ITN: raw footage of Hackney poll tax protest

Woo! Check this out

http://www.itnsource.com/en/shotlist/ITN/1990/03/08/CR0803900002/

It’s not possible to embed the films on the ITNsource site, but I have taken some screenshots. This is a 73 minutes of unedited footage of anti poll tax protests outside English Town Halls in March 1990.

The last half an hour is all from the Hackney protest. It includes the police setting up as well as a lot of pushing, shoving and chanting during the protest itself. There are arrests and de-arrests. Paddy Ashdown is called a wanker during an interview – and a more reasonable protestor remonstrates with him about police violence.

There are also shots of the much missed Samuel Pepys pub and the Narrow Way etc as you haven’t seen them for some time…

It’s not brilliant quality but it is still an amazing thing to see.

Below is the index text from the ITN site (with some TV jargon included) – you can scroll through the footage to get to the timings indicated:

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41.13 Bus full of police along; police load crowd control barriers into van; bus carrying police along past Town Hall; police off bus; another bus full of police along; police carrying barriers along road; man along road with placard; pile of anti poll tax placards on pavement; large group of police along pavement;

44.02 GV Town Hall; police outside Town Hall; boarded up windows; policemen on roof; CS ‘London Borough of Hackney’ logo PULL OUT to boarded up windows of Housing Office; security officers at entrance door to Town Hall; man enters Town Hall after showing police ID card; line of police outside Town Hall; NIGHT/EXT

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46.19 Demers with placards outside Town Hall; demers chanting; Green Party anti poll tax banner; demers chanting; police standing on steps of town hall facing chanting crowds; crowds trying to push past police as anger builds and chants of ‘Maggie Thatcher’s Boot Boys’ become louder; crowd surge forward trying to push past police; two policemen discussing tactics; crowds throwing missiles at police as scuffles begin; police making arrests;

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54.05 Intvw Paddy Ashdown outside Town Hall; young man begins to argue with Ashdown;

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56.27 GV crowd outside Town Hall ZOOM IN to police in midst of crowds as scuffles occur; police making arrests; fight breaks out as police and crowds clash; missiles thrown at police; man appears on balcony to cheers from crowds below; man on balcony unfurls flag ‘Pay No Poll Tax’ and waves it to crowds below;

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63.10 Crowd throwing missiles at police, police pursue offenders; ambulance along road; police retreating as mass crowds throw missiles and placards at them; police rush towards crowds who speedily retreat; police make arrests;

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66.12 GV police under seige at entrance to Town Hall; scuffle breaks out (good clear shots) and police make arrests; injured man with blood on forehead helped by crowds; blood spattered on ground; police making arrests;

68.21 CS poster advertising “People First Rally” with Paddy Ashdown as main speaker;

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68.32 Arrested man led away by police; CS broken window of Town Hall; INT: officials inside Town Hall; intvw Paddy Ashdown inside Town Hall as shouts of “We Wont Pay the Poll Tax” heard in b/g; EXT/NIGHT

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70.40 Injured man on stretcher lifted into ambulance; crowds cheer as ambulance away; police making arrests; crowds dispersing as demo ends; VS EXT Woolworths and pavement outside strewn with broken glass; EXT McDonalds with smashed windows; EXT Midland Bank and broken windows; man sweeping up glass; CONDENSED RUSHES CR2128

ENDS:74.24

November 1990: Hackney leads poll tax non-payment league

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After the riots, Hackney was the number one borough for non-payment of the Poll Tax too.

An article in the Guardian on 1st of November 1990 stated:

The latest survey by the Guardian shows almost half of eligible residents in Hackney have not paid the poll tax.

The east London borough of Hackney has replaced Liverpool as the bastion of non-payment in the Guardian’s latest monthly survey of the community charge in 20 local authorities.

Forty-four per cent of residents liable for the poll tax have so far paid nothing, compared with 42 per cent in Liverpool.

But Hackney has managed to obtain more revenue than Liverpool, which has pulled in only 30 per cent of the money it ought to have received by now, and is heading for severe financial problems.

Hackney has reached 55 per cent of the target.

This is partly because Liverpool, after political and printing delays and an industrial dispute in the poll tax department, has only just started to issue 93,000 final notices to non-payers and has not yet started taking people to court.

Hackney, however, has obtained more than 4,000 liability notices from magistrates, and has already asked bailiffs to take action in 2,000 cases. Some other Labour authorities, by contrast, are using bailiffs as a last resort, or not at all. […]

Poll Tax

A proud legacy!

People burning their bills, Clissold Park

People burning their bills, Clissold Park

HCDA on the Hackney poll tax riot, 1990

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I’ve now added this document in a more readable format to the Hackney Community Defence Association section of the site:

A peoples’ account of the Hackney anti-poll tax demonstration on March 8th 1990.

Lots of eye-witness accounts of conflict with the police outside the town hall, shops being vandalised on the Narroway and even an attack on Hackney police station. With guest appearances by Paddy Ashdown and Glenys Kinnock.

(Not to mention the usual sterling work by HCDA in assisting people who were falsely arrested and fitted up).

 

A Radical History of Hackney Parks

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“The Park is called the People’s Park
And all the walks are theirs
And strolling through the flowery paths
They breathe exotic airs,
South Kensington, let it remain
Among the Upper Ten.
East London, with useful things,
Be left with working men.

The rich should ponder on the fact
Tis labour has built it up
A mountain of prodigious wealth
And filled the golden cup.
And surely workers who have toiled
Are worthy to behold
Some portion of the treasures won
And ribs of shining gold.”

An ode to Victoria Park, 1872
(from Victoria Park, East London: The People’s Park)

The text below was originally published as a pamphlet, bashed out for the Radical History Network meeting on “Community Empowerment and Open Green Spaces”, July 10th 2013. (I have a couple of the pamphlets left – drop me an email if you want one.)

It’s full of holes, a work in progress. Get in touch with additions, criticisms, comments.

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1275 The area that is now London Fields was recorded as common pastureland adjoining Cambridge Heath. In 1540 the name London Field is found recorded as a separate item consisting of around 100 acres in changing ownership of land. London Field was one of the many “commonable lands” of Hackney where the commoners of the parish could graze their livestock on the fields from Lammas Day (Anglo Saxon for bread mass), August 1st, celebrating the first loaf after the crops had been harvested, to Lady Day, March 25th. This arrangement was known as Lammas Rights and was protected by law. (from here)

1700s In the Marshes towards Hackney Wick were low public houses, the haunt of highwaymen. Dick Turpin was a constant guest at the “White House” or “Tyler’s Ferry” and few police-officers were bold enough to approach the spot.

1750 onwards Clissold House (originally named Paradise House) was built, in the latter half of the 18th century, for Jonathan Hoare, a City merchant, Quaker, philanthropist and anti-slavery campaigner. (His brother Samuel was one of the founders of the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade.). The grounds of the house went on to become Clissold Park.

1793 Big open-air demonstration on Hackney Downs, in support of the revolutionary gains in France. The tutors Richard Price, Joseph Priestley and Gilbert Wakefield organised lectures on the French Revolution at the New College, a non-conformist academy (“by-word for revolutionary opinion”) at Lower Clapton.

1840 Abney Park Cemetery opens as the first fully non-denominational burial ground in Europe (where anyone could be buried, but especially non-conformists, dissenters etc). Many anti-slavery campaigners are buried there.

1845 Victoria Park is opened following a petition by 30,000 local people to Queen Victoria. “There was no bathing pool provided and local youths were in the habit of bathing – naked! – in the adjacent Regent’s Canal.  Attempts to police such shocking behaviour were unavailing and within a few years a pool was provided in the park itself.” – Victoria Park, East London: The People’s Park

1848 Chartists meet at Bonners Park (near Victoria Park) to march on Parliament.

1860s Hackney Downs open space (originally common land) preserved as parkland as a result of pressure by the Commons Preservation Society.

