We love you DPAC #Occupywestminster #SaveILF

A few months ago I was invited by DPAC ( Disabled People Against the Cuts) to get involved with a protest about the Independent Living fund which is due to be cut. With out this living fund disabled people will no longer be able to live in their own home independently and will loose any chance of living anything that resembles normal everyday life. The kind that you and I take for granted.

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To be honest working with disabled people is all pretty new to me and it is only through protest that I have got to know some active DPAC protesters. And I am now all to aware of the precarious balance that they have to deal with to maintain an anyway functional life. Some having to deal with the most complex health issues, accessibility, discrimination on a level that I can only compare to homophobia and racism which I have learnt is called Ableism.

So meetings were called and we got to listen to and hear what the disabled people wanted to do. Week in and week out we discussed plans, places, times, numbers and sometimes we went round in circles, but there more meetings I attended the more important this action became to me on a personal level as I got to know the people from DPAC  and witnessed the difficulties faced every minute of their lives and how they fight every minute of their lives to overcome it.

It was very important to keep the action a DPAC action. It so easily could have become an Occupy action to outside eyes. I soon realised that I was there to facilitate DPAC’s action and to make sure they were not discriminated against in their right to peaceful protest. So as in all minority situations we had to make sure that the decisions of the DPACers were respected and we did not influence decisions to suit ourselves as what we may want to do as able bodied people.

So the meetings continued and the excitement was growing. We split into working groups, ( each group given a clean phone to be able to communicate with other groups on the day) logistics, Press, Church, Lock on’s and the Any other shit working group. DPAC had now made the decision to Occupy a church not any old church only Westminster Abbey.

P1140384We went on walks as tourists, we took films and we took pictures, we drew site maps and measured the depth of steps and the width of gates. We reported back. We discussed who would be staying and for how long. We then planned how many tents, kitchen sleeping, meeting, welfare, toilets. Then how much medial equipment would be needed. How many of the “crips” ( A term that disabled people seem to have reclaimed, another thing I had to get used to ) would be in wheelchairs, how many had P.A’s (personal assistances that are with them to aid them in everyday life).

As part of the logistic team we had to set up a fully working, with disabled access, fully functioning camp for about 30 disabled people and erect it in the grounds of Westminster Abbey with out anyone noticing. I can tell you that was a lot of sleepless nights. We drove up North and we collected 4 massive army tents, compost toilet containments, tables, sinks, plumbing, generators, electrics, lighting, tarpaulins, ramps, Sledge hammers, tent pegs……other tents would be arriving with the individuals and so on it was endless.


We met up in our different working groups and fed back on progress and problems, there was always a useful suggestion to work round any issues we had. The determination to make this work was over riding. We soon realised we needed a decoy and UK uncut were more than happy to oblige as it just so happened that Boots hadn’t been paying their taxes and they arranged an action at a Boots shop local to Westminster Abbey.  After their action they would join us in the Abbey grounds

The day was getting closer and it was becoming very real. The weekend before the action we had rehearsals, the lock on crews practised till they had it down to a fine art threading those chains through their wheels with such skill and speed. The heavy goods crew took one of army tent to Hampstead Heath and put it up and took it down so may times we were doing it in our sleep.

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The excitement and turned into nerves as the day got closer, press statements had been written up and communication to the Dean appealing for support was drafted. We worked on out timings. The lorry with all the gear in was to arrive at 3.00pm we had reserved some parking bays in a local street, a team unloaded the lorry whilst in the Abbey itself disabled people took their positions ready for the word go. We had to make sure that all the tourists in the area were made aware of what was happening and that they were free to leave and we had made a massive exit sign. We decided to have people informing the public that the area would be closing and if they could please leave.

D Day meaning Disabled Day arrived

The lorry pulled up into to it’s allocated bay and unloaded. We had trollies and wheely bins loaded full to the brim, the people dressed in their high vis and hard hats waited to take their load and walk 200yrds from the parking spot to the park this was fast becoming our riskiest part we were walking through the most heavily secure area of London with things that could be classed as weapons.

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As soon as the first equipment arrived the locks ons happened and it was only seconds before the security realised what was happening and we had to get as many people in the area as possible. The rest of the equipment could be thrown in over the fence and so the mayhem began. Tents being laid out, gazebos erected, and banners and posts put on display. Before we knew it the grounds were being flooded by the police. The pushing and shoving over tents began and some clever copper decided to stand on the main structure just as we set to raise it.


So after a fast and furious half hour the situation was that we had 3 large gazebos erected giving the wheelchair users some protection from the weather and a few pop us tents of various sizes. We had disabled people locked on to every gate and about 200 police officers forming a line around the fencing so if anyone tried to join us they had to climb over the fence and would have been arrested. So at various points in the day you saw a loan protester running across the grounds chased by the police. Most of these we managed to D arrest and having stand offs where the police where happy to put disabled people at risk for the sake of a collar.

P1140482The police unsuccessfully tried to make announcements which the protesters drowned out with chants of “Save the ILF” and sirens. The crowd on the street had grown where a lot of disabled people that hadn’t managed to get in were giving out leaflets and educating the general public on the attack on the disabled communities by the cuts. Requests where sent to the Dean of Westminster Abbey to meet the protesters and false message where coming  from the police. As one disable person cried he came to the church to find sanctuary and he had been turned away.

