Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Nancy Taaffe, Housing campaigner

Twenty people attended a meeting called by Socialist Party members on 21 June in central London. It was only our second public meeting of the We Won’t Move campaign and present at the meeting were tenants and residents in various housing situations from across London.

We have all participated in the big demos, emailing the Lords and lobbying Parliament. However, now we face the very real prospect of our rents going up and possible eviction if we accrue arrears – along with demolition of our homes through gentrification – and we have to be prepared to resist.

I explained that the purpose of the We Won’t Move campaign is to concentrate on how we support and coordinate nonpayment on estates and in different types of tenure and how we popularise the idea of not moving as a way of scuppering demolition of estates.

In much of the Kill the Housing Bill material there are references to how the bill was like the Poll Tax and can be beaten just like the Poll Tax. I pointed out that the Socialist Party’s forerunner, Militant, led the anti-Poll Tax victory, and despite the furore around the big demo, it was the steadfast campaign of non-payment that was built in the communities and on the estates a year before it was introduced that made the Poll Tax unworkable and ultimately led to its demise.

This Housing Act could be unleashed by housing associations in some places quite quickly. We have to prepare in the next nine months for every eventuality and we have to get organised now.

The meeting also acknowledged the support of some Labour councils in opposition to this act. We welcome all support of councillors but the meeting proposed that if councillors implement this act in 2017 then tenants should consider standing in the London local elections in 2018 on a ticket of non-implementation.

More about the campaign at www.wewontmove.blogspot.co.uk