new anxiety pervades the streetscapes of the metropolis – a consequence of dubious foreign wars and suspect geo-politics, conjoined with institutional racism and a creeping resignation. Not many complain, but at least in this instance, someone did.

I was glad to have met her. We exchanged a few words:

Me: ‘That was great, well done.’

Her: ‘How can they do this, its intolerable.’

Me: ‘What is your name?’

Her: ‘Scheherazade’

This response is hilarious and smart – she identifies herself, sensibly choosing an alias, as the fabled storyteller who tames a despot with patient narrative over many many nights. Speaking truth to power, in coded repetition, Scheherazade offers a moral discourse through fantasy tales, Sinbad the Sailor and so on. Eventually the despotic ruler relents his power. The trouble is, I never saw Scheherazade again. But I remember her lesson – you do have to speak up.

Several months after the above incident, the MET have assigned dedicated public relations personnel to their inspection teams. Whenever I have seen the dragnet I have made a point of following that woman’s earlier tactic, and each time experienced the full force of MET customer relations, extending to a total bureaucratic run-around when trying to get a complaint about this heard. This is documented below in brief conversations where, while asking the most obvious questions, I find something very provocative – the ways speaking out can be channelled and contained are also to be examined.

In this first exchange, the ‘team’ were wrapping their operation up when I came by, so there was a sense of mild irritation with my questions, a kind of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ tone – which of course I took as an invitation to linger.

Me: [polite, ironic] ‘What’s all this then?’

Cop A: ‘We are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.’

Me: [politely] ‘Hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this over policing?’

Cop A: ‘Most people around here welcome this.’

Me: [politely] ‘No, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks, you know, corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….’ [the controversy over MP’s expenses was current news]

Later, to a different officer:

Me: ‘Why do you need so many police to check tickets on one bus?’

Cop A: ‘This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.’

Me: ‘Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.’

Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:

Cop B: ‘Why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.’

Bike-boy: ‘Its getting dark and my light is broken.’

… [some meaningless blather, bike-boy rides off]

Cop C to Cop B: ‘They’ll make up anything round here.’

I asked another cop who was in charge:

Me: [formal] ‘Who is the ranking officer?’

Cop D: ‘Why, do you need something?’

Me: ‘I want to make a complaint?’

Cop D: ‘Why?’

Me: ‘I think this is over policing.’

Cop D: ‘People think this is the free bus.’ (the 436 aka the free bus).

Next to him, a female cop:

Cop E: ‘You could talk to the sergeant.’

Me: ‘Him there?’

Cop E: ‘Yes, but he is busy now.’

[time passes]

Me: ‘He’s not that busy now?’

Cope E: ‘Just tap him on the shoulder.’

Me: ‘Surely that’s more your style than mine.’

I meet the ranking officer:

Me: [polite formal] ‘This is over policing, how do I make a complaint?’

Cop F: ‘Where do you live?’

Me: [taken aback] ‘Why do you want to know?’

Cop F: ‘You can complain to the duty officer at your local station.’

Me: [insistent] ‘Don’t you think this is over policing?’

Cop F: ‘Most people don’t think so.’

Me: ‘I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.’

Cop F: ‘You are entitled to disagree.’

Me: [exasperated] ‘Not for long it seems.’ [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]

And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way.

Another day, another routine: Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Daniel’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.

A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Daniel’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:

US: ‘[polite] Why are you stopping this bus here today?’

Daniel: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes.’

US: ‘Is it an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’

Daniel: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes.’

US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines.’

Daniel: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’

US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’

Daniel: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs.’

US: [incredulous] ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’

Daniel: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’

US: [exasperated] ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing?’

Daniel: ‘You can complain to me.’

US: ‘sigh’

There is no question that the border and border policing has moved from the airport and ferry terminal to the centre of the city and the micro-moments of everyday life. The border is right there on the street, caught between mild-mannered individuals and institutional authority, uniforms on the bus, exclusions and deportations before your eyes. A million minute forms of repression that amount to a generalized war economy. Always under suspicion, ready to have you tickets checked, your bags examined (announcements remind you to never leave them unattended), security fear becomes everyday and the power of the authorities to detain anyone that ‘looks the part’ becomes routine. A border has been crossed, a border has been crossed… we run willingly into battle.

Ruined in Ladywell

Mourn for Adhesive Specialities. Most favourite architectural folly in Ladywell (and there are many). Where was Owen H when we needed him?

Still More Dragnets

Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are  referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Dan’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.

A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Dan’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:

US: ‘Why are you stopping this bus here today?’

PLOD: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes’

US: ‘Is it really an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’

PLOD: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes’

US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines’

PLOD: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’

US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’

PLOD: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs’

US: ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’

PLOD: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’

US: ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing and inappropriate profiling?’

PLOD: ‘You can complain to me, Sir’

US: ‘:)’

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/freedom-of-information/released-information/foi-archive-immigration/929-immigration-checksa8cf.html?view=Html

See also here, here and here.

