Class War have called a protest at The Shard to highlight the obscenity of the existence of tower after tower of empty luxury apartments – all too often acting as investment vehicles for the super rich – while London is experiencing a severe housing and homelessness crisis. In particular, Class War want to draw attention to the many survivors of last year’s Grenfell Tower disaster who are still stuck in inadequate temporary accommodation while the capital is awash with empty apartments. The Shard was picked because it’s an iconic building and a high profile example of the problem with its empty luxury apartments.
Then, the owners of The Shard got wind of the planned protest and sent in the solicitors. At the time of writing, this situation is ongoing so it’s best we don’t make any comment which may inadvertently prejudice the situation for Class War in general and Ian Bone in particular. However, there has been plenty of media coverage since the solicitors got involved so we’ll present what we’ve seen so far here and we’re sure you’ll be able to draw your own conclusions.
Shard owners seek to ban protest by Class War activist (The Guardian) – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/06/shard-owners-seek-to-ban-protest-by-class-war-activist
Qatari royals in High Court threat to South Norwood pensioners (Inside Croydon) – https://insidecroydon.com/2018/02/06/qatari-royals-in-high-court-threat-to-south-norwood-pensioners/
Shard’s Qatari owners try to halt pensioner class war activist from holding ‘ghost towers’ protest (RT) – https://www.rt.com/uk/418034-shard-protest-court-grenfell/
It’s fairly certain that there will be more media coverage of this. We’ll allow ourselves one little comment… If the owners of The Shard thought that a court summons for an injunction hearing would nip this protest in the bud then it has to be said that their efforts are an epic fail. The media are picking up not just on the story about the injunction but also on the issue of the empty investment apartments that led to the protest getting called. Whatever the owners of The Shard do from now on, the story is out there and they’ll be fighting an increasingly desperate rearguard battle to stifle it.
As far as we can make out, unless the owners of The Shard and their solicitors can conjure some pretty draconian restrictions to apply to a large area surrounding the building, a protest will be taking place this Thursday evening from 6pm onwards. One that is likely to be a lot bigger than initially anticipated owing to the shit storm generated by the actions of the owners and their solicitors. We will be in attendance at this one – given what we’ve had to say on the impact of the social cleansing of London on the housing situation out along the Thames estuary, it would be rude of us to not attend.
Given how desperate the owners are to nip this one in the bud, we would advise those attending the protest to be wary of any attempts to sabotage, undermine and discredit the action. Bear in mind the very, very close proximity of the offices of The Times and The S*n to the proposed location of the protest.
What’s really interesting about all of this is what the reaction by the owners of The Shard and their minions tells us about the state of mind of the super rich. A few posts on Facebook from Class War – a group who on their own admission use the tactic of irreverently taking the piss to draw attention to the failings of the system – has provoked a reaction out of all proportion to any threat that may be posed. Despite the rhetoric of some of the material posted by Class War, based on past experience, the protest will be pretty theatrical, ribald and irreverent with the the aim of getting across to the passing public a serious point about the roots of the housing crisis in London. A nuisance and an embarrassment to the owners of The Shard, certainly but a serious threat to the integrity of the tower, no way.
Despite this, the owners are throwing everything they can at Class War to nip this protest in the bud. A super rich elite confident about their place in the world would simply shrug this protest off. The over-reaction suggests an elite who are anything but confident about their place and purpose in the world. Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is the action of an elite that is becoming increasingly fearful as they become more aware of the growing levels of resentment at their privilege. While they can call upon the weight of the law and when push comes to shove the force of the state in a way that threatens our very existence, their actions are born out of fear. Whatever the super rich and their minions throw at us in the coming years, as long as we remember they’re acting from fear, eventually we will prevail.