1866 Widespread pickets and demonstrations for universal male suffrage as advocated by the Reform League during summer. After disorder at Hyde Park the Tory government banned all protest meetings throughout London. The ban was widely ignored; a huge “illegal” rally took place in Victoria Park.

1872 180 acres in Hackney are preserved as public open space and protected from the encroachment of development. Including Clapton Common and Cockhanger Green (now boringly called Stoke Newington Common).

1886notice

In the 1880s the grounds of Clissold House and the adjacent Newington Common were threatened with development, and two prominent campaigners, Joseph Beck of The City of London and John Runtz of The Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) persuaded the Board of MBW to buy the land and create a public park. (from Clissold Park User Group, as was the image above)

1885 William Morris speaks at Victoria Park:

The political culture of the day was not simply confined to the clubs and indoor meeting places. The open-air meeting, whether in the park, or on the street corner, remained the principal forum for addressing the uninitiated, convincing the unconvinced, spreading the word. William Morris was one of the mast well known public speakers for socialism of the period, and visited Hackney often. There is a fine portrait of him speaking to a crowd in Victoria Park in 1885 in Tom Mann’s Memoirs:

He was a picture on an open air platform. The day was fine, the branches of the tree under which he was speaking spread far over the speaker. Getting him well in view, the thought came, and has always recurred as I think of that first sight of Morris – “Bluff King Hal”. I did not give careful attention to what he was saying, for I was chiefly concerned to get the picture of him in my mind, and then to watch the faces of the audience to see how they were impressed…. Nine-tenths were giving careful attention, but on the fringe of the crowd were some who had just accidentally arrived, being out for a walk, and having unwittingly come upon the meeting. These stragglers were making such remarks as: ‘Oh, this is the share-and-share-alike crowd’; ‘Poverty, eh, he looks all right, don’t he?’ But the audience were not to be distracted by attempts at ribaldry: and as Morris stepped off the improvised platform, they gave a fine hearty hand-clapping which showed real appreciation.

(From Hackney Propaganda: Working Class Club Life and Politics in Hackney 1870-1900)

1887 Free speech demo in Victoria Park in March.

1889 Clissold Park was opened by the newly formed London County Council (LCC). The two ponds in the park are named the Beckmere and the Runtzmere in honour of the two principal founders.

1926 Victoria Park is the site for some enthusiastic speeches in support of the General Strike. The park is closed briefly to the public during the strike when the army is stationed there – for reasons which seem to be unclear.

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1930s Hackney Red Radio (a branch of the Workers Theatre Movement) perform agit prop and pro-working class skits and plays. The group performs in parks, streets etc, including London Fields, where they are pelted with over-ripe tomatoes by an unappreciative audience on one occasion.

“We are Red Radio,
Workers’ Red Radio,
We Show you how you’re robbed and bled;
The old world’s crashing,
Let’s help to smash it
And build a workers’ world instead.”

1936 British Union of Fascists holds regular rallies in Victoria Park including clashes with anti-fascists. Also a large anti-fascist meeting in July organised by the Trades Councils of North and East London: “A mile long procession headed by a brass band culminated in a large public meeting which declared its unalterable opposition to fascism and to the war which it would inevitably lead.” Fascists attempt to march through East London in October for another Victoria Park rally, but are prevented from doing so by anti-fascists: The Battle of Cable Street. They did not pass.

1939 Trenches are dug in Hackney Downs, Victoria Park and other open spaces at the outset of the 2nd World War.

(There is a bit of gap here! Can you help fill it? What happened between the 1930s and the 1970s?)

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1978 80,000 attend huge Anti-Nazi League concert in Victoria Park (apparently the stage was in Hackney but the audience was in Tower Hamlets!).

1980s Three GLC-organised festivals in Victoria Park. Two are themed around peace / against nuclear weapons – including one on Hiroshima Day, 6 August 1983.

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1981 Funk The Wedding concert takes place in Clissold Park on the day of the marriage of Charles and Di. (from History Is Made At Night, as is the image above)

1983 Clissold Park Free Festival, August?! (mentioned here, any further info welcome)

1990s The demolition of London Fields Lido is resisted by the people of Hackney, including standing in front of the bulldozers. Local people led campaigns to reopen the Lido and cleared away vegetation. The children’s paddling pool which was closed in 1999, was reopened by local people for summer seasons. In 1998 the Lido was squatted for housing, a café and communal events. In August 1998 there was the Carnival of the Dispossessed, a benefit for Reclaim The Streets. The Lido was squatted for a second time 2002-2005. (From Past Tense)

1990 Hackney residents burn Poll Tax bills in Clissold Park.

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1991 Anti-Fascist Action sponsor Unity Carnival on Hackney Downs:

“AFA had surprised everyone by organising the biggest anti-fascist event for over a decade, drawing 10,000 people to the Unity Carnival on Hackney Downs. Supported by a wide range of organisations, from the Hackney Joint Shop Stewards Committee, to the Fire Brigade Union, the Carnival programme again drew attention to rising levels of race attacks and urged people to become pro-active: ‘We have organised today’s event to draw attention to the growing number of racist attacks especially in east London. The fact that some sections of the community virtually live under siege is unacceptable and we hope you are prepared to do more than just come to this symbolic show of unity. Support the activities on the back of this programme to get organised and do something to stop racist attacks.'”

Sean Birchall – Beating The Fascists: The Untold Story of Anti-Fascist Action (Freedom, 2010) p250

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1994 Hackney Homeless Festival, Clissold Park – 30,000 people. Clashes with police afterwards. (image by Jamie from tribe.net)

1996 Hackney Anarchy Week, a ten day festival including a punks’ picnic and 3-sided football match in Clissold Park.

2007 After much resistance and protest, the Manor Garden Allotments (near Hackney Wick, but apparently not technically in Hackney!) are demolished to make way for the Olympics. Similar struggles take place on Hackney Marshes (where football pitches are closed to make way for a coach park)

2012 A small “Occupy London” camp sets up briefly in Haggerston Park.

Sources/Acknowledgements

http://www.londonfieldsusergroup.org.uk/

http://www.clissoldpark.com/park-history/

Victoria Park, East London: The People’s Park

Barry Burke and Ken Worpole – Hackney Propaganda: Working Class Club Life and Politics in Hackney 1870-1900 (Centerprise, 1980) (William Morris)

Barry Burke – Rebels With A Cause: The History of Hackney Trades Council (Centerprise. 1975)

History Is Made At Night (Funk The Royal Wedding)

Past Tense (London Fields Lido)

Getting Involved

Hackney Council’s list of Park User Groups.

Further Reading: Modern

The Rise of the Friends Groups Movements, by Dave Morris

Finsbury Park: A History of Community Empowerment, by Hugh – Friends of Finsbury Park

The Community-Led Transformation of Lordship Rec, by Friends of Lordship Rec

Further Reading: Older

Down With The Fences: Battles For The Commons In South London, by Past Tense

Subversive of Public Decency: Open Space In North / North East London: radical crowds, immorality, and struggles over enclosure, by Past Tense (not online yet)

Hackney Heckler issue 12, January 1993

This is the last issue of the Heckler from this era that I have – can anyone confirm it was the last one produced?


CRACKPOT
By Dee Campbell

The venerable Guild of Fine Powder Purveyors has been rocked to its core by corruption allegations concerning some of its members in a north London branch. As many as 25 dealers in Stoke Newington are alleged to have been involved in policing.

“DEALER X”

Suggestions that dealers have given information to police officers are nothing new, but the Guild is currently investigating allegations that go much further – one dealer is alleged to have been earning as much as £2,000 a month as a police officer. The dealer, who can only be referred to as “Dealer X” for life insurance reasons, was named in the confession of self-styled “honest cop” PC Dick Sonofdockgreen.

The self-confessed “woodentop” claimed he saw Dealer X:

– Arresting people
– Giving evidence
– Drinking with known “officers”
– Wearing a brown leather jacket, blue jeans, and new white trainers.

