Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1027/28581
From The Socialist newspaper, 30 January 2019
Walthamstow: Hands off our public amenities
Keep profiteering developers out!
Waltham Forest Save Our Square campaign meeting, 26.1.19, photo by Sarah Wrack (Click to enlarge)
Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Waltham Forest Socialist Party
'We aren't going away'. That was the mood of the public meeting of around 60 people organised by the Save Our Square campaign on 26 January.
The meeting to organise resistance against the destruction of 81 mature deciduous trees in the town square heard two testimonials from brave activists - Calvin Payne from the campaign to defend 17,500 trees from Blairite council vandalism in Sheffield, and Melanie Strickland, facing a prison sentence for action to prevent unfair deportations (the Stansted 15).
The anti-tree atrocity is part of the right-wing Labour council's widely opposed plans to hand over the town square to private developers to build four tower blocks of unaffordable apartments of up to 29 storeys. Our campaign fights to defend our trees and public spaces - and for council homes for the families and young people in housing need.
Calvin's report was invaluable, demonstrating how organised and determined campaigning can stop the tree felling (13,000 saved).
Attempts to intimidate, arrest, serve injunctions and charge activists using anti-trade union legislation, were almost entirely defeated.
However, Melanie's report of how the Stansted 15 were found guilty under anti-terror laws is a warning of how this legislation will be used against activists organising peaceful and effective solidarity.
The campaign has taken every form of action to appeal to the council to halt the destruction of the square and the trees - from winning the argument at the planning meeting, to protests, mass petitions and an occupation of the square, and more. The council is in no doubt about the huge extent of opposition to their plans.
This meeting was preparing the next step - to be ready to physically prevent our trees being destroyed.
Almost the entire meeting signed up to join the Tree Defenders Whatsapp list to be both the eyes and ears of the campaign, letting everyone know if contractors move in. But most importantly, this is a step to building up a network of people ready to do what's necessary to stop our trees being destroyed.
The Stansted 15 will be sentenced on 6 February in Chelmsford. Please attend the court in solidarity or send solidarity messages via Waltham Forest Trades Council: [email protected]
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In The Socialist 30 January 2019:
What we think
Venezuela: resist the pro-imperialist coup!
Join the fight to defend women's lives
Austerity out, Tories out
Tory on homeless: "tear down these tents"
Liverpool Travelodge digger wrecking
Fresh inquest into killer air pollution: nationalise energy and public transport!
International socialist news and analysis
International solidarity with the struggle of the Sudanese people
Brazil: Hundreds die in avoidable dam collapse
Belgium: Movement against climate change grows
Germany: School student walkouts reject Coal Commission proposals
Tesco changes threaten thousands of jobs
PCS Left Unity chooses Chris Baugh - unite behind the left AGS and NEC slate
Leicester college staff strike against low pay
Teachers vote 83% for strikes
Unison union campaigns for school support staff action
Trade unions protect rail workers' picket line in Hull
Campaigns and party news
Councils can fight cuts!
Coxford ward byelection: No to cuts - defend our vital services
Keep profiteering developers out!
A strategy to fight the far right
Want to oust the Tories and change the world? ...Then give us the resources to do it!
Socialist Party Wales conference
East Midlands conference
Exhibition: Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War
Fiction: Tombland "The power of common people fighting for justice in the 16th century"
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