Gudrun Getz of Passing Clouds on their campaign to save the beloved Dalston venue
Passing Clouds is a community music venue and arts centre established by artists and has been at the heart of Dalston’s multicultural arts movement for the last 10 years. Passing Clouds has also charitably funded and supported a wide number of campaigns and projects, and hosted at no charge an array of inspirational communities including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Permaculture Picturehouse who promote innovative, ecological living. But now, like so many other community-oriented spaces across the country, this beloved music venue is under threat from property developers.
Passing Clouds’ building was secretly sold to property developers Landhold Developments who originally told the community that they had no intention of developing the property and would let Passing Clouds stay. Following months of negotiations and legal wranglings, Landhold finally seized the building in August 2016 and have boarded up this once vibrant, colourful and thriving music venue.
The closure of Passing Clouds has resulted in the loss of over 50 jobs, severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds more in the form of promoters, musicians, artists, DJs and local businesses, and has generally had a damaging impact on the local community.
However there is still a chance to save Passing Clouds. Passing Clouds is now petitioning Meg Hillier MP and Hackney Council to ensure the lifelong protection of this vital community asset by approving an application to register Passing Clouds as an Asset of Community Value. The music and arts community has made and continues to make such a valuable and important contribution to both the culture and economy of the country that creative spaces need to be protected by those with the power to do so. You could help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with “Passing Clouds ACV Application – Letter of Support” as the subject line. Tell them how much Passing Clouds means to you and you could help open its doors again. You can also Tweet @HackneyCouncil and @PhilipGlanville.
This is not just about Passing Clouds. Hundreds of music venues, pubs and community centres all over the UK are being ejected from the areas they helped to nurture and being replaced by over-priced luxury flats that are contributing to Britain’s alarming housing crisis. Beloved arts spaces and cultural heritage are being destroyed by soulless gentrification and corporate greed. Aggressive property development is having a detrimental impact on our culture and our communities.
On Oct 21st international property developers, and local developers and politicians meet at Olympia for their annual fair (MIPIM). According to the organisers themselves it is a gathering of ‘the most influential international property players, looking to close deals in the UK property market’.
Join the Radical Housing Network is organising a protest outside Olympia at 9 am.
On Thursday, Oct 15th at the GMB Union – 22 Stephenson Way NW1 2HD at 6:30.
The new edition of the Howler will be out in a couple of weeks. There will be articles about Poplar Harca and the Chrisp St market campaign, an interview with a member of the Boleyn Development campaign and an article written by a supporter of Clapton Football Club, the Clapton Ultras.Here is the front page editorial.
Proudly East London
The current struggles in East London are part of a long tradition. We take pride in this tradition of solidarity, struggle and community. We remember the Match Girls Strike, the dockers’ and tailors’ strikes, all in 1889, the Wapping print strike in 1985, the squatting movement in the late 60s and early 1970s. We remember the Battle of Cable Street, Sylvia Pankhurst and the Women’s Suffrage Federation, Rudolf Rocker and the Worker’s Friend, the struggle against the National Front in the 1970s. We are reminded how East London Irish and Jews united to oppose the march of Mosley down Cable Street in 1936.
East London has been the birthplace of many progressive movements and inspired many books. For some writers East London means the Abyss, Darkest London, Outcast London, miles and miles of slums. For us the traditions of struggle and community are what counts.
What also counts is the fact that East London has been a haven for people fleeing from persecution and massacre. Take the Huguenots, French Protestants who had to leave France after more than a million were slaughtered and who ended up in the East End. Take many Jews from Eastern Europe, forced to leave there after vicious massacres and persecution. These waves of immigration to the East End were followed by the settling of immigrants from Ireland, many of whom worked on the docks, and from Bangladesh and Somalia in the 20th century.
Being Proudly East London doesn’t mean we oppose new incomers to the area as long as they’re not rich yuppies or property developers who are attempting to destroy our communities and drive us out. East London has a tradition of sheltering those fleeing from persecution and poverty, and it is one we also proudly celebrate.
The event at the week-end (see previous blog post) was a great success with both the walk and the assembly attended by a variety of campaigns and individuals, all keen to get involved and work together to fight gentrification in all its forms and against the way public space is being taken over and privatised. Stop the Blocks- a network of different campaigns in the borough- is to continue meeting and planning joint actions. There will be a meeting of Stop the Blocks after the protest at the Jack the Ripper Museum in Cable St. The controversy around this museum is related to the general concern about the way in which Tower Hamlets is being taken over as a place to make profit and not for the the benefit of the local community. What should have been a museum to celebrate the struggles of working class women in Tower Hamlets has been revealed to be yet another glorification of Jack the Ripper as a means of attracting tourists and making money.