Diddly squats reports - Cambridge, London & Brighton [updated - eviction threat]

Cambridge: former Wilco building squatted - to be turned into social centre
Wilco squat 1: police leavingWilco squat 2: neighbour's complaint
On Monday night, 19 May, the former Wilco building on Mill Road (the very site where Tesco want to open a new supermarket) was squatted. On Tuesday afternoon, acting on a 'tip off' from a neighbour, armed police entered the premised on the pretext of looking for illegal drugs. There were a total of three police cars, a police van, and at least eight officers. The premises were searched, but no illegal substances (bar a supermarket trolley that was already on site) were found. The building is now being turned into a social centre. Tonight (Tuesday) there will be a big clear up, before the space is spruced up with some furniture. There are plans for a cinema corner, an activity corner, and a space to hang out and drink coffee and tea.

Please come and help with the clear up or donate some furniture, rugs, etc.

The squat or the social centre are not connected to the No Tesco on Mill Road campaign, but will create a more useful, positive role for the building.


WominSpace Eviction, the story of a squatted social center in East London

The short-lived but infamous WominSpace Social Center by Mare Street was, after a successful resistance, and some weeks of tension, eventually evicted on the 9th of May.

For the past three months the WominSpace social center has hosted amongst other things, welding, stencil-making, herbal skill-share, feminist singing workshops, photoshop and piracy, and a women’s direct action group. There has been a DIY Womin’s Health weekend, regular café and kids space. The space has been open to all self-identified women and trans people and aimed to be respectful to each individual’s autonomy and experience.

Although we managed to resist the first eviction with wider support from friends and the North East London Squatters Network, we have now lost our house by the canal in East London.

Out of experiences with the WominSpace it was decided to form an anarcha-feminist collective, open to all self-identified women and trans people. If you want to be part of the early stages of forming this collective, get in touch: womenorganise@yahoo.co.uk


New Name, New Website, Old Threat
Bowl Court
London's latest social centre has finally given itself a name, set up its own website and received a visit from the owners saying "get out!"

Squatted over the long Ester weekend in March the new social centre opened its doors on the 11th April for the International Days of Action For Squats and Autonomous Spaces.

Among the activities over that weekend was a Squatters Estate Agency which attracted the attention of the mainstream media.

Operating with an open collective in the style of the rampART social centre that proceeded it, the new social centre took some time to reach consensus on a name. Among those in the running were Two Point Two (indicating only its lineage and legacy in relation to the rampART), Front Line (indicating it's strategic position between Shoreditch and the expanding developments of the city), The Liberty of Norton Folgate (a reference to a historic 'freespace') and Sod The Rich (a handy anagram of Shoreditch). However in the end the name Bowl Court was agreed, which simply and unorriginally refers to the little cobbled street the building is located in.

Finaly given a name a new website was set up (see http://bowlcourt.co.nr) but no sooner than the site created, the owners of the building put a downer of things by dropping round to say 'get the fuck off my land'.

Needless to say, this is far from the end of the story, perhaps just the beginning, and now is the time to get involved.

The location is amazing and offers an unrepeatable opportunity to work with the local community against the massive wave of development threatening to sweep away much of Shoreditch.

The collective meets every monday at 7pm. You will find Bowl Court off Plough Yard which is next to the Drunken Monkey at the junction of Shoreditch Hight St and Great Eastern Street. (See the map here http://tinyurl.com/4xeq2q)

If you need to contact us, email bowlcourt@riseup.net or phone 0208 8192596


Free Skool event this thursday

thursday 22nd from 7pm onwards people will be coming together at bowl court social centre to discuss the concept of a free skool and how this could be put into practice within the space.

so, this is a call for people who want to share knowledge and skills to come and get involved. through the institutionalisation of education, knowledge is taken out of the hands of the masses. a free skool aims to reclaim that education for all through sharing theoretical and practical knowledge. this can involve anything from a one off workshop on building a bicycle powered washing machine to individuals with shared interests meeting on a regular basis. come along to bowl court social centre (6 bowl court, off plough yard, next to the great eastern street/shoreditch high street junction) at 7pm on thursday if you are interested. if you cant make it but would like to get involved email us at bowlcourt@riseup.net


Bowl Court social centre under threat

the new social centre in shoreditch was served papers today for a court hearing on the 4th june. the owners hammerson have no immediate interest in the building which they have yet to secure planning consent to demolish for their huge redevelopement plans for the area. the developments are the biggest in london since the creation of dockland and canary warf.

the social centre which was opened last month for the days of action for squats and autonomous spaces is planning to fight this threat loudly through the mainstream media and to contribute as much as possible to the campaigns against the bishops place developement during the time left in the building.

hammerson is a massive property company concentrating mostly on retail and office parks. they are partcularly active in the uk, france and germany.

more info soon....

if you can help the social centre go on the offensive on this, please get in touch

bowlcourt at riseup dot net


East London Against Gentrification: Two Events this week

Both Wednesday the 21st and Saturday the 24th will see two events held in East london hosting international activists from the Vancouver Anti Poverty Committee, (Canada) and the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (Harlem, NYC) both fighting gentrifcation and displacement. See details below.

