Minutes from Democafe meeting, Saturday 18th July 2015 held from 2pm to 4pm at The Forge, Delancey Street, Camden NW1 7NL
Present: Michael Mulvey (chair), Janos Abel, Eddie Farrell, Sara Jolly, Denise Arnold, Trevor Griffith Apologies: Alan Spence*, Carol McNichol, Mary Fee, James Richmond
*Involved in 8 Day Inquiry on controversial Swiss Cottage development, preparing evidence supporting Camden Council’s rejection of the proposal for a 24 storey of luxury housing. He’s due to present his work on Monday or Tuesday- if called.
(1) Michael raised an idea regarding the DCC Website he had discussed the previous day with Mary: the Website should clearly distinguish what was DCC consensual Current Thinking (to be posted on the Website) from work in progress (which could be confined essentially to email exchange). Comment-input by the public on Current Thinking should be encouraged and access to comment-space easy.- This may not be as easy as it sounds , would require extra work for a moderator and a bit of organisation. To be discussed at a later date with Mary.
(2) Attention was then turned to the Draft DCCCT on Housing. Trevor Griffiths of Renaissance Britain was thanked for his invaluable input. A lively and very useful collective reading of the draft then took up the best part of the meeting. Michael will confer with Trevor and come up shortly with an agreed version for James to post and for others to comment further.
(3) A slightly new version (by Michael) of Janos’ Rooftop Declaration was then examined. The agreed version is:
From the Roof Tops: I stand here loudly to proclaim my heartfelt thanks to the modern Banking System for its generosity in enabling me and my family to get this roof over our heads. In return, I pledge to part with 40% of my earnings over the next 25 years and to make no fuss about the fact that, over the first fifteen of those years, 90% of the payments I shall be making will serve to cover merely the interest on the £2 million of debt-money that the said system creates in making me this loan. I hereby acknowledge that this roof will be taken away from me if ever, for whatever reason, I should fail to honour this pledge by defaulting on payments and, further, gratefully accept that I stand to forfeit any amount that sale to an investing third-party of this paper, bearing my legally binding signature and representing a 25-year income-stream, may generate. Finally, I am deeply grateful to the Banking System for its readiness to connive with me in the fiction that I actually “own” the roof I and my family shall be living under.
(4) Eddie raised an interesting question: what proportion of jobs in the UK currently are connected to predatory housing-business practice? He feels this could be an important bit of investigation work that Democafe could do.
(5) Michael thought that, regarding the DCC Housing Event, it was vital that the support and collaboration of the many informal protest movements (about housing and development) across Camden be sought (see ongoing reporting in the Camden New Journal)
(6) The question of propagating Democafe culture locally was raised by Janos and discussed. Views ranged:
Bring the existing Democafe-Camden profile into full focus first, get more members;
Use the Housing Event as an exemplar of what can de done.
A reading-discussion group on Fred Harrison’s “As Evil Does” be set up. (Michael’s afterthought: could Chalk Farm Library be used for this purpose?).
On his return to France, Democafe Camden would like to thank Michael Mulvey for his endless hard work and inspiration to us all – whether that be in France or London – Travel safely and thank you.