(AA) ++ Guiness - another bunch to boycott

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 18:03:51 +0100


As mentioned in the last issue of Freedom,
the rumour that the disreputable firm of
Guinness will evict the inhabitants of the
Wandsworth 'eco-village' had become a
reality in the early hours of 15th October 1996.
Thirteen acres of communal endeavour were
destroyed in just about six hours. All the
edifices were razed to the ground. Anybody
walking past today will see the land made
derelict again. All this under a legal pretext of
a piece of paper issued in the High Court.
Guinness have shown themselves expert
manipulators of the property system and their
board of directors are what I categorise as
'commercial brigands' who have earned their
right to apply for the medal for outstanding
To have seen what happened is to have seen
the holocaust in its preliminary stages. Here
was the Balkans brought to the banks of the
silver-flowing Thames (or some other
pollutant). The old word 'pogrom', transmuted
to ethnic cleansing, was even on the lips of the
fluffy police, all four hundred of them, as they
watched the hired riot police (oh, it's not us,
it's them) assault the peaceful inhabitants and
assist the two hundred bailiffs hired by
Guinness to evict the people from their homes,
which they have built since the occupation
started on 5th May. All the beautiful gardens
and nature reserves then were bulldozed,
including the communal building.
To talk about the destruction of Bosnian
villages in this context is painfully relevant.
Not only were the homes destroyed, but
everything in the,. Nobody was allowed to
rescue anything. The police assured people
that their 'belongings' would be put in a
container. The following day all was under
mounds of earth, burnt, bulldozed, and the
barren ground patrolled by security pulled out
of the labour exchange for a few days 'work'.
The press were there, many of them working
for Guinness or the authorities, who made sure
that neither television nor the world's press
and their photographers were witness to the
action or inside the gates of the site during the
eviction. Because of the scant reporting most
people here and abroad still do not know the
extent of blind destruction which took place.
While the police watched impotently, the=7F
mature plane trees around the perimeter were
cut down ('Land is Ours' leaflet, Tuesday
15th October 1996) which was heartrending.
It is too early to draw any sane conclusions.
Here was an anarchist society in the making,
under great stress, and they have created a
thing of beauty, which by Keatsian definition
is 'a joy forever'.
In many respects I agree with George
Monbiot of the Land is Ours campaign, that as
such we have come out of this sorry mess with
honour, even dignity. Whatever happened in
the end, it bodes well for the future of
anarchism, both in idea and practice.
This is not the place to discuss all that has
been learnt. A shabby piece of paper issued in
the High Court ultimately triumphed over
natural justice and the common ability of the
people. The buildings (surely Anyaand Brendan
have built architecturally outstanding
structures which this land has not seen or
equalled for the past four thousand years)
made communal life a pleasure and the stars
above visible.
One day we shall win, comrades, but for me
even to have lived among anarchists in good
fellowship, even for a few weeks, have given
me strength for the days to come.
Guinness may have erased the ground
momentarily, but son1ething that was planted
there on 5th May will survive them.
John Rety