Newham-based, grassroots groups working towards radical social change will hold a winter market stall this Sunday 30th January, 10am-2pm, outside Tracks. Books, plants and baked goods will be on sale with all funds split between Newham Solidarity Fund, Newham Anti-Raids, the Newham and Leytonstone branch of the London Renter's Union, and the newly-formed Newham Copwatch. The stall will also be an opportunity to learn more about the different groups and the issues they campaign around as commented by Robin, one of the founders of Newham Solidarity Fund:
"Newham has a really rich history of grassroots and working class organising that's very much alive today. It feels important to continue that tradition in our current political moment, so I relish the chance to get out there and talk to people at events like this"
Everything will be sold on a pay-what-you-can basis, so if the Christmas period was hard on your wallet there's still a slice of cake, something to read and a new house plant for you.
The alliance between the groups is borne out of a shared understanding; that poverty, social exclusion, inadequate housing, the immigration system and institutionally racist and unaccountable policing are connected. All of the groups see that the solution lies within our communities and in one way or another organises locally to build power and shield our neighbours from harm.
The London Renters' Union organises those exploited by the housing market to stand up to negligent landlords and demand a better deal. The Newham and Leytonstone branch is well established and has won back deposits, protected families from eviction and forced landlords to address dangerous disrepair, among other victories.
Newham Anti-Raids has been building community resistance to immigration raids since 2018. At fortnightly street stalls and occasional workshops they provide information about people's rights in immigration raids, giving our communities the confidence to stand up to Home Office bullies with a view to dismantling the border regime altogether.
The Newham Solidarity Fund helps neighbours to support each other by taking donations and providing no-strings-attached grants to Newham residents in need. The initiative grew from the mutual aid efforts that began at the start of the pandemic, and since the first grant was made in October 2020 over £28,000 has been distributed.
Newham Copwatch is a burgeoning group of activists spurred to action by countless cases of police brutality, racial profiling and abuse of power. They seek to continue a tradition of community resistance to violent policing that has had a stronghold in Newham since the Newham Monitoring Project began in 1983. They seek to challenge individual instances of police violence as well as the assumptions underlying policing itself.
If you want to learn more about these ideas or find out how you can get involved, the stall on 30th January is the perfect opportunity. With free cake!