New Era Estate – London
Lindsay Garret woke up politically when an US company bought her home and threatened to make her and her 92 neighbors homeless. She and two other single mothers became the leaders in a campaign, supported by Russell Brand, that forced the US company to pull out and transfer ownership of the New Era Estate.
Lyndsey Garratt had never heard of Richard Benyon – until he wound up buying her home and those of her 92 neighbors. Now that the millionaire Tory MP and his business partners threaten to make them all homeless, the 35-year-old mother can’t stop talking about him.
“Until this happened I had no clue about politics; it’s opened my eyes to how people like us are treated (…). They make us turn on each other. Bloody asylum seekers are the problem; people on benefits are the scum of the earth. And we’re coming to a point where people like us, working people, finally say, ‘You know what? you’re the problem. We’ve had enough of people like you.’”
The Prospect of Homelessness
“So this is the New Era Estate in Hoxton, in East London, which has recently just been bought by a consortium of multimillionaire property developers, including Britain’s richest MP, the Tory Richard Benyon. Now the residents here face the prospect of either having their rents increased three, four times, even more, on what they’re currently paying or being evicted and effectively made homeless and displaced from the area.”
The tenant’s of the New Era Estate defend everybody’s right to have a home
Watch these videos to learn more about the campaign:
2 New York has the same problems. The Mayor Of New York, Bill De Blasio supports the people in London.
3 New Era march on Downing Street to deliver a petition
4 Meet the people of the New Era Estate in Hoxton
5 The week leading up to victory
6 Channel 4 News report
Lessons drawn from a successful campaign:
Organization + Raise the Profile + Clear Objective + Be Aggressive + Slogans/Songs
The Bigger Picture
Victory? Yes, the tenants of the New Era Estate came together, organised themselves and first convinced Benyon Estate to pull out and then forced Westbrook Partners to transfer ownership. The threat of eviction was repelled. For the time being the rents remain affordable. The courageous campaigners gave proof that ordinary people have power, that it is possible and necessary to unite and fight for your rights. There is a hurting shortage of affordable and secure housing and a homelessness crisis. There is mounting protest in defense of the right to adequate housing, a right that belongs to everyone, rich and poor, young and old.
This definition is in line with the core elements of the right to adequate housing as defined by General Comment No. 4 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the States which are party to it). According to the Committee, while adequacy is determined in part by social, economic, cultural, climatic, ecological and other factors, it is nevertheless possible to identify certain aspects of the right that must be taken into account for this purpose in any particular context. They include the following: a) Legal security of tenure; b) Availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure; c) Affordability; d) Habitability; e) Accessibility; f) Location; and g) Cultural adequacy.
Forced and market driven evictions are increasing dramatically worldwide, with devastating effects on millions of children, women and men across the globe. (See Report 2010: How People Face Evictions)
Social movements and protesters have won victories, defending every person’s right to have a decent home. But the rules of the game have not changed. It is a game that commodifies basic human needs and uses people’s homes (real estate) as financial assets. It is played worldwide to turn money into more money, putting profit before people and nature. In other words, financialization continues, gentrification continues, the commodification of housing continues, the dispossession of people continues, expulsions and displacements of tenants continue. Millions of people live in fear of loosing their home or have lost it, many more are homeless or living in poor conditions without decent housing in shantytowns, favelas, and slums. This bigger picture shows us a global capitalist society that is insane, unjust and surely not sustainable. It leaves the majority of ordinary people with basically two options: resist or resign. Confronted with an acute existential threat the tenants of New Era Estate chose to resist. Similar situations occur everywhere, for example in France, Germany, Ireland … and in a very important way also in Spain.
Video: Rally in London against shortage of affordable housing 16 March 2015
Juan Gonzalez: New York. Castellan real estate group pushes tenants out and jack up rents, despite Cuomo-ordered independent monitorBack to Happy Democratic Revolution 2015