Nikita Woolfe and I Discuss ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the Housing Crisis and the ‘Inspire2Resist’ Handbook on Dissident Island Radio


The logo for Dissident Island Radio and a draft cover for the 'Inspire2Resist' handbook, an offshoot of 'Concrete Soldiers UK', the 2017 documentary about the housing crisis, directed by Nikita Woolfe, which I narrate.

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Last week I was delighted to be invited, with the filmmaker Nikita Woolfe, to discuss ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the documentary film Niki directed, and which I narrate — and, specifically, the ‘Inspire2Resist’ handbook Niki has put together, with a bit of help from me — on Dissident Island Radio, which describes itself as “a radical internet radio show broadcasting on the first and third Friday of every month from the London Action Resource Centre”, a wonderful community space in Whitechapel.

The show is here as an MP3 (and here on the website), and our section is from 27:30 to 46:00, with our reflections on resistance to the ‘regeneration’ industry, and the many forms it takes, including some mention of the ongoing resistance to ‘regeneration’ in Deptford, via the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign that I’m part of (and see the archive here and here). Our host, Patrick, had done his research, and the interview was exactly the kind of detailed discussion that rarely makes it into the mainstream media.

In discussing who the handbook is for, I stressed that anyone living in social housing is under threat, as councils, housing associations and housing developers continue to work towards destroying secure and genuinely affordable social housing, either through estate demolitions, or through other ongoing efforts to price people out of their homes — like the new rental regime introduced by Sadiq Khan, which I wrote about here.

The spur for the discussion was the screening of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ that is taking place at the Rio Cinema in Dalton next Tuesday, February 26, at which the ‘Inspire2Resist’ handbook will be launched, and at which Niki and I will be taking part in a post-screening Q&A session. For further information, see the Facebook event page, and see my article here.

I hope you have time to listen to the show, and will share it if you find it useful. I recommend all of it, not just the section on housing — the show begins by focusing on the forthcoming Glasgow Autonomous Bookfair at Glasgow Autonomous Space on March 2, and is followed by a section on the Stansted 15, whose case I wrote about here. Later in the show there’s a section on the Kurdish struggle, followed by loads of great music — Part 2 of DJ Salamander’s 3-part Afrivision set featuring tracks from across the African continent!

Below, if it’s of interest, is a video that Niki and I made last year, on the Aylesbury Estate, as a fundraiser for ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ and the ‘Inspire2Resist’ handbook. You can also make a donation to support us here, if you wish.

Crowdfund campaign INSPIRE2RESIST from WOOLFE VISION on Vimeo.

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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 2017 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. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, the resistance continues.

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.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to and discussing the most recent show on Dissident Island Radio, based in the London Action Resource Centre in Whitechapel, which featured a 20-minute interview with Nikita Woolfe​ and I.

    We were interviewed because of our roles as the director and narrator of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the documentary about the housing crisis that was released a year ago, and we specifically discussed the launch, at a screening of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ and other short films at the Rio Cinema this coming Tuesday, February 26, of Inspire2resist​, a handbook for anyone facing the bulldozers of the ‘regeneration’ industry, with its smooth-talking councillors, its fake consultations, and its fundamental greed and social cleansing.

    I hope you can listen to the whole show, as it was all good. Also discussed: anarchists in Glasgow, the Stansted 15, the struggles of the Kurdish people, and some great African music! Enjoy! And please share if you find it helpful!

    The direct link to the show is here:

  2. Tom says...

    How does OfCom treat many community stations like Dissident? I know that they still crack down on many pirate stations in/around London. It’s hard for some because their studio operations are fairly involved. Not easy to constantly pack up and then set up again.

  3. Tom says...

    Then again, not all but many actually have a good sound.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Tom,
    Ofcom licences are not required for anyone broadcasting on the internet, so that’s not a problem for Dissident Island Radio.
    I don’t think pirate radio is the cause celebre it used to be, both because of efforts to persuade pirate stations to go legit as community stations, and also because of internet broadcasting.
    There’s a list of community stations here:

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    I was impressed by Dissident Island Radio’s sound, Tom!

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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