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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 January 2020

Stop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

photo NotFromUtrecht/CC

photo NotFromUtrecht/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Lois Austin, East London Socialist Party

Over 100 Newham, east London residents and market traders crowded into a church hall on Green Street to hear Labour Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz explain plans to 'regenerate' Queen's Market. The fear though, of all at the meeting, was that what we will actually get is gentrification.

The market is a stone's throw from the new development of expensive flats built on West Ham's old Boleyn football ground. We don't want another Rathbone street market, nearby in Canning Town, where the market is reduced to a handful of stalls surrounded by flats and restaurants locals can't afford.

Land grab

Newham is already victim to the big business land grab happening all over London. The traders, their stalls and the vital service of providing decent cheap food must stay.

The mayor let slip that there will be 45.3 million cuts in the borough, and that the future of the elderly sheltered accommodation, Hamara Ghar, opposite the market, is up for 'consultation'. Some of the residents were in the room. They said: 'we are here, you have consulted us and we are telling you we don't want to go anywhere!'

Socialist Party members responded to all this by saying, Newham is already on its knees. There are people sleeping in the parks and children living in basements and garages. Where will your axe fall, because this borough cannot take another blow?

The mayor - elected 20 months ago on a ticket of standing up for Newham and being different from her arch-Blairite predecessor Robin Wales - said: 'Newham council will not break the law; we have to set a legal budget.'

She blamed the old administration for failing to put up council tax, and made it clear she will. The audience responded by saying we don't want that either.

The current tranche of Labour councillors have been in power for 20 months. They have done a few good things, like employ 43 youth workers more than any other borough.

But there is no big visible improvement in living conditions. In fact things have got worse.

The mayor and council were given no grace by locals at the meeting. Gentrification of Queen's Market and closure of Hamara Ghar will be fought if they attempt it.

We warned the mayor that we will be protesting against her just like we did with Robin Wales. The mayor told us she was different from the old administration, she said she was a fighter.

If that is the case, then set a no-cuts budget. Socialist Party members will fight for that.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 15 January 2020:


What we think

Labour Party leadership contest: Fight for a mass anti-austerity, workers' party with a socialist programme

Labour leadership race: Reverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer


News

Low Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

Build for strikes to save NHS

No free ride for the airline bosses - nationalise Flybe now!

Them & Us


Workplace news

Hackney school bus workers win pay increase following strikes

PCS: Time to rebuild the left

Northern Ireland: Thousands of nurses continue to strike for better pay

Westex Carpet strike reaches two month mark

London bus drivers ballot to strike

Union lawyer arrested on security guards' picket line


Campaigns

We need socialists in London's City Hall

Stop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"

Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

London: Protesters return to oppose Middle East war

Cladding scandal: Government steps up defence of landlords

Nottingham: Youth protest against Barclays 64 million fossil-fuel investments

Socialist Party national committee meeting


International socialist news and analysis

Renewed protests shake Iranian leaders

France: Strike wave over pensions - Macron government in retreat


Readers' opinion

Sustainable food production and the need for socialism

TV Review: Apocalypse Cow

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Newham:

triangleProtest against immigration enforcement centre in Newham

triangleNewham: Closed and evicted

triangleSchools... no going back until it's safe

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Why are coronavirus deaths higher in working-class areas?

triangleCommunities condemn Tory handling of crisis - with safe protests

Market:

triangleUnder the microscope

triangleSocialist planning is the alternative

triangleSecret cuts meeting couldn't prevent protests in Newham

triangleSocialist Sellers

London:

triangleNew Cross Gate fire 40 years ago

trianglePolice use Covid-19 laws to intimidate Black Lives Matter protesters

triangleLondon's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Council:

triangleRyan Aldred: Why I'm standing for Usdaw's EC

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