Hackney is just one of the many boroughs victims of gentrification. Gentrification consists of attracting rich people to allegedly deprived areas, by closing down public services or small businesses that working class people would be using, and building luxury flats in their place. But in practice, it drives people out of an area they can no longer afford, since services like schooling or libraries are no longer offered.
Gentrification has been going on in Hackney for many years now. I remember meeting school teacher in Hackney six years ago. He told us in tears how the council was closing down schools and nurseries, how the parents of the children of one of the nurseries to be closed had occupied it after receiving a simple letter telling them not to bring their children to the nursery the next day. They eventually abandoned the occupation with the promise that the nursery would be re-opened. It wasn’t, it was all a lie – so we squatted the nursery and kept the community centre open for about four months. This was only the first occupation against gentrification in Hackney.
Since then, the group Hackney not for Sale was created, and many more buildings, some former homes of council services, some local businesses, were squatted, and houses of auctions were picketed and even entered to make the sell-offs impossible, or at least difficult. On one occasion, one woman that attended to bid for one of the properties, refused to offer any money after hearing what the local residents had to say.
See also: http://opendalston.blogspot.com/
(published on Indymedia)