Lords v Commoners Week of Action for Land Rights April 14th to 22nd- Land Justice Network callout

Found at London Anarchist Communists
It’s time. This is a call out to groups and individuals all over the country who think that the time has come for us to have more control of our land. In order to draw attention to this injustice, we invite you to organise an event in your area between the 14th and 22nd of April. This could be a public meeting or protest with leafleting or maybe a banner drop, occupation or mass trespass. for change Join us and make the call for land justice echo around the country. get in touch via: landjusticeuk@gmail.com http://www.landjustice.uk

On Saturday April 14th, the Land Justice Network will be holding a walking tour of two of the wealthiest boroughs in London, yet where many still live in poverty: Westminster, owned largely by the Duke of Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, where the Earl of Cadogan owns 93 acres. Here we can see the massive area that has been taken from the people centuries ago, and now home to some of the richest landowners, investors and property speculators. By accident of birth these privileged individuals inherit a life of luxury, and by use of trusts they avoid the inheritance taxes everyone else is required to pay, so enabling the grossly unequal distribution of land to continue. Is it right that the rich can avoid paying their taxes and that their land and wealth continues to grow at the expense of the rest of society? In the countryside, large landowners dominate agriculture, squeezing out small farmers and collective farming. Agriculture workers are poorly paid and struggle to find housing that they can afford. Huge tracts of land are turned over to grouse moors to provide the rich with space for their destructive pasttimes. Our freedom to walk and enjoy nature is largely restricted to a limited network of ‘rights of way’. In the cities, land is also unequally distributed, owned by a combination of traditional aristocrats and their modern-day equivalent: offshore companies and institutional investors. Increasingly homes are now owned by buy-to-let landlords rather than by individual home owners or social landlords. All of this forces up the cost of living for those who have to rent. Tenants have little security with standard tenancies running for just 6 months. There are no controls on rent, so now on average people pay a quarter of their wages to their landlord, while in London its roughly half their salary. Even those who manage to buy their own home rarely own it outright until late in life. Most people are stuck paying a big chunk of their salary on their mortgage every month, with the worry that if they lose their job they could lose their home too. In the last 6 years homelessness has dramatically increased. It is obscene that in this day and age so many people do not have a secure home. This could be achieved if the £9.3 billion a year paid in Housing Benefit to wealthy landlords was instead used to build social housing in all communities. Urban areas also need well managed parks, community gardens and allotments, so that everyone has access to nature and the opportunity to grow food. But increasingly these spaces are being sold off or rented out to private companies for events – so damaging the parks and shutting out local residents for lengthy periods of time.

Land ownership in Britain is one of the most unequal in the world: 0.06% of the population – 36,000 people – own 50% of the rural land of England & Wales. Source: Country Land & Business Association (CLA) Land inequality is both a rural and urban issue. More than a third of our land is still owned by the aristocracy, whose ancestors seized it during the Norman Conquest. By fencing off land and using violence to exclude people, landowners (the lords) have deprived the rest of us of what should be a shared resource. The vast majority of us, the commoners, own little or nothing. Even most of the land that was once declared common land (for local use) has been taken away from us. Land saved for community use, such as for hospitals, fire stations, school playing fields, is increasingly being sold off and asset stripped by private developers. Land issues lie at the heart of so much inequality and environmental degradation in society today. Landowners are able to control and exploit our natural resources and force the rest of us to be beholden to them for food, shelter and other needs. Despite their huge wealth, our taxes are used to pay landowner £billions in farming subsidies and housing benefit, increasing inequality still further.

In the countryside, large landowners dominate agriculture, squeezing out small farmers and collective farming. Agriculture workers are poorly paid and struggle to find housing that they can afford. Huge tracts of land are turned over to grouse moors to provide the rich with space for their destructive pasttimes. Our freedom to walk and enjoy nature is largely restricted to a limited network of ‘rights of way’. In the cities, land is also unequally distributed, owned by a combination of traditional aristocrats and their modern-day equivalent: offshore companies and institutional investors. Increasingly homes are now owned by buy-to-let landlords rather than by individual home owners or social landlords. All of this forces up the cost of living for those who have to rent. Tenants have little security with standard tenancies running for just 6 months. There are no controls on rent, so now on average people pay a quarter of their wages to their landlord, while in London its roughly half their salary. Even those who manage to buy their own home rarely own it outright until late in life. Most people are stuck paying a big chunk of their salary on their mortgage every month, with the worry that if they lose their job they could lose their home too. In the last 6 years homelessness has dramatically increased. It is obscene that in this day and age so many people do not have a secure home. This could be achieved if the £9.3 billion a year paid in Housing Benefit to wealthy landlords was instead used to build social housing in all communities. Urban areas also need well managed parks, community gardens and allotments, so that everyone has access to nature and the opportunity to grow food. But increasingly these spaces are being sold off or rented out to private companies for events – so damaging the parks and shutting out local residents for lengthy periods of time.