Transpontine

This lovely sepia toned arch-ive pic-ture is from the very fine, super reg-ular, eleg-ant and who-lly inimitable Transpontine blog. If you do not read it you should, and be impressed by the stamina for posting that is sadly lacking from this humble servant of verbage. And a very fine resource it is, for pictures, trinkets, fun and music history of South East London.

we are not bored, we are amazed

gates-devilArdent watchers of the Goldsmiths CCS website (get a life) will have seen that the student generated images we used to have up have been replaced by some sort of corporate gimmick-cum-hack. Possibly designed to upset us and cause controversy in some sort of twisted viral marketing scam. I’m sorry, I think its crap. I’ve written the ‘webteam':

For the CCS pages we used to have a set of student generated images appear on our website. These have been replaced by some corporate images that we do not approve. Could we please restore the images we had, and please advise us of how we can update these in due course.

We are quite amazed that anyone at Goldsmiths would think Bill Gates was a suitable representation for any part of the college, but the other images are fairly dire as well (though this last is my personal opinion – not backed up as yet by surveys and a campaign: though one could be arranged).

Your rapid attention to this would be welcome as it is causing us some embarrassment.

It has also been pointed out that Gates is the emblem of proprietary corporate software and there is insufficient support for freeware in the college. We would like to see some discussion of this on the part of IT – what is your position?

Fun huh. Did you ever read Kafka’s bank clerk correspondence – its what I aspire towards with this letter (but do not reach the heights). Yet with regard to this, there are some who do think this is a good opportunity to raise questions about IT support for Linux and other freeware. I agree, but am also concerned that we lost the good images we had before and it clearly emphasizes – despite our many moans against this – that we have no say in our representation. The default strategy is towards centralization and cretinization. I include the offending picture of gates as a cut-out-and-keep dartboard target, but also note some of the other images are appalling. Go have a look and help viral marketing do its job – pah!).

The point is that we used to provide the images – there were several great shots from students from a few years ago. So one of the main problems with this is that the images we had before by CCS students are gone and now once again we have no control over our own site. Today it would make sense to have a series of images from our publications – from the CCS nocturnal journal Nyx and from our books etc.

Its either a hack or there has been a centralized coup which must be reversed immediately. I personally have nothing against Gates, just his god awful charitable do-gooderness, his smarmy philanthropy, his rampant greed, his well-ugly fashion sense, and his vampire-like operating systems (and I do not mean windows, I mean capital).

Someone should start a facebook group to get him off site! That’ll work huh. And we are not even talking about the fine print – some sort of strange cut and paste about Hitler. If you search long enough also a swastika juxtaposed with the logo of IBM circa 1924 (about when William Burroughs dad had sold his shares in the company).

So I should also say: if this is indeed a ‘clever’ hack, or what for Goldsmiths art-types passes for a ‘political’ intervention, well more power to you. But go spend your time hacking the G20 Govt site, or the UK Border Agency Education devolvement plan (where we are to be asked to be the front line of the immigration crackdown). Double pah!

Update 27.3.09: Not a hack but Graham’s intended conversation starter. The criticisms stand though, having swastikas above our heads is offensive in the extreme.

Update 28.3.09: So thanks to Lisa, the webteam’s Tanith McCrindle has taken two of the images down: the Gates/Hitler text one and the IBM/swastika one (I am not contesting the validity of the intended critique of IBM or Gates, just its effectiveness in the context and the unintended juxtapositions it thereby achieved with staff photos smack underneath swastikas etc). I’m pleased these are gone but still pretty pissed I/we have no immediate control over what juxtapositions appear over my/our name/s and that I got calls from family, emails from college staff and questions from prospective students about this. It has only been, I think, a mildly damaging exercise for CCS – but its certainly not our most glorious chapter. That said, I agree the old images needed work, and also think Darren is right to ask, as he does in the comments below, ‘what happened to the new images that he and other students submitted for the CCS site just a few months ago, following a public solicitation from the department?’.

snowed out

img_1013I have always been more amazed that London cannot cope with mildly warm temperatures like 30 Celsius, than I am that everything stops also for snow. Mind you, it is a lot of snow I reckon, and well cold, so I am only going outside to build a snowperson, and to join the occasional impromptu snowball fight that happens on my street when pedestrians venture by. College, bless em, shut up shop at the first sign of weather. As this letter attests [editorial comments mine]:

2 February 2009
Due to today’s poor [no, fantastic!] weather conditions and the lack of
public transport, it has been decided that Goldsmiths, University of
London will be closed on health and safety grounds and all classes
will be cancelled for today [in favour of toboggan races on the back field].
The College should be open as usual, tomorrow [damn], Tuesday 3 February but
any updates to this will be posted on www.goldsmiths.ac.uk
We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause you [enjoy it while you can!].
Hugh Jones
Registrar and Secretary

Rosie Roh

For Roh – at the top of Penton Rise.

Dead technology

We’ve been trying for nearly three months to get the Reprographics section of Goldsmiths to remove a huge outmoded (and non-functioning) Xerox machine from the middle of our main office in CCS. Literally dozens of emails, visits, imploring calls and no joy. Today we arc up the campaign by sending them this letter:

Dear Reprographics:

Infidels. This is a Ransom Note.

