SHELTERED, BUT NOT FROM MUCH: CLASS-BASED BARRIERS TO STUDENT HOUSING

ziggurat house uea
by Kasper Hassett

This month, many returning university students are settling into house-shares in the private rental sector, as the first-year intake prepares to move into halls of residence shortly after. However, for students whose families live in poverty, there are a number of barriers to accessing rental homes, which have worsened this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has also constructed new obstacles to prevent poorer students from relying on campus accommodation.

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ACORN NORWICH – THE UNION TAKING ON DODGY LANDLORDS

By Sean Meleady

Norwich may call itself a ‘fine city’, but this isn’t always the case for renters. Despite some positive stories, such as the Goldsmith Street social housing project, many tenants find life in the city tough.

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LAND JUSTICE AND THE 2019 LABOUR MANIFESTO: A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE

by Yali Banton-Heath

A massive issue facing the UK at the moment is right under our noses and indeed right under our feet. That issue is land. Though land injustice may stem from historical legislation such as the Enclosure Acts and the shrinking of the commons through large-scale land grabs over past centuries, the phenomenon continues today, with land inequality becoming ever-increasingly stark. Land is moving more and more from public control into wealthy private hands, with land and housing prices rocketing over recent decades as a result of speculative inflation. In 1995 the total value of land in the UK was around £1 trillion, that figure is now more than £5 trillion

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BEYOND TUITION FEES #11 – MUCH TO LEARN, MORE TO DO

By Bradley Allsop and Rowan Gavin

It is a time of extraordinary potential for change in UK Higher Education. Labour’s promise to end tuition fees has defied the critics and united many behind Corbyn’s political project. In this series, the Norwich Radical and Bright Green have brought together perspectives from across the sector to explore the possibilities of post-fees HE. In the final instalment, the series editors summarise the visions for the next chapter of UK HE that the series has laid out.

There is more energy, debate and innovation on the left now than there has been for decades. Capitalism’s multiple crises, and the inability of its defenders to respond to them, are beginning to translate into tangible political opportunity. This series sought to capture the essence of some of this historical moment and direct it towards thinking about what we want our university campuses to look like, beyond the staple progressive policy of scrapping tuition fees. A project in unashamedly utopian thinking, it recognised the very real possibility that free tuition might be a reality in the near future, and sought to explore how this requires the left to think practically about what comes after and where our energy should be focused next.

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A CO-OPERATIVE FUTURE FOR STUDENTS – BEYOND TUITION FEES #9

By Lewis Martin

It is a time of extraordinary potential for change in UK Higher Education. Labour’s promise to end tuition fees has defied the critics and united many behind Corbyn’s political project. But what will the implications for universities be if this comes to pass? And what can we do to leverage this progress? In this series, the Norwich Radical and Bright Green are bringing together perspectives from across the sector to explore these questions.

Up and down the UK, from Edinburgh to Brighton, students are building alternatives to existing, exploitative housing and food practices. How? By creating co-operatives! These alternative ways of organising are expanding and flourishing at a rate never seen before, as students look to take their lives into their own hands, in defiance of the rising cost of living and exploitative landlords and businesses. The founding of Student Co-operative Homes, a launch pad organisation for potential student housing co-ops across the UK founded by the grassroots network Students for Co-operation and supported by national co-op federation Co-Ops UK, demonstrates the growing support for these independent, democratic projects.

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REVIEW – A PARTY WITH SOCIALISTS IN IT, BY SIMON HANNAH

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by Justin Reynolds

It was too beautiful to last. The fragile truce established between Labour’s dueling factions after the party’s unexpectedly strong 2017 general election performance disintegrated just in time for this year’s local election campaign.

Despite everything, Labour still made gains, indicating that its simple anti-austerity message continues to have the capacity to cut through the interference generated by chronic internal feuding. But the result was hardly good enough to foster a new outbreak of peace.Continue Reading

WHY WAGES MATTER

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by Edward Grierson

It goes without saying that the current wage situation in the UK is not good. Following the disastrous speculation on the banks’ behalf that led to the recession, real wages for UK workers fell by 10.4% from 2007-2015, a decline only matched by Greece. Even worse has been the combination of this wage drop with the continued pay gap between employees and the people who employ them: as of 2015, the salary of a UK CEO was nearly 130 times that of the average UK worker’s salary.