Join us and make the call for land justice echo around the country. get in touch via: landjusticeuk@gmail.com http://www.landjustice.uk

Advertisements

A Mass Lambeth Walk to the Shard.

Occupy Bournemouth Homeless Sanctuary evicted, re-taken, evicted again.

Homeless are doing it for themselves in Bournemouth.

The kitchen re-built yesterday

The  site was partially evicted on the 2nd January by high court bailiffs and police, re-squatted almost immediately and the infrastructure re-built. A second, even more heavy-handed eviction took place earlier this morning 5th January. Dorset police, who can barely be arsed to turn out these days for burglary and arson unless someone dies, were complicit in the destruction of the residents’ personal effects. A.C.A.B.

Friday afternoon

The landlord, local ‘businessman’ Ammar Alkhiami (above, centre) has been described by capitalist-apologists Dorset Echo as a refugee from the Syrian Civil War.

Let us be clear, Mr Alkhiami is not a refugee, he is a capitalist. Let’s not confuse him with the unfortunates at Calais or adrift on the high seas. He entered this country with sufficient funds to set himself up as a property speculator and proprietor of numerous companies whose dealings are shrouded in mystery. He isn’t a young man, so those funds were acquired within and under the regime of the genocidal demagogue Bashar Al-Assad.

We welcome refugees from the bosses’ wars, but we do not welcome the bosses. Capitalism rests on war and relies for its survival on the state maintaining its monopoly on violence. All capitalists are therefore complicit in war and the violence of the state, if Mr Alkhiami enjoyed the protection of that regime, he has blood on his hands.

You’ve got another war on your hands now Mr Alkhiami, the Class War.

http://www.directorstats.co.uk/director/ammar-alkhiami/

Address for service: R.J. Hull accountants 312 Charminster Road, Bournemouth, BH8 9RT
Tel: 01202 533370 Fax: 01202 534267 www.rjhullaccountants.co.uk

Fighting for a living wage: John Hardy and the battle of Pyt House.

On 25th November 1830, at the height of the Captain Swing uprising, labourer John Hardy was killed in action against yeomanry near his home at Tisbury in Wiltshire.

Four hundred quarrymen and agricultural labourers had confronted the landowner and local M.P. John Benett at Pyt House to demand two shillings per day, the quarrymen were at that time on three and a half pence. Instead Benett read a royal proclamation against riot, then offered five hundred pounds to any worker who would inform on ten others.

The workers were unmoved and destroyed Benett’s threshing machines. They were engaged in woodland by a troop of yeoman cavalry that had pursued them from nearby Hindon. A pitched battle ensued as the workers fought back with hatchets, pickaxes, hammers, sticks and stones, knocking Benett unconscious. All day, running battles were fought across the Vale of Wylye and barricades erected on the Warminster road.

Hardy was shot dead and twenty-nine others captured. At Benett’s insistence the cavalry denied the injured prisoners water on the journey to Fisherton Gaol.

A witness wrote: “the blood did trickle out of the wagons the whole way to Salisbury …”

Background, and here we go again under capitalism:

At the turn of the 19th century the industrial revolution was spreading into agriculture and threshing machines abolished a quarter of the work in a few decades. Land enclosures proletarianised the peasantry and stole the commons, resources that had supported them since prehistory.

The ruling class wanted to have their cake and eat it, to create a ‘free market’ for agricultural labour whilst retaining the rigid social hierarchies inherited from feudalism and preventing economic migration. The Speenhamland system of poor relief, adopted in the 1790s, subsidised poverty wages from the parish rates according to family size and the price of bread.

Relief was tied to the parish of birth and set by the local magistrates. Paupers were obliged to take such work as was offered, and vagrancy laws stopped them crossing parish lines to look for better pay or the dwindling common land where they might live for free – “every man must have a master”. Landowners were thus guaranteed a captive pool of cheap labour to use as they saw fit, and to this indignity was added the further degradation of dependence on charity in return for servile conduct.

Steady employment gave way to hire by the day, or the hour, wages fell, and the bread ration was cut. There are tales of paupers being auctioned and harnessed to carts with bells around their necks. Tithes, rents and taxes rose, the bosses amassed great fortunes and ratepayers complained about the cost of poor relief. These included small farmers who didn’t like it either, when one laid off their hands, others would do likewise: “if I must pay his men, he shall pay mine”.

Captain Swing didn’t start as an insurrection against the status quo but was the response of necessity after a series of bad harvests threatened the rural proletariat with starvation. Just as modern unrest is often not specifically anti-capitalist but motivated by a sense of unfairness and injustice, they aspired to no more than providing for their families as in former times. “We don’t want any mischief, but we want that poor children when they go to bed should have a belly full of tatoes” Labourers initially trusted their masters would do right by them if reminded of their obligations: “ye have not done as ye ought”.

