The statues, institutional names and other memorials that have been under a media spotlight in recent weeks are the art and charity washing effluent of former times. It is right and proper that they should be removed from public spaces and put in storage. It is also worth noting that many of the slave trader memorials featured in recent news stories are for men who were in their time top City of London council officials including William Beckford and Robert Geffrye who were lord mayors, and John Cass who was a sheriff. One of the City’s current artwashing projects is the so-called Culture Mile. This consists both of grandiose projects such as a ridiculously expensive Centre For Music, and lesser ‘pop up’ programmes including last month’s Radio Local, which functioned to compromise those who involved themselves in it by drawing them into the City’s artwashing orbit and mixing together self-organised community initiatives such as a local food bank with the obnoxious animal cruelty operation Club Gascon (which masquerades as a restaurant and specialises in foie gras torture dishes).Read more "Culture Mile Is Now Artwashing Animal Cruelty Alongside Colonial & Neo-Colonial Crimes"
Over the past few weeks the Talk Culture Mile series of events in the City has demonstrated the exclusionary nature of this project, with the aim being to bring ‘together organisations from across all sectors’ while not inviting the main stakeholders, local residents. So while the Improving Social Mobility Through Creative Skills talk was held at Golden Lane Community Centre on 4 July 2019, no one involved troubled themselves to notify tenants on the council estate that houses the venue of this event, since it seems the idea is to leave the organisation of social mobility to professionals – who we assume are mostly interested in preserving their own privileges by holding back the working class. The fact this talk was intended for people unfamiliar with the area rather than local residents was underlined by the leaflet promoting it carrying the following information after the venue’s address: “The community centre is opposite Great Arthur House, EC1Y 0RD”. Local people know where the community centre is.Read more "City of London Attempts To Flatten All Opposition To Culture Mile Gentrification and Social Exclusion"
With Balfron Tower’s working class community decanted to be replaced by rich ghost home investors, and similar things happening at other sites celebrated by Zupagrafika, just where do this design studio stand on such matters? Brutal London can all too easily be perceived as artwashing of this process. Zupagrafika donating a percentage of the profits from the project to campaigns fighting against the displacement of the working class communities connected to these buildings would do a lot to stop Brutal London being seen by all sides in this battle as an uncritical celebration of gentrification and social cleansing.Read more "Where Do Zupagrafika Stand On Brutal Capitalism Destroying London Communities?"
The London based architectural firm that designed the new Beijing international airport is headed by Patrik Schumacher, whose controversial calls for the scrapping of planning restrictions and planning regulations neatly chime with those of Mark Boleat and his colleagues at both the City of London and the Housing & Finance Institute. When it comes to housing and much else, the ideology of the Chinese authorities and the City of London are often hard to differentiate. And this is simply one of many reasons why we must fight against them. Hong Kong-Beijing-City of London, one struggle for democracy!Read more "Catherine McGuinness & The Wrecking Ball Smashing Democracy"
Before I sat down to write this piece, I came across a photograph on social media posted yesterday and captioned: “Back of Liverpool Street Station – the sterile hell of a corporate winter wonderland.” The area shown in this smartphone snap is in the City of London and what was said about it really chimed with my feelings over not just the Culture Mile but also most City Public Realm projects in recent years. The council’s Department of the Built Environment is clearly in need of reform just as much as the political body that controls it. We really do need to take back the city.Read more "Culture Mile: A Cynical Exercise in Marginalisation & Social Exclusion"
Rather than having an annual Sheep Run, we think it would be much better to have a one off Alderman Crawl. For this we propose that the Mayor of London, his Aldermen and all the common councillors from the business vote wards, are dressed in rags and made to crawl on their hands and knees across London Bridge from the City into Southwark. Once they are south of the river we don’t want them to come back, and trust that concerned citizens will emerge from their flats to drive them all the way out of London; perhaps to somewhere as far away as Dover.Read more "Stop the London Bridge Sheep Drive, we want an Alderman Crawl!"
The residential electorate in the City only numbers a few thousand, so unfortunately it’s easy for entrenched interests to game the system by uprooting relatively small parts of the population to change the social composition of Wards. Thus the status quo’s response to growing dissatisfaction and self-organisation is to shift as much social housing as possible outside the tiny borough and increase the overall percentage of compliant rich living within its boundaries. One manifestation of this was the decision to shut down the police section house on Golden Lane, which was built to put a roof over the heads of around 110 people. At the time of its closure Bernard Morgan House was housing not just cops but nurses as well; whether it had become surplus to police requirements is a moot point, but it was certainly still needed for NHS staff and school teachers.Read more "Social Housing Not Social Cleansing! Stop The Gerrymander Mansions Luxury Development In Golden Lane!"
If Taylor Wimpey were actually interested in consulting local people about their planned luxury development in Golden Lane, they wouldn’t have hired Westbourne Communications to do the job for them. Taylor Wimpey haven’t engaged Westbourne to liaise with the community, they’re paying them to stitch it up.Read more "Taylor Wimpey’s Sham Golden Lane Consultation"