The reason why this is a concern, why we should be worried about falling wages, surely is obvious.Continue Reading

SPIES, MURDER, AND RUSSIA

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by Gunnar Eigener

The attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with a nerve agent bares all the hallmarks of a Cold War spy novel and the complexity of the smaller and more tightly connected modern-day world. Political balance is needed when addressing and reprimanding those responsible. If Russia is found to be to blame, what happens next? Is it likely that remarkably little will be done or will this be the beginning of a new coalition to stand up to Putin’s Russia?Continue Reading

LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, EXPULSIONS FORCÉES

by Jonathan Lee

If you get off the metro at Porte de Clignancourt in Paris, a little over a kilometre north of the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, and follow the line of the disused 19th century Petite Ceinture railway for a couple of minutes from the busy intersection, you will soon come across rows of makeshift shacks lining the railway.

Similar shanty towns can be found tucked away under bridges, behind fences, and on ex-industrial plots across the city and throughout France. Along with a scattering of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, these slums are inhabited almost entirely by Roma.Continue Reading

A GOLDEN AGE FOR THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE?

by James Anthony

There are a lot of stresses that come with moving house. Earlier in August, I spent a fair number of days experiencing both as I shifted location in Norwich.I was making sure I had all of my belongings, desperately trying to cover up any damage or stains, and trying to work out the logistics of carrying my entire life from one house to another. The only saving grace in this process was the fact that I have only moved about five minutes down the road – across what is known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ – an especially desirable area to live in Norwich. For years, it has been considered one of the best places to be just outside the city centre, even gaining national coverage for its popularity. A reasonable judgement, to this day.Continue Reading

GENERATION AIRBNB – SAN FRANCISCO

by Hannah Rose

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.
Allen Ginsberg, San Francisco. 1955

Aliyah has lived in San Francisco’s Mission district her entire life, which I estimate at being around twenty-eight years. Mission is the city’s working class and Latino area. She sleeps on the living room floor. The TV is on and throws intermittent light over her slumbering form, phone still in hand. I have to step over Aliyah on my way to her room—which I am renting through Airbnb for the week—and am careful not to wake her despite the blare of the TV. On the wall, beneath a tangle of half-deflated gold balloons left over from a party, is a giant poster of Whitney Houston—the queen of pop. Behind the water cooler is the silhouetted form of Michael Jackson—the king of pop—suspended on tippy-toes and ‘He Lives’ stencilled beneath.

Photographs of Aliyah and her husband smile back at me from heart-shaped frames that decorate the far wall and on a small, white canvas the words ‘Life is the Flower for which Love is the Honey’ are in poppy-red. One of a few splashes of colour in this windowless, dimly lit apartment.Continue Reading

YOUNG GERMANS AND URBAN GLORIFICATION

by Candice Nembhard

In recent years the discussion of gentrification and globalisation has become almost unavoidable – and for the most part, these terms have now been resigned as popular buzzwords in pseudo-intellectual conversations. As glib as this may sound, I shall do my best to explain.

While many a piece has been written on this subject, this is in fact not my primary focus. My intention is not to deny the lived and consequential reality of western mobilisation, but rather look towards the supporters and benefactors of this growing socio-economic practice. In particular, a generation of young people who are forgoing academic careers in favour of acquired/inherited wealth and personal development. More specifically, I will focus on my experience in post-Brexit Germany.Continue Reading

FROM RICHARD BEARMAN, GREEN PARTY CANDIDATE FOR NORWICH SOUTH

world votes radical

by Richard Bearman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Norwich South

I have been member of the Green Party (GPEW) since 2003 and was elected as a Green Party county councillor for Mancroft ward in 2009, and again in 2013. In that time I, alongside the other county councillors in the green group, have managed to pass motions and lead campaigns that have benefited the city of Norwich as well as the Wider Norfolk Community. Our biggest success was the reversal of the decision to pursue devolution in East Anglia, something I heavily campaigned against.