Sound familiar?

Their masters needed a shove however, and the practice of collective direct action leads to an appreciation of the strength of the Working Class and its fundamental antagonism to property and privilege. The logic of Swing was simple and infallible: they had been raised to understand they must work to live, they must earn wages or starve as undeserving paupers, therefore they would break the machines that took their work and demand a wage for doing so. The going rate was about forty shillings per machine. The gentry and clergy that lived so well at their expense could provide them with food and beer as they worked – or else.

Meanwhile in the cities radicals agitated for political reform and the Duke of Wellington’s tory government dug its heels in. Dissenters and ranters went around the country preaching everything from the second coming to full communism. There were revolutions on the continent and Kent villages flew tricolours or pirate flags as symbols of rebellion. A demonstration was called for the 9th November at the Guildhall to disrupt the inauguration of the Lord Mayor, to be attended by Wellington and the King. The authorities decided to cancel the day before.

Moving Westward from Kent Swing became a mass movement. The workers were joined by poachers and smugglers, formed alliances across parish and county borders abetted by agitators on horseback. Swing entered Wiltshire and Dorset from Hampshire, then on to Gloucestershire, and touched the industrial midlands where King Ludd reigned twenty years earlier; it reached Cornwall, Norfolk, Hereford and Carlisle. Jails were opened and prisoners released. Magistrates informed the Home Office that two-thirds of the rural population were involved in machine-breaking.

By the end of the year it had brought down Wellington’s government. It also achieved a general increase in wages and lowering of tithes and rents. Many farmers sympathised and voluntarily acceded to the workers’ demands if their neighbours would follow suit, refusing to be sworn in as yeomen or constables, and were invited to join in and take back their taxes. The mechanisation of agriculture was delayed, but that was never the root cause of the misery. The problem wasn’t the machine, but its use to produce wealth for the owner rather than food for the worker.

Swing challenged the hierarchy in two important ways: it assumed a parallel moral authority independent of church* and state, but above all it was mobile; the Working Class were not supposed to move around without permission or invitation.

* It’s instructive that a common form of passive protest at the time was for villagers to walk out of a sermon and smoke their pipes in the churchyard.

Repression followed, and not just against the convicted insurgents. The new poor law of 1834 abolished outdoor relief altogether and made it conditional on forced labour in the workhouse. Paupers, the elderly and infirm were made prisoners of Class War, subject to summary punishment. Wives and husbands were separated and the children of widows apt to be sold to factory owners or shipped to the colonies as indentured labourers. A new centralised law enforcement regime – the filth – was imported from Napoleonic France via occupied Ireland. In February 1832 the Metropolitan Police, formed in 1829 as a pilot project, inserted its first of many undercover cops, Sergeant Popay, into the National Political Union for a year as an agent provocateur. Within a couple of years the Met was being used as a mobile riot squad against the Chartists.

Such events are commonly portrayed as the birth pains of modernism but two hundred years later fuck all has changed. We’re still dependent on wages, still subject to displacement by machines. Technology is still reducing the value of human activity and creating poverty when it should be enhancing our abilities and freeing us for more beneficial occupations. We’re still governed by received values that many passively endorse but few understand where they came from or who they serve.

Capitalism cannot solve these problems, but we can. We ought to celebrate our martyrs:

John Hardy we’re proud of you!

– Mal Content.

Sources and further reading:

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ENG-WILTSHIRE/2004-11/1099392025

‘Captain Swing’ – Hobsbawm and Rude

‘Tolpuddle And Swing, The Flea And The Elephant’ – Dr. Roger Ball.

Red And Black Telly: NO GODS -NO MASTERS PART 2

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2017

This year’s Martyrs Festival and rally is Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July 2017, our well oiled machine will spring into action on Friday lunchtime, if you haven’t done this with us before it’s a lot of fun. If you have, you know what to expect … View map

radicalworkerspx

Photo by Wheelz.

For a world without leaders, elections, jobs, money, nukes or fascists: Report from Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle 2016.

RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2016.

Radical Workers’ Bloc at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally:  Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2016. View map

captswing2We’re back again for the sixth year running, with the stall, Freedom Books, the Big Tent and our Wob Kitchen on the campsite catering for our comrades from Friday to Sunday (F.C.F.S). Camp with us, eat with us and march with us on Sunday.  We will have a few of our new ‘Friends of Captain Swing’ T shirts made by the Sabcat anarchist workers’ co-op. If you fancy one for a tenner, let us know through the contact form and don’t forget to include your e-mail address and size. We may ask for a small deposit depending on how much we have to front up – we’re rubbish capitalists!

Pro

We’ve also got a limited number of these left in black or red, also by Sabcat, larger sizes only, but they do work best as a billboard!

Freedom Press

revenge of the working class!

Open Letter to BBC South Today from Palestine Solidarity Campaign