Saturday 30 November 2013

Radicle Housing Network new national group formed

Radicle housing network had its second meeting last week and is fast signing up housing groups across the UK in defense of Council homes and calling for rent control a major weekend is planned for last weekend in April 2014 to build the movement and to see how it can support and empower other housing activists across the UK, the details on this will shortly be confirmed and People Before Profit is proud to be part of this movement, keep an eye on this blog for updates, or follow me on twitter as then i am able to keep you in touch with all the housing groups across the UK, many of which follow me on twitter, so you get all the housing news and ideas and news from every one working to save our homes. Follow on twitter @Raywoolford @PeopleB_4Profit

Bedroom Tax A Song for our for the movement to sing at demos and marches and when presenting petitions

People Before Profit (@PeopleB_4Profit) 29/11/2013 00:14 #bedroomtax @BedTaxMcr @No_BedroomTax @BrumBedroomTax @BedTaxLeigh @No2BedroomTax @BedTaxNotts We Will Survive Video Download the official Twitter app here Lewisham People Before Profit, have a Bedroom Tax sensation with this Gloria Gaynor classic, I will Survive.. The Bedroom Tax, Lewisham People Before Profit presented hundreds of signatures to Lewisham Council meeting in November calling on Labour not to evict people to poor to pay. Liam put on a frock and did a great job turning this into a You Tube sensation and a possible Number one to high light Ian duncan smith and his role in the Bedroom tax, Please forward this as widely as you can, help insure I will survive the Bed tax is number 1 this Christmas. Follow @Raywoolford on Twitter.

Deptford Society and On a Winters Day December 9th shopping and arts event on Deptford High Street

The Newly formed Deptford Society have launched a major Christmas event as part of the National Campaign to support local small shops on Saturday December the 7th 10am-4.30 . Called On a Winters Day, Local creative artists will insure the High street comes alive with Art Music and fun., Start the day at Griffin square to sign up as a member of Deptford society, and enjoy the food market whilst enjoying the live music. Then explore the high street ann all the interesting streetsc of the high street whilst discovering the reason why Deptford High street was voted the Nations best. Deptford Community Cookbook Project will be doing demos, Children can paint faces and make hats to transform themselfs into Elfs to support Santa on his Visit, Gold balloons will help people find out what events are happening and a giant map with high light all the areas treasure, as Build the Lenox bringfs a sense of Dockyards history to life with Dress, Cannon and songs from the times of the great Ships..More on Follow me on twitter @Raywoolford We Care Food Bank at 467 New Cross road will also be open till 5pm for people to shop for Christmas Bric Brac and Christmas cards as well as drop of any donations to the Food Bank and charity shop.

Tuesday 26 November 2013

The Deptford high street Anchor and the campaign to protect our heritage & locals sense of identity .

Ok , why has it gone? why have pictures of the Anchor started to go up in windows across Deptford and New Cross, why are street lamps asking. " Missing  the Anchor, have you seen it ?"  last nights Deptford Society meeting was dominated by the much loved Anchor and its removal from its position at the end of deptford high street linking New Cross road.
Council officials seem to be giving out mixed messages, one group say the Anchor was removed as part of the refurbishment of Deptford high street, whilst most support the other reason being given, was that the Anchor had become a meeting point for the local drinking community at all hours of the day and night, and that by removing the anchor from the high street you would end the drinking problem.
What ever the reason, Labour Lewisham have taken the anchor away and we are told it is in storage at Convoy wharf. What a Hong Kong investment company is doing storing an important part of local history instead of the Council is a further mystery, but the return of the anchor cannot come back soon enough,.
Present proposals are for the anchor to be placed at the roundabout as this would be difficult to access but easy to be seen as a landmark, and would put pressure on Labour Lewisham to at least have the anchor in an open place rarther than it vanish with time.
Other proposals are Griffen Square or in its original spot less the seating , however this story is moving fast, and possible the best site for it has come up due to a planning application.
Lewisham Council has a planning application to refurbish and plant tress etc at the front of Deptford Station, Deptford Society and others, and i think People Before Profit would also support this location as part of the landscaping of the station area to give a link to the high street to stop and raise awareness to the huge numbers of people using the station, many of which end up  by-passing the shops and local traders on the high street.
 Last year People Before Profit did a survey at the One se8 development as people set of for work each day to find out how many people shopped in Deptford, we were staggered to discover only 2% out of 1100 residents interviewed said they had ever been to Deptford high street even though it was only 300 yards away, People Before Profit have for years raised this issue with Lewisham, that new builds bringing in new people is not and presently does not translate into business for local traders.
It is therefore extremly important that Lewisham Council planning department look at using this planning oppertunity of placing the Anchor in such a major juction reflecting the areas heritage and idendity and in return we hope boosting the local economy. Sadly we hjave no PB4P councillors yet, but it is worth emailing Councillors and the Mayor and MP to raise the profile before this great oppertunity is missed.
Some people have suggested moving the railway carrage, presently occupied by squatters  to other areas around the high street but the cost on this seems huge whilst the place it presently sits has been promised and signed over to Lewisham Council for a welcome to Deptford Kiosk with a funding pot of £34.000, needless to say going by Labour Lewisham record on public funds, delays and lack of vision or control has lead to wide spread concern in the community that like the kiosk and the anchor, unless residents speak out , this money will go.
Follow on Twitter @Raywoolford