Mr. Bigg, the Guild’s president told us that an investigation, code-named “Operation Crackpot”, has been ongoing for 18 months. However, Roy Nark, head of Stoke Newington’s Guild Branch denied there was any truth in the story: “These allegations have been made by self-confessed police officers – they are absolute rubbish”. Admitting the investigation had lowered morale amongst the area’s dealers, he said, “How can my men provide a service to the public with this hanging over them, knowing every time they make a sale they may be accused of being police officers”.



COVER-UP

Hugh Sless, the civilian member of the Pushers Complaints Authority (P.C.A.) overseeing the investigation, said: “I am absholutely determined there musht be a cover-up, the truth musht not come out. Theshe are sheriously allegationsh and if we find anyone ish guilty of being a witnesssh to them, we musht put them
away for a long time.”

A World Inaction investigation into the scandal will also throw light on the role of a young mother from Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, who has allegedly been operating as an MP for 5 years. Shocked neighbours told them, “We had no idea, she seemed so nice. We got a bit suspicious when she paid her Poll-Tax, and there were a lot of foreign trips – but we thought she was just running drugs”.

Speaking through a solicitor Ms. Abbott told them: “Politicians are scum; as a local woman with a young child I know only to well how concerned parents are about the menace posed by MPs. I shall certainly sue, I have never represented Stoke Newington at Westminster and I never would.”

NEWS

IN THEIR WORDS

A recent confidential report from Mike ‘Cassanova’ Craig made clear the council’s priorities for the next year. In it is the bland statement: “There will be some scope for reducing the staffing establishment in Payroll as a result of staffing reduction which all directorates are likely to be making next year”.

So it looks like compulsory redundancies all around – and the services that we need further down the drain. But there is one area of growth (apart from Mike’s salary). In his words: “I consider that the Audit Inspectorate is the one area within my budget where growth is required“. So lots more investigating so-called ‘fraud’ while services collapse. But the Town Hall bosses can boast of their “drive against fraud” to draw our attention from their continual series of cock-ups.

COMRADES

In the Prince George recently, after a few beers, Councillor Jon Burnell was holding forth about Tommy ‘The Vamp’ Shepherd: “The trouble with Tommy is that he’s go no political ideas beyond furthering of his own career“. Now if Hackney’s labour councillors hate each other so much is it any wonder we hate them too?

OVERDUE

We’ve been informed that Chair of the Leisure Services Committee, Andy Buttress has not been returning his library books. And not from one but three different libraries! We think that it’s about time that Andy returned his books, especially as he has just issued a memo to the hard pressed library workers that stops them from taking out too many library books. One rule for them and one rule for us perhaps? And while we’re on the subject of Andy, he should pay up his poll tax before the bailiffs come knocking again. After all, it’s Andy and the rest his Labour mates constantly ordering us to pay ours.

YES SIR…

Talk about getting down on your belly! Council leader John McCafferty has now had the guts to invite Tory Housing Minister, Sir George Young, to come and speak in the Town Hall at 6pm on January 21st. This upper class toff is best known for his reference to the homeless as, “the sort of people you step on when you come out of the opera”, to which he added, “the Government’ s efforts to help the rough sleeper are a widely acknowledged success.”

The snob will speak for up to 2 hours on the ‘Government’s Urban Policy.’ What policy? Chaos, cuts in road repairs, cuts in housebuilding, cuts in jobs… It’s the equivalent of a butcher speaking on vegetarianism. Knowing full well that local people might like to ask some difficult questions John ‘always-the-democrat’ McCafferty has made the event ticket only.

So, Sir George Young won’t have to answer why the Tories have halved the councils capital spending programme from £79 million to 1989/90 to just £38 million in 1992/3, thus producing more urban decay! And he won’t have to talk about the cockroaches, the failure to build any new houses… and nor will McCafferty. McCafferty is now a great pal of Sir George, having drunk champagne together celebrating the granting of a mere £7.5 million a year, for 5 years, to Hackney under the City Challenge bid. But as we know, what the Tories give with one hand they take back with the other. So in December they announced massive cuts in Section 11 Funding, threatening 300 local jobs, and causing McCafferty to whimper about “the dire impact on jobs and service delivery.” The Tories also told the Council they were cutting the Inner City Partnership programme by £3.7 million in 1993/4, leaving less money for street lighting, cycle routes, making buildings accessible for people with disabilities, etc, and destroying almost all the local summer playschemes.

McCafferty and Co joined in, announcing their very own cuts of £1,150,000 in the voluntary sector, ending the funding of Hackney Under-5’s and Under-8’s, the Pakistan Welfare Association, the Roots Pool and the Trade Union Support Unit, plus imposing massive cuts on Centerprise, the Claudia Jones Womens’ Project, and many others. Sir George Young should be made aware we don’t need his pompous lectures, so this beano will be picketed. And, if you’d have liked to ask Sir George a question, or just want to know why you weren’t invited, you can phone Shan Nicholas on 071 490 1600 ext2262.


NO SIR NO WAY!

An unemployed poll-tax non-payer was recently fed false information when summonsed to Thames Magistrates Court. He’d wanted to challenge his arrears with the magistrate, but in the court building he was directed to Hackney Council Community Charge staff. They said that he could pay £5 per week, making out it was the least anyone could pay. They also used threats that he could be imprisoned.

The non-payer refused, and only then did it turn out that the maximum they can legally take from people on income support is £2.10 per week with a liability order. This wasn’t mentioned in any literature, nor said by any staff, and quite a few people at the court were tricked into agreeing to losing £5, deducted weekly from their dole. Hackney Council again show themselves to be spineless cheats, taking money off the poor. If you are on income support, the most they can take out is £2.10 per week. If you do go to court, make it clear you know this, and stick to your guns.

LESSONS FROM OUR HISTORY
COLIN ROACH

Colin Roach was shot dead in the foyer of Stoke Newington police station on the night of Wednesday January 12th 1983. The police immediately spread false stories that a young black man with a “history of mental instability” had shot himself. Members of Colin’s family were treated with contempt undeserving of grieving relatives. The community responded with two spontaneous demonstrations and a highly effective campaign against police racism and injustice.

Among the Roach Family Support Committee’s achievements:

• organised four demonstrations
• Hackney Council voted against paying the police precept
• trade unions backed a ‘break links’ policy and community organisations refused to co-operate with the police
• exposed the inquest system as a rubber stamp for police explanations for deaths in custody
• commissioned an authoritative report into Colin’s death and policing in Hackney.

The police tried to beat the campaign off the streets. 80 people, including Colin’s father, James Roach, were arrested on five demonstrations within two months of his death. Ten years on the importance of the campaign is clear. The police’s official cover up failed. The community believes somebody shot Colin Roach and the police have to answer for it. It is fitting that on the tenth anniversary of Colin Roach’s death that a centre is opened in his name. It is in tribute to his family and a campaign which represented an important step forward in the struggle against oppression.

INNOCENT

Another worker, sacked in the council’s so-called “crackdown on fraud” has had his name cleared. This time, the council didn’t even dare to go in front of an Industrial Tribunal: They settled out of court, giving the man £5,000 and good references. John Mac-Cafferty, declared “the paying of compensation should not be seen as the council throwing in the towel”. It all shows that the council have (yet again) completely cocked-up and wasted more of our money. More cases are coming up soon, and we expect the workers involved to be totally cleared. Of course, this caring council won’t give them their jobs back. Solid workers’ action could achieve that. And recent strike action has shown people won’t take much more, so there’s hope.

OFF THE BACK OF A LARRY?

We all know corruption is rife in Hackney. The triumvirate running Hackney – cops, local businessmen and Labour councillors – grin at us from the pages of the Hackney Gazette, the non-campaigning paper which doesn’t care. Several people have recently contacted the Heckler with lurid tales about corruption in the council.So, our team of investigators is about to delve into the murky past If you know anything about golden handshakes to Labour Party members,dodgy contracts, employees sacked to be silenced, keys for cash (yawn!), or especially about Larry Lobjoie, get in touch with the Heckler and help stick the boot into the Hackney Council Mafiosi.