We have your polluting bourgeois heathen capitalist running dog of a photocopier and will torture it mercilessly unless you arrange an immediate hostage exchange.

We attach a recent photograph as proof this infidel is in our possession. If you ever want to see it again, act quickly. We start cutting off its parts at sunrise.

sincerely
– the CCS office space liberation committee (M-L – 17th September faction).

[Never let it be said that we concern ourselves with trivia. But I mean, for the love of Xog]

Police Detention facilities in Southwark, Walworth Rd and Peckham

Our good friends at the Institute of Race Relations provided a link to this report recently released by the HM Inspectorate on Police Detention facilities in Southwark, Walworth Rd and Peckham. It condemns the condition of the holding cells (used for detaining a range of people on suspicion of offences or immigration irregularities, with Southwark almost wholly dedicated to immigration detainees) . The conditions as reported are disgusting. Yet the report reads bizarrely, mixing stunningly bland statements with atrocities – but overall the character of these human sinkholes cannot be hidden. Even the selected quotations from the survey at the end would suggest to anyone who has read Michael Otterman’s expose American Torture (Pluto Press) that there is also an English war crimes indictment to be written. The full report is available here.

There is lots of horrific stuff on conditions and procedures to read, but below I have excerpted only the quotes. The last one I guess is the (state of) exceptional good news!

Report on an inspection visit to police custody suites in Southwark Basic Command Unit
21 – 22 April 2008
by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

Q38 Do you have any other comments about your time in police custody?
Example comments included:
“They called my solicitor to come, but got told to wait a few hours.” (Unknown)
“[I had to wait for a solicitor] god knows how long, over a day.” (Peckham)
“The police were intimidating and not professional and lacked any skills when dealing with
human beings.” (Walworth Road)
“Asked for clean clothes which were brought in, but not given. I had the same clothes on for
almost 48 hours.” (Walworth Road)
“There have been other times when ‘Lights were left on’. The officer in charge seemed to have
a personal conflict against me, saying he would get me ’25 Rothams’ then not and getting me to
sign a notebook with ‘No comment’ on it.” (Walworth Road)
“…the officer made a point of telling me how badly he wanted to keep me in the station and not
give me bail.” (Walworth Road)
“The pillow and blanket smelt of piss.” (Walworth Road)
“…they need to raise their hygiene standards.” (Peckham)
“I was surprised that everything was to the book, I’m used to getting a bashing.” (Walworth
Road)

Border Patrols

The city is the border. Each time you wave away the Chinese DVD seller who approaches you in the pub; each time you glide past the Polish beer in the cornershop, choosing a stella or chardonnay instead; each time you discard the free advertising newsheet you’ve barely even read – a million instant statements of the border.

Sex worker postcards in the last remaining telephone booth (new in town!); spruikers on the curry shift entice you for a deal; dragging angry and Peckham through the CCTV streets at dawn – the border is the city and the walls between us all.

It could not be that we don’t know this: that the management of the border is a mass participation project operated absentmindedly by all of us all day. Through an overkill of commentary and a shifting, churning hierarchy, the profiles, stereotypes and judgements that are constantly made yet so often denied are the guilty enactment of this regime. Border Police do their work – spot check, detention, deportation – all the better because our everywhere everyday distracted border operation is there in all we do.

The regulations are on the streets, the regulators are here.

Walking New Cross

Every now and then readers of this blog will find there will be a repost of something from Transpontine, our local (to NX) font of knowledge, musical historical and all things political – especially street political things. This latest I repost because some of the discussions within the Attack the Headquarters sessions – see the link in the sidebar – were oriented towards a mapping of the local. I think this is important, though I wonder whether mapping FROM the university is the right way to do this; perhaps there could be a workers inquiry type initiative, where New Cross maps its parasite mugwump in a process of land and resource reclamation. In any case, with the spirits of Sinclair and Keilor in tow, Transpontine delivers another outing below:

Walking New Cross (8): Waller Road

Waller Road runs down hill from Kitto Road, opposite Telegraph Hill Park, to Queens Road. Most of the houses are in the familiar Telegraph Hill Victorian terrace style, and one in particular must be the best documented house in the area. Number 123 Waller Road was the home of Eileen Elias, who wrote about her childhood there in her book ‘On Sundays we wore white’ (London: WH Allen, 1978). Her time was there between 1910 to 1920, when in her view New Cross was a ‘desirable district’ whose affluent households were serviced by ‘daily girls’ and ‘an army of step-ladies’ cleaning the local door steps twice a week, not to mention ‘little street boys’ bringing round ‘buckets of horse manure’ to the tradesmen’s entrance (you can see that many of the houses have a main front door at the top of the stairs and another one at ground level) .Interestingly, while she mentions Telegraph Hill Park she does not describe where she lives as ‘Telegraph Hill’ – it is simply New Cross. This confirms one of my pet theories – that the name Telegraph Hill for this area (as opposed to just the hill as geographical feature) has come to prominence as householders and estate agents have sought to distance these streets from the rest of more down at heel New Cross. A theory which was further confirmed during this year’s Telegraph Hill Arts Festival when an old woman who came to look round the Telegraph Hill Centre was overheard saying that she’d lived round here all her life but never knew she lived in Telegraph Hill. But I digress.

