selected highlights from my archive of 90s activist ephemera and articles. probably due for a revamp.

Monday, November 19, 2007

M11 campaigners in last refuge

Another POV, this one I think is from The Times. Note that their story on the netting coming down is different to the one I remember - in this case the netting was cut by bailiffs. Either is fucking awful, but I wonder which version is true. To the best of my knowledge only one journo stayed with the protesters, so we both would have gotten our versions from the same source!

M11 campaigners in last refuge

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bailiffs move in on M11 protest

This is a lovely piece from one of the local papers in Leytonstone - a much more neutral article in many ways, giving voices to some protesters without any condemnation.

Also good for the earliest reference to baby eating anarchists that I've yet found.

Bailiffs move in on M11 protest

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another set of scenes

Another set of scenes, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

Apologies for the length of time between posts, I've been a bit depressed recently. Anyhoo, this is the final page of the Indie photo spread of the eviction day. The relevant pic here I think is the local First Aid volunteer being dragged away. It's never nice to see elderly people manhandled, let alone neutral ones who aren't asking very much at all except to be allowed to remain in the area to provide first aid.

Another set of scenes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More scenes from the papers - No M11

Here you can see a poor photo of one of the most useful barricades - ropes stretched across the street from treetop to rooftop. Very hard to evict people from, and you can't cut the tree down or demolish the house until the occupants have been removed. Sadly the rules aren't always kept to. During the eviction a JCB was used to pull down one net resulting in the occupant falling to the ground from rooftop height and landing beneath the digger blade. Fortunately they only broke an arm, IIRC, but of course not health and safety or criminal charges were brought against the JCB driver who had deliberately set out to injure them.

More scenes from the papers - No M11

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Battle for Claremont Road

An eerie picture of a cop on the roofs. It took four days to shift the M11 Protesters from the roofs and towers.

The Battle for Claremont Road

Monday, October 01, 2007

...ors take to their bunkers

ors take to their bunkers, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

Once on the street the police were fairly quick about removing those of us who hadn't made it into the houses (or in our case, hadn't tried. Wish I had now, I really do). There were some surprises in store. Whilst most people who sat down were fairly easily moved, though one woman, an elderly local woman who had showed up to act as a first aid volunteer for the protesters was dragged away by two cops, weeping. Ugly shit, though at that time I'd already watched one of our brave boys in blue shove an elderly woman to the ground in the name of protecting democracy from those who wish to have a part of it. That shit stays with you.

We were pushed back slowly, there was no violent resistance, just the usual catcalls and jeers, and a few protesters who sat down or required being dragged away. A few surprised the police, who upon attempting to move protesters apparently lounging on mattresses turned out to be locked into pipes embedded in concrete. Specialist machinery would be required to shift them. Eventually the street was cleared, and the long process of clearing the houses could begin. This would take the best part of a week.

ors take to their bunkers

Friday, September 28, 2007

M11 road demonstrators take to...

Monday 28th November 1994. I'm in the first year of VI form. For some reason, probably related to lack of money, I've wandered home at lunchtime or during a morning free period, and discover on the news that protesters are massing at Claremont Road for the eviction. [It is worth pointing out here that a wise person might ask how come the protesters knew there was going to be an eviction - wouldn't it not be better for the eviction to be a surprise? The answer lies in police overtime payments, which are pretty generous, leading to tip offs - after all a well defended eviction means lots of overtime.] So i rinsed my mum for information as to why I didn't know about this beforehand and gained the admission I had expected. Yes, there had been a phone call last night but she had neglected to inform me. So what did I do. Well, here I made one of my more regular errors of judgement and went back to school to rustle up some numbers. After all, a lot of my fellow students had attended occupations and protests there in the past. But in the end, the sum total of people willing to join me was one. We headed for Leyton, disembarked, and along with a few hundred others, milled around.

