Communiqué to the owners of Colorama: We will resist any attempt to make us homeless. We will resist any attempt to further gentrify this area.

jayesh patel,

you’ve been acting on behalf of flamingo holdings limited (a property development company based out of the cayman islands).
you’ve asked that we vacate these premises after a possession order was issued and claim granted on march 20th by lambeth county court. you’ve told us you don’t want to waste money on bailiffs and that we should not act like “savage animals”.

for us, this is not a matter for civilized dialogue and action. this is about political and social struggle.

it is about the trajectory of our own lives and that of the colorama buildings (which have stood for over 100 years). how will the reverberations of their demolition affect our own lives and that of locals living here?

your actions are both an attack on homelessness and an attack on local communities. they feed into a larger capitalist model where money is god; where profit is more important than people’s basic needs.

we believe in transforming empty buildings into places where people can self organize and support one another; where people who would otherwise be sleeping rough or find themselves marginalized by mainstream society can come together, survive and flourish.

you are forcing us into homelessness and we will resist any attempt to evict our family.

at an open hearing on november 14th 2011 southwark council granted the demolition of the two colorama buildings.
that evening the company you represent admitted that they chose not to comply with Southwark’s 35% social housing requirement yet were still granted their planning application.
to be clear, you plan to build a five storey building where the colorama buildings now stand. out of 39 residential units only 8 units will be for social housing. we know where your priorities lie: in making profit.

you are complicit in the gentrification of southwark:
a process that continues to tear apart local communities across london. for the past ten years, property developers and big businesses have worked to locate (with the aid of the local council) areas of southwark they can cash in on.

cheap land is bought up by large property developers and those unlucky enough to be living on that land are told they no longer have a home (just look at the heygate estate).
existing buildings are demolished and re-developed into enormous blocks (recently, developers have announced plans to re-develop eileen house into a 47 storey sky-scraper) of high rise one and two bedroom apartments for those who can afford it.
with new luxury properties being built, wealthier “clientele” are attracted to parts of the city they’d previously have called poor and dangerous. this is all done under the trendy banner of regeneration or urban renewal.
an effect of this is that rents spike and locals as well as their businesses and community centers struggle to make ends meet. local shops go out of business and are replaced by large corporations whose aim is to cater to a new, wealthier demographic (yuppies).

you call it regeneration. we call it social cleansing.

under the banner of regeneration, what property developers and the local council are really doing is forcing one group out (working class communities) and bringing another (who can bring more money into an area, spend it and be taxed) in.

the future you plan for colorama is the future they plan for southwark.
we will resist any attempt to make us homeless. we will resist any attempt to further gentrify this area.

library street london collective




7 thoughts on “Communiqué to the owners of Colorama: We will resist any attempt to make us homeless. We will resist any attempt to further gentrify this area.

  1. Absolutely I agree that Southwark in particular is forcing out the poor to accommodate the rich which is also being mirrored in many other parts of the country.
    That said however, it is someone else’s property that you are squatting in and don’t have a right to be there pure and simple.
    You should instead concert your energy in lobbying the government to reintroduce rent caps that were selfishly removed years ago on all housing be it social, council or private so that people are not forced in to poverty and indeed homelessness.

    • 1) to start with the abc of human logic, we have to ask how this property was acquired and to the expense of whom. If ti was bought how come did they get the money to buy it while others didn’t, and if it was inherited how come the predecessors had the money to buy it while others didn’t. If we go far back we will find a dirty history of exploitation no doubt. Because no one should have the right to own property while others are homeless, pure and simple.
      2) I wonder why such insolent comments are allowed in this forum. Go shit in your backyard!

      • Quite interesting Kerry I’ll start from your second point and work back if I may. So if someone challenges the views you have because they don’t agree with you that makes them insolent does it and shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to comment?
        That’s fascinating Kerry you think a forum should only have people whom all have the same view as you? You then have to resort to swearing at the end as you seem to struggle to maintain a sensible and mature debate.
        Now for your first point – yes you are absolutely right at one point in history nobody at all owned even a square foot of land then one day people just started to assume ownership. However the problem is this; even if the land had originally been for lack of a better word ‘stolen’ that doesn’t mean that subsequent owners who bought the ‘stolen’ land didn’t work damn hard to pay for it like everyone who owns a mortgage does. So is it really OK to just squat illegally in view of this?
        I’m sure most people who own a property would completely disagree with you as you essentially expect every property owner to pay the price for something that someone else did in history and that just isn’t fair.
        It’s important to note that my comments pertain to squatting in general not just this particular circumstance.

    • it is essential to work both within and outside of the capitalist framework. we are carefully taking into consideration your ideas of lobbying the government. could you point us in the direction of some professional lobbyists (preferably cheap) or charities/activist based non-profit organizations who can help in our cause? many thanks – a member of the library street collective

      • @ DiveyDivey

        Very recently members of the Labour party have suggested this very idea of rent control including
        Jeremy Corbyn and trade unionist Jack Dromey and as expected was met with much criticism as waves of excuses were made as to why this wasn’t practical which quite frankly is utter nonsense it can happen they just will fight damn hard to ensure it doesn’t.
        The most obvious charity I would have though might be of assistance is Shelter but to be honest I don’t actually know what there stance on this idea is.
        How about the sun newspaper? I’m actually being serious before you laugh. If they can launch a campaign to influence the rate of tax paid on pasties to help Gregg’s then maybe they can concert their effort into something more useful!

  2. You say you are for the local community, yet you have stolen someone else’s property, are causing the government to spend more money on evicting you when that could be put to use to help support homeless people and other important community and social projects. You have also disrespected the neighborhood and vandalised the local area – before you moved into the Colorama building the neighborhood was a respectable family area – there were no late night parties with blasting music until 9am, we did not have spray paint on the buildings all around. You are free to express your opinions, but vandalising other people’s property is against the law. If you really want people to support you, then you should reconsider how you try to gain that support. Your approach has just caused most people around the area to be against you. I personally can’t wait for you to be kicked-out and don’t care where you end up. The previous squatters that were very considerate to their neighbors I do care about and would help if they needed it. The more difficult, challenging and rebellious you are the less likely anyone is to support or help you.

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