As elsewhere, gaps in the Victorian housing mark WW2 bomb damage – see the more modern houses at numbers 146 to 152 and the Lydney House council block. This is also a street on hidden houses – set back from the road at the top, just behind the church on Kitto Road, is a white house which I didn’t notice for years. I wonder whether it was originally built for the minister of what was then the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel? Further down next to the school is the entrance to Coach House Mews, presumably former stables/garages which were converted to flats a few years ago. Then there’s this interesting little house at the bottom (picutred), another converted outbuilding?
Edmund Waller Primary School, as it is now called, was originally built by the London School Board in 1887 and was simply Waller Road School. Today it is the primary school of choice for many local parents, but it was not always so. Elias refers to it in her book as ‘the Council School’ – posh kids like her went to Haberdasher’s Askes instead, which in those days wasn’t just a secondary school but catered for children from kindergarten age updwards.

The original railings outside have recently been painted – they are indentical to the railings outside Monson Primary School in New Cross, built in the same period by the London School Board.

Waller’s most famous ex-pupil is glam rocker Steve Harley, who had hits in the 1970s including ‘Come Up and See Me, Make Me Smile’. He lived in Fairlawn Mansions in New Cross Road. Harry Price the ghosthunter also went to the school.

Tony Robbins has written about his memories of the school just before the Second World War including the arrival of refugees from Nazi Germany. Robbins was evacuated out of London, but Robert George Hatton moved to the schoil during the War, recalling that ‘During these war days we as children, especially the boys were always looking for trophies, if that what you you would call them, pieces of shrapnel bullets, fins from incendiary bombs and sometimes the bomb itself, that had failed to explode. We were now going to Waller Road School which was nearer and we did not have to cross the dangerous New Cross Road. Waller Road was not to bad because on many occasions we had no Teachers so we played and also gave us boys time to rake around for any more relics from the Air Raids, us boys did not know what danger was until it directly involved us”.

Several of the wheely bins in this street have been decorated by Artmongers. This is one of my favourites, with the flowers on the bin fitting in perfectly with the nicely planted front garden.

At the bottom of the road, on the corner of Queens Road, stands the fire station. It was built in 1894 and includes a look out tower from where fires could be spotted before other tall buildings obscured the view.

Geras Marks Marx

Norman Geras, on Normblog, has offered comment on Jeremy Seabrook’s god-complex in a post that is interesting and positive in the main part, and as it has attracted local interest in South London, I repost my comment here.

“Is it a report card on Marx that we want to have Norman G deliver? He says “Marx got many things wrong. But some he got right”. Thus red pen corrections replace red critique. Lets do a proper exam – where are we on the development of political capacity today? Consider Geras’s list: ‘political capacity: the result of characteristics it [the working class] possessed [past tense] – geographical concentration, trade union and political organization, literacy, technical competence, political and economic experience’. (Nepal aside) I wonder if we can recognise ‘increasing’ capacity today, or just immaterial skills, good typing, complicity and reification. Geras cites ‘populations educated, increasingly aware, competent – and not well-shaped for tolerating being dictated to’. This seems like wishful thinking in the context of the murder/death/kill I see on my screen every night. I of course want to transduce wishful thinking into something more, but we need also to make a real assessment of Left failings. An encouragement grade might be to mark this as: good effort but need to try harder”.

I recognise the terrible pathos of writing like this during exam time, and my efforts to drink sufficient coffee so that I can face the pile of scripts I have to grade, possibly in the sunshine in the bourgeois garden of Toadsmouth, may be making me a bit frantic. But, things are not so simple that we can just unthinkingly nod in assent to those who might like to say that Marx was enamored with capitalism, that there was some sort of dialectical embrace, that the proletariat was a shifting category, that working class political organization is … well, yes, of course all this is worthy of debate on the blogs – but the pathos I mostly feel is that there is also much to be said for being more organized than the simple trade unionism of yore, and didn’t Marx say something like this as well…

Some sort of commentary also tranduced over to Rough Theory, with this. And more on AHQ to come here soon.

Hunting the Snark in New X

A Snark Dance specialist of our acquaintance has started haunting South London – the Laurie Grove Baths in particular. Read on for Andre Breton, Hauntology, psychogeography, camera technology, links to CCS’s occasional and spectrally astute visiting fellow K-Punk, and a grandmotherly connection. There is also a video link of exquisite remix strangeness. Do read on:

“There is a long history relating machines and ghosts and the supernatural and technology is definitely an interesting area to explore. Should this be viewed as being more than just a translation of the enchantment produced within us when faced with the finesse of impressive technical achievement?

My project for the Laurie Grove Bath House in November was an installation dedicated to the building’s ghost who was affectionately called Charley as he whistled the Charleston by James P. Johnson. For my installation I recorded someone whistling the Charleston and played it from the top of the stairs in order to lure people to a step, that when stepped on, projected old footage of people dancing the charleston on the walls accompanied by an old big band playing the song. The following video is nice cause it shows the ghosts of Al Minns and Leon James dancing the Charleston to daftpunk:” …. for the rest of this Snarkish post, see here.