Hackney Heckler
NEW YEAR’S HONOURS

Special Team Awards

For Services To Anarchism: STOKE NEWINGTON POLICE “CRACK” SQUAD for their selfless contribution to the breakdown of law and order.

For Services To Capitalism: HACKNEY COUNCIL LABOUR GROUP for their unflinching support for developing enterprise combined with their spectacular destruction of local services.

For Services To Ignorance: To the three stooges of the HACKNEY GAZETTE PRODUCTION TEAM, seeing nothing, hearing nothing and saying nothing, and charging us 28p for the privilege.

International Solidarity Award:  HACKNEY TRADES UNION COUNCIL for sending two delegates to Turkey who met the Mayor of Kartal only weeks after he had sent the police to break up a council workers’ strike, leaving 20 wounded when the police opened fire on them.

Industrial Harmony Award:  HACKNEY JOINT SHOP STEWARDS COMMITTEE for having jointly done nothing at all together to upset anyone, least of all the Council bosses.

For Services To The Anti Poll-Tax Movement:  STOKE NEWINGTON COMMUNITY CHARGE OFFICE for mistakenly giving out the phone number of a squat in Stamford Hill as their office number.

Individual Honours

Services To The Media: DIANE ABBOTT for only ever doing anything if the papers and TV are there to see.

For Long Suffering: BRIAN SEDGEMORE. In over five years he has not once spoken out against Ms Abbott, some say his parliamentary colleague, and also for cycling around every pothole in Hackney.

The Family Values Award: LINDA HIBBERD, Chair of Housing, for rescuing her son and other family members from the bottom of the Waiting List, and installing them and herself in very nice homes.

Unprincipled Trade Unionism: JOHN McCAFFERTY for not letting his membership of the National Union of Teachers hinder the council in sacking teachers.

The Free Enterprise Award:  LINDA BELLOS for taking the redundancy money, and going back to work for the council, doing the same job as a consultant earning 4 times as much as before.

Bloodsucking Chameleon Award:  TOMMY SHEPHERD for keeping his mouth shut when the Stokey Cokey scandal broke, despite having embarked on his political career in the Community Alliance For Police Accountability.

Headbanger Of The Year Award:  CHIEF SUPT ROY CLARK for repeatedly insisting that nothing was wrong at Stokey Coke-shop, and then quitting for criminal intelligence.

Police Flexibility Award:  D.C. ROY LEWANDOWSKI wins for being bent enough to be convicted of theft, charged with V.A.T. fraud, and for supplying hard drugs.

Justice Award:  SGT. GERRARD CARROLL for getting the right man. When he shot himself (if in fact it was he) many people felt safe to leave their homes again.

Milk Tray Award: CHIEF SUPT BERNARD TAFFS for giving chocolates and flowers to a family mistakenly raided by armed police.

Professionals In Publicity- Grabbing Award: MARTIN SHAW for actually speaking to Stokey Cokey about his noisy neighbours, and posing menacingly on the front page of the Gazette.

Extreme Loyalty Award: CLLR. MEDLIN LEWIS for spending a whole year in the same party.

Even-Less-Caring-Than-McCafferty Award:  LORD TOMLINSON for deciding we don’t need Barts any-more.

Three-Bags-Full Award:  SIR GEORGE YOUNG for getting the maximum from the Council with the minimum of resistance.

Brown Trousers Award:  JOHN McCAFFERTY for what he does every time he hears the name Larry Lobjoie.

Summer on the Estate, 1990

Documentary about the New Kingshold Estate, E9.

Struggles with the Council, the poll tax, squatters, asbestos, the daily grind.

There is also a 1995 follow up to the documentary, which concludes with the demolition of the estate’s tower blocks.

Also a set on flickr documenting the partial demolition of the estate.

Hackney Heckler issue 8, May 1991

BUG ALERT!

COCKROACHES RIFE IN HACKNEY
All across the borough creepy crawly cockroaches are causing horror for council tenants. Coming out in the dead of night from nooks and crannies in walls and under floor-boards, devouring any food in sight and leaving their sickly sweet smell wherever they crawl. Some tenants have collected them by the bag full to prove to sceptical council officers of their abundance.

IT’S BUGGING
Why is it Hackney and not Hampstead these bugs choose to bug we ask? The answer’s plain — sweeping cuts in services, from rubbish collection through to general maintenance are fast turning our estates into slums: a cockroaches’ paradise. The foolish and pathetic bunch of incompetents who are running our council don’t have a clue what it’s like trying to get the most basic of repairs done to our homes. Not surprising really when the majority of them don’t live on estates but own their own homes on the poshest streets in the borough. Cockroaches may be a problem but they don’t bug as half as much as a council so spineless and corrupt as Hackney’s got. With their readiness to impose the Poll Tax without a whimper leading to huge cuts in services, they’ve abandoned any pretence of being “the caring council”. Caring to them means keeping their jobs, balancing the books and toeing the Tory line.

Oxford Dictionary: (n) scavengers by nature, cockroaches are a threat to health because of their predilection for drains, sewers and rubbish. They inevitably foul more food than they eat, leaving a trail of excreta and regurgitated material.

RENT STRIKE NOW!
But people aren’t being conned so easily. Thousands of tenants are already refusing to pay rent because of inefficient services. This could be extended to an organised rent strike to unite all those who are really sick to death of the council’s mismanagement.

Woodberry Down tenants had the right idea when after years of living without a decent rubbish collection, they got together for a mass dump of rubbish right outside their area housing office. We’d like to suggest a councillors’ front garden next time! A council tenant in Brent who had cockroaches took her council to court and got over £5000 of rent arrears dismissed, setting a legal precedent to anyone with a similar problem to do the same. But in the short term we suggest anyone who has problems with vermin or pests such as cockroaches, slip them in an envelope or parcel and post them off to our present Chair of Housing, Linda Hibberd, for inspection. She lives at the swanky 6 Oakfield Lodge, 37 Kenninghall Road, E5 which, as you can guess, is a far cry from a council flat in Hackney.

NEWS

COUNCIL COOKS BOOKS
• Hubble bubble, toil and trouble! The council embark on their audit this month after being forced to do so by the ombudsman. After three years of creative accounting, McCafferty and Co. will need copious amounts of whitewash to cover their tracks and we eagerly await, the lame excuses, the stern denials and the realisation that public funds have mysteriously disappeared. The report will be ready later this month, so watch this space for further developments.

GESTAPO
• When Hitler invaded Poland, first thing he did was seize government records. These details gave him ready access to where the Jewish community were living, and many met their deaths quicker because these documents were available. Consider this before giving any information on the census or any state forms. As part of their policy for some kind of United States of Europe, they want everyone to carry identity cards after 1992. No doubt Poll Tax registrations and census had that in mind too.

PLAIN DAFT
• Hackney Council chiefs recently put the “loony” firmly back onto the “left” over women’s issues. First, their campaign to get women to report harassment while using LBH Leisure Services’ pools, gyms, libraries, etc….now there’s nothing wrong there….trouble is it’s all hypocrisy because the women (and men) actually working in Leisure Services are regularly harassed — and generally treated like shit — by LBH managers, to which the trendy “Women’s Committee” turns a blind eye. Then there’s the Department of Technical and Construction Services’ banning of patronising words like “love”, “darling”, etc. What nonsense! Offensiveness is just that, whatever the words used. Middle class managers can get away with it by hiding their sexism beneath “correct English” and slimy smiles. Meanwhile, I.BH pretends it defends women — yet evicts homeless mothers!

QUEUE JUMP!
• Labour councillor Martin O’Connor was spotted recently jumping a bus queue. That’s right, he was last one at the stop, first one on the bus. How’s that for socialism?

FILL THE EMPTIES

In their well publicised campaign to rid the borough of squatters for 1992, McCafferty and Co. have recently shown yet again that when it serves their purposes, they’re more than willing to bend and even break not only the law of the land, but also their own council policies.

