Hackney Gutter Press issue 5, September 1972

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This issue:

Cover story on council rent increases.

Dock strikes – dockers sold out by the union.

A Cautionary Tale – The eviction of a family squatting on Sandringham Road E8. “There is no such thing as squatters rights” […] “if we organise ourselves, the sky’s the limit: we can defend whole streets of squatters, as they started to do in Bride Street Junction: we could take over blocks of flats, new hotels, as they have done in Italy (and did in England after the war). We could stop communities like De Beauvoir and Mapledene being ‘redeveloped’ into luxury flats, and the poor being pushed out into new towns…

“Many of us have squatted ‘successfully’ – without being evicted – for a long time now. But it’s not enough: we haven’t won until there’s no more homeless, until the system that made us homeless and makes profit out of empty houses, that puts the rich in palaces and the poor in overcrowded ghettoes is TOTALLY OVERTHROWN.”

“There are squatters meetings every week in a different house: contact CENTERPRISE  to find out when and where the next one is. CENTERPRISE, 34 Dalston Lane E8”

A Living Income For All“I’m not interested in the right to work, what must come is the fight for a share of the wealth that’s going”

Shitting Bricks – builders’ strike.

Strikers and the SS“The Social Security is the biggest strike fund of them all! Strikers are beginning to realise this on a large scale and organising with Claimants Unions to make sure they get their benefits”

Antisocial Insecurity – on how protest movements have forced welfare concessions from the state.

Courting the Union – the continuing saga of three Claimants Union members who were charged with criminal damage after a protest at the Lower Clapton Social Services office the previous February. The three defended themselves and challenged the jury selection process (rejecting managers from standing and challenging the lack of black jurors).

The main allegation was that the defendants “smashed up two cubicles and kicked open the door separating staff from claimants”.

The defendants countered this by highlighting discrepancies in the prosecution witnesses testimony and pointing out that “people had been waiting for over four hours, how the office was packed with about 80 claimants, how many of these claimants had been deprived of their rights, how the SS clerks stopped working apparently because of the noise and how one SS clerk, John Fawcett, hit a claimant in the face and smashed his camera. They all said that [defendant] Chris Ratcliffe had been sitting in the waiting area at the time of the damage and [defendant] Eddie Rose didn’t arrive until well afterwards. The defence witnesses described how the cubicles were smashed up by about 20 or 30 angry claimants.”

One defendant was acquitted, the other two were found guilty and conditionally discharged and ordered to pay £20 costs each.

Laughter in Court – another set of Claimants Union activist on trial, this time following a demonstration at Bonhill Street Social Security the previous March. 3 of the 4 defendants were women. One of them was pregnant and asked for an adjournment because she felt ill. This was refused and resulted in the defendants disrupting proceedings until an adjournment was granted.

Women and the Tory Rent Act – being disproportionately effected by rent increases.

Asian Invasion – against the Powellite racism against immigrants from Idi Amin’s repression against Asians in Uganda.

Plus updates on the Stoke Newington 8, attempted eviction of squatters by Acetel Housing Association and the usual classified ads (click to enlarge):

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Despite the “this could be the last time” story on the back page (see above,) there was at least one further issue of Hackney Gutter Press.

After this the paper merged with Hackney Action to form the much longer running Hackney People’s Press. More about which in due course…

A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise- 24 January 2015, London

Thanks to the kind commenter who brought this event to my attention.

Previously posted on this website: Centerprise, working class history and local publishing (1977) and other material.

The text below is taken from The Oral History Noticeboard:

When: 24 January 2015, 2 – 5 pm.

Where: Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH. Venue is wheelchair accessible.

What: Free public event for all those who remember Centerprise. Bring photographs, publications, documents from the time and your memories. Refreshments provided. RSVP to On the Record.

Oral history organisation On the Record has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for A Hackney Autobiography: Remembering Centerprise. Centerprise was a community centre, bookshop and publisher that hosted ground-breaking work in oral history, literacy, community history, life story writing and much more. On the Record are looking for people who remember Centerprise – or who want to help with the project – to join the project steering group, be interviewed or volunteer.

For more information about volunteer opportunities visit: http://on-the-record.org.uk/volunteers-needed-centerprise-project/

A Hackney Autobiography will be launched on Saturday 24 January 2015 at a relaxed gathering with refreshments and poetry. This event will bring people together to discuss Centerprise and share memories of the time. All are welcome, please RSVP to On the Record.

Centerprise was open from 1971 to 2012. It hosted a bookshop, publishing project, reading centre, café, youth club, creche and more all under one roof in Dalston. It not only sold books, it made it possible for local people to write and publish their own works of poetry, autobiography and history. It conducted oral history interviews and published the books created by oral and local history group and Workers Educational Association class the ‘People’s Autobiography of Hackney’, including their two volume chronicle of working life in twentieth century Hackney: Working Lives.

The project will not only reflect upon Centerprise and Hackney’s past, it will work with young people and adults living in Hackney today to set this history in the context of the borough’s rapidly changing landscape. Writer, project steering group member and original publishing worker at Centerprise, Ken Worpole, says:

“Modern Hackney is changing so fast that it is vital that the documentation of its past industrial, social and political heritage, carried out for many years by Centerprise,  is remembered. This is especially important in a culture which is often blind to the struggles and achievements of earlier generations in shaping their own lives, and creating the townscapes and ways of life which are enjoyed in Hackney today.”

A Hackney Autobiography will run from December 2014 to July 2016. It will remember Centerprise, in particular its work in the 1970s and 1980s, through oral history, gathering a public archive at Bishopsgate Institute and by running free workshops and events. A Hackney Autobiography will culminate by curating a digital map showcasing some of the material collected and publishing an in-depth history of Centerprise.

About On the Record:

On the Record Community Interest Company is a not-for-profit cooperative, established in May 2012. Our mission is to create and improve opportunities for a broader range of people to discover and participate in heritage and cultural activities. Previous projects run by On the Record include an oral history of Speakers’ Corner [http://soundsfromthepark.org.uk] and a volunteer research project about the arms trade and the First World War [http://armingallsides.org.uk] Read more here: http://on-the-record.org.uk

About the Heritage Lottery Fund:

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 35,000 projects with more than £5.3bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk

For further information please contact info@on-the-record.org.uk