Siddown Siddown!

tricorn.jpg“Hey you, up the front, pull yer head in, your noggins’ in the way, I can’t see the action”.

I have long been a fan of Owen Hattersley’s word and image hoard as found on “Sit Down Man Your a Bloody Tragedy”. It presents a (recently very) Keiloresque version of London that is a somehow both a well-informed mix of architectural-spotting psycho-geography and has the tone of an ethnography written by some 50’s era fixated interplanetary alien cosmonauts (with cannon ixus 750s on board). We know Owen from when he spoke at a workshop we organized at CCS a few years back and I think his stuff is pretty wonderful. I’ve been recommending it to students wanting evidence that something interesting is going on in London (and its been a constant source of great images – and wacked out soviet era postcards – for a long time).

And indeed, something must be going on in the UK since the government has released a brand new Security Strategy ‘to deal with national emergencies such as terror, disease pandemics and flooding’. I am looking forward to reading that! I betchya it doesn’t have very good pictures, but the portrait of a class cleansed urbane Britain that it offers will no doubt be crystal clear.

Own has a piece in the ‘New Statesman’, which you can find out about after directing your cursor *here*.

neighbours are there for each other

march1308-006.jpgGotta say that so far moving to the new house has been a joy. And my neighbours made it all the more wonderful when last night, before I could even get a free evening (because of Tara’s party – happy birthday Tara), there was a street aesthetics rectification action. What I mean to say is that the horrible Lewisham Council funded “We are Living in Fear” posters that have appeared on every second lamppost on my street were summarily torn down overnight, and well before I got a chance to go out and do them myself. Well done. They lasted less than 48 hours – good neighbours.

I’m not really that bothered by the posters so much as the stupidity of whoever thought the idea of saturation plastering on every street might have been any sort of smart act. Dumb dumb dumb – though everyone agrees both the design and the message of the posters really are grotesque. There are two kinds march1308-008.jpgI’ve seen, both utterly obscene – and having the second one placed outside Lewisham College is particularly offensive. Who are the ‘they’ that ‘want our pods’ (the parody of hip language deployed just does not work). And why these particular silhouettes? Oooooh, its all so scary. Clearly many locals see this as just another moment in the creeping shuffle towards a pathetic unthinking half-baked police state. I am proud to see that Lewisham residents won’t stand for it. And I hope elsewhere ‘they’ will be ripping the rest down as well. Short easy work. Clean up Lewisham now.

Dragnet Goldsmiths

Another Dragnet tonight, this time directly outside Goldsmiths’ award winning Library (lovingly captured in its Lewisham Way facing facade here by my trusty SPV mobile device…)

Transcribed below are brief conversations with the Police, asking the obvious questions, before the dragnet operation ended (they were wrapping their ‘operation’ up when I came by, so there was a sense of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ – which of course I took as an invitation to linger. After all, I am an Oyster Card carrying member of the great London public, innit).

Opening:

Me: what’s all this then?
Cop A: we are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.
Me: hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this overpolicing?
Cop A: Most people around here welcome this.
Me: no, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks (corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….)

Later:

Me: why do you need so many Police to check tickets on one bus?
Cop A: This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.
Me: Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.

Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:

Cop B: why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.
Bikeboy: Its getting dark and my light is broken
… [some meaningless blather, bikeboy rides off]
Cop C to Cop B: They’ll make up anything round here.

I asked another cop who was in charge:

Me: who is the ranking officer?
Cop D: why, do you need something?
Me: I want to make a complaint?
Cop D: Why?
Me: I think this is overpolicing
Cop D: People think this is the free bus (the 436 aka the free bus).

Next to him, a female cop:

Cop E: You could talk to the sergeant.
Me: Him there?
Cop E: Yes, but he is busy now.
[time passes]
Me: He’s not that busy now?
Cope E: Just tap him on the shoulder.
Me: Surely that’s more your style than mine.

I meet the ranking officer:

Me: This is over-policing, how do I make a complaint?
Cop F: Where do you live?
Me: Why do you want to know?
Cop F: You can complain to the duty officer at your local station,
Me: Don’t you think this is overpolicing?
Cop F: Most people don’t think so.
Me: I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.
Cop F: You are entitled to disagree.
Me: Not for long it seems [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]

And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way. The University is filled with people who have a keen sense of history, but the putrid stench of 1933 was in the air.

Yup, again and again.
.

Paul Hendrich

I can’t reconcile this at all – impossible and horrible that we (all crushed) have lost another great comrade. I can’t see how he had the time, but Paul was often a commentator on this blog. But importantly – among so very very much else that’s nearly impossible to list – Paul was key to organising so many events, actions, interventions. Small examples I saw – he was an instrumental voice in preparing the Migrating University/No Borders conference at Goldsmiths in September last year. The year before he was involved with the declaration of the traffic island in New cross as a site of buried treasure, pirate picnics and other free events on behalf of the Town Hall Pirates group he’d started. He helped open the “Failing Better” conference at Goldsmiths with his talk on the town hall slaver statues in 2006… and… annnd… more and more (see below)… I remember him best as the energy behind the Battle of Lewisham 77 walk and subsequent conference – seeing him at the organising meetings for these events with his usual unstoppable enthusiasm. Of course it took a lorry to stop him… That he can just be dead is incomprehensible, terrible, wrong.