I’m running in Norwich South for a number of reasons. Norwich is a fine city that I have lived in for over 30 years and I believe it needs the strongest possible leadership in parliament for it. This is something I believe I can do.Continue Reading

THE PROBLEMATICS OF NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS

by Edward Sudall

Economics in the west and UK is dominantly neoclassical. Other schools of economics are ignored to such a degree that they are mostly unknown to the voting public – who too often generalise economics as merely The City. Alternatives are rare even among education courses – often tokens.

This narrowness endangers human development because the failings of the neoclassical style of economics can be corrected by integration of alternatives. It skews politics also: the economy (that is the neoclassical one) is used as an inarguable defence for political policy, supported by the contradictory argument that economics is apolitical. Neoclassical economics pretends to be a science, shunning the political economy moniker and parading incomprehensible statistics as evidence, but this is wrong. Neoclassical economics, like anything outside natural science, is based on complex value judgements intersecting with politics.Continue Reading

PAVEMENTS, POTHOLES, AND POLLING DAY

by James Anthony

Having been a candidate in a local election last year, I spent a lot of time telling people ‘vote for me’, and as a candidate again this year, I’m doing much the same thing. The more I think about it however, it’s the first third of that phrase that is truly the most important part, and although local politics may not be all that exciting – it is something that affects everyone – above all we need to convince people simply to ‘vote’.

Part of this is acknowledging that the majority of people don’t even vote in local elections, and far fewer get excited about them. It’s a huge issue that turnout usually sits at well below 40% in local elections, but an issue that is difficult to examine as a political activist. In the run up to polling day I am surrounded by activists who (quite rightly) put a lot of time and effort into campaigning locally, and the dedication of my colleagues and political opponents never fails to impress me. As activists, we have to learn to accept that most voters don’t get quite as excited about it all. We need to view things from a different perspective if we want to see why turnout is so low and what we can do to improve it.Continue Reading

SQUALOR, OVERCROWDING, EVICTIONS – THE TORIES HAVE NO ANSWERS ON THE HOUSING CRISIS

by Olivia Hanks

“Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford.” Sajid Javid’s words, in his speech launching the government’s latest white paper on housing, were rather unfortunate. The sight we’ve all been seeing on high streets this winter is the clusters of sleeping bags in doorways, the faces those of people failed so badly by society that they no longer have anywhere to live at all. This lack of understanding of what the housing crisis really is – not just thwarted aspirations of ownership, but squalor, overcrowding, evictions – sets the tone for this misfiring, misleading, self-contradicting paper.Continue Reading

THE NORWICH RADICAL YEAR IN REVIEW 2016

by The Norwich Radical

2016 was a bleak year for many. Across the world, the forces of liberty, of social progress, and of environmental justice lost time and again in the face of rising fascism, increased alienation, and intensifying conflict. That notwithstanding, there have been moments of light. In the Austrian Presidential election, the electorate confirmed the independently Green candidate Alexander van der Bellen; the #noDAPL water protectors gained a soft victory in early December; in fact, there is a full list of positives from the past year, if you want cheering up.

2016 saw our team expand to more than 25 writers, editors, and artists as well as host our first ever progressive media conference, War of Words. Our readership has grown from 5,000 per month to more than 6,500 per month. In total, nearly 80,000 people have read content on The Norwich Radical website this year.

In 2017, The Norwich Radical will turn three years old, with plans to grow our team and publication more than ever before. We’ll also be returning to Norwich to bring debate and discussion on the future of the media, with War of Words back for a second year. Continue Reading

FROM FLOODING TO HEALTHCARE, WHY ARE WE SO BAD AT PREVENTION?

by Olivia Hanks

Certain things are inescapable at this time of year. Overeating. Musical jumpers. Footage of the prime minister in wellies, assuring a street that’s under three feet of water that the government will do everything possible by way of assistance.Continue Reading

AN IDEA: SOLVING THE HOUSING CRISIS

by Craig Hall

No one can argue that we have a housing crises. There are too few homes usually costing too much, often in the wrong places and often of poor quality. Not to mention rural communities suffering with cost of housing soaring beyond their means or the beach side type, dead in winter, consumed as second homes. These are all symptoms of a much bigger problem with the banks and house builders profiting from existing model.

