We thank the Focus E15 Campaign for their solidarity in the struggle against state repression of our Human Rights including Freedom of Expression and the right to publish truthful information for the public good. Maxine Walker from the Committee to Defend Julian Assange had the privilege of addressing the Focus 15 Campaign on February 1st highlighting the plight of Julian Assange publisher of WikiLeaks and the urgent need for solidarity on his defence, whilst he is an inmate of Belmarsh prison. Here a report from Focus E15
Solidarity with the Struggle for Julian Assange
Report by Focus E15 campaign
Focus E15 is a Newham-based housing campaign in London group fighting for social housing, not social cleansing. It grew from a group of young mothers who were evicted from their hostel in 2013 and the only alternative the Council offered them was private rented accommodation hundreds of miles away. Since then Focus E15 campaign has grown into an active and effective campaign fighting the city-wide process of social cleansing, with low income people being forced to the fringes of London and beyond by soaring rents, benefit cuts, and a shortage of social housing. 7 years later the struggle continues and grows in campaigning experience and strength.
We continue to fight for the repopulation of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford, East London, where over 400 council homes lie empty, drawing attention to the fact that people are being forced out of London due to a lack of affordable housing while thousands of perfectly good social housing units sit empty. Families are being put in to Brimstone House temporary accommodation, ten minutes’ walk from the Carpenters Estate, where the appalling conditions blight the lives of adults and children crammed into inappropriate living situations that damages physical and mental health.
— FocusE15 (@FocusE15) January 28, 2020
Focus E15 campaign continues its tradition of solidarity with other struggles and at our meeting on Saturday 1 February we watched a video of the Moms4Housing in Oakland California who occupied empty homes and faced the brutal repression of the state as they were dragged out in handcuffs by armed police. Their struggle goes on to reclaim the building and Focus E15 campaign sends them solidarity and strength.
The discussion of international solidarity and the fight against state repression led us on to our invited speaker, Maxine Walker, from the Committee to Defend Julian Assange which stands against lawlessness and repression and for democratic rights.
— FocusE15 (@FocusE15) February 1, 2020
Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have shown courage, honour and dignity and have exposed the truth about the brutality of our government’s actions abroad and the repercussions that this has at home. Maxine spoke eloquently and movingly of the urgency and importance of taking up the struggle to free political prisoner Julian Assange from Belmarsh gaol and stop his extradition to the USA. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer puts it so clearly when he says
‘if investigative journalism is classified as espionage and can be incriminated around the world, then censorship and tyranny will follow. A murderous system is being created before our very eyes. War crimes and torture are not being prosecuted… At the same time, a person who exposes such things is being threatened with 175 years in prison.’
It is in the interests of all of us fighting for a decent society to support this struggle.