The picture accompanying this post shows Paul in key position, immediately beside the megaphone at an activist event he orchestrated. This is the Battle of Lewisham walk, just outside the New Cross Inn. A sunny day in September.

Sophie Day – head of Anthropology Department, said to repost her letter below. I do so with a heavy heavy heart… and growing anger at the very personal way life is conspiring to take the best away from us. Thoughts to his wife Sasha and tiny daughter Agatha.

Dear All,

This is the letter I have sent to other Heads of Department for circulation to colleagues and students.

I am writing to tell you the very sad news of Paul Hendrich’s death. He was killed in a bicycle accident yesterday (Wednesday 16th January).

Many of you knew Paul and his death is a deep loss to us all. Paul was a very special person with some extremely rare qualities. His life was committed to engaging an everyday struggle against racism. His dissertation for the MA Applied Anthropology and Community and Youth Work, ‘Charting a new course for Deptford Town Hall’ (2006), developed through a campaign he initiated with the student union and led to further work commemorating the bicentenary of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade, including the Sankofa Reconciliation Walk in chains to Deptford Town Hall that he organised. He then hosted a conference at Goldsmiths to commemorate the Battle of Lewisham. Just before he died, he began a refugee health drop-in service in South London. Paul held a passionate belief that anthropology could and should be used for, and rethought through, the struggle against racism and it is this that guided his engagement with academia and his commitment to youth work. He deeply touched the lives of the staff and students at Goldsmiths as well as community activists by his commitment to this cause through campaigns, talks and conferences that he organised and participated in.

Paul completed his Masters with a distinction, a fact that he was quietly proud of, especially since he was the first person in his family to go to university. His brilliant dissertation will be published in the April issue of Anthropology Matters with an editorial from Alpa Shah. Goldsmiths Anthropology was particularly fortunate that Paul decided to pursue a PhD with us. At the time of his death, he was preparing to sail to Arizona, USA to research the various forms of activism that have taken shape around undocumented cross-border migration of Mexicans into the US.

Paul’s enthusiasm, generosity, kindness and inclusiveness drew everyone he met into the broader issues that he was thinking about and working on and those who were fortunate to know him could appreciate what a great youth worker he was and what a great field researcher he would have been. Paul’s research would have continued to make us rethink the theoretical and practical issues of engaging anthropology as praxis, and his death will be deeply mourned throughout Goldsmiths.

Paul was 36 years old; he was married to Sasha and had a one-year old daughter, Agatha. Sasha returned to work from maternity leave last week.

We shall write to Sasha shortly and are happy to forward letters you would like to send independently. Please mark envelopes for Sasha and leave at the Anthropology Office. We are organising a collection to which you are all invited to contribute via Sam Kelly (s.m.kelly@gold.ac.uk), which we shall forward to Sasha on Monday 28th January.

I shall write again as soon as we have news about the funeral arrangements.

I am sure you all join us in extending deep sympathy to Paul’s family,

Sophie Day on behalf of the Anthropology Department

Paul/visit of Pirates to New Cross Island

Paul/Migrating University (including translations which Paul helped collect).

Paul/Town Hall Trauma of History, See the forthcoming April issue of Anthropology Matters for Paul’s writing on this.

UPDATE:

memorial -
saturday 9th February 10.30 start in Great Hall Goldsmiths

and reception 3-6pm at Lansdowne Youth Centre

.

Bus Prowlers

Another bus dragnet style check on the 436 route today – about 25 police, ticket inspectors and officious looking I presume immigration inspectorate types stopping buses and examining all passengers, paying particular attention to profile groups.

This sort of sting is another perverse pantomime terror, targeting commuters on racial grounds under cover of ticket-checks and ‘protecting’ the citizenry from the threat of terror – the suburban terror threat on the 436 from Lewisham to Paddington. Pah.

Of course they spend half their day standing around chewing the fat (see pic) but this sort of swoop happens too often without comment. And we have to do more than heckle.

Russell Brand’s Elegantly Addled Drug Career Takes Flight in New Cross

In his now bestseller celebrity self-justification fun version of the footballer/popstar’s premature autobiography, former drug-fiend and co-winner of the year before last’s Big Fat Quiz, Russell Brand has done good (even though he came last in the quiz this NYE). “My Booky Wook” is erudite in a way that may surprise some, but since it is probably also predictable that he steps out with his glam warts and all – herpes? – persona patented on the model of a low-rent Johhny Depp crossed with Truman Capote and Julian Clary, I think no-one should be all that surprised at this effort to titillate and sallaciate with his tales. No doubt some literary-academic-intellectual types – I fear the implied readers of this forum – would neither read Brand nor expect a review of such a text here, and so will pass by with a big mother superior boring yawn but although Brand manages the celebrity-auto-bio format without the soccer or songs, it is clearly better written than most (see the Beckham family albums for the worst of each type). Having read Brand, albeit in between too much seasonal sneezing and spluttering, I think it is worthy of mature consideration even when it gives us heroic tales of not very much really – some school courses he did not complete, some projects that remain lost in obscure corners (his best the anti-Young-BNP piece that is on Youtube here: Naziboy), and some recovery-projects that seem unlikely to be permanent.

