Posts Tagged ‘LSE’

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism – my Saturday 27th July 2013 began with a “radicalized midsummer cloud forest dream” against the support given to fossil fuels and climate chaos by the banks and the City of London, continued with a vigil for Bradley Manning who exposed US war crimes and ended with a march and rally against and Injustice.


Rev Billy at HSBC – Victoria

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism
Golden Toads to the rescue with ice

I met the Rev Billy and his choir on the Stop Shopping Church Tour England in a green open space on Victoria Street, opposite New Scotland Yard (which has since moved to the Embankment.) There they practised their performance as species – monkeys, jaguars and eagles – among those threatened by climate change.

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Some had heads of Golden Toads, a Costa Rican species already made extinct by climate change. These were hidden away as the group walked towards the HSBC bank at Victoria, and we all walked in trying our best to look like normal customers and going up to the long line of ‘Express Banking’ cash machines.

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Then the group erupted into dance action, with the Rev Billy using a megaphone to tell bank staff and customers what is happening and why we are in HSBC. Fossil Fuels are killing life on this planet and London banks and the London Stock Exchange play a key role in this – a quarter of all fossil fuel shares are traded on the LSE and in 2010-12 the top five UK banks raised £170 billion for fossil fuel companies, with the HSBC in the lead. He promised that they would leave the bank after the short performance.

Then the Golden Toads arrived to save the species, bringing with them some large eggs of ice to help cool the planet down, and then as promised people left the bank to continue to the end of the performance on the wide pavement outside. Police arrived and went into the bank as the players were leaving to celebrate their action in a nearby cafe and bar.

More at Rev Billy at HSBC


Free Bradley Manning Vigil – St Martin’s, Trafalgar Square

Saturday 27th July 2013 was an international day of action by the Bradley Manning Support Network, and in London they held a vigil on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Bradley Manning’s trial had started on 3rd June in Fort Meade, US, and protests have continued both inside and outside the court, with the ‘gay whistleblower’ being celebrated in countries across the world and awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize. Many see Bradley – later Chelsea Manning as a hero who should be honoured rather than imprisoned. Her trial ended on 30th July with a sentence of 35 years, but in 2017 this was commuted by President Obama to seven years, dating from her arrest in 2010.

Free Bradley Manning Vigil


Against Global Racism and Injustice – US Embassy to Whitehall

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK held a rally outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square before marching to Whitehall in solidarity with families of Trayvon Martin, Stephen Lawrence, Azelle Rodney, Jimmy Mubenga and many others to highlight the reality of racism and seek justice, both in the UK and US.

The protest was supported by many anti-racist organisations including Operation Black Vote, the National Black Students Campaign, Global Afrikan Congress, PCS, RMT Black Members, Counterfire, UAF, Love Music Hate Racism, Lambeth TUC and Lambeth People’s Assembly and a number of well-known faces from the British left were among the marchers, some were scheduled to speak at the Downing Street rally.

The US Embassy was chosen as the starting point because of the killing in Florida of Trayvon Martin and the global outcry against the acquittal of his murderer under the Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

But although this was a protest against global racism and injustice, and it had a particular focus on this country, and as Lee Jasper stated “We march for Jimmy Mubenga, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Azelle Rodney.” And others also made clear in speeches they were appalled by UK cases, including We march for Jimmy Mubenga, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Azelle Rodney and many, many other cases.

I followed the march as it went through Mayfair, but then had to leave rather than attend the final rally.

More at Against Global Racism and Injustice.


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At the LSE – Sept 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

I’d gone to the LSE to attend a session in the LSE’s 3-day ‘Resist’ festival organised by Lisa McKenzie, then a research fellow in the Department of Sociology there, though I imagine that this was one of several reasons her contract was not renewed. It’s OK if your work is purely academic, or if it supports the kind of people and companies that fund universities, but anything practical which supports the working classes is definitely infra-dig.

At the end of the session (more about it below) McKenzie called upon Petros Elia, General Secretary of the United Voices of the World trade union to which many of the LSE cleaners now belong. He accused the management of the LSE of failing to protect the interests of cleaners working there who they have outsourced to a cleaning contractor in a cost-cutting exercise without insisting on decent working conditions and conditions of service. He invited all present to a meeting to discuss action by the cleaners which was to be held as a part of the Resist festival later that day. I hadn’t intended to stay for that, but decided to do so.

Covid has made many re-evaluate the contributions of many low-paid workers, and to realise how essential their services are to the running of society. Cleaners are one such group and the meeting organised by the UVW made clear how terribly they were being treated by their employers, Noonan, while the LSE was happy to pocket the few pennies they were saving by outsourcing and look the other way to the injustices taking place under their own roof – while claiming the moral high ground and uncovering and moralising on those in societies around the world.

It was also a meeting which would have shattered any prejudices about low-paid workers being less intelligent, less aware or less articulate than those in higher positions. Many of them were migrant workers and speaking in their second (or third) language, though some through interpreters, but made themselves heard more clearly than the average cabinet minister in a radio or TV interview.

The cleaners’ campaign for parity of treatment with other workers employed directly was supported by students – including those on a new graduate course in Equality – and the students union General Secretary, several post-graduate students and staff. One of those present was LSE Professor of Anthropology David Graeber who so sadly died aged 59 just over a year ago and is much missed.