Monday 25 November 2013

Food Banks. Click to see first list of Countrys 700 plus food banks, Location and details.

Image removed by sender.
Update: 700+ Food Banks operating in the UK. A full list here:… Many thanks to everyone who helped me compile this

We Care has Started the National association of Independent Food Banks. To get in touch Email Ray woolford or follow Ray on Twitter; @Raywoolford

Click on above blue link to go straight to the full list .

Interesting Blog on importance and role of community activists.

6 reasons radicals might find party politics helpful

Posted on November 16, 2013 by  | 3 Comments
I have a generalist attitude to political campaigning. To use the traditional metaphor, I think that left wing social movements should use all of the tools in the box. These include civil disobedience, and mass public mobilisations, and education, and publicity stunts. And electioneering is one such gadget. Specifically, I’m a member of the Green Party, but why it’s best is not what I want to chat about today.
I’ve been involved in different ways over the years in applying various of the sorts of gizmos that left wing activists tend to use in the UK. I’ve found most of them amazingly helpful for some things and all to be utterly useless for others. Using a feather duster to crack a nut doesn’t work. You might, however, want to present it as a comedy trophy to a corporate boss who’s soiled with corruption. Blockading a street is a useless way to convince its residents to support you, but a wonderful way to stop a military convoy from going along it.
And as well as being useful or not in particular contexts, I’ve found that different kinds of tactic don’t just have short term impacts, but longer ones too. They teach us lessons about the world. They push us in a particular direction. They shape us, and they shape our movements. In that context, I often find it frustrating when people dismiss party politics and standing in elections as tactics. I think they can be really useful. Here are six reasons why.
1) Regular elections help keep you active
Without clear some kind of structure, I find work hard. With no to-do lists or deadlines, it’s only the headache from a dearth of caffeine which gets me out of bed before midday. Without a required output, I am liable to waste my afternoons away on Facebook.
The same often seems true of social movements. Electoral politics are helpful because they provide a clear timetable. There are regular (usually roughly annual) elections of some sort or another to get excited about and to build momentum up to. There are cycles of conferences to persuade of your policy passions. There are doors to knock on or to push leaflets through.
Mass street movements flash every now and then. Once they’ve passed, people become despondent, and drift back into their lives, nothing new to excite them. Regular elections, on the other hand, like regular board game nights or Sunday brunches for an old group of friends, keep people active and involved in the slow times as well as the fast. They give you something to get out of bed for.
2) Regular elections keep you recruiting
It’s way too easy for activist groups to end up as cliques: people meet through some kind of political activity – on a protest, perhaps. They drift into a friendship group. Gradually they spend more and more of their time going for drinks together and less and less of their time recruiting new people. Soon, you find radical activism full of affinity groups of chums, with too few entry points and no new recruits.
Now, political parties are certainly susceptible to this problem too. But if this happens, they quickly lose. And so there is an ongoing pressure to break the walls of the clique, to find new people and to maintain contact with that guy who’s a bit annoying but excellent at website maintenance. Or whatever. And this is a good thing.
More importantly, there is an endless practical pressure to reflect the diversity of your community. If you want to win, you have to know the major issues angering every street you seek to represent: the things which are pissing off each ethnic group; the gripes of the young and the dreams of the old; the injustices faced by your local LGBT community and the barriers erected in front of their disabled neighbours, the concerns of those who work and the worries of those who care for their children or parents. You need votes from women and trans people, from long term residents and transient people. If your work isn’t at the very least guided by, and ideally led by, those embedded in all these communities, living these lives, then you erode your collective chances of success. Every activist group I’ve ever been in has talked about how diversity matters, but only in political parties is the imperative so overwhelmingly obvious.
3) Canvassing helps you see outside your bubble
I know loads of awesome activists, who spend nearly all of their waking lives organising against the powerful, and yet who have never once knocked on a door and spoken to the stranger behind it about what matters in their life. Of course, it’s entirely possible to canvass without a party rosette (though you can’t get the full electoral register, which makes it harder). But there is much more of an immediate drive to do so if your aim is to win a vote. And door-knocking is vital, I think, for three reasons.
First, if you believe that radicals are never going to win through the pages of the corporate media, then we need to be able to communicate in other ways. There are various of these. But best of all is face to face chats – they are to us what Fox News is to right wing America: it is how we pass on our messages, unfiltered. They have the airwaves. We must have the streets.
