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Liverpool Diary: October 2012

Rose Howey Housing Co-op finally get to buy their house.

ImageSundown Monday

Blessed are all things that come from the grape.

We are having a dinner with all the people getting ready to move into Rose Howey House, the old bail hostel that my co-operative has been trying to buy for three and a half months, it's Rosh Hashanah and we are eating apples and honey and home made vegan challah before an important meeting. Rob brought a bottle of kosher wine, splashed out and got the expensive stuff. The cheap stuff is made in New York, but this bottle says 'Made in Israel'. I ask him not to bring it in.

3.45pm Tuesday

We are sitting at the estate agents. Anstey asks the agent if he ever thought that a bunch of hippies from the neighbourhood would be able to pull this off. Estate agent dodges the question and goes to photocopy the contract.

3.50pm

I see how wealth is concentrated in crisis. Owners need to sell for cash because they are in crisis, the only people who can get the cash to buy cheap houses are those who are already rich. Everybody else loses.

3.52pm

I am sitting in the middle. I quote George Lakey to Anstey and Chris; with a sweep of my arm I make a spectrum. The estate agent who has bullied us for months is not so bad really, it is a spectrum; according to Lakey, change comes by people making one small shift to the left.

3.55pm

He comes back from the photocopier. I tell him that I am dedicating myself to helping other neighbourhood people navigate the auction process that is stacked against them. He looks despondent, we have been a massive pain in the ass, responding to the bullying and pressure with the mantra 'we are responsible to our ethical investors.'

9.52pm Wednesday

Udi Aloni's book What Does a Jew Want? On Binationalism and other Specters is upside-down on the cafe table. I don't want others to see a book with Jew in the title on my table. I am looking for a quote to include in this diary entry.

'We must create the preconditions for nonviolent resistance to emerge in order to render violent resistance unnecessary. The most proven and effective form of pressure known to us is BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions). Thus BDS actions do not amount to negative, counterproductive moves, as many propagandists try to portray them.

'On the contrary, BDS actions are a life-saving antidote to violence.

'These are actions of solidarity, partnership, and joint progress.... If a critical mass of privileged Israeli citizens joins the nonviolent struggle from the inside, standing shoulder to shoulder with the disenfranchised, perhaps outside pressure will no longer be necessary.'

11.30am Internet cafe in Clayton Square

The public computers in the Central Library have been closed so that they can be used by Hillsborough Families.

At the end of 10 days it will be Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the holiest day of the Jewish year. I will stand in a room with a lot of other Jews with a variety of different opinions and I will say something that goes like this: 'I hereby forgive all those who have hurt me, all who have wronged me, whether deliberately or inadvertently, whether by word or by deed, May no one be punished on my account.'

2pm Wednesday

I keep trying to figure out how to write the sentence that says this year I will stand up not just privately but publicly and try to find a voice.

I am now in the library on the other side of town. I love computing in public libraries. So, happy New Year and please this year if you identify as a Jew join me in finding the courage to stand publicly for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the government of the place which is called Israel.

8.33pm Thursday

Fatoumata called last night, she got a letter from the Home Office, her fresh claim has been refused. I feel really lucky not to have to deal with estate agents and the Home Office at the same time. Next month's entry will most likely be about fighting for women's rights to be protected as a persecuted group under the asylum laws.

 

Jennifer Verson is a multimedia live artist and cultural activist. She is a member of Rose Howey Housing Coop, which has been established to address poverty, housing, parenting, and education needs.