The paradox of this is two fold. On the one hand you are asking builders to build more houses for less money, on the other, you’re asking the banks to lend money on lower borrowing because more houses will reduce prices leading to lower borrowing. It’s not rocket science.

So how about an idea which would reduce the costs and supply the demand in the right place and of the best quality? Oh, forgot to mention it would also generate, not cost, local councils with additional income.

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RADICAL HOMES FOR RADICAL STUDENTS – STUDENT HOUSING CO-OPS

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by Rowan Gavin

A couple weekends ago I was lucky enough to find myself a guest at the wonderful Edinburgh Student Housing Co-operative. Outside, the outlines of all my hopes and beliefs in the good student co-ops can do stood tall before me, made visual, physical as two blocks of flats facing a green expanse. Up steps, inside, and the lines flashed full with the colour and life of possibility made real. A brief first encounter – tea with friends, then out again for an evening social.

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BUSTING THE MYTH – ARTICLE 4 IS NOT ANTI STUDENT

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By Georgia Waye-Barker

Norwich has been identified as a popular place to live in England, bringing plentiful benefits, as well as its fair share of challenges. Its diverse population needs a range of housing solutions, and these need to be carefully balanced throughout the city to ensure a sustainable community and good quality of life for all.

Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) often provide housing for students and young people, who are unable to access other forms of housing. HMOs therefore provide a vital element of Norwich’s housing options. However, evidence suggests that large numbers of HMOs located in concentrated areas can have an adverse effect on the mix of housing use in the community.Continue Reading

BOARDS, BORES, AND THE EROSION OF LOCAL DEMOCRACY

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by Olivia Hanks

I had the dubious privilege of being in the public gallery for the first meeting of the re-established Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) earlier this week. This board, made up of councillors from Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland, is tasked with developing a strategic document, the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP), which will dictate where housing, roads and other infrastructure will be built in the area over the next 20 years.

The meeting, which was scheduled to last from 3.30 until 5pm, finished at 4.10 with very little discussion having taken place. You might have thought that, having been successfully taken to the High Court for failing to consider alternative options during the creation of the GNLP’s predecessor the Joint Core Strategy (JCS — I promise that’s the last obscure abbreviation), the board would be asking itself a lot more questions this time around. Although it was admittedly a more or less introductory meeting, agreeing the board’s terms of reference and the next steps, there was an opportunity for comments, which was taken up by only three members.

This matters because these dozen men — and shockingly, they are all men; all white; none under 50 or so — are shaping the future of Norwich and the surrounding area. It matters because sometimes it is hard to spot the moment for intervention until it has already passed.Continue Reading

IMMIGRATION: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

by Natasha Senior

Globalisation has generally been unkind to the young. Yet, as a demographic, we took its side in the EU referendum. Because ultimately the union has positively shaped our culture, as global business, and academic ties, bought international communities together all over Europe. This type of integration has profoundly enriched the way of life in the metropolis. But it would be incorrect to think that people all over the country are benefitting in the same way, because this level of cohesion is politically disallowed from crossing beyond the city confines. Indeed, the impact of globalisation, and the nature of integration, has been overwhelmingly detrimental elsewhere in the country.

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SOCIAL CLEANSING 101: NORWICH CITY COUNCIL AND ARTICLE 4

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by Cherry Somersby

The estimated cost of living for students currently stands at £12,056 per year excluding course costs, and their average income from loans and funding leave students having to find an extra £6,071 each year. You would be forgiven for assuming that Norwich councillors would want to keep rent low and appeal to as many students as possible considering that students make up such a significant proportion of their voters, however it seems that the councillors themselves are not quite on the same page.