Second, it changes the canvasser. We are, too often, taught to believe that politics is an abstract geeky hobby. We are told it’s like Star Trek or stamp collecting, but without the popular support. In fact, it’s about people, communities – what they yearn for when they enthuse in the pub and what they fear when they can’t sleep at night. There are few better ways to be reminded of this than knocking on strangers’ doors, and asking them what matters most to them.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, canvassing is how I charge up my belief in human goodness. We live in a world where adverts and newspapers attempt to divide us. Capitalist realism – the doctrine that there is no alternative – depends on the trope of the lonely left winger. We are forever persuaded to believe that people are the tabloids they read: selfish and cruel and, most of all, right wing.
You only need to knock on the doors down any street in the country I have ever visited to discover that this is a lie. People are awesome. And kind. And funny. And on many issues – many of the most important issues – they aresignificantly more left wing than the mainstream would ever let on. On other issues – such as immigration – people have been persuaded by reactionaries. But they are remarkably easy to sway: they wish, most of all, to be kind. Humans are instinctively solidaristic. Nudge them onto an explanatory track along which they can be, and they will be. Or that’s my experience.
4) Elections let you see what works
In an election, your success is mathematically measurable. If you make a mistake, you find out pretty quickly: polling day is an inescapable deadline. If you get something right, it’s easy to tell. All too often when I’ve been involved in other kinds of campaigns, it’s been incredibly hard to know if what we were doing was working. It is entirely possible I’ve spent years following plans that were never going to work. Of course, that doesn’t mean I was wrong to do that thing – some of the most important contributions are almost impossible to measure. But it’s sometimes nice to get speedy feedback. Even if you believe the aim of electing someone is futile, learning how to mobilise your local community around the issues you care about is helpful, surely?
5) If you win, you get a paid organiser
Local councillors go to a formal meeting a couple of times a month or so. But the rest of the time, they are basically paid to organise their community. They usually aren’t paid well enough to be full time, but having someone in your activist group with any salary to organise in your area is pretty damned useful. Without it, energy soon saps as people are dragged into busy lives and monthly rent requirements.
6) Parties encourage you to think systemically
Too much of modern activism involves talking about one issue as though it is the only and the most important one. Political parties, by their nature, end up discussing and engaging in policy on the whole range of issues. They bring together activists who are passionate and knowledgable about different things. The result is that it’s hard not to begin to think about the systems behind what you’re all campaigning on and the potential strategies for overcoming them.
None of these are reasons not to do other things – I may one day write six reasons that civil disobedience is awesome, or seven reasons to join a trade union, or a treatise on why NGOs aren’t always terrible. Etc. And of course, I haven’t touched on the fact that engaging in party politics is a direct confrontation to one important form of power exercised by our rulers – that secured through elections. Nor have I mentioned that it allows us to secure the soft (shaping the debate) and hard (voting on motions) powers of elected politicians – because they are obvious. But they are, obviously, true, and crucial, too.
I should also probably say that, for some people, party politics probably isnt the right thing. We can’t all do everything.  But I think it probably would be useful for many more radicals than are currently in a party. So, go on. Think about joining one. And if you are wondering which one, well, you know where I stand.
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  1. Clive LordNo Gravatar
    November 22nd, 2013 @ 12:22 am
    Nothing wrong with what Adam says here. Pity he gives the impression that he sees the Green Party only as a vehicle for left wing politics. Social justice (not quite the same thing) and a sustainable planet are interdependent, but the Green Party was founded for the latter purpose.
  2. Rob BrookesNo Gravatar
    November 22nd, 2013 @ 10:01 am
    left wing politics. Social justice (not quite the same thing) -
    I think believing in social justice is the same thing as left wing politics. I can’t see how it is possible not to be SEEN as left wing if you seriously want to make the world a place where it is possible for everyone to live in a healthy environment. Essentially this means regulating capitalism to such an extent that it will always been seen as radically left and so ferociously attacked by the media.
    It would be possible to be an environmentalist and right wing I suppose, if environmentalism only means maintaining a low pollution environment and combating climate change, ie getting back to the extremely wealthy and serfs, but I hope few people would regard the green party as taking that vision.


