‘I’m going to call Billy Bragg.’ Despite the promise of one local supporter, the singing socialist did not show at the successful eviction resistance at the Hope and Anchor pub in Mornington Crescent two days ago – but many did. A small mob turned out to resist an eviction by county court bailiffs of squat crew Squatters and Homeless Autonomy, who had occupied the building just before its planned regeneration.
The building, owned by multi-millionaire Oliver Bengough, was initially intended for a mixture of upmarket flats and commercial space. But many in the area believe it will end as extension to Koko – the pricey “independent” music venue next door. This example of gentrification is among many others in Camden. Pubs that served the former working-class population are closed as their customers are priced-out, bought-up or evicted.
In the case of the eviction of the Hope and Anchor squatters, resistance was strong from early in the morning. Although scheduled for nine o’clock, the cops and bailiffs took until eleven to show. Squatters hung banners from the balcony and blared ‘Squatters’ Rights’ as the crowd took position outside the doors.
The show of strength was enough for the authorities and there was no attempt to push through the crowd. Bailiffs took to their phones in a suddenly apologetic manner and the police took off to intimidate some other part of the class without property.
The resistance at the Hope and Anchor shows an increasing dissatisfaction with gentrification and the non-alternatives offered by the Left and its not-so radical networks. Even more importantly it shows that resistance is happening, that it can be successful, and that it only takes you and your mates.