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LETTERS – We social housing residents are fighting the developers

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Issue 2711
Children have even less space to play now that part of residents car park has been taken over
Children have even less space to play now that part of residents’ car park has been taken over (Pic: Leonard Court Residents’ Association)

We live in a social housing block of 30 flats in central London, and our residents’ association is fighting a development that is taking away our space.

Our housing association, Notting Hill Genesis, has been dealing with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for the last five years.

But we had no clue.

Then in September last year, a small slip of paper came through our doors. It said could we move our cars because bicycle storage would be put in the space.

We were all stunned. Then cards started appearing on the cars saying please move or we will tow it. We didn’t even know who had put them there. Now the housing association has leased part of our car park to the school.

We had around 14-16 spaces, now we have just four.

But the school has space just ten minutes’ away from it that it could use. And it has a cafe on the other side of the wall that is about the same size as the space that’s been taken from us.

The cafe is called Mary Seacole. She helped the poor and destitute. So they are using that to cloak themselves in the mantle of virtue while taking space away from poor people.

There are families with children in the flats. We had previously asked the housing association if we could have a garden in some of the car park, as not all the spaces were being used.

The majority of us don’t have any space. So the car park was just a bit of respite for us all—it’s walled, and private. We’ve had barbecues and fetes there.

But we haven’t been listened to at all.

We found out that they’d asked a private block of flats nearby if they could use some of their space, and they flatly refused.

So if you have money, you get a say. If you’re poor and live in social housing flats you don’t get a choice.

Leonard Court Residents’ Association, Central London

Tory policy is eugenics

The global market for DNA has been described as the new oil. The global DNA and gene chips market was valued at approximately £2.16 billion in 2018.

The Tories are using Covid-19 to get their share of the money.

In April last year health secretary Matt Hancock set up NHSX—an arm of the NHS dedicated to creating a massive centralised databank.

NHS England said it would be world-leading “in its use of cutting edge genomic technologies to predict and diagnose inherited and acquired disease”.

But there is little evidence that the underlying drivers of disease are primarily genetic.

A study in the journal PLOS One last December found that genetics usually explains no more than 5-10 percent of the risk for several common diseases.

More than 95 percent of diseases or disease risks could not be predicted accurately from the DNA sequence.

The implication is startling—the entire basis for the billions of pounds this government is investing in building a new privatised NHS infrastructure is scientifically unfounded.

Cummings’ hope is that a genomics prediction programme would ultimately allow Britain to not just prevent diseases, but to do so before birth.

In effect this is a nod toward the selective breeding techniques at the core of eugenics.

This is the real agenda of the Tories.

Jill Chanter, Sheffield

Labour must stand up against Israeli eviction

All major political parties in Britain agree that Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem is illegal.

So all MPs should oppose attempts by settler organisations to use Israeli courts to evict Palestinians.

Parliament’s Early Day Motion 529 “strongly condemns” attempts by the Jewish National Fund to evict the Sumarin family in East Jerusalem.

But when I counted, only 17 Labour MPs had signed.

Could this have something to do with Keir Starmer’s politics? He has stated, “I support Zionism without qualification.”

Grassroots pressure must be put on all the MPs who have not signed. It is a nonsense to oppose annexation by Israel in theory, but not in practice.

On 30 June the court case to evict the Sumarin family will take place.

Take a picture with a sign, “No to the eviction of the Sumarins,” and send it to #dontevictsumarin

Dick Pitt, Sheffield

Send solidarity to Brazilian movement

The Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) is one of the most important movements in South America.

Its struggles for land rights for landless workers and peasants are closely linked to battles for a more sustainable agricultural system.

One of its strategies is to occupy disused land and train families to farm the land.

This is a direct challenge to big business.

Now a judge has granted an eviction order against 77 families living on the Luiz Beltrame de Castro settlement in the state of Sao Paulo.

It is home to 250 people and produces sustainable food for teachers in the state education system.

The order came after Ivan Cassaro, one of Brazil’s wealthiest businessmen, and an ally of the right wing Bolsonaro government, challenged the ownership.

The MST has launched an international appeal for solidarity.

Please visit the campaign page, which includes material in English and Portuguese, and forward their standard letter to the Brazilian court.

Go to

Martin Empson, Manchester

Slave traders still revered

I agree with Keith Pender that the monument to slave owner Henry Dundas in Edinburgh should be ripped down (Letters, 24 June).

Hammersmith in West London was founded by a slave trader—Sir Nicholas Crispe. He is “celebrated” in marble in a local church, St Paul’s.

He can be found in stained glass in Hammersmith library. There is a road named after him. And the Hammersmith coat of arms contains his symbol—three horseshoes.

Black lives matter? Not in Hammersmith.

Zekria Ibrahimi, West London

Action helped beat Empire

It’s important to note the crucial role played by workers in driving Britain out of southern Ireland (Socialist Worker, 24 June.)

Rail workers walked out and refused to carry British troops. There was a general strike against conscription, a strike by driver-employees against compulsory registration, and the declaration of the Limerick Soviet.

This is just some of the action that forced the British occupiers to the negotiating table in 1920.

Mike Killian, Manchester

Long-Bailey sacking fury

I won’t be voting Labour until the right wingers that have hijacked the party have gone. I am 52 and I worry this will not be in my lifetime.

Paul Downes, On Facebook

So the purges begin.

Malcolm Clive, On Facebook

Might as well put a Tony Blair mask over his face. What a spineless snake of a man.

Tom Griffith, On Facebook

Sir Keir doesn’t represent working people.

Andres Viveros, On Facebook

Left the party this evening.

Steve Chew, On Facebook

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