Category: Re-blogs

The Tower: Rewriting Grenfell. ASH response to Andrew O’Hagan

Architects For Social Housing rightly taking Andrew O’Hagan to task for his piece in the London Review of Books about the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire…


Most of us by now are familiar with how our national press and media worked to shape public opinion immediately after both the police assault on picket lines at Orgreave Colliery in 1984 that resulted in niney-five charges of riot being made against striking miners, and the death of ninety-six football supporters in the Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 that resulted in fans being accused of drunkenness and hooliganism, with neither injustice having subsequently led to a single policeman or politician being convicted of a crime. Since the Grenfell Tower fire officially left seventy-two people dead in June 2017, only six people have been convicted of criminal offences, and that for varying degrees of indecent or fraudulent behaviour in what were non-violent crimes. Reprehensible as their actions were and disrespectful to survivors and the bereaved of North Kensington, the fraudsters have been handed extraordinarily punitive sentences of between 18 months and…

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Don’t believe the weasel words of the developers!

We’re re-blogging this piece from our sister blog because it raises a number of issues that deserve further exploration, discussion and debate. The first is how do we take the instinctive distrust many residents have of unaccountable planning processes and the system of local governance that foists them upon us in a progressive direction? If we can’t come up with an answer to this, reactionary elements are lurking in the wings to exploit the discontent of residents who feel that planning is something that’s done to them rather than something they have a genuine stake in. The second is more specific to the history of the development of Basildon New Town and the airbrushing from history of what was destroyed to build it. Before the new town was built, there was a lot of informal housing known as the plotlands. Rather than spend money on connecting many of these informally built homes to utilities and improving the roads in these settlements, Billercay Urban District Council chose to sacrifice them to the development of Basildon New Town instead. As part of the process of building the new town, the existing High Road in Laindon was pretty much murdered as a new shopping centre was constructed in Basildon. For anarchists, the history of Basildon New Town raises a lot of interesting questions about central, unaccountable planning versus bottom up, informal development. It has to be said that it’s not as black and white as it seems and there are a range of nuanced solutions in between that can be designed to ensure power remains at the grassroots with residents. This something that we would love to find the time to explore and write about…

The South Essex Stirrer - Archive

The letter to the Echo reproduced above concerns the ongoing re-development of the Laindon Centre – a shopping precinct that opened in 1969 and has been plagued by problems pretty much ever since. It’s instructive to read this piece from the Laindon & District Community ArchiveLaindon Shopping Centre – The Decline  – which not only discusses the decline of the centre but also offers a history of what the High Road was like before Basildon New Town was built. Spoiler alert – it was thriving! What is clear from this piece is that back in the late 1960s, the Laindon Centre was imposed upon the community with no consultation as part of the grand plan for the new town.

Well, when it comes to taking into consideration the views of the community, it would appear that Swan, the developers responsible for replacing the Laindon Centre, haven’t learned…

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What is ‘Liberation Permaculture’

Is permaculture about re-creating Eden or about changing the world in every way, even politically? Graham Burnett and Nicole Vosper make the case for a politically engaged, ‘liberation permaculture’ –

This is from two people we have a lot of respect for making the case for a permaculture that will bring about fundamental social change as opposed to one that’s simply a lifestyle choice made by people who want to opt out of the modern world but who have no real interest in changing it. It’s an old piece but one that’s probably even more relevant now than when it was written, given the narrative of change coming from an individual altering their lifestyle as opposed to more politically conscious collective endeavours that seek to not only challenge but overthrow the system. It’s about siding with the oppressed and showing solidarity for their struggles for liberation as opposed to a lifestyle change that simply makes you feel good but does sod all to overthrow a system that is moving well beyond it’s use by date.