  1. Tuesday Treats « dorkymum

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    Thursday 21 November 2013

    People Before Profit part of the base for our Green energy policy as part of 2014 Local Council election manefesto

    Renewable Energy in Wildpoldsried

    In 1997, people of Wildpoldsried, in some cases acting as individuals, began a series of projects that produce renewable energy. The first efforts were wind turbines and biomass digesters for cogeneration of heat and power. In the time since, new work has included a number of energy conservation projects, more wind and biomass use, small hydro plants, photovoltaic panels on private houses, and district heating. Tied to this are ecological flood control and wastewater systems.
    Today, the effects of this are an unforeseen level of prosperity resulting in construction of nine new community buildings, including a school, gymnasium, and community hall, complete with solar panels. There are three companies operating four biogas digesters with a fifth under construction. There are seven windmills with two more on the way. One hundred and ninety private households are equipped with solar, which pays them dividends. The district heating network has 42 connections. There are three small hydro power plants. Wildpoldsried now produces 321 percent more energy than it needs and is generating 4.0 million Euro in annual revenue. At the same time, there has been a 65% reduction in the town’s carbon footprint.[2]

    Tuesday 19 November 2013

    Southwark Labour and its shameful abuse of power to put greed and profit before Tenants & Community Need on Heygate Estate

    Southwark sends in the Heavies

    Nov 06, 2013 08:08 pm

    Adrian Glasspool, the last resident of the Heygate estate was forcibly evicted from his home of 16 years. A team of bailiffs from Shergroup Ltd accompanied by police and officers from Southwark Council arrived at lunchtime, and after a short conversation Adrian left - with the help of the bailiffs. No notice of the impending eviction was issued to Adrian, his surveyor or solicitor.

    Adrian’s home passed into Southwark’s ownership on Monday. On the same day Adrian, his surveyor and Southwark’s surveyor met to make a final valuation of the property. Southwark’s surveyor formally asked Adrian to leave that day. Adrian said that he would leave as soon as he received a call from his solicitor telling him that his compensation payment had been paid into his solicitor’s holding account.
    Southwark made no payment and instead today it went ahead with a forced eviction. This evening it informed Adrian’s surveyor that payment will be made - after his eviction and less its £5,500 cost.

    Brute force and ignorance

    Why did Southwark Council resort to physical force to remove Adrian? It clearly had the paperwork all ready to go, and was willing to authorise payment - after his eviction.
    Southwark has behaved vindictively: Adrian and other leaseholders have fought long and hard to get a just amount for their homes. Homes they did not want to leave in an area where they can now no longer live. Unfortunately their battle was without success, but it was too much for Southwark who had to explain themselves at length at the CPO public inquiry in Feb 2013, when amongst many other embarrassing facts it was revealed that only 45 Heygate residents have been rehoused in new homes at the Elephant.