Vancover Anti Poverty Committee Fight the Olympics: Public Talk on Wednesday the 21st of May 8pm

Action Eastend and London Coalition Against Poverty (LCP) are organising a joint public meeting for a Canadian comrade involved in the Anti Poverty Committee in Canada and anti-olympic solidarity there, she is going to be in London on the Wednesday 21st May
and is going to introduce the 'Five Ring Circus' film about the travesty of the 2010 Winter Olympics and is willing to discuss and answer any questions people have.
Please feel welcome to attend and please distribute as widely as possible.

Venue is at

Film Trailer

Anti Poverty Committee

Movement for Justice in El Barrio: Gentrification from Harlem to Dalston
Public Talk Saturday the 24th of May

Juan Haro, a speaker from Movement for Justice in El Barrio will talk in Dalston, about their struggle against displacement by gentrification in Harlem, New York city. On Saturday the 24th of May @ Passing Clouds, on Richmond Rd, just off Kingsland road in Dalston, 10 mins from Dalston Kingsland Station. Buses: 149, 242, 243, 67.Free or donation entry to talk from 7.00pm.

Followed by Latin bands and DJs hosted by Movimientos at around 9pm "From folkloric to electronic Movimientos is the sound of London's Latin alternative". (£5 entry)

Dalston, like many other parts of London is undergoing development that will mean rent rises for tenants already struggling to pay extortionate London rents. When an area becomes appealing for investors and "regeneration" it's those people with money who end up enjoying the new housing, expensive cafes and shops, and the people with less money who end up having to move further away from the centre of the city or who, if they stay, lose the shops, cafes and resources they rely on. Movement for Justice, the organization of tenants in Harlem, New York that have been struggling against the landlords that want to price them out of their area say;

"This displacement is created by the greed, ambition and violence of a global empire of money that seeks to take total control of all the land, labor and life on earth. Here in El Barrio (East Harlem, New York City), landlords, multi-national corporations and local, state and federal politicians and institutions want to force upon us their culture of money, they want to displace poor families and rent their apartments to rich people, white people with money. They want to change the look of our neighborhood, with the excuse of "developing the community."

The talk will explore issues around resisting gentrification and the model of organization that Movement for Justice have used to work with each other – an inspiring and educational example from across the Atlantic that we could learn from in London.

"Together, we make our dignity resistance and we fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who are displacing poor families from our neighborhood. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against local politicians that refuse to govern by obeying the will of the people. We fight back against the government institutions that enforce a global economic, social and political system that seeks to destroy humanity."

Talk organized by Hackney Solidarity Network, Hackney Independent, Haringey Solidarity Group and London Coalition Against Poverty.

Contact: hackneysolidarity@hotmail.co.uk


Also for news on what's happening at the Spike squatted centre in South London, see http://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/20636

Free Kaff in Brighton
88 London Road free food stall
Residents and supporters of 88 London Road, Brighton - the former Methodist church where a recent eviction attempt was successfully resisted - have been holding frequent free food stalls like this one on Sunday.

For a report on the attempted eviction, see: http://earthfirst.org.uk/actionreports/node/20653


Since the events of a week ago, when a large number of Brighton residents witnessed the day-long attempted eviction of the squatters and the story was featured on the front page of the local evening paper, support for the squatters has been growing, with a lot of positive feedback, offers of help and donations of food from local residents and shops.


Few people seem to be convinced by the Methodist Church's position that it 'needs' the building back again, especially as it has been left empty for several years already. The Methodist Church is now so rich and profitable that it has been forced to register as a corporation rather than a charity and the job of the trustees is to make as much profit for the corporation as they can, which they do by making the usual dodgy investments with a few lame excuses for failing to drop these. Of its investments in Nestle, for instance, it says: "[Nestle's] operations are not unethical in a way to preclude investment." Since it also invests in Rio Tinto and BP, one wonders just what a company might have to do to be considered unsuitable for Methodist investment. A quick look at the make-up of the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church sheds some light on the situation - the board includes former managing director of BAE Systems Pensions fund, John Gibbon, along with accountants, tax experts and other financial high-flyers from a range of private companies.


It seems likely that the Methodist Church hopes to cash in on investment proposals for 'revitalising' the healthy mix of local shops along London Road by demolishing them and creating a so-called 'Bright New London Road', http://www.brightnewlondonroad.co.uk. The only non-negotiable part of this plan appears to be a Tesco superstore and car park. See http://www.transitionbrightonandhove.org.uk/2008/05/friday-9th-may-at-7p... for more information on these proposals. Many of the local people and shopkeepers who have given their support to the London Road squatters have also expressed serious concerns about these development plans.


While the residents of 88 London Road remain in the church, they plan to continue to use it as a community space and to run their 'free kaff' with surplus food which would otherwise have ended up as methane-producing landfill.


If you're in the Brighton area, please keep an eye on http://www.indymedia.org.uk for news of further eviction attempts. If you can get yourselves down to the church to assist and resist when it's needed, this would be much appreciated.


our e-mail is 88londonroad@live.co.uk. please get in touch if you wanna get involved in any way, shape, or form!