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(PART 2) THE OTHER SIDE: A LOOK AT EUROPE

by Zoe Harding

Well folks, these last few weeks your humble correspondent has been travelling around Eastern Europe on a hastily-booked last chance tour. I’m four cities in and thought I’d share a little of the mood on the street from Warsaw, Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Part two of this article looks at Vienna and Budapest.

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NUS JOINS THE FIGHT AND BACKS RENT STRIKES

by Lewis Martin

It was announced yesterday under the cloud of A-level results that the National Union of Students (NUS) has given full backing to the rent strikes that have been happening at numerous universities up and down the country. Their reasoning behind this is that due to the rise of living in university housing on campus or other university owned places, it has almost become a secondary set of fees on top of the already high tuition fees.Continue Reading

CORBYN OR REVOLUTION

by Robyn Banks

They said he was unelectable. Throughout Corbyn’s rise to labour leader, those of us who supported him were continually told not to. Conservative commentators watched in angst, and told us it would never happen, and the right wing of the labour party begged members to vote for somebody more moderate, more appealing to the wider electorate, more ‘electable’. But, still, he garnered 59.5% of votes in the 2015 Labour leadership election. 87,000 people joined the labour party after his victory, and more than half of labour members this January had joined since the last election, with many signing up in order to vote for him in the leadership race. 13,000 more have joined this week to support him. It’s clear that he offers something that many people want.Continue Reading

LONDON

by Jake Reynolds

In response.

I find London throwing tennis balls
against the walls of my bank account
when overdrawn and, in despair,
I find it again in the coin London plucks
from behind my ear. Once, I dropped London
in the sea. The dolphins own it now.Continue Reading

THE FUTURE OF THE STUDENT MOVEMENT: NUS ELECTIONS 2016 – CHLOE SCHENDEL-WILSON

The Norwich Radical was born in the student movement, and we continue to be an active part within it. We recognise that while official structures are not the sum total of the movement, they play an undeniably important part and to understand the political consciousness of the student movement, you need to, in part, look at the National Union of Students. As we move into election season for the new NUS President, Vice Presidents and National Executive Council, we contacted all candidates in those elections and offered them the space to write about their election campaigns, why they are standing and their vision for NUS.

By Chloe Schendel-Wilson

I’m the second year President of Bournemouth University Students’ Union, a Biological Sciences graduate and I currently sit on the NUS Union Development Zone Committee. I am standing for election because I see NUS as an organisation with huge potential, but potential that it is currently not maximising. We spend too much time trying to get one up on each other and not enough time focusing on students – the people we are here to represent. I think it’s time to change that, and I genuinely believe I am the right person to do so.Continue Reading

IN DEFENCE OF SOCIAL PROPERTY: ‘KILL THE HOUSING BILL’, RENT STRIKES, AND OTHER CALAMITIES

by George Laver

On 13th March 2016, a rally took place in support of the ‘kill the housing bill’ campaign, aimed at confronting governmental attacks on council and social property and redressing our attitudes towards it. Since then, numerous student-led rent strikes have also ignited. The cause for anger in both of these movements stems from different stimuli, but both address issues of rent and property.

The first, from the legacy of Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ scheme, which initially undermined council housing; the final blows were to come from this Housing and Planning Bill. The second, from the frankly ridiculous cost of rent that is borne by students in London — although this could extend across the UK, as many students will readily testify to the advantage-taking circus that are landlords. Geared towards annihilating social housing, the Housing and Planning Bill in particular aims at increasing the rent payments of council house tenants in wealthier areas. A natural product of this would be the forcing of people out of their council houses and into the arms of another set of robbers — or, private landlords.

In response to this, the demonstration of March 13th attracted thousands of protesters, targeting their motions towards the fact that sharp increases in rent would facilitate an eviction of council tenants in all but name. These issues should be labelled for what they are: the government taking control of people’s very lifestyles. By increasing rent prices, they are forcing movement; it seems to bear many similarities to a covert attempt to stimulate the private housing sector. Once again, their interests lie in private property — we are merely pawns on the board.