But revaluation of revaluations, my favourite bit was where he confesses that his drug problems are born in (educational) New Cross. Sort of. I quote:

“Dean had acquired some acid, sheets of it; I’d heard tell of its qualities, of how it made you hallucinate and readdress your life and I thought, ‘My God! This sounds extraordinary’. We went over to the YMCA after school, took some, and went back to his house in New Cross on the Tube.
With or without acid, New Cross can be mind-bending, so it’s the ideal venue to have something so fundamental as your perception of reality altered, because it just exposes everything – the world as you see it, even your own psyche – as a construction.
All the things you believe to be true are thrown into doubt. And what’s so ridiculous is the way that you take this extra-ordinarily powerful, potent drug: not in a hospital with someone making you sit down and have a glass of water, but on the way home from school with your daft mate, walking through New Cross all fragile and delicate”

There then follows an allusion to Huxley, but although Russell knows its a cliche to talk about how your hands can be fascinating while tripping, his commentary soon devolves into a meditation on body spray that has a Go Ask Alice quality about it anyway.

Which is what is both appealling and annoying about our the lovable scamp that our Russell is – yes, a Big Brother Big Mouth with Dadaist touches, snippets of Nietzsche and knowing references to alternative culture is so much better than the dumb drivel usually offered up for our entertainment, but at the very same time a knowing reference left obscure or never developed is just another holier than though gambit (like this sentence, and like that Ricky Gervais trash of BB in Extras).

So in the end I am mildly disappointed because exactly this sort of double take not quite unconvincing victimoglorification is oftentimes the trouble with drug-fiend memoirs. Nothing much new there, nothing much more than a morality tale about getting caught up in drugs, then struggling to get off them, and final triumph. The Brand book has a good deal of this format, but at least there is some sense that the drugs were fun at some point. Too often these sort of cod-confessionals erase the very reasons the poor sods took recreational drugs in the first place – recreation. A case in point would be Motley Crue guitarist Nikki Sixx’s book “Heroin Diaries” – a sad, paranoid and woefully written tedium that reminded me of a badly rendered version of that annoying movie “A Scanner Darkly”, which also left out the fun bits. These kind of books do not do the job properly, and so do us all a disservice. Brand, in comparison, gets closer,

Next in a series – SLASH (from Guns n Roses). I also got his book for Christmas. And plan to read it alongside Andrew Loog Oldham’s story of getting the Rolling Stones famous for being naughty boys and wasting himself on 1970s coke. Should be a welcome return to fun.

Migrating University and Facebook Data Mining

A flurry of activity. A frisson of excitement. And even though I am deeply suspicious of the format, facebook has been a good place to gauge the degree of interest in the Migrating University Project we are putting on through the Centre for Cultural Studies. Its no surprise that there are a half dozen large groups of Goldsmiths/New Cross facebookerists, but the best of them perhaps is the outfit that has produced the spin off badge that is in the picture in this post (itself a response to the rebranding of Goldsmiths that emerged from the Brand consultancy – those ‘radical’ badges now vastly improved dontchya think?).

Now, Facebook as data mining may produce various farragos of anxiety about the distributed nature of auto-panoptica that this format really is – you are watched, my friend, or you are not, but there will always be a trace. One of the better discussions of Facebook-paranoia-surveilance stems from Confused of Calcutta, but generally I am wary of the feedback loop of facebook or other format discussions. Blog comments on the nature of blogging seemed particularly viral a few years back. The point though is, by doing exactly this I get to both repost the So Fucking Goldsmiths pic, which is a must-have trinket, and mention some other education posts from earlier (here, here, here and here). It also gives me a chance to mention that the reason I’ve been on facebook this week is to promote the Migrating University event at Goldsmiths this friday and satuday – and to announce the program is updated here. All are welcome. You should come.

No Detentions, No Deportations, No Borders in Education, Freedom of Movement for All.

And there is a Migrating University group on Facebook as well, simple search should find it.

Image is from So Fucking Goldsmiths (oops, copyright theft, but if you search them on Facebook and join they will forgive me, right).

Gatwick No Border Camp 2007

http://no-racism.net/article/2244

[ 27. Aug 2007 ]

Gatwick No Border Camp 2007

From 19th to 24th of September 2007 a noborder camp will take place at Gatwick Airport near London.

As the government started to build a :: new immigration prison (Brook House at Gatwick Airport, near Crawley), the :: No Border Camp is getting :: closer: Sept 19-24. Among the :: various actions announced, Saturday, the 22nd, will see a :: demonstration from Crawley to Tinsley House, the already existing immigration prison at Gatwick, next to the planned site of the new centre. There will be workshops both :: at the camp and at :: Goldsmith University the week before, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the :: Battle of Lewisham.