At one point there was a stand off as police tried to remove the ramps to allow wheel chair users move around and protesters had to intervene and stop them being removed. The police tried to block the use of the ramp by a wheelchair user. Once again disabled people right to the freedom of movement were being impeded whilst I could walk where ever I wanted. The officer was made stand down by his Sargent.

P1140511We stood around preparing what we could setting up tables to attempt to lay out food for people. It soon became evident that we had to sort out toilet facilities and the police standing on our tents meant that we had been unable to get some essential pieces into place. Any way that one was easy we turned one of the Gazebo’s into a toilet tied in the tarpaulins around with an entrance and a chemical loo with a frame. Presto. This bought as some more time.


Whilst this was going on more and more police were arriving, and the presence of tazars had been noted. Consensus meetings were being held on how to progress and a game of football took place until one female police officer got upset and confiscated it. So we just went an got another one. Courtesy of UK uncuts action we had a few.  There were constant songs and chants of support coming from outside the fences and rumbles of press and interviews and MP’s

P1140551I didn’t get involved in the meetings other than to give the status on logistics and the equipment as any decision on how to progress was to be made by the DPAC and what ever decision was reached I would support. By 7.30 last night nobody from the church came forward to talk, to meet the protesters and the requests for support by the church in their plight. The church, the people they thought would show some understanding turned their back on them in their time of need. Oh how very Christian.

P1140496It was realised that some of the disabled people were unable to stay there as the intended structures hadn’t managed to placed. This meant that the number of able bodied protesters would outnumber the disabled people that were willing to stay. This raised concerns that as soon as some had left it left the remaining protesters at risk of arrest. In our hearts and minds we new we had not managed to occupy for as long as we had hoped but we could walk away knowing that the action had highlighted the need for an Independent Living Fund, trending on twitter and great coverage on the main stream media


Meanwhile we negotiated with the police to save all our equipment along the lines of ” There is so much here do you really want to have to log it all in and where are you going to store it all?” They still weren’t aware the agreements that the group had come to and the police decided to keep hold of the last 2 army tents until we were all loaded on the van “in case we pulled a fast one” The lorry pulled up and we loaded in. Every last piece was removed and the only blot left on the landscape was the 200 police left in the grounds,P1140533

I can tell you DPAC you can hold your head high. You are the strongest, most determined and courageous people I have had the pleasure of standing alongside. You make me so proud.

lots of love and respect Hampstead mum x






You go where you want? Don’t make me laugh. Part 2 – Cricklewood

So today North London Antifacists called for resistance to a march held by the South East Alliance in Cricklewood.

No Pasaran was the message

About 25 -30 fascists turned up at Kilburn station to be led towards Cricklewood following a police van and surrounded by police.


Further up the road the Antifascists, local community members and union members waited ready to stop them. The wait had began.


As soon as the blue flashing lights of their police chaperones and the tips of their England flag could be seen the antifascist community moved across the road and blocked their path. The Right wing fascist tell us they go where they like. No you fucking don’t !


The road was blocked for as long as it took for the police to realise we were not going to let the fascists pass. The flags came to a standstill and they moved no further. It wasn’t long before the fascists were told that they couldn’t continue their march and reach their target and were to be escorted back to the train station.

We all stood round for a while to make sure that they didn’t try to come back and few spotters and right wing tourists where told under no uncertain terms what was thought of them.

So after a successful action in the uniting of Antifa and the community we sent a message today You do not go where you want !


Well done to Cricklewood. No platform for fascists.


Part 1 https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/we-hide-in-plain-sight-we-go-where-we-want/



Taking out the Spikes for the homeless – Part 2


Well things have moved on with the homeless and the spikes. Meaning some autonomous activists went to Regent Street late on evening on the Wednesday night and poured concrete over the spikes. Not a very professional job, but I would say for a first attempt they showed given some time their skills would be acceptable on any building site. They were savvy enough to take some trusted press peeps with them this being Vice and getting it all recorded and published to a world wide audience.


Within hours Tesco’s removed the spikes. The removal wasn’t just down to one act of “vandalism” as I have heard some cry. The concrete pour was just an act of fast forwarding the demands of the outcry seen in the last few days. This act in itself has saved the public purse a lot of money all round if the traditional route had been taken, letter writing, meetings, demonstrations, e-petitions, PR meetings, complaints against planning, more meetings, complaints to the corporations (that don’t really give a shit about your views and opinions how ever relevant and correct they are. They just want your money) Lawyers fees, solicitors letters etc. Then there is the press and the feeding frenzie that this has caused and the people managing to use the right wing media in delivering the message that this was immoral behaviour towards the homeless. For once it was the people running the show.

