From Keith Martin: Things to remember in 2018

2018 SEES SEVERAL NOTABLE ANNIVERSARIES. ALL HAVE IN COMMON THE SUCCESS OF DIRECT ACTION IN ACHIEVING JUST RESULTS.

DEEDS NOT WORDS was a most appropriate slogan chosen by the Suffragette movement in and after 1918 to epitomise their campaign for women to get the vote in Great Britain. Their epic and heroic campaign, which included breaking unjust laws, was eventually successful.

The motto has resounded down the years and is and has been as relevant to subsequent activists as it was in 1918. In 1963 the annual CND Easter march from Aldermaston to London inctuded members of the committee of 100, among them Bertrand Russeil who, unafraid and favouring direct action, inspired peace demonstrators by distributing a “spies for Peace” leaflet and leaving the march to expose the secret details and whereabouts of Regional Seats of Government bunkers at a Berkshire RSG. Russell was among those arrested by the police for his beliefs.

On Maunday Thursday 5 April 2O12, coincidentalty also at Easter, Barnet Council without notice closed Friern Barnet library, despite a vigorous local campaign to save it from closure. Five months later on 5 September 2012, a small group of squatters from Camden led by Peter Phoenix walked through an open window, reopened the library and invited the community to join them in restocking its shetves with donated books and reopening the library to the public. After a Crown Court case the squatters were evicted, but the magistrate allowed a stay of execution for Barnet Council to negotiate a lease with the local community to run the library. Six years later in 2018 they continue to perform this function.