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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2019

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Billowing smoke from the Mall fire visible from the nearby railway station, photo by Ian Pattison

Billowing smoke from the Mall fire visible from the nearby railway station, photo by Ian Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, chair of Save Our Square E17

On 22 July smoke billowed across the Walthamstow skyline as news spread on local social media that the shopping mall - the Mall - in our town centre, was on fire.

Save our Square, which is the four-year-old community campaign against massive overdevelopment plans by the council in that area, and is led by Socialist Party members, immediately put a statement up on our Facebook page about the fire, along with an advert for an emergency public meeting the following Thursday.

We expressed our concern that the authorities could use the fire for a sort of 'disaster capitalism' - where phenomena like floods or fire are the excuse to rush through plans to privatise land, buildings and space.

We were determined not to let this happen to the Mall after the fire. Within three days, over 9,000 people had read the post and our campaign was announced on LBC radio as well as on London BBC breakfast news.

At our public meeting we agreed to continue to campaign for our alternative 'people's plan' which we had compiled a month before this fire, as part of our regular campaign.

Our plan is proposing good jobs, council homes and public services that are accessible to all in the square and Mall area.

We have produced a survey and we are planning to run our own consultation throughout the summer and early autumn, with the aim of seriously approaching the authorities in early 2020.

Scott Jones, the east London retail branch chair of the shop workers' union Usdaw, spoke (in a personal capacity) about the immediate demands of shop workers in the light of the fire.

He called for no loss of pay and for travel expenses to be paid for all those transferred to other stores. He also called for shop union members to be involved in any inquiry into the fire.

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In The Socialist 31 July 2019:


What we think

Boris, Brexit and British capitalism

CWI refounded with determination and confidence


Special feature

"The longest, darkest days of my life": fighting Universal Credit


Socialist Party news and analysis

Build a working-class movement to force an election

Labour promises to end council privatisation: councils must do that now!

Tories look in wrong place for climate solutions

Lib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

Aristocrats are rich after all... and getting richer


International socialist news and analysis

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

Hong Kong: the struggle for democratic rights escalates


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the TUC for workers' action to defeat Johnson

Northern Ireland: Harland and Wolff shipyard workers enter occupation

"Enough is enough": 20,000 Northern Ireland civil servants strike against pay restraint

Plymouth posties deliver defiant message to bullying bosses

"BEIS: stop pISSing about and give outsourcing the boot!"

Hackney transport strike - blockade foils employers

Sainsbury's distribution workers' second 24-hour strike against cuts to sick pay

Nottingham Deliveroo riders strike against unfair algorithm

Bromley library workers strike against running down


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Enfield: 100% council homes at Meridian Water!

Walthamstow shopping centre fire: people's plan - not disaster capitalism

Tolpuddle festival 2019: socialist policies to end Tory rule and austerity

Barking: campaigning over housing safety

July climate strikes: link up with the workers' movement

Ilford: parents and teachers unite against school cuts

Boris Johnson 'coronation' - demos say: boot him out!

The Socialist Party has moved!


Opinion

The Socialist inbox

Huge workload, low pay and unpaid hours - a day in the life of a teaching assistant


 

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