Between the Trinity House estate and the snatch-vans at Southwark Police Station, the old Crown Court was squatted. The building was formerly the Inner-London Crown Court, and was used to convict and imprison primarily poor and working-class inner-London residents. Along with much of the neighbourhood, it is now owned by the Trinity of St Clement, whose redevelopment plans are eerily similar to the violent regeneration elsewhere in Southwark.
Squatting this building is our response to the criminalisation of the poor and deviant in Southwark, London and beyond. This building’s legacy of imprisonment should be written-over and damaged, and the current situation for London’s poor and deviant challenged. Mainstream culture talks of state and prison violence as if they were elsewhere, but being nicked and doing bird are realities in poor, inner-London life. Wherever we steal, work illegally or resist evictions at our council homes and squats, snatch-vans and courts are used against us.
Our response is not only to this system of so-called justice, b ut to the redevelopment of neighbourhoods such as this. How many must lose their homes to make way for the sanitised city-village? The property owners and developers, the Trinity of St Clement or Berkeley Homes, are fast making the streets of Southwark into the yuppie wastelands of the City. Empty buildings nearby to where three-thousand Heygate homes were demolished is an exercise in extravagance and class cleansing.
At the squatted Crown Court, we want to support struggles against state control and redevelopment. Our last event, a film screening on the Tottenham riots, was a fund-raiser for London Anarchist Black Cross, a prisoner-support group working towards abolition. We look forward to using the building against its former purpose – towards housing for all and prison for no-one.