Squatters in Mornington Crescent successfully resisted a second eviction attempt on Wednesday. In another show of strength and solidarity by London squatters, thirty to forty people turned out against the bailiffs. Banners were dropped opposing the Housing Bill and evictions ‘from London to Calais’ after the recent squat eviction in the French city. Security contractors Clearway Services arrived prematurely to secure the building but were quickly forced back into their van. ‘There’s who-knows how many of them here,’ a contractor reported to his manager, before driving off with the pigs not so far behind.
The eviction resistance at the Hope and Anchor comes within a wave of defiance against gentrification in London. On Thursday 31st local Brixtonians occupied the Carnegie library against its planned closure and redevelopment. A squatted community centre has recently opened on the Dollis Valley estate in Barnet. Others squatted a property on Brompton Road for a week’s worth of events against the Housing Bill. In rented places too, resistance against the eviction of social and private tenants has been successful from Kilburn to Lambeth to Stratford. Whether eviction resistance or riotous march, like the upcoming FUCK Parade on Mayday, angry Londoners are holding their homes and streets against the control of developers and police.
From the Housing and Planning Bill to the privatisation of public parks, attacks on the poor and working-class have become more and more about the control of space. The recent house-raids and arrest of SCUM TEK participants and the nearing eviction of council tenants in Camden under plans for HS2 have this control in common. Total redevelopment requires total policing – accumulation through arrest or eviction. It should be no surprise that the Metropolitan Police’s anti-gang drive ‘Operation Kestrel’ has targeted boroughs, such as Lambeth or Hackney, that are slowly beginning to resemble the yuppified streets of Shoreditch.
Holding space against capitalist and state control creates new possibilities through resistance. A squat or occupation holds space against redevelopment and provides space for communal and collective living, organising and convergence. Across London, people are holding space against control and affirming the potential to live without it. At the Hope and Anchor, by midday the police had left. No total policing where the space is ours.