On Tuesday 11th February, 4 anarchists and a dog from the militant trans collective EastEndQueerPunx staged a symbolic eviction resistance in solidarity with sex workers everywhere. The group had been in occupation of a former minicab and brothel on the Commercial Road in Whitechapel, London, for the previous week and preparing for the arrival of High Court Enforcement Officers after receiving a tip-off, dropping a banner from the shopfront that read: “All I Want For Valentine’s Is A Place To Love!/Fuck!/Live!“.
The team of 3 bailiffs arrived early, noticeably without police support. They immediately began smashing through the door to gain entry, ignoring a clearly marked sign that read “Welcome To Bailiff Hell. Enter At Own Risk“.
After more than 45 minutes of sweat, threats and sledgehammers they breached door number 3 and entered the heart of Bailiff Hell: a pitch-black stairwell that had been sealed from the top with water streaming from the ceiling from an unknown source.
The head bailiff seemed confused at the reversal of power roles, apparently used to evicting mostly families and elderly people into the street. “Normally people just open the door and we give them an hour to move all their stuff out.” said Head Bailiff.
At this point the Head Bailiff spat his dummy and flounced out on to the street to call a reinforcement team of 5 more bailiffs, as well as 999ing the police. After another hour, 2 very unimpressed coppers arrived to watch as the QueerPunx began what was to be a long process of painstakingly lowering their possessions down to the street one-by one using a length of cable, still refusing to allow police or bailiffs access to the former brothel.
Satisfied that they had removed all they desired, longed out the process by several hours, and wishing to ensure the safety and health of their members, the crew then elected to leave the property. Members of the local squat community turned up in support, providing shelter and helping relocate their possessions.
The EastEndQueerPunx released the following communique to Freedom:
Our revolution has always been queer and homeless.
This Valentine’s we have seized back the site of a former brothel in Shadwell to scorn the criminalisation of sex work and the ongoing oppression of our queer and trans allies around the world.
Not for love or money, but for anarchy and rage … We will fuck upon the barricades as the bailiffs come to evict!
This is a call-out for ever more defiance, ever more resistance, ever more refusal of the logic of submission and the domination of the State, Capital and the Law.
Let us steal back our lives! Let us fuck ourselves free!
We remind class traitors that the days when they fear to tread the East End are upon them again. We remind them that it is we who decide when we shall leave, not them.
Trans liberation is class struggle. Sex work is work. We stand in solidarity with those who are most oppressed by the patriarchal cis-tem. Fuck cops. Fuck the law. Fuck evictions.
For a queer autonomous London!
Squat and fight!
Solidarity with Radio Ava!
Solidarity with SWARM!
Solidarity with the Green Anticapitalist Week of Action!
Image: an accurate depiction of the EastEndQueerPunx preparing Bailiff Hell, as seen by Oneslutriot, colourised.
Reportage by George F. Read more about them here.