It was an hour or two before the police and security really showed up. The first you heard was the howls and hoots from the rooftops as the protesters up there observed the dozens of police vans blocking off Grove Green Road. People on the streets were now scurrying up ladders into the upper windows or roofs of the houses, as the doors have long since been barricaded - generally hammered shut, then wooden or corrugated iron sheets nailed against the frame, then massive amounts of rubble and concrete behind them. Inside the houses a warren of lock-ons, security gates, barricades, false corridors, obstacles designed to slow the eviction. The first thing the cops have to do is clear the open end of Claremont Road, which they do with remarkable speed, removing the piles of rubble that block the street. Now people are in nets spread between trees and rooftops, like giant hammocks. Some are carabinad to aerial walkways. Hard to shift safely, yet possessed of an ease of movement....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Background to the Bill

Background to the Bill, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

It wasn't meant to be this way, apparently. Well, I guess it depends on what way it was meant to be. A thoroughly nasty bit of legislation.

Background to the Bill

Thursday, September 20, 2007


NO POLICE STATE, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

oh the irony.

we are, of course, not living in a police state yet. but it's on its way.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

criminal justice bill, page two

Another page from the same source., complete with ranks of riot police. It was against the CJB that I attended my first protest march. On my own, because no-one I knew cared about politics (or if they did, they didn't care about my idea of politics). It think it must have been 1993. I don't really remember much of it - this wasn't the protest that ended in mass violence, this was one that ended in dull speeches from newspaper-salesmen. But as we walked up Whitehall there was a bit of a crush, and some noise. I joined the throng, and watched as a couple of black-clad crusty types attempted to scale the gates of Downing Street (incidentally, until Thatcher was in power Downing Street was ungated. Until Churchill's time the phone number was listed in the phone book). The crowd were watching, mostly applauding though of course there were a fair few jeers. Then the crowd shifted and I went down as some old girl with a bike was pushed or fell on top of me. Her bike pedal ripped my trouser leg, but of more concern to me was the fact that as I pushed myself up I saw, rather than heard, the police horses. The hooves were a couple of metres away from my head. The charge had dispersed the crowd alright, and I don't think there were any injuries. But I never heard a warning if any was given. At the time i remember being somewhat shocked - like even though I was on the demo i was clearly participating in a democratic peaceful action, and I was merely observing the gate-climbing. Why should my health have been put on the line then? Of course, now I know better.

criminal justice bill, page two

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Criminal Justice Bill...

Where's this from I wonder? Never mind, the underground press was full of this sort of stuff in 93 and 94, desperately trying to point out to as many people as possible what the CJA actually meant. In many ways it was the precursor of the erosion of civil rights that has gone on since then. In these less innocent days it seems bizarre to have the freedoms that we had before the CJB, and whenever I hear anyone carping about the smoking ban and the nanny state and the thin edge of the wedge whatnot, I find myself wondering where they were fifteen years ago when this all began. The thin edge of the wedge came when this bill was proposed (although some would say it began when Thatcher smashed the Unions), smoking is only somewhere in the middle. After all, you can't legitimately protest against the smoking ban any more innit!

The Criminal Justice Bill...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stonehenge 2000

Stonehenge 2000, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

Advert for Stonehenge solstice party 2000. Even though in 2000 you were still banned from the stones there was still an annual party there. In 1995 this fucked things up for the M11 protesters as a whole load of them went down to Stonehenge, leaving very few people guarding one of the camps, which was promptly taken by security (though if I recall correctly, one bloke managed to hold them off from his tree house for many hours single-handedly). Another case of hippy activism failing the non-hippy activists sadly - there were quite a few debates on this sort of thing.

Stonehenge 2000

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Squall... ewoks?

Squall... ewoks?, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

While unable to fit the whole of this magazine on the scanner, i think this covers everything. Crusties wrapped up like ewoks? check. The Secret Service? Check. Raving in war-torm climes? Check. Asylum, poverty, pirates? Everything changes, everything stays the same!

