The London Clearances

architectsforsocialhousing

I want to begin with those often-quoted words scribbled down by Marx 170 years ago: ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.’ This famous statement poses the question of the role of knowledge within the relations of power. It’s a role we should consider within the housing movement when engaging in what is not an academic debate, but a struggle for survival.

1. The Housing Crisis

In the lead up to the recent Labour Party leadership elections, Architects for Social Housing (ASH) was contacted by some people making a film for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. They asked us if there were any policy changes in housing we wanted to see brought in. We said ‘Yeah, one or two . . .’ In terms of policies, the failures of Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to guarantee affordable housing…

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Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m currently reading some of the works of Harvey Pekar, writer of American Splendor, whose words are the title of this post. One passage in particular struck a cord – although written 4 decades ago it still has more relevance than ever. Pekar wrote a piece on his being called to perform jury service and how his criticisms of the justice system saw that he wasn’t called to serve, and the consternation they caused among the judiciary and prosecution lawyers.

That night I thought about the so called justice system in this country and got madder and MADDER. Rich people like Nixon and Agnew go free while some poor people get years in the slammer for committing far less serious crimes.

These right wingers bitch about all the crime in this country. But they don’t have any idea about how much some of their values have t’do with causin’ it. America is a country where competition rather than co-operation is praised, where it’s thought that society will benefit from people being set against each other.  America is a violence loving country where people like John Wayne.. are considered heroes and heroines. America is a country where the successful man is thought to be the rich man, where honesty, diligence, outstanding scholarship and artistic achievements that bring no financial reward are looked upon with indifference.

America is a country where it’s considered OK and even clever to break the law as long as you can get away with it. Richard Nixon wasn’t disgraced because he was dishonest. People had known he was crooked for a long time, he was disgraced because he got caught.

Add these factors up and it’s no wonder you got people who want money and material luxuries and are willing to use illegal means, including violence, t’get them. If they’re caught, they’re considered losers, but if they get away with it there’ll be plenty of people in this country that’ll praise ’em.

What I like about Pekar is that he is a man of strong principles because they are right – he doesn’t do things to be seen to be doing right or as a better person. The piece that follows the jury service story tells of a colleague who sometimes gives Pekar a lift home. The colleague is praised for her selflessness and how much she cares for other but Pekar’s main theme is how he sometimes has to wait for his lift because she is helping out someone else. This pisses him off. It’s a consistent theme in his work, his petty annoyances and near solipsism when dealing with other people.  In being so honest about himself he indeed exposes the complexity of life and of those who live it. Who knows, the selfless co-worker may have gone home, kicked the cat and shouted at the telly about immigration. Or maybe not.

Anyway, I really just wanted to post his words on justice. So, erm, yeah.

Read some Pekar, and fuck the justice system.

Harvey Pekar-9

Categories: comics, Harvey Pekar Tags: , ,

Yet another person killed

October 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Calais Migrant Solidarity

Another person dead this morning.

According to the local newspaper:

“A migrant died after being run over by a Eurotunnel freight train”

“On their arrival owards 02.15, the emergency services found that it was impossible to identify the age, sex or nationality of the person, because their body had been “torn to shreds over more than 400 metres” just after the impact, according to the operational centre for the fire and rescue service (Codis) of the Pas de Calais region.”

As has now become standard, Eurotunnel in its twitter announcement feed referred to an unspecified “incident” causing delays of an hour, for which it apologised to passengers.

Elsewhere in Fortress Europe yesterday, an Afghan man was shot dead by Bulgarian police, and seven people including three children and a baby were killed off the island of Lesvos when the Greek coast police crashed into their wooden boat.

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What is #wecantmarch?

On May 9th, 2015, thousands of people marched in London and demonstrated in Cardiff, just a day after we woke up to a Tory majority government. Several more rallies and demonstrations have been planned for the next few weeks (e.g. Sheffield and Bristol), and local and national anti-austerity groups are finding the energy to fight back.

Not all of us are able to participate in these actions.

Within its first 24 hours of being thought up and used, thousands of tweets were made using #wecantmarch and it gained a huge amount of attention on Twitter. So many amazing radical people – disabled, trans, queer, people of colour, working class, international, parents and those with caring responsibilities, and people who intersect many of these categories – are contributing to the hashtag. People are offering stories about why they cannot march against Tory cruelty, celebrating alternative forms of radical activism, demonstrating their…

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Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month

Otherwise known as EDS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a condition that I hadn’t even heard of until I made some excellent friends on the Twitters. One of those friends has written something that I would like to share with you, and hope that you will share with others.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness month!

Have you heard of EDS? I hadn’t until I was diagnosed.
All my life since I was born, I’ve had health problems that were seemingly unconnected. I have hearing problems, bowel and stomach problems, breathing problems, joint and muscle problems, fatigue and pain problems etc and etc. When I was old enough to start questioning it, no one seem to have an answer. Doctors didn’t know, my parents didn’t know.

It began to have an impact on my school work. I was often too exhausted and found it difficult to concentrate. Despite trying to tell teachers, they weren’t very helpful. I was dislocating joints and was in pain everyday. No one had an answer. I was advised not to do P.E by my hospital.

Then as I got older and started work, it got harder and harder. The symptoms worsened and I struggled to even stand. I would often ask to sit down. I would spend a ridiculous amount of time being sick and being in the toilets. I was dizzy and felt I couldn’t breathe. Sometimes I would pass out.

Eventually employers had enough. I would be sacked, one after the other. They could do it because I had nothing to prove that I was ill.

Then in 2012, I could no longer walk properly. I couldn’t climb stairs. Every step hurt. I was referred to Rheumatology and was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

The doctor told me that I was born with faulty collagen, the stuff that is used as a structure to build you with. It’s like a house with faulty material, it’s never going to stay upright together unless you use the proper materials. Without the proper collagen, your body doesn’t function quite like everyone else’s despite looking the same.

It was a huge relief to me, to find out after 25 years that I finally have an answer.

No I can’t be cured. Yes, I’ll be ill and disabled for the rest of my life. But I’m okay with that. I have wonderful friends and family.

Hope this helps!

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Poem – Dr SeUSSKip Says.. I Do Not Like Nigel Farage!

The Mark Hurst Blog

seuss

I do not like him on a train,
Or on a bus, or an aeroplane,
Or in a car, or on a barge
I do not like Nigel Farage.

I do not like his hair or eyes
I do not like his shape or size
I do not like his pints or fags
The points he makes, his finger wags
His supporters, or his entourage
And I do not like Nigel Farage.

I do not like him in debates, or in the pub
Or with his mates
For him, my glass, I’ll never charge
As I do not like him,
That Farage.

I do not like his ruse, his mission
To schmooze his way to a Coalition
I do not like his crude ambition
I do not like the guy’s skewed vision
I don’t like his yellow and purple rosettes
Or the bellowing manifestos he sets
Like the worst excesses…

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Labour manifesto is the end of social housing and the incompetent ‘sector’ doesn’t even realise

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