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From: The Socialist issue 890, 24 February 2016: Vote 'Out' the Tories

Search site for keywords: Housing - Tenants - Labour - Evictions - Council - London - Homes - Walthamstow - Waltham Forest - East London

Butterfields tenants demand action against evictions at Labour estate agent awards

Charlie Hendren, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Tenants facing sell-off and eviction in east London demanded action from their Labour council at a nauseating Labour-organised estate agent awards ceremony on 20 February.

Walthamstow Housing's "Heroes and Horrors" public meeting was hosted by local Blairite MP Stella Creasy. I say "public meeting", but simply being a resident didn't give you the right to know in advance where it was held! This info was only supplied once I had emailed my details.

Organisers disguised this as a way to ascertain turnout. In reality, Creasy put in place a vetting system to try to exclude dissenting voices - an attack on the labour movement's democratic tradition of open meetings.

The entire meeting had the sickening glossiness of a bizarre gameshow. In the midst of a devastating housing crisis, estate agents took home awards either venerating or weakly condemning their behaviour.

It seems all Creasy can do for constituents is hope estate agents and landlords behave 'kindly' - lest they receive one of these pieces of coloured paper.

Investment

Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan also addressed us. He began and ended his short speech by saying "London is the best city in the world." But neither Khan nor Creasy mentioned investment in council housing which is central to solving the housing crisis.

The meeting's saving grace was the stand from Butterfields estate tenants. Their 'charity' landlord has sold their homes from under them, and they now face eviction and misery.

Spokesperson Sylvia (pictured left) gave a clear and powerful account of their situation. She demanded action from the council, suggesting a compulsory purchase order. Tenants could then pay rent to the council.

Over a dozen tenants went to the front with Sylvia, a united show of strength from working class people organising to save their homes.

Councillors joined the standing ovation. But it is one thing to stand up in a meeting - we demand the council stands up in action.







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