Council documents leaked to us reveal the Director of Housing’s written policy is to not evict those in “priority housing need”, yet that’s just what they did on 26th April in their dawn raid evictions on Holmleigh Road Estate, Stamford Hill. Of the 10 households evicted that day, the council had to rehouse 4 of them elsewhere. Further evictions were prevented only when construction union UCATT workers walked off, refusing to carry on doing the councils’ dirty work.

Housing Services Chair Linda Hibberd later told the ‘Hackney Gazette’ “We have not evicted squatters who have high priorities, such as those with medical reasons or children, and those families that were evicted have all been rehoused”. A fine piece of double-talk indeed Linda! During these evictions, the whole estate was awakened at dawn and van-loads of cops stood around all day, so that the housing managers could feel they were safe from the angry residents surrounding them.

How much did this fiasco cost? Why didn’t they let those people stay and spend the money making empty flats liveable? Hackney Council is still leaving 1400 of our flats unoccupied. We say NO EVICTIONS — FILL THE EMPTIES FIRST!

Know Your Rights — if you’re threatened with eviction or need any other advice on squatting, you can phone the Advisory Service for Squatters, weekdays between 2pm and 6pm on 071-359 8814.

POSTBOX

Kingsmead Estate
Homerton E9

Dear Hackney Heckler,

After receiving the last two issues of the Hackney Heckler, I just had to write and tell you what a breath of fresh air it is. Like a lot of people, I was getting sick to death of Militant and the SWP claiming responsibility for beating the Poll Tax, closely followed by Labour Party stalwarts who feel we ought to vote Kinnock because he isn’t a Tory. They all know in their hearts that it was the ordinary people that forced Major and Co. to radically alter their handiwork.

I just hope the momentum and thought stirred up by this lousy piece of legislation will carry on into other areas of social injustice. I’m fed up with cuts in services, I’m fed up with bad administration and I’m fed up with lame excuses. Hackney is a dump, but it needn’t be. The area is alive with talent, it has a network of people committed to making things better and, if you don’t mind me saying so, it has a voice in the form of your paper. You are the only people who haven’t tried to tell me it was all your idea, and I appreciate thathonesty.

Yours Sincerely, Ray.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES?

Hackney Council likes to boast that it is a bastion of equal opportunities. But, as so often with this council, there is much difference between reality and rhetoric. So womens’ rights are upheld by this council? Like the right of women in the Labour Party who refuse to attend meetings where Tommy Sheppard (the Deputy Leader) is present due to his sexual harassment? And the right of women to have nursery places for their kids? The Victorian Grove nursery (60 places) has been closed; the Ann Taylor Centre (50 places) has not been opened — yet the queue on the waiting list for nursery places is two and a half years long!

On top of this, the fees at the councils’ workplace nursery are going up by an average of 75%. This shouldn’t bother the Chief Executive of the Council, Gerry White, who has one of the precious 50 places — he’s only on a mere £60,000+ a year. This council is run for the benefit of its careerist councillors and greedy fat cat managers. Workers and residents are at the bottom of the pile and they don’t give a toss about us. We’ve got little to lose… they’ve got everything — how about kicking them out for starters?

VIRGIN BIRTH

A curious thing happened in March. For a few days, every time the news was on and in every newspaper, we had the likes of Dame Jill Knight practically encouraging unmarried women to have sex — unprotected sex at that.

The fuss was about a single women in her thirties, who had gone to the London Hospital in Whitechapel and asked for artificial insemination so she could have a child alone. This Hackney woman was not only unmarried, but celibate. As the mainstream media dubbed the episode — there was to be a virgin birth.

The issue was her virginity, but as a Birmingham fertility clinic doctor summed it up, “Are virgins something special? It’s as if there’s something wrong with being a virgin!”

For most women, the state of virginity is not a big thing. Our lives don’t become earth-shatteringly different after our first sexual event. Women still have to do most of the housework, control their fertility, and work for two-thirds of the money men get, whatever’s going on in the bedroom or the car or cinema. But this society tells men that virginity is the physical equivalent of being brand new, and along with all the other trappings of consumer society, is a highly desirable object to possess.

COLD PRICKS
The heart of the matter was that men were being hit where it hurts — made redundant. This feeling was whipped up by the papers, like in the Daily Mail’s article on production line babies without men getting a look in. But a virgin birth wasn’t quite what was going on: there are no pregnancies without male involvement, even if through the cold pricks of hospital syringes. That apparent lack of men having full-blown sex was what was getting them hot under the collar!

The controversy linked sex with a man to being essential for a woman to be a good mother. Alongside lesbians, single celibate women wanting children were called irresponsible, inadequate and selfish — exactly the labels the media usually lavishes on single mothers by natural insemination. These so-called irresponsible potential mothers had clearly thought about the consequences of their actions. Yet again, women appearing to make rational decisions about their own bodies threw the media into panic.

We believe that a child should be wanted, have a secure home and be loved — but that none of these things have anything to do with a person’s sexual activity.

So they’ve scrapped the Poll Tax. It’s a great victory for us.

‘s something to celebrate — and it’s always a good laugh seeing politicians get stuffed. But we’ve still got the bills, the cuts and other problems. We should take heart from the Poll Tax and learn some lessons: basically, we don’t have to take crap. We can fight it and win! So stuff the Poll Tax and the cuts — we want good local services based on our needs. Latest leaks from the council’s Poll Tax Office (it makes a sieve look secure!) are that 33% haven’t paid a penny of the Poll Tax and only 65% of the total has been collected.

The geniuses who run this council said 95% would be collected —just goes to show what planet they’re living on! Bailiffs Rayner Ferrar have pulled out of Hackney, claiming details on the Poll Tax register are 80% incorrect, making it impossible to collect any debts. But the truth is Rayner Ferrar were driven out of Hackney by local people. Since they started demanding money with menaces, they have found the resistance here too much to handle. They have been picketed, followed, threatened, physically attacked and their cars have been vandalised. Dogs have been set on them, baseball bats waved at them and groin injuries issued. Since saying bye-bye to Rayner Ferrar, Hackney Council confirm they intend replacing them. Meanwhile, we must remember tactics used on these para-sites and maybe we should practise our new found skills on councillors or even McRat himself.
Hackney Heckler is a bi-monthly, free . news-sheet pro-duced by the HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP.
• We all live or work in the borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the Heckler: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, do-nations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000).
• What’s happening on your estate? Which councillors are corrupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney?
• Write to us at Hackney Heckler, c/o PO Box 824, London, N1 9DL. Our next issue will be July 1991.

TALKING ‘BOUT LOVE

Too often in this world we forget to talk about love. We are surrounded and swamped by pressures that drive us into depression and frustration.

Good times
But it is good to remember why we are actually here, what is the point of our existence. We’re not here to be obedient workers and quiet consumers. We’re here to have a good time, to enjoy our-selves, to have a laugh, to have a smile. Basically, our lives should be about pleasure not pain! Of course, this is denied by those who stand above us. As far as they’re concerned, we’re nothing more than workers and consumers — and occasionally soldiers to die in their wars. And their idea of pleasure is always at someone else’s expense because they want to ensure that we remain divided… and so ruled! But there is a different reality to this. There’s the reality of the helping hand, the friendly smile, the shared laugh, the warmth of human companionship. This is the reality that we want and it’s a reality that we see glimpses of all the time in our daily lives.

Real enemies
Often, struggling together helps to bring this reality out. Artificial divisions disappear as we realise that our basic interests are the same — and we realise who our real enemies are. We talk to each other a lot more and the crap that normally fills our lives is seen as being utterly irrelevant. But this doesn’t mean that we just wait for a struggle. We’ve got to start now. We’ve got to fight for our reality against theirs. We’ve got to free our immense abilities from the chains imposed on us.

All of this might sound weird — but look at it realistically. We have the potential to completely change the way we live, to replace hate with love, fear with care: we’ve got nothing to lose but our chains!