Living in a system that is so tied up in bureaucracy that this seemed the only option of opposition for an obscene act of taking ownership of space in this way was direct action in these David and Goliath times. The people should be grateful for activists willing to break the law for the moral ground and the thousands of comments I have read on the cementing of the spikes has been overwhelmingly in favour of the action. So it will be interesting to see if the authorities/corporations go for prosecutions here. Will they be willing to stand up in court and justify their immoral actions or will it be better PR to keep quiet, remove the spikes, never employ the bright spark that came up with that idea again. Will they just go away and lick their wounds and put damage limitations strategies into place.

But this whole situation has created lots of questions for me. So was this about deterring people from sleeping and sitting down or is this about the ownership of Space? The conflict of public space and private space is becoming a battle in it’s own right and this has been repeatedly highlighted by the right to protest. Increasingly the public spaces have been sold off to large corporations and you now have to abide by these companies rules and regulations whilst on these spaces. Be it a street in Canary Wharf or a road in City of London for example. For example if I want to protest about Shell, their offices are on private land in London, they can get an injunction banning me from outside the shell building for life even if their company moves from the building I would still be banned from that piece of land. Surely that isn’t right?

So back to the spikes, why spikes? Why didn’t they put some flower pots there or some works or art ? Things that aesthetically please people would have had less of an impact. I am sure that if you lived in the tower block in Southwark were some of the spikes have appeared and a beautiful display of flowers were used to cover the area, would you have even thought about the homeless? or just thought that’s pretty. So Why Spikes? Why use something so offensive and aggressive? It could be the fact that this is a one off payment rather than a flower pot that may need a contract to maintain it or artwork that may get stolen. I’m not sure but I really think that this type of planning in our urban spaces has to be questioned. Not just the spikes, but the walls, the razor wire, the gates, the private security and the freedom of movement.

Flower tescoI’m really not sure about the wider implications here and have to think about this. It is definitely not as clear cut as first seems. But for now this has been seen as a victory of the people and rightly so but is it a win for the homeless? The spikes have become a symbol of the homeless a bit like a logo. So what now the spikes are gone the public outrage has been quelled and the spikes have been removed. Will things be any different for the homeless? Now we can go back to not thinking about the homeless .

Well done to those activists willing to risk their liberty ! Lets hope this isn’t in vain.

Homes not spikes

Part 1  https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/spikes-for-the-homeless/

Taking out the Spikes for the homeless.


Homelessness is on the rise whether it be from housing shortages, evictions from bedroom tax, over crowding and any other number of social reasons, domestic abuse, substance abuse…..The only difference between me and that homeless person is a roof nothing more and nothing less.

With the gentrification of London and the continuous “Cleansing” of newly developed areas such as King Cross St Pancreas, Stratford and Soho the vulnerable people of the street are becoming invisible. This is taking place in very subtle ways. Westminster tried to make it illegal to feed homeless people and get rid of soup kitchens. But there was such an outcry that they did a U turn. However under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill it can be illegal to be homeless. Creating Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) these can be used by councils for actions including banning spitting, banning homeless or young people from parks, banning begging or rough sleeping and banning smoking in outdoor public places. This is such a broad remit it is obviously going to be open for wide spread abuse.

Then there is the sleeping spots. A couple of years ago we started seeing the appearance of partitions on public benches. No longer where we able to draw down our hat in the mid day sun and rest our weary feet and soak up the sun and rest our souls, reading our books, or finishing off the crossword because some poor unfortunate soul may have the misfortune to have to make this bench their bed. I heard the out cry but nothing was done and now we never see a homeless person in our parks. Saving some the horrible and inconvenient truth of having to explain to their young that there are homeless people.

Things now seem to have taken an even more sinister turn and the use of spikes seem to have come into play, under passes, door wells and any place a weary person may take  shelter and rest.

Tesco Regent Street                                Establishments such as Tesco in Regent St London.

No more cosy spots were the air vents from the shops keep you warm or the overhang keeps the rain of your sleeping bag.  So the appearance of these spikes are the next stage of the cleansing of our city of homelessness.

So what shall we do ?


Rapid cements come in various types and you can get it from any builders merchants and can set in times ranging from as little as 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 1

Go and check out the area that has been laid with studs, the studs being used in door ways are usually about an inch deep. You need to take a rough estimate of the square metre of the area.

Step 2

Once you have an idea of the size go buy some Rapid cement. The sales assistant at any builders merchants will help you calculate the amount needed for the coverage.

Step 3

Purchase a piece of 2 by 2 the length of the area and attach some plastic along the stick. This will be needed to block the run of the cement out of the spiked area and the plastic will be under the pour therefore holding it in place. ( you may have to hold it in place initially)

Step 4

Rapid cement can be mixed up away from the area and all you need to do is check out the setting time for the product you are using so you allow yourself time from mixing to getting to the spot and pouring.

Step 5

Drive up. Wearing high vis jackets I would suggest at night or very early in the morning. Lay down baton along the spiked area creating a well. Pour the Rapid set cement over the spikes.

Step 6

Take a photo of the process and post on every social networking site possible.

It has also been suggested that expanding foam be used as it is quick and insulates but I feel this would be all to easy to remove

This is no way to tackle our homeless problems in the 21st century.

Or maybe we need to take a leaf out of Utah’s books and give every homeless person a place to live.


Part 2 –  https://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/taking-out-the-spikes-for-the-homeless-part-2/