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“I WOULD DESCRIBE MYSELF AS AN ECONOMIC LIBERAL” – AN INTERVIEW WITH CHARLIE KINGSBURY, LIBERAL YOUTH CO-CHAIR

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by Chris Jarvis

It’s no secret that the Liberal Democrats are far from the most popular political party in Britain today. After the General Election, they were left with just 8 MPs, and were ousted from their position as junior coalition partners in Government. For the preceding years, they attracted mockery, ire, and ridicule in equal measure, not least from young people and students, a group who once made up a significant proportion of their voter base – especially in the dizzy days of Cleggmania.

I’m still fascinated, then, by the fact that they have managed to maintain a sizeable membership through this time, including among young people. Why would a young person join the Liberal Democrats, and why would they remain active in the party? This intrigue is what led to me interviewing Charlie Kingsbury, current co-chair of Liberal Youth, as part of a series of interviews focusing of the role of young people in shaping British politics.Continue Reading

THE CHANGING FACE OF POVERTY IN LONDON

By Natasha Senior

I often hear that too many Westminster policies only benefit London. This part is technically true. London is not only the financial capital of the UK but the financial capital of the world—a fact reflected in how disproportionately powerful and wealthy it is compared to the rest of the UK. The country’s government and national media are both based in London which invariably means that the issues discussed will tend to be skewed towards the area (something I only realised when I moved away). But for all the ways you could describe the city’s privileged position—even if your personal choice of adjective is less than favourable (crowded, impersonal, selfish… etc.)—try to bear in mind what exactly you’re describing. Is it the City of London or the citizens of London? Because the distinction between them represents two profoundly different worlds, divided by wealth, housing and opportunity. This is a divide that deepens every year at an alarming rate.

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BORDERLINES – OH, I DON’T MEAN YOU

Borderlines is a collection of thought pieces, some creative, some direct accounts, some memoirs, all true. Borderlines collects stories from people who are not fleeing from one country to another, but rather chose to move, or were made to do so by a series of non-threatening circumstances. In these stories there is anger, hope, disappointment, joy, fear, optimism. They are all different, and yet all striking in their approach to the subject matter.

Borderlines aims to show the reality of migration, and how we are all, in our own way, migrants.Continue Reading

BRINGING POWER BACK TO LONDONERS: MP GARETH THOMAS’ VISION FOR LONDON

In May 2016, London will go to the polls to decide who will replace Boris Johnson as their new mayor. A number of progressive parties from across the political spectrum are standing candidates in that election. We’ve got in touch with all those who are seeking nomination from their parties, asking why London should elect them, what their key policy priorities are and how London will be changed if they are elected. We’ll be publishing their responses over the next few weeks.

by Gareth Thomas, MP Harrow West

I think Londoners should be given more of a say in the decisions that shape the future of our city. That is why I introduced the London Devolution Bill into parliament, and that’s why if I was Mayor I would call for a referendum in September 2016 to secure public consent for devolving more powers and responsibilities to London.

London creates more wealth than any other region or nation, much of which is rightly distributed around the UK. Yet London also has some of the worst deprivation, child poverty and inequality, and we also have the most severe housing crisis in the UK. That’s why I believe London should be given more powers to be able to tackle the unique challenges London faces.

Cities such as Manchester have been given some opportunity to shape their own future and Scotland will soon be receiving more powers devolved to them, on top of their already existing powers, so why not London?Continue Reading

RENT CONTROLS, CHEAPER TRAINS, AND CLEANER AIR: SIAN BERRY’S VISION FOR A RADICAL LONDON

Sven Klinge

In May 2016, London will go to the polls to decide who will replace Boris Johnson as their new mayor. A number of progressive parties from across the political spectrum are standing candidates in that election. We’ve got in touch with all those who are seeking nomination from their parties, asking why London should elect them, what their key policy priorities are and how London will be changed if they are elected. We’ll be publishing their responses over the next few weeks.

by Sian Berry

Along with a group of truly excellent colleagues, I’ve put myself forward to be the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London in 2016.