Hackney Heckler issue 7, March 1991

FIGHTING TO WIN

On March 31st last year 200,000 people marched through central London against the poll tax. One year on, over 10 million people haven’t paid a penny of their poll tax and many millions more have only paid a bit. Most of us see what the poll tax was meant to be — less money in our pockets! But it has come to mean much more: a focus for all our discontents — inflated prices in the shops, cuts in health, education and social services, job losses, the government, the police. and so on. . .

Last Straw
For many the poll tax is the last straw. We were promised that the 1980s were to be the “boom years”, that we would all “get richer together”. The rich did get richer — but the rest of us have seen little of this supposed “prosperity”. The 1980s were an extended con-trick. Those who believed the propaganda and bought their homes were never told about the hidden extras — rocketing interest rates, repossessions, etc. The rest of us have faced constant rent increases, while repairs stayed unrepaired! Services were supposedly made more “efficient” by privatisation — we’ve just seen less of them… apart from increased bills.

Poll tax protestors

Non-payment
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The fight against the poll tax shows that we don’t have to take things lying down. After a year of mass non-payment and resistance, the government is promising reforms — and they had to dump Thatcher! So a Prime Minister got the chop and they’re now talking of change. But we’ve still got the poll tax, a Prime Minister, and a Gulf War — there’s lots more needs changing!

This March there will be another huge demonstration against the poll tax: a chance to show them that we still don’t want it — new model, old model, it’s just the same! And a chance to show them what we think about everything else they’ve thrown at us! But ordinary people are rightly cynical — just demonstrating doesn’t bring about change. We’ve got to go beyond their limits: why just stop on the Saturday? What about returning on the Sunday, going on strike on the Monday. . . the only limit is our imagination. We shouldn’t stop where they want us to — we should only stop once we’ve won!
NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION SATURDAY MARCH 23RD 12.00 AM EMBANKMENT

NEWS

BIG BROTHER
Very soon government snoopers will be asking us to fill in the 1992 census and give them details of who we are, what we do, how old we are, and so on. What business has the government got sticking its nose into our personal affairs, and why should we help people who ride on our backs? We’re not filling the form in, and suggest you don’t either. Tell Big Brother where to get off!

OUT OF TUNE
Jazz FM wisely decided to sack their top DJ Giles Peterson after he had the cheek to play peace songs and mention an anti-war rally on his show: obviously the subversive was intent on undermining the war to “Free Kuwait”. Also, thank the Lord, those sensible people at the BBC have banned records like “Give Peace A Chance” and “Walk Like An Egyptian”. After all, the battle to “Free Kuwait”, where a whole 6% of the men and none of the women have the vote, means we shouldn’t take liberties with our own freedom.

RAVE ON!
There’s going to be a massive anti-war get down on Saturday 16th March at the Triangle on Farleigh Road (N16). Lined up are five bands, including One Style and Bush House, 4 DJs — and there’s a late licence to 3am. It’s only £3.50/£3.00 to get in and kick-off is at 8pm: one not to be missed! There’s also a disco/karoake night at the Rose and Crown (on Mare Street) on Friday 29th March to celebrate one year of the “Hackney Heckler”. Finally, the new “HSG Bulletin”, our theoretical and practical magazine, has just come out — send 50p to HSG, PO Box 824, London, Ni 9DL.

ANTI-FASCIST ACTION
Anti-Fascist Action have a picket-demo against the continuing Nazi presence in Brick Lane. Meet at Whitechapel tube 10am sharp on Sunday 17th March.

EMPIRE BUILDER

The nomination for the worst boss in Hackney must undoubtedly go to Captain Ahab Muldoon of the Hackney Empire.

Over the past four years the crew of this great ship have worked, slaved, sweated and yes even cried so that his vessel stayed afloat. Conditions on board were and still are draconian, with employment rights salty to the taste. Equal Opportunities are met with a nod and a wink — aye aye captain. If the crew organised for meetings, Captain Muldoon would throw tantrums, threatening to put everyone in irons or throw them overboard. Captain Muldoon has been responsible for the loss of a number of crew members. Most resigned, three of them mangers; the rest were sacked. These crew members weren’t allowed a fair hearing, whether to voice their grievances or to defend themselves from false accusations.

On his lone quest of self-gratification and heroism Captain Muldoon forgets two important facts. Who built the Empire to what it is now? And whose money keeps it afloat? Admiral Hajira Khote (chair of Hackney Leisure Committee) along with kiss me councillor Tommy Sheppard hands out our money, £25,000 of it, with a chorus of yo ho ho and another bottle of rum. No doubt councillors drinking in the Empire after hours helps with the grant. The Hackney Empire belongs to the people of Hackney and everyone wants to see it sail on, but without a megalomaniac at the helm. If it doesn’t change captain now, then the Jolly Roger will continue to fly from its mast.

POST BOX

Dear Heckler I am at present squatting in the Trowbridge Estate. Although this is the first time that I have had to resort to such action, I find that there is little option when it comes to finding some-where to live.

On this estate the council are evicting squatters, and sending workers to the now empty flat to devastate it by taking out electrics, water supply, etc. How much do you think it costs to send people to do this vandalism, and who do you think is paying for it? It seems wasteful to me when a council property is squatted by people who truly want to live there, and then for that same council to evict them, making the place uninhabitable, so that nobody can live there. I charge the council with gross misuse of public funding, criminal negligence and being a pack of pompous, misunderstanding, stupidly arrogant fools.

FOOTBALL CRAZY

Crowds at football matches have consistently gone down since the war, when attendances were twice as high. Ordinary fans are treated with contempt by those who run the game. The latest idea of all-seater stadiums has been around for years, the argument being that it would deter hooliganism; but this argument was totally discredited by the emergence of hooligans in seats.

Since Hillsboro’, where people were crushed to death when overcrowded into a small area of terracing by the police, they argue that seats will be safer. They weren’t saying this after Bradford, where people in the seats died in a fire a few years ago. Most people prefer to stand, but the people who run the game want more money from fewer fans, for football to go up-market, pricing out ordinary fans who don’t want to sit down in uncomfortable seats and pay more.

Spurs built more seats and executive boxes, bought top players like Gazza and Lineker — everything to please the experts, and are going bust! Ordinary fans are allowed no say in the way football is run, and the people running football are ruining it. Crowds are likely to decrease further while the game is run by an out-of-touch rich minority.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

On 16th January war started in the Gulf. It is impossible to know how many people have been slaughtered but it is definitely tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands. Parts of Iraq and Kuwait have been reduced to rubble. The human costs of this war can only grow, despite all their promises of a short war. Saddam Hussein received military aid from the western powers throughout the 70s and 80s. This was because he was acting in their interests in keeping the lid of working class struggle in the Gulf. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait the world’s most hated copper, America, put its foot down and got up a large army under the UN banner to show Saddam who his boss was.

The Home-front
In Britain the government has been using the war to turn the screw on us, the working class. 7,500 hospital beds have been set aside for war-wounded from a Health Service which already has a two year waiting list for essential operations. It’s not that we’d begrudge the young squaddies a hospital bed, but why can’t they commandeer private hospitals? In Hackney 150 empty council flats have been set aside for families to visit injured soldiers in London hospitals while Hackney Council prepares to evict hundreds of families in the borough in an attack on “squatters”. We give our blood in their war and they still want more.

Sabotage the war effort

The best way we can support our boys and girls in the Gulf is to stop the war. (World War One ground to a halt as a result of uprisings in Russia, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Britain and elsewhere.) We can organise against the war drive in our work-places and on the streets. We must speak out against the false patriotism that sends our relatives and friends to their graves in a bosses’ war. All our lives we are offered empty choices: in this case the Iraqi ruling class or that of the West.

There’s a different choice — a war to end all wars — THE CLASS WAR!!

In the interests of popular participation in the democratic process the Hackney Poll Tax Office have informed us of the home addresses and phone numbers of the directors of Rayner Ferrar & Co, the bailiffs firm used by Hackney Council: David Westley lives at 51 Ladygate Lane, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 (tel 0895 632983) and Anthony Downsett lives at 44 The Spinney, Chesham, Bucks (tel 0494 771335). Thanks for the in-formation!

