London squatted cafe and social centre Pie ‘N’ Mash was evicted this morning. Freedom presents a report from one of the squat’s residents.
As I write this, I should have actually been emailing another article to the Freedom editorial team, announcing the shutdown of the Pie ‘n’ Mash Autonomous Social Cafe, and its rebirth as the Pie ‘n’ Mash Mutual Aid Centre.
Instead, I write this from the lounge of a neighbouring squat, having been woken up by High Court bailiffs at 7am this morning. The day that we were to become the hub for sanitation of donations and distribution in the Deptford area, we were torn from our home, and left scrambling for our possessions. This despite a warning on the door that people in the building were attempting to self-isolate for the public safety – well-prepared bailiffs ascending the stairs kitted out in medical masks and rubber gloves.
Running with the momentum of the anarchist-instigated mutual aid groups that have blossomed in the South-East of London (and indeed across the country), a plan was set to set up the cafe as a centre for donations, which could then be sanitised, and those involved in assisting people who are self-isolating to be able to collect and clean gear before distributing. Recognising that the crona will affect the poorest the hardest, the plan was to also be able to provide basic household items to those who can least afford to ride out this wave.
Thankfully many people in the area have provided a variety of leads in terms of solving the problem, legal spaces that could be attained to effect the idea of the Mutual Aid Centre. We hope to see the creation of such a project in the coming days, no eviction will stop us, and we are just so inspired to see people intent on continuing the idea. Crisis brings out the anarchist in so many.
Despite walking away with high-spirits, the reality is that the eviction of the Pie ‘n’ Mash cafe is a tragedy for so many. We must see it as a call to resist, to really rise to the occasion and fight to protect all of our spaces, from our social centres to our homes. We must push for no evictions, whoever it is, from the squatter to the renter. If mortgage owners can catch a break, why should the oppressed be any different. Of course we do not expect the government to listen, or the capital-owning class. We must organise ourselves, build affinity with our friends and neighbours, protect each other and resist all evictions. Coordinate rent strikes and build eviction resistance networks. We must fight back against the crushing repression and extra financial burden that this situation is placing us all in.
The Pie ‘n’ Mash Autonomous Social Cafe ran for over 5 months, in 4 different buildings on the Deptford High St. The idea for a truly community-run space was birthed from the destruction of the Tidemill Garden at the beginning of 2019. It provided thousands of free cups of tea and coffee for the regular punters, a place where no-one was turned away for being poor or homeless, or having issues. Many activities and workshops also took place in the cafe, and the politics shone through without it being overtly ‘political’. Many hours were spent there, and every one worth spending. The Mutual Aid Centre may not take place in a squat necessarily, but the legacy of the cafe and its community outreach will live on through that project until it is safe enough to once again open a space for everyone to participate in.
We all look forward to the return of the cafe, but we can’t afford to go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over, so muck in, be part of an organised anarchist effort, and we can celebrate with a pint later – for now it’s probably safer to steer clear of the pubs.
#breatheonbailffs #coughoncops #pukeonparliament