I’ve stood before, taking us up to 4th place in 2008 from 7th the time before, and in 2012 Jenny Jones took us to 3rd place. This makes next year a crucial election for Greens in London. It will take a really focused effort to improve on that, and in this encounter, experience will count for more than usual. I have that experience and am very grateful to receive Caroline Lucas’ backing to take the challenge on again.

We really are seeing incredible things across Europe. In Barcelona and Madrid, and most recently and significantly in Greece, the people are overwhelmingly rejecting top-down, imposed and ever-deeper austerity. When you look at what Barcelona’s Mayor is doing to halt evictions since being elected on the crest of a wave of citizen activism, it’s clear that we have accepted a rough deal for too long in London but that we can make different choices.Continue Reading

OUR HOUSE, IN THE MIDDLE OF NORWICH

by Rowan Van Tromp

House music, unlike other forms of music, is arguably apolitical — given the absence of lyrics. That doesn’t mean that the scene is apolitical however, as Lithuanian DJ Ten Walls found after committing commercial suicide following his public condemnation of homosexuals over Facebook. Subsequently one of the biggest house festivals in Europe, Hideout Festival in Croatia, cancelled his set, stating: “Hideout Festival is an inclusive event, which is open and accessible to all. Our fans and customers are important to us and we do not tolerate or condone any form of hate. For this reason, Ten Walls will not be playing at Hideout Festival this year.”

From its outset in the mid 80’s, house music has been about inclusivity, openness of expression, and removing society’s invisible boundaries. It is an environment intolerant of abuse and discrimination, with violence actively discouraged. The beauty of house music is in its diversity, fluidity, and ambiguity. What house represents for one person may be different to the next, yet they are still drawn together by the same four bar loop. The music in itself is like a socially binding drug.Continue Reading

FOCUS E15 ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF WOMEN’S LIBERATION

by Robyn Banks

The Focus E15 campaign began suddenly in August 2013 when 29 young or expectant mothers, who had been residing in the Focus E15 hostel for homeless young people, were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association after Newham council severed its funding. Appealing to the council for help, the E15 mums were told that due to cuts to housing benefit and a lack of social housing, they would have to be relocated as far away as Manchester or Birmingham and suffer the consequences of being plucked suddenly from their homes, families and support networks.

The move, which many consider to be one of many changes taking place involving the relocation of people on low incomes to outside of London — a form of social cleansing — prompted one of the most fiery and successful grassroots anti-cuts campaigns under the conservative government. The Focus E15 mums got organised, protested and held marches and occupations for ‘social housing, not social cleansing’ to pressure Newham Council. Although the campaign was born from individual need and the right to have a roof over your head, when the E15 mums act women everywhere benefit.Continue Reading

WORK IN A POST SCARCITY WORLD

by Matilda Carter.

Unemployment in this country, as well as in most of the Western world, is the buzzword on people’s lips. Our generation is constantly demonised as lazy, feckless and unable to face the harsh realities of adult life. We lack the work ethic of those before us, or so people say, and our entire country is doomed to economic failure because of it. Many of us choose to live off of minimum wage jobs and pursue other interests; there are even some people, though few in number, who choose to live off of welfare. Why? Well the right wing press would tell you it’s because our parents did a bad job of raising us. I would argue that it’s because we’re undergoing a fundamental shift in our way of life, and we’re still wedded to old, outdated ideas.

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NORWICH CLAIMANTS UNION

by Norwich Claimants Union (NCU)

The Norwich Claimants Union represents the coming together of claimants, workers, union representatives and city councillors to oppose and intervene in government policy regarding the deliberate and calculated erosion of the welfare state. To achieve this, the government supported by the mainstream has demonised claimants. They have become the scapegoat for our failing economy and societal degradation.

Since the recession of 2008 this campaign against claimants has gathered momentum. However it is worth remembering that the recession, bank bailouts and austerity programs was the result of the miss selling of financial products, namely derivatives. The effect was to transfer wealth away from our financial system and into the hands of a relatively small number of ruling capitalist elite.Continue Reading