The Poll Tax Office also inform us that the council are very worried that even more people aren’t going to pay next year either. People are seeing that the only way to stop it is not to pay it. You know it makes sense, as they say! The next national demonstration against the poll tax is going to be on Saturday 23rd March, starting from the Embankment at noon. It should be a good chance to show the council and the government that they can stuff the poll tax where it belongs — in the dustbin of history. Another present from the council (on top of the poll tax) is that come April rents are going up. Considering the state most council places are in, they’ve got a nerve charging rent at all, let alone putting it up. As Hamlet would have said (had he lived in a council place in Hackney) “to pay or not to pay, that is the question”.

Sabotage the war effort

Hackney Heckler is a bi-monthly, free news-sheet produced by the HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP.

We all live or work in the Borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the Heckler: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, do-nations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000).

What’s happening on your estate? Which councillors are corrupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney?

Write to us at Hackney Heckler, PO Box 824. London, Ni 9DL. Our next issue will be May 1991.

ANTI-SOCIAL WORKERS

What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a social worker? It’s easier to get your kids back from a Rottweiler.

But what’s the difference between a bogus social worker and a real one? You get more visits from a bogus social worker.

Social Services is one of the main areas that have been cut back due to cuts in funding from Westminster but we don’t think this is a major tragedy. The only job social workers do in Hackney is “child protection”, commonly known as kid snatching. Do they focus on children because they are genuinely concerned about their welfare? The main reason why the state “protects” children is because they are the next generation of workers and they need them to do crap jobs. Social workers are supposed to help people suffering from mental distress, elderly people and disabled people. But what can they offer with so little money from Hackney council? The best they can manage is a home help, meals on wheels and “a little rest” down Hackney Hospital.

No begging
We can do without begging at Social Services and explaining our needs in front of the waiting-room audience. We don’t need social workers gently tapping on our doors telling us how to run our lives. Social workers usually haven’t got a clue how we live.

What we need is decent homes with affordable rents and the right to live there as long as we choose. We need enough money not just to survive but to enjoy life. We need to be able to live in the type of families we want, not just Oxo cube families.

We do need control of our lives and support from each other so if something goes wrong, we can get some help to sort it out. Social workers are just another way the state divides us by telling us society is all right, it’s us who are the problem. This is not true. Social workers think that anyone who doesn’t live in a “normal” family is deviant even though 54% of the British population don’t live in “nuclear” families.

Anti-social workers only work on the symptoms of living in this society and do not want to change it. This “Caring Profession” is really a CONTROLLING profession.

Hackney Poll Tax Riot, March 1990

Did you know that Hackney had its own Poll Tax Riot, a few weeks before the Trafalgar Square one?

Early Day Motion from Diane Abbott in Parliament:

“That this House notes the urban disorder that took place in Hackney on Thursday 8th March, that at least 38 people were arrested and there was violence and looting and that the people of Hackney are united in condemning the disorder and looting; but further notes that the blame for this disorder ultimately lies with the Government and its unjust poll tax; notes that very large numbers of Hackney residents will not be able to pay this tax; and further notes that in the matter of the poll tax the people of Hackney know who the real Urban Terrorist is.”

Another view:

(was Ian Bone discussing the riot)

Prime Minsiter Margaret Thatcher was asked about the riot the next day when visiting Glasgow:

Questioner

Prime Minister, ITN. Can I just ask you, if I may, your reaction to the events last night in Hackney?

MT

[Pauses]

I’m afraid it’s one of a series which we know are being organised by Militant, as you know. And it is not the way to conduct affairs at all. In a democracy the way is to debate in Parliament, the legislation has been through Parliament, and anything that is intimidatory or violent is absolutely flatly contradictory to democracy. People can demonstrate, of course they can. They should do so peacefully. But they are of course tending to go for some of the councils that are setting very high community charges, as a result of Labour Councils, and some of them … [inaudible] … very very high charges indeed. So they have got something to grouse about, but the way to do it is complain quietly.

Hackney Community Defence Association published A People’s Account of the Hackney Anti-Poll Tax Demonstration on March 8th 1990. This is one of the many things I don’t have that I would like to add to the site.

Hackney Heckler issue 6, January 1991

HACKNEY MAFIA – EXPOSED

Labour Council leader John McCafferty sends in the bailiffs to seize the meagre possessions of the poorest people in Hackney who can’t pay the Poll Tax. “The law must be upheld” he parrots.

Alright John! What about up-holding it against all your own councillors and cronies at the Town Hall. Why was your own brother-in-law, caught red-handed with his fingers in the Town Hall till, shipped off to Scotland quick to avoid a scandal! Labour Mayor Shuka Sheijk is the biggest crook in town — having feather bedded his own nest with funds obtained for his OWN organisation from HIS OWN council! Yet this swindler represents us, the people of Hackney, because the rest of the Labour con merchants are too busy with their own snouts in the trough!

Hackney Council's latest representatives Ronnie and Reggie meet John McCafferty

Hackney Council's latest representatives Ronnie and Reggie meet John McCafferty

Jobs for the Boys
Those few not on the fiddle are busy carving out their own careers on our backs. Deputy leader Tommy Shepherd is standing as Labour M.P. at the next election; former leader Andrew Puddephat sends in the riot police to evict the homeless from Stamford Hill yet lands a plum job as director of the National Council of Civil Liberties! McCafferty himself sucks up to his hero Kinnochio in the hope of being invited aboard his gravy train.

Councillors’ Surgery
Over the next months we will be blowing the lid off the whole gang of Mare Street crooks. Our corruption exposures will rock the Hackney Mafia back on their heels. But no need to wait till then to see McCafferty shit himselfl Everytime he tries to send in the bailiffs, poll tax rebels will be visiting him at his home at 17 Bayston Road, Stoke Newington, for a spot of genuine “councillors’ surgery” and to let him know what it feels like to be harassed. He also appreciates phone calls at home [phone number deleted] and work [phone number deleted].

ALL INFORMATION ON HACKNEY COUNCILLORS GRATEFULLY RECEIVED. ANONYMITY AND FRONT PAGE GUARANTEED!

NEWS

ROTTEN  BARRELS
Seven Hackney Police Officers have been sacked. Three years ago local lad Gary Stretch was severely beaten outside a pub in Hoxton by off-duty cops. The cops were suspended on full pay to the tune of £300,000 and were never prosecuted. Thanks to Hackney Community Defence Association the case has had widespread publicity, unlike numerous other cases of police corruption and criminality. It all goes to show it’s one rule for them and another for us. A few rotten apples? Festering barrels more like!

COURTS CAN’T COPE!
A secret report from Thames Magistrates Court has revealed that there is not enough time for all the Poll Tax non-payment cases. Virtually everyone who has turned up at court has had their case adjourned to some date in the future. The courts have now changed the rules (as they usually do when they’re losing) by abolishing the right to help in the dock. Just shows that we can never trust their institutions!

POLL MOLE’S GOSSIP
Problems collecting the poll tax in Hackney? Not only have up to half not paid a penny, but some have been taking out their anger against the Cherbury Court Poll Tax Office. First there was a bit of abuse, then some vandalism with the odd brick flying through their windows and the last straw was two armed robberies! The office has now closed down, adding to the council’s despair. The non-payment rate is holding steady despite all the threats of courts, bailiffs, etc. Top dog Mike Craig is talking about further cuts, but he needn’t worry as he’s on nearly £50,000 a year. He’d like to hear what you think about the Poll Tax — give him a ring at home on [phone number deleted].

MAJOR RENOVATIONS

So Thatch is gone. For eleven years that monstrosity has led a full frontal attack on the working class of Britain and Northern Ireland. We’ve fought back strongly all along, resisting in the workplace and on the streets. The Tories made many tax changes which benefited the wealthy few but made most of us pay more tax. The most recent of these discriminatory tax laws is the Poll Tax. In a country where 30% of the population don’t bother voting the anti-Poll Tax movement has given a voice to the widespread discontentment with the government.

