In the last week we celebrated the release of the two Sweets Way protesters who have been held on remand since the evictions at Sweets Way on the 23rd and 24th of September. That the magistrates granted bail without the requirement for the two protesters to give their names or any other details is a victory and testament to the moral grounds for resistance against the eviction of the estate.
The campaign has been a tough one for all involved, and it would be wrong to say it has been a picture-perfect example of political resistance the whole time. The campaign is a constantly-evolving thing, and we have all done our best to move with the times as circumstances have changed. With many different groups with different agendas coming to Sweets Way, particularly in the final couple of months, it became difficult to maintain the original image that was portrayed all the way back in February. Certainly there were displays of behaviour that did not sit well with people involved in the campaign or with outside supporters and spectators.
However, in acknowledging this we also acknowledge that all the people involved in the occupation on the Sweets Way Estate are part of the same struggle against social cleansing, and inadequate housing policies by corrupt politicians and the companies they are in cahoots with. As people, we all at times operate on different levels, have different priorities, and ways of doing things. We need to be able to understand the perspectives of others, and through our differences find the common ground that will allow us to be effective in our actions. Sometimes it is easy to focus on the negative consequences of actions that take place directly in front of us, but when we take a step back we can see that companies like Annington are guilty of worse offences than curse words on a wall. Many of the people who moved into the Sweets Way Estate throughout the occupation were instrumental in supporting and being part of the campaign. From those that helped organise and attend demonstrations and those that would come over and play with the children at the community house, to those that simply occupied the estate for personal reasons but effected great political leverage in the fight to stop Mostafa being evicted and the estate being demolished.
And of course those who put themselves in the firing line and were arrested during the evictions that took place 3 weeks ago. We applaud their selfless acts of defiance, and are so glad to say they are all now at least on bail. We will continue to show up to their court cases and support them as they supported the campaign.
And so it seems that this is the end, but it is only the end of one particular stage of the campaign. This is an ongoing battle, and there are many fronts on which to face it. We fight for Mostafa, whom Barnet Homes continue to treat so unfairly, and we fight for everyone and anyone who faces losing their homes due to the injustice of the housing market. Through this campaign so many great people have come together, renters and squatters, activists and families, and made Sweets Way Resists possible with our mix of skills, experience, and other contributions. There are many lessons to be learnt from our experience over the last 8 months, but we couldn’t have achieved all that we did without each other, and connections and friendships have been forged in the fire of resistance, perhaps even in unexpected ways. Emerging from this fire, we can say with conviction that we are not done with Annington Homes yet, nor with Barnet Homes nor any of the other exploitative and corrupt developers and councillors involved in destroying people’s housing. Plans are in motion, and we won’t stop until we win!
Below are two messages to everyone from the former residents of the Sweets Way Estate:
As a parent you are teaching your child as your parents taught you, to help people especially those in need and to stand for what’s right, yet especially today where a few people who did exactly that (by standing with solidarity with disabled father who has been so mistreated and was facing eviction to make room for greedy tax exile investment), are going to court. Maybe we should teach our children the ugly reality – that if you stand for what’s right and decide to help those in need you will face jail and fines…
We do live in ugly world indeed. Since February we were fighting outrageous behaviour of Barnet Homes towards hard working people of the amazing community of Sweets Way. We fight to save much needed homes and the future of neighbourhood. My kids met beautiful people who committed their lives to changing the world, very inspirational people. So what I will teach my kids is very simple – helping others and making changes for better in this world is risky, and you might end up with criminal record or in jail, but making changes is much needed in this world and standing for those in need is essential. The system we live in is design to bully weak and support greed. So dear children, follow your heart, not the rules of the broken system.
As an ex-tenant of Sweets Way, my family and I would like to thank all the protesters who believe in the campaign to save Sweets Way.
We also like to give a big thanks to those protesters who were willing to be arrested to save Sweets Way and for protecting the last family left on the estate.
But most of all we would like to thank the two unnamed protesters who spent time in prison for something they believed in.
We have made some good friends though this campaign and I would just like to say keep up the good work.