Students and staff continued to support the cleaners in various actions and the campaign was partly successful. The cleaners were brought in house in June 2017, but are still remained “frustrated and grieved by their continuing treatment as “second-class” workers.” A petition was launched in April 2021 making 14 demands. A major continuing problem is that the LSE does still not recognise or talk with the cleaners’ trade union, the UVW, but talks with Unison which never consults the cleaners and fails to represent many of their needs.

The earlier session of ‘Resist’ was a lengthy and detailed indictment by Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing of a report by a group of LSE academics on Kidbrooke Village, a development by Berkeley Homes and Southern Housing. This replaced the LCC-built Ferrier Estate in SE London, which was deliberately run-down, demonised and emptied by Greenwich Council from 1999 onwards.

Elmer accused the report of lies about the estate regeneration, of basing their report on that of the property developer and passing it off as their own, of placing the cultural legitimacy of an LSE report in the service of Government policy and the profits of Berkeley Homes and of accepting financial backing to validate the desired conclusions of their backers.

Elmer made a convincing case, but none of those responsible came to make any defence of the report, and it was hard to know whether there could have been any – though I suspect it might well have been only a matter of picking a few holes and making minor corrections to his analysis. Clearly universities should not be places where property developers or even governments call the tunes and the LSE would appear to have been caught out kowtowing to capital.

More at:
LSE Cleaners campaign launch
Simon Elmer of ASH indicts LSE


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


More London 1987

Friday, September 18th, 2020
Windsor Court, Moscow Road, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-13-positive_2400

Moscow Road and St Petersburg Place were probably named at the time of the visit by  Tsar Alexander I to England in 1814, when print seller Edward Orme was beginning to develop the area. I think that Windsor Court replaced Salem Gardens which had around 350 people living in 35 houses with many working-class families living in single rooms, and was built in or shortly before 1907. A large 4 bedroom flat here is currently on sale for £2.4 million and the there are doubtless high service charges for the portered block.

LSE, Houghton St, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-32-positive_2400

This view of the London School of Economics is from Clare Market looking towards Houghton St and the area has for some years been a building site. The LSE  Centre Buildings Redevelopment is re-shaping Houghton Street and Clare Market and this view may emerge rather differently.

Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-7c-34-positive_2400

The original house on this site, built in 1638-9 was rebuilt after it was bought by then solicitor-general Charles Talbot in 1730, but this semi-circular porch was added to the designs ofSir John Soane in 1795. Among early visitors to the house was Samuel Pepys whose patron Edward Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich lived here in 1664-1666. Apart from apparently inventing a useful portable food, Montagu was also largely responsible for bringing back the monarchy to England, a yoke we are still suffering under 360 years later. Dickens made it the home of the lawyer Tulkinghorn who was found dead here, shot through the heart in his Bleak House. Having been for 96 years the home of patent agents Marks & Clerk, in 2004 it became part of Garden Court Chambers.

New Court, Temple, City, 1987 87-7c-44-positive_2400

Not far away and still in legal London this picture shows New Court and Devreux Chambers in the Temple, an unduly picturesque image.

Camdonian, Barry Flanagan, sculpture, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holborn, Camden, 1987 87-7c-54-positive_2400

Sculptor Barry Flanagan exhibited a smaller version of this sculpture, Maquette for Camdonian, for the 1980 Camden Sculpture Competition and they commissioned its big brother, Camdonian, to put at the north-east corner of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Its a site I often visited when photographing in this area of London, as a few yards to the south are one of London’s relatively few remaining public toilets. Camdonian is a structure that is different on every visit, changing with the lighting and with the graffiti which it regularly gathers.

It has its admirers (and I’m somewhat grudgingly one) but it has also probably attracted more negative comments than any other piece of public art in London.

An alley to its north, Great Turnstile, leads to High Holborn and to one of the better Wetherspoon’s pubs, Penderel’s Oak. Much though I abhor its owner’s politics and treatment of his staff this is a pub I’ve often visited in the past; one of my friends, now sadly deceased, used to add to his meagre earnings as an artist and photographer as a Wetherspoons Secret Diner, and recommended this as the best of their establishments. And although many have called for a boycott of ‘Spoons, my union friends advised against, well asking us not to cross any picket lines they may have, advice I was happily following until the Corona lockdown.

Kings Reach, Memorial, George V, Westminster, 1987 87-7c-56-positive_2400

It wasn’t enough just to have a mug and postage stamps, King George V’s silver jubilee was marked a by plaques under Temple Stairs Arch, part of Bazalgette’s 1868 Embankment plans on the bank of the River Thames and the Port of London Authority “renamed” this stretch of river between Westminster and London Bridges as Kings Reach. Although it’s always said to have been renamed, nobody appears to know any previous name for this part of the river.

There are two cherubs, one on each side of a large block at the centre of the arch. This one, on the upstream side has ripped out the mast and sail of a ship he is sitting on and is waving them in his right hand while his left points towards the river. A rather angry looking sea-god looks down over him. These are said to be by Charles Leighfield Jonah Doman (1884-1944) who also provided sculptures for Lloyd’s 1925 building in Leadenhall St and Liberty’s in Regent St and were presumably added in 1935.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.