An anarchist group has admitted that protests against landlords and letting agencies present opportunities for disruption.
The Solidarity Federation says it aims to “advance working class struggle locally” to “promote class conscious community spirit based on solidarity and mutual aid.”
The organisation says direct action in the community can take diverse forms including rent strikes, anti-bailiff protests and mass non-payment of taxes.
Specifically in relation to the private rental sector, the Solidarity Federation website says: “...agencies are vulnerable to direct action tactics such as pickets and occupations. SolFed Locals should take on this kind of dispute in line with the general principles set out here: not seeking to act as a service, but including the wronged individuals as active participants in direct action and seeking to build a wider culture of resistance.”
In recent months there have been many protests outside agency offices and landlords’ homes; protesters have adopted the technique advocated by this anarchist group, involving individuals - who may not have been in the group - as apparent victims.
Tenant bodies are also ripe for infiltration. The anarchist website says: “We recognise that residents and tenants associations can play a positive role in local community life, but they are also at risk of being co-opted by the state.
“We are in favour of active participation in such groups that are independent of the local council and police, and also support the non-hierarchical federation of these associations as a step towards community self-management.”
The Solidarity Federation also wants activists to use regeneration as an opportunity for disruption.
It says: “Gentrification is a complex process, which often involves pitting existing small businesses against incoming big ones. Whilst we do not wish to end up fighting for one set of capitalists over another, struggles over local developments are often flashpoints which bring people together.
“Gentrification is also harmful as it can often break up established working class communities. For example, the practice of building luxury flats, which cannot be afforded by members of the community, in order to yuppify the area.
“This process not only prices out many poorer people in the community, but it is done without the consent of people in the area, which raises the issue of community control.”