    Leaseholders beware

    This must also be an alarming event for any leaseholder in Southwark who lies in the path of a regeneration scheme - and there are many, including 580 on the Aylesbury estate just down the road from the Heygate. Southwark Council have shown that they are not willing to either negotiate or compromise but will instead resort to the harshest methods to get their own way.
    Southwark has broken every promise ever made to the residents of the Heygate whether they were leaseholders or tenants, and it seems fitting that the very last of the 3,000 forced out since 2007 should require the assistance of bailiffs. It is entirely consistent with the shabby treatment residents have received right from the beginning of this whole sorry excuse for a regeneration scheme.

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    The end for the last Heygate residents

    Oct 27, 2013 10:01 pm

    Southwark Council stole our homes and we are not going to forget it.
    Terry Redpath Former Heygate Leaseholder
    The final two Heygate residents must leave the estate by 4th Nov. These will be the last of the 990 households still resident on the Heygate when the notorious Heygate Action Plan was put into effect in 2007. This plan decreed that everybody would be moved off the estate before the new homes they were promised would rehouse them were built.
    The final residents have been told that if they are not gone by 4th Nov the bailiffs will be knocking at their doors. They are in a quandary however: The compensation they need to buy a new home will not be paid until after they have left.
    A request to Southwark Council that the compensation be paid before they leave - which only seems reasonable - has been refused. On top of this, Southwark has threatened to reduce the compensation by the amount required to pay any bailiffs and associated legal costs.
    In response to an enquiry as to what housing might be available should leaseholders have nowhere to go, Southwark first referred them to its emergency housing services, who then said that it had no legal obligation to provide temporary accommodation and suggested staying with friends and family.
    Watch the Video
    This is a very long way from ‘NEW HOMES FOR HEYGATE’ where every resident on the estate - whether tenant or leaseholder - was promised a new home in one of 16 replacement housing sites.
    It is worth remembering what was promised:

    Leaseholders were originally offered a shared equity option on buying a new home in one of 16 replacement housing sites and the new-build Heygate homes[1]. But despite reaching the point of being asked to choose what kind of layout they preferred for their new homes, the shared equity option never got written into the final agreements with the developers of the sites, and no leaseholders were able to move into any of the replacement housing sites or the new Heygate homes. When asked at the recent CPO public inquiry why leaseholders didn’t get the new homes that they had been promised, the council’s lead officer replied “I don’t know, I wasn’t employed by the council at the time the promises were made. But the new homes will be open for anybody to purchase and I am sure Lend Lease will be happy to sell to anybody.”:
    Watch the Video
    Most leaseholders have subsequently been forced to relocate to outer London boroughs because of the low valuations offered in compensation for their homes. Any leaseholder wanting to return to the Heygate will have to compete with overseas buyers at market prices well beyond their means. New-build Heyate homes are currently being sold at prices starting from £340,000 for a 1-bed flat, and are being heavily marketed overseas in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

    Analysis of information received from FOI requests shows that the average compensation received by leaseholders as the council’s valuation of their homes is as follows:
    • 1 Bed flat - £95,480
    • 2 Bed flat - £107,230
    • 3 Bed Maisonette - £156,833
    • 4 Bed Maisonette - £177,421
    This is why most have been forced to relocate outside central London.
    In a recent interview with Property Week magazine, former Heygate leaseholder Terry Redpath said “We could no longer afford to stay in the area: the compensation we received plus £45,000 of life savings bought us a terraced property 15 miles out of London. I feel that we have been forced to give up our home to accommodate the building of homes for overseas investors.”
    Redpath is a former Southwark housing officer who lived on the estate for 35 years, and whose family has lived in the area for generations. On average the compensation paid to leaseholders amounts to around a quarter of the price of the new Heygate homes.
    When Southwark Council took the decision to push residents off the estate in 2007, it wasn’t just bad news for Heygate residents, it was the first step towards putting any new Heygate homes beyond the reach of most people in London.

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    Follow Ray on Twitter to keep up to date on housing and community action. @Raywoolford