Wednesday 8 April 2020

Protest Never Changed Anything 2

Gibbs Green

1989 Poll Tax riots (The per-capita "Community Charge" was replaced by Council Tax.)

1932 The Kinder Scout mass trespass gained the right to roam, enshrined in UK law in 2000 in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.

1963 Bristol Bus Boycott. Buses were boycotted for refusing to employ Indian and West Indian crews. The Bristol Omnibus company lost.

Nov 2019 After protests, private firms are selling West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates to the council, instead of demolishing them and building investment flats.

The wilder excesses of ‘traffic modernism’ (often with city hall approval) had insane plans to rip up historic city centres & replace them with ‘motorway boxes’ and the like. Fortunately popular revulsion at these dystopian visions normally stopped them in their tracks. (@createstreets)

They tried to make everyone hot desk in a previous job. It failed, because if the managers weren't doing it, us workers weren't either. (via Facebook)

Protesters in Russia have won a rare victory against the authorities by forcing them to back down over a plan to build a cathedral in a city park (in Yekaterinburg). (Times 2019)

I am unsure of the reasons given, but following complaints by female staff the system of unisex loos [in the office] was abandoned in favour of a more conventional arrangement. (JP. I hope the Home Office and the Times have seen the light.)

2019 Brunei abandons death penalty by stoning for gay sex after international outcry.

Oct 2018 Plans for Clifford’s Tower visitor centre scrapped after outcry.
Aug 2018 Former Sheffield Coroner’s Court saved after protests.

May 2018 Stoke Newington RAF cadets squadron saved from closure after protests. (Text mentions “huge backlash”.)

On this May Day, think of all that workers' organising has made possible across time and space! The eight hour day, an end to child labor, safety protections, and much more. Honour those in past and present fighting for full rights! (@Greeneland)

1956 Mass protest is how the SA Women's Federation tackled the pass laws under apartheid - thousands of women marched into police stations without their passes and demanded to be arrested.  It worked - govt backed down. (@radicalhag. They also held a mass march to government buildings and stood in silence for half an hour.)

The protests were specifically from the residents who lived in the houses facing the new motorway - the houses in Acklam Road were only a handful of feet away from the traffic. Eventually, the residents were rehoused and the houses demolished, but only after the protests. (NW. The houses had a banner stretched across them reading GET US OUT OF THIS HELL, clearly visible from the motorway.)

Jan 2018 Theresa May abandons vote on overturning fox hunting ban after opposition from the public.

In the mid 1980s, Thames Water planned to offload its 'redundant' reservoirs and filter beds in Stoke Newington and sell them for development. This sparked a local campaign that eventually helped to secure the preservation of the East and West Reservoirs. @HistoryOfStokey

Nov 2017 Another giant developer has thrown in the towel in the face of East London’s “people power” with the fourth big building scheme within just six months being withdrawn. (East London Advertiser)

To some extent it's a story we've seen repeated across almost every UK city at about the same time - over-reaching plans for absurd and unaffordable comprehensive redevelopment halted by a resistance which demonstrates an alternative is possible. That was common at the end of the 1960s/start of the 1970s, helped by a 60s wave of nostalgia for, e.g Victoriana by the likes of the Beatles and Kinks. Conservation became sexy, a youth thing. Also another familiar thing there - buildings were seen as worthless, even by their inhabitants, because they were so DIRTY. It's incredible how often buildings are demolished when all they need is cleaning and refurbishing and it still goes on today - you'll hear the same arguments advanced for the demolition of perfectly sound blocks of council homes, for instance. Of course the people with most to gain from demolish-and-rebuild are always developers and corrupt officials, seldom the residents. Politicians love demolition too because it looks like they are doing something, when often they are worsening a situation. But I hadn't known how significant the storm of '68 had been in Glasgow in providing a two-year pause for a rethink at the crucial moment. And the solution was so simple! Reorganise the tenements internally, insert bathrooms, job done. Not that cities such as Glasgow, Liverpool and many others aren't still needlessly demolishing perfectly good buildings... Remember New Labour's "Pathfinder" programme which was just comprehensive redevelopment under a new name? Indeed, we need a new Resistance now because the protections afforded by conservation legislation, green belts, national parks etc are all under direct threat, and frequently just ignored by local authorities desperate to meet nationally-imposed housebuilding targets. We have been this way before. (Hugh Pearman, editor of the RIBA Journal)

Since I've followed James Wong, I've had to rethink many of my beliefs/principles. That's what Twitter is great for. Educating. Challenging. (@ConsultantMicro. See also “Argument never changed anybody’s mind”.)

More here, and links to the rest.

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