By sacking Thatcher and promoting Major the Tories hope to shift some pressure off the government and to put forward a gentler image for the next election. Since moving to no. 10 Major has been waffling on about changing to a more equal, caring society but his actions in recent years tell a different story. As Social Services Minister ’85-’87 he slashed welfare payments and abolished the maternity grant. In August ’89 as Foreign Minister he backed the forced repatriation of boat people from Hong Kong to Vietnam.

It’s not a new figurehead we need, the whole system is rotten. What use will another election be — Labour, Tories, or Liberals — WHOEVER YOU VOTE FOR THE GOVERNMENT ALWAYS GETS IN. Politicians live off us, we don’t need them.

JEWISH SOCIALIST GROUP

Last year anti-semitic attacks on the ultra orthodox Jews of Stamford Hill became a media story. What some orthodox rabbis called “the normal level of harassment” had turned temporarily to regular attacks. Anti-semitism didn’t stop with the war against Hitler. Returning servicemen found Mosley’s fascists organising in Hackney in Ridley Road. Those of us who have grown up in more secular Jewish working class families in Hackney since the ’40s, mostly the children of low paid garment workers, have grown up with some form of Jew-baiting and stereotyping (usually about being rich).

Last year saw an event in Stoke Newington which was an important day for the Jewish Socialist Movement. Between 700 and 1,000 people, mostly Jewish but also non-Jewish young and old, attended a day of “culture and resistance” in Stoke Newington. It celebrated a day of Jewish Socialism and opposition to anti-semitism and was a chance for Jewish activists to talk to each other across generations. As well as beigels and pickled cucumbers, there were exhibitions, plays and songs in Yiddish, meetings and discussions, photos, paintings, children’s events, music and dancing.

Hackney Jewish Socialist Group is here to fight prejudice and organised fascism. Remember that the 1905 Aliens Act, the start of Britain’s racist immigration laws, was passed to keep Jews out.

HJSG can be contacted at Box 11, Centreprise Bookshop, 136 Kingsland Road.

UNEMPLOYMENT IN HACKNEY

Being unemployed in Hackney is grim. Where we sign on is a dump. The dole are inefficient and always “lose your file”. The DSS keep us waiting hours in a prison with no toilets, play area for kids, or coffee machines. They don’t answer the phone. They only tell us what we’re not entitled to and not what is ours to claim. We don’t blame the workers at the offices but the welfare system.

Fun On the Dole?
Income support is calculated at a level of basic survival. Nothing is allowed for entertainment, cigarettes or alcohol. Unemployed people are expected not to need the pleasures of life of other citizens.

Unemployment is high in Hackney. Poor transport links mean that new work is not encouraged to arrive here. The present rate of unemployment is one in ten and rising. This is the result of government policies in the early 1980s.

Talking Out of Turn
The Gulf Crisis has diverted attention from the current recession and is used as an excuse to put up prices. Anyone who complains will be labelled dangerous because after all it’s our interests they’re protecting in the Gulf. Are they ****.

BAILIFFS? – NO WAY!

If Hackney Council think they can use bailiffs against non-payers of the Poll Tax, they’re in for a nasty surprise.

Last November saw the bailiffs turn up to deliver warnings to a handful of non-payers and they were met with fierce resistance. On one estate in Haggerston a group of around 50 locals saw off the bailiffs; but not before bricking their windscreen and damaging the bodywork of their car. They’d only come to deliver a letter, imagine when they try to take peoples belongings!

We have to remember the most effective opposition is organised resistance. This has already started with anti-Poll Tax unions setting up contact lists of those willing to come out and oppose the bailiffs, producing thousands of leaflets and posters on dealing with them and being out on the streets spreading the message “No Bailiffs in Hackney”. We’ve got to ensure the moment the bailiffs arrive, people are out on the street using any means necessary to see them off.

Obviously it won’t just be a matter of dealing with the bailiffs as they will probably get protection from the police. For this reason we should act quickly before the cops arrive or have sufficient numbers to deal with them as well. It’s also important not to always be on the defensive. We could get together and visit councillors, as has already happened with council leader John McCafferty. A group of around 60 people paid him a visit late one night. He almost opened the door thinking they were carol singers, until he heard the dreaded refrain booming out “No Poll Tax, No Poll Tax”. The commotion could be heard all the way up and down his street with people coming out wondering what was happening and, on finding out, joining in the fun. If it happens often enough maybe locals could try getting together to have him evicted on the grounds of “noise pollution”!

Bailiffs are only being used to intimidate and scare us into paying. For most, it’s a matter of “Can’t pay, won’t pay”. And with 54,000 non-payers in Hackney and no more than 15 bailiffs, we have the ability to make Hackney a bailiff free zone.

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO BAILIFF BUSTING

1 The bailiffs have no legal right of entry. They can only enter your home if they are invited in or if they can get through an open window or door.

2 Contact your local anti-Poll Tax union to go on their telephone contact tree (details below). Or set up your own alarm list on you street/block or with friends, or set one up at work.

3 If they turn up in your area go door to door to alert as many people as possible. Also try place where lots of people gather, ie launderettes, pubs, bookies, local workplaces etc.

4 Airhorns, whistles or someone with a loud voice can alert others to bailiffs arrival.

5 Vaseline smeared on bailiffs windows is like driving at 100mph on the M25 in dense fog!

6 Bailiffs jobs are hot and sweaty. Cool them down with buckets of cold water when they arrive.

7 Good to have transport on hand to follow them when they leave making sure they don’t make any other visits and to “escort them out of town”.

8 The bailiffs Hackney Council are using is Rayner, Ferrar & Co., 20/22 High Street, St Iver, Bucks. Tel. 0753 631144.

Here are just some of the anti-Poll Tax unions in Hackney:

Clapton [phone number deleted]
Hoxton [phone number deleted]
Lordship [phone number deleted]
Shacklewell [phone number deleted]
Stamford Hill [phone number deleted]
Victoria [phone number deleted]

Hackney Heckler is a bimonthly and free news-sheet which is produced by HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP. We all live or work in the Borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the HECKLER: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, donations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000). What’s happening on your es-tate? Which councillors are cor-rupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney? Write to us at HACKNEY HECKLER, do 61 Leswin Road, N16 — and the next issue will be March 1991.

WE WORK TO LIVE

We work to live…. but the boss wants us to live to work. No matter where we work or what we do, this conflict of interests exists. Most of the time the bosses seem to get everything their way, they choose our workhours and rates of pay and are almost in total control of what we do, how we do it, in what conditions we do it and at what speed!

But we do have something on our side. Although the bosses may act like they’re doing us a favour by giving us a job, they need us, no matter what we do, they employ us because they need us. And they get very upset when we’re not there, they try to negotiate (i.e. tell us) when we have our holidays, and if we catch one of the many illnesses which the human body can get, they demand you go in because there’s work to be done, frequently using the ultimate threat, the sack!

Nothing Changes
At this moment in time, as the economy goes into deep recession, they try to fob us off with excuses, “we can’t afford a pay rise… we don’t know if we’re going to go bust… there’s plenty of people out there who’d be glad of your job”. To try and make us submissive and cheap workers. Times may change, the conflict doesn’t. It can only be made more bearable. To do this the boss must be confronted, and the more workers who join in, the bigger the chance of success. By fighting for what we want we regain some dignity as workers and teach the boss a lesson. We’re workers, not robots, and, hopefully, one day, the day will come when the conflict is abolished – which must mean abolishing bosses.

THE WORKER’S REVENGE

At work we killed the boss today
He should have paid us higher pay
We all sat down and made a plan
“Let’s get the bastard while we can
while he’s treating us like shit
We work to make him a rich git
With Persian carpets — wall to wall
While we don’t have a home at all
And only just afford to eat
Like half the people on our street”
So all together we struck back
And gave the boss a hefty whack
And with a token of class hatred
Strung him up with no time wasted
And though there’s just one solution
World wide working class revolution
That’s one rich bastard out the way
A pleasant start to any day.