Days after the Home Office :: told refugees “We’ll do everything we can to send you home”, 26 migrant prisoners :: escaped from Campsfield, Oxfordshire, following days of protests. The riot was the latest episode in the migrants struggle inside detention after the :: Harmondsworth riots last November.

Relentless protests, both inside adn outside detention, have managed to put many detention and deportation profiteers on the map. On 17 August, activists :: occupied the office of XL Airways in Crawley to protest against the charter airline’s role in forecul deportations on behalf of the Home Office. Several :: demonstrations have been announced for August 28th to protest against a planned charter flight to :: deport a number of rejected asylum seekers to DR Congo.

See also indymedia

Background info on the Gatwick No Border Camp 2007
No Borders & Migration Struggles
from various sources, 30 Aug 2007: From 19th to 24th of September 2007 a noborder camp will take place at Gatwick Airport near London.

As the government started to build a new immigration prison (Brook House at Gatwick Airport, near Crawley), the No Border Camp is getting closer: Sept 19-24. Among the various actions announced, Saturday, the 22nd, will see a demonstration from Crawley to Tinsley House, the already existing immigration prison at Gatwick, next to the planned site of the new centre. There will be workshops both at the camp and at Goldsmith University the week before, to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham.

Days after the Home Office told refugees “We’ll do everything we can to send you home”, 26 migrant prisoners escaped from Campsfield, Oxfordshire, following days of protests. The riot was the latest episode in the migrants struggle inside detention after the Harmondsworth riots last November.

Relentless protests, both inside and outside detention, have managed to put many detention and deportation profiteers on the map. On 17 August, activists occupied the office of XL Airways in Crawley to protest against the charter airline’s role in forecul deportations on behalf of the Home Office. Several demonstrations have been announced for August 28th to protest against a planned charter flight to deport a number of rejected asylum seekers to DR Congo.

Two years of No Borders UK
It was before the G8 2005 in Scotland that initiatives started to network around the issues of Freedom Of Movement in the UK again. A Make Borders History demo took place in Glasgow during the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland, calling at several institutions and companies involved in the Border Regime. Shortly after the G8, actvists forced the YMCA to withdraw from an “ayslum slavery Scheme”.

During the following year, No Borders groups were set up all over the country, in London, Brighton, Cardiff, Nottingham, Leeds and other cities. Regular demonstrations targeted immigration reporting centres and as well as detention centres.

The year 2006 saw the first UK-wide No Borders Gathering in London (on 11-12 March) at the Square Social Centre. Exactly one year later, another gathering was held in Glasgow at the Unity centre.

The initiatives naturally had different focal points, from fighting against dawn raids [1 2 3 4 5 6], anti-deportation actions (e.g. in Leeds ), campaigning against the point-based system, to solidarity with migrant workers (e.g. justice for cleaners) and, of course, demonstrations at immigration prisons.

In Glasgow, people started Unity, a union of by and for asylum seekers. In London, Harmondsworth became another focus of protests as well as building up practical support for detainees.

The October 7th Network organised a demonstration in London as part of the Transnational Day Of Action for migrants’ rights. However, when the Home Office disclosed plans to build a new immigration prison at Gatwick, the new Brook House became a focus for the whole network.

The upcoming No Border Camp is organised by No Borders groups from Birmingham, Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Sheffield and Cardiff and supported by Barbed Wire Britain, Unity, Feminist Against Borders, West Midlands Antifa, Sex Workers Union, Vapaa Liikkuvuus (freedom of movement-group in Finland), Campaign to Close Campsfield, No One Is Illegal, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and many more.

The next Camp public meeting will take place on September 2nd in Brighton.

There will be a meeting on Monday 3rd September in London to discuss the Tinsley House demonstration.

Events During The No Border Camp:
Thursday, 20th September

Welcome Demonstration – Crawley Town Centre, 5pm-7pm. To inform people about and invite them to participate in the No Border Camp.

Friday, 21st September:

Gathering at Lunar House, the Home Office reporting centre in East Croydon, 10am-2pm. A convergeance between those who have papers and those who don’t; information-sharing, exchanging stories, food and music.

Saturday 22nd September

Transnational Demonstration at Tinsley House detention dentre at Gatwick, 12pm-2pm. Tinsley House, which has a capacity of 146, was the first purpose-built detention centre in the UK. The new planned Gatwick detention centre is to be built close by.

Later that day, groups will present their work and experiences in a Transnational Forum at the camp.

Workshops

Announced workshops so far include ones with migration controls, ID Cards, practical support of people in detention, the political situation in the Middle East, alternative media, experiences from campaigns against companies and much more.

Migrating University

Migrating University is a set of workshops at Goldsmith University in the week before the No Border Camp.

Indymedia at the No Border Camp

As usual, IMC UK will be present at the No Border Camp. There will a public access tent, help with publishing and image processing, as well as workshops about alternative media.

http://www.wombles.org.uk/article2007081224.php

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