Squall... ewoks?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Festival Eye Summer 1996

Festival Eye Summer 1996, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

Festival Eye has been going for over 20 years now. In the earlier days it was a bit more political, as we can see here!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Claremont Road, No M11 Campaign

Another one of those pics that isn't one of mine and that I can't remember where I got it from. An aerial view looking west down Claremont Road. I can remember fascinated by the squatter communities in the area for years. As the Central Line Train into London rose out of the tunnels at Leytonstone and shook their way towards Leyton you'd see the houses with the odd paintwork, the famous two houses that had 'why bother?' and 'why not?' painted on the side. Then as the protest took off, more and more garishly painted properties, more banners, the beginning of that wonderful tower. By that time I had discovered my own politics (or the beginnings thereof), and can still remember my first visit there, all alone, in the summer of 1994. A geeky shy 15 year old used to heirarchical structures and waiting to be told what to do. Instead I was invited to wander around and see if anyone needed any help, had my phone number taken to put on the phone tree, and told not to try and do anything on my own, but some of the crane sitters might fancy some relief. Off I wandered, in search of someone to help. I found building site and fence sitters, but also security guards in abundance. When I finally discovered a site I could reach, the crusties happily whiling the hours away up a crane were adamant that they didn't need any help. Satisfied the world was safe in my absense, I went home.

Claremont Road, No M11 Campaign

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Wanstead Chestnut Tree

The Wanstead Chestnut Tree, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

Firstly, this isn't my picture. I copied it from someone on the internets and forget where from. But it's a great picture and represents my earliest experience of activist politics. I grew up a couple of miles down the road and found myself captivated by what was going on here. So I asked questions, and the answers I got made me agree with the protesters. Some facts about the Chestnut Tree - it was legally recognised as a dwelling based on the fact that the local postman delivered letters there. It was subject to firebomb attacks by local nazis. The remains of it still lie on George Green in Wanstead, a sick memorial to a tree that had bee the focal point of a pretty suburban green. I wasn't there at the time it was evicted, it was before I had joined up, though I occupied the post-Chestnut Tree site plenty of times in the next couple of years. If you were there drop me an email with your memories.

The Wanstead Chestnut Tree

What's next? Well, this is from London Student magazine. It is, as you can see, a minor analysis of the Criminal Justice Bill 1994 - a bill that basically outlawed a fuck of a lot of things that we took for granted back then - and most famously (though perhaps not most importantly) targeted repetitive beats - making the very playing of most music (though they aimed at techno) in public a potential criminal offence. Wikipedia covers it well, and my adotted online hometown was set up partially as a response to the use of legislation to target gatherings of football fans.

I apologise for the missing words in this scan (and others to come) but this was all scanned very quickly to facilitate my return of the docs before the lovely boohoo moved.

The trouble with the Bill

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Newbury flyer

I like this one. A combination of environmental pleading and ego-massage. My experience at Newbury was very limited. I was there a week, in the freezing cold, totally unprepared for just how hard it was going to be, how exhausting running from one place to another on word of mouth (mobiles were rare and expensive) trying to eat the bulldozers and security. I wish I'd been older and better prepared for it. For a definitive story of the times I recommend Jim Hindle's Nine Miles - a fascinating read.

Were you there? Do you have any leaflets, flyers, stories etc. that you want to share? If so email them to me and I'll stick 'em up here -


Where were you at the Third Battle? rear

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Earth First Action Update

protest4, originally uploaded by londoninflames.

This is the first in a series of scans and cuttings that I'm going to be publishing over the next few months. As my handful of readers will have probably worked out, I was on the outskirts of some of the protest, activist, countercultural, or whatever you want to call them, movements in the UK in the 1990s. Since then I have been shocked at the lack of information online. So, working on the old saying "If not you, who; if not now, when?" I am going to try and create an online collection of these things. Firstly my housemate's collection has been scanned. Where possible I will tell stories attached to various flyer, pamphlets, news stories, cuttings etc. Otherwise they're simply here to peruse, argue with, agree with, quote for wikipedia articles or whatever use you want to get out of them.

The Earth First Action Update was published by a UK collection of activists. It is unlikely they had links with any the American Earth First - whoever acts under the banner of EA was a member. Here are a few pages of a 96 copy. This interests me especially because during my brief stay at Newbury (one week, half term, too fucking cold) I was at Snelsmore.


protest4 001

protest4 002