“Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right.”
– Isaac Asimov, Foundation
Sometimes, a moral human being’s only recourse is to violate an immoral law. A group did just that in London, when the war on the “anti-homeless” spikes escalated from sign waving to cement pouring vandalism.
The spikes were first noted on AATTP after they went up two weeks after the discovery of a homeless person sleeping in front of a fancy London hotel. Since then, social activists have noted that the spikes have gone up all over the world. The situation exploded on Twitter, and people began protesting the spikes. Homelessness in London is a large issue, as it’s been increasing there at an alarming rate, but as the ultra-rich hypercapitalist lowlives drive the world towards the goal of perpetual feudalism and inequity, it’s become a feature of every city.
The “Home Not Spikes” demonstration, organized by Left Unity, took place on a store front where a number of individuals dressed as construction crew workers showed up late in the afternoon at a London Tesco, wearing florescent uniforms and carrying buckets. The store front had spikes under the window, but by the time the protestors were done, the spikes had been buried under cement. Simon Childs, a writer for Vice, describes his encounter:
I hung around outside the Tesco for a while, and before long some guys in fluorescent work clothes appeared.
They were all carrying buckets, which I soon found out were full of concrete. Tipping the containers all over the spikes, the stuff inside landed with a messy thud on the ledge. The activists then tried to spread the concrete out with some wooden slats, but it looked a little thick and wasn’t really budging.
When they dashed down a side street, I caught up and asked one what exactly they were doing. They explained that they were trying to drown the spikes in concrete, rendering the ledge non-spikey. “These [spikes] are in places where people are trying to find a cosy, less wet place to put their head down,” one said. “These are places that the underclass rely on. We give [Tesco] our money and this is how they treat us.”
“Homeless people are some of the most vulnerable people in society with the government’s austerity program,” added another activist. “They’ve cut Shelter’s funding. Crisis are in crisis. There’s more people on the street, more people using food banks—and you have businesses installing anti-homeless spikes. It’s a really degrading way to treat human beings.”
After our chat, they prepared themselves for a second round. This time they poured concrete mix directly out of a bag, then mixed it with the water al fresco. This mostly resulted in a powdery mess and a load of concrete-y water running down the pavement.
I pointed out that what they were doing to the spikes was illegal vandalism. “We don’t really care, to be honest. If any others pop up, anywhere in London, we’re going to do the same thing to them.”
“Others are going to get hit as well. It’s going to be the same way—they’re going to get hit.”
With that, they walked off with their buckets in tow.
Tesco, the supermarket that was targeted, insists that the spikes weren’t there to deter homeless, only to keep people from smoking and loitering in front of the shop.