Class War has gained some progress on the issue of poor doors at One Commercial Street London by securing a look inside the building and a meeting with the new owner. Further progress is expected in the coming weeks in this battle against apartheid between rich and poor.
The working class action group has been organising weekly demonstrations outside an apartment block in East London, for twenty weeks now. The block has separate entrances for rich buyers and social housing tenants. The demonstrations have been vibrant and noisy, including a bonfire night spectacular with burning Boris Johnson effigy.
A fortnight ago it emerged that Redrow were selling their stake in the building. This was a vital stage in securing a move towards hopefully ending poor doors. A meeting was suggested by the group with the new owners and they agreed. That meeting took place on Monday 24th November in the building itself where a number of class warriors were present.
Ian Bone of Class War explained that Taylor McWilliams, the Chief Executive of Hondo Enterprises has agreed “to set up a meeting of all those who have ownership or interest in some part of the building – from housing associations to Hondo – to discuss the possibility of ending this class apartheid.”
Lisa McKenzie was also present at the meeting and at the previous demonstration was invited into the building through the rich doors by a wealthy resident who disagreed with the segregation. “I feel extremely positive about the meeting. I felt that he [McWilliams] understood that all apartheid is fundamentally wrong and on our insistence that something could be done” she said. The issue on removing the segregation, which appears to be in place by way of a flimsy partition that could easily be removed, revolves around the fact that the rich residents pay extra for a concierge services. Lisa explained further: “Class War insisted he could surely work round this minor problem in the interests of equality. We agreed in return to hold a ceasefire while the other interested parties of the property held their discussion”.
Class War are holding a special ‘ceasefire’ protest outside the building on Wednesday 26th November at 6pm complete with football match between protesters and the concierge staff but they vow to return if progress isn’t made during the coming talks. Ian Bone said “Class War will return to the protests without hesitation if this class apartheid isn’t ended”.
Class War are also looking into further protests to ensure that the phenomenon of poor doors is banished altogether in the UK. The group is the first in the UK to seriously challenge the idea and whilst the protests started with merely a handful of people they have visibly grown as the weeks have progressed. One Commercial Street is just one building but winning there could lead to other victories. The protests have been a prime example of how direct action can get results and all eyes will now be on the owners and interested parties to see what they can deliver.