Launching A Crowdfunder to Support a UK Tour of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the New Documentary Film About the Threat to Social Housing, Which I Narrate

20.3.18

A promotional poster for 'Concrete Soldiers UK', designed by the Artful Dodger. The film, directed by Nikita Woolfe, was released in December 2017, and a crowdfunded was launched in March 2018 to take the film on the road.Please support the crowdfunding campaign here!

Dear friends and supporters,

I’m writing to ask if you can help with a crowdfunding campaign I’ve just helped to launch, for a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, which I narrate. Directed by Nikita Woolfe, the film looks at council estates threatened with destruction in the UK, and the inspiring resistance of residents to the proposed destruction of their homes, and we’re hoping to raise the money required to take it around the country, and to produce a booklet compiling information about how to successfully resist estate destruction — and which pitfalls to avoid. If you can help out at all, it will be very greatly appreciated.

The crowdfunding page is embedded below:


My involvement with the film came about after I met Niki at an open meeting last June, called by ASH (Architects for Social Housing) to discuss the Grenfell Tower fire — and specifically, to examine what caused the fire, and what lessons can and must be learned from it. Niki was filming that meeting, which was later made available as a video, and afterwards she asked me to narrate ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, which she had been working on for three years.

I was honoured to be asked to narrate the film, and to take part in screenings, and, crucially, the important post-screening Q&A sessions, in which, with the audiences,  we all get the chance to learn from each other and to suggest strategies for resistance. We launched the film at the Cinema Museum on December 8, had a second screening at Deptford Cinema on December 18, and this year we’ve shown it at Hub 67 in Hackney Wick and in Walthamstow, at the end of a day of action against the proposed redevelopment of the main square.

More screenings are being lined up, but we need your support to enable us to take the film on the road, and to produce the booklet, as the film has been independently produced, and we have no institutional backing whatsoever.

I hope you can help — and if you have any doubts about the importance of the resistance, please be aware that, across London and throughout the country, councils across the political spectrum, faced with a lack of funding for social housing that has existed since Margaret Thatcher’s time, and with the added burden of cuts introduced since the Tories returned to power in 2010, are destroying, or planning to destroy hundreds of council estates, and to replace them with private developments.

It may sound as if the councils are simply doing their best in difficult times, but unfortunately deals wth private developers do nothing for existing tenants or for those in the greatest need, and councils almost entire refuse, in an obsessive manner, to contemplate alternative plans — like, for example, refurbishment and infill options that are perfectly viable, but that do not involve the destruction of people’s homes.

Instead, under the destruction deal that is generally favoured, existing tenants are priced out, leaseholders (those who bought their homes after Margaret Thatcher introduced the ‘Right to Buy’ in the 1980s) are given derisory amounts for their homes, making it impossible for them to stay in the area, and the long housing waiting lists are generally undisturbed, as the new properties cater to private investors on the one hand, and, on the other, new people coming into the area.

There’s nothing wrong with new blood, of course, and people bringing money into an area can help to create and support businesses, but none of that should happen at the expense of those already living there, whereas, across the capital and up and down the country, what is actually happening is social cleansing, as all of these new arrivals and investors only get to move into the area because existing council tenants and leaseholders are moved out, after having their homes destroyed.

I hope you find this as appalling as I do, and that you will help us resist! So if you can help, please donate here.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting a brand-new crowdfunding campaign for ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the new documentary film about the destruction of council estates, which celebrates the resistance of residents to the destruction of their homes. Nikita Woolfe, the film’s director, and myself, as the narrator, have just launched the crowdfunder to enable us to take the film around the UK, and to produce a booklet to help people to resist the destruction of their estates. If you can help out at all, any amount – £10, £25, £50, £100 or more – will be very gratefully received. Help the resistance! Stop the clearances!

  2. Alan dearling says...

    Hi Andy OK if I consider editing a version of your request into an article for Gonzo weekly online mag? I think the editor would agree.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Absolutely fine with it, Alan. Thanks!

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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