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  • Writer's pictureLondon Catholic Worker

Haringey and Solidarity

For some months now, once a week on Friday afternoons, we have been wandering up the road to Wood Green with a large bag full of placards and some leaflets to stand outside the Barclays Bank branch in the high street. The placards have words on them along the lines of “Don’t Bank With Barclays”, “Barclays – Fossil Fuel Criminals” and “Don’t Support Israeli Apartheid”. The leaflets explain that Barclays is Europe’s biggest investor in new fossil fuel projects, as well as the biggest investor in the arms trade, specifically in Israeli arms companies and those that sell to Israel. So, we are covering a number of bases.


 We have had some interesting conversations. Some people want to know what fossil fuels are, others what they have to do with climate change, or what all these new windmills (wind turbines) are for. These are all genuine questions. Others are climate change deniers or skeptics, or assert that we only criticise the state of Israel because we are anti-Semitic. Of course, we have also had to argue with people who actually are anti-Semitic.

 

This is one way we have been trying to engage more in our local area. We have also been to a few meetings of the Haringey Solidarity Group, then helping to write for and hand out “Totally Independent”, their newsletter, in the street. One member is interested in using our space for a local food co-op group, whilst others are talking about running film nights there. We have been helping Haringey Migrant Support Centre (HMSC) with their re-started community space and meal in our parish church centre, every other Wednesday.  Thomas has been helping St Peter-in-Chains parish food run in central London, as well as a local food bank. We get a weekly donation of bread, cakes, pastries, and sandwiches from Dunns Bakery in Crouch End, which is more than we can use. So we share with a local soup kitchen and two food banks.

 

These are some examples of the way we are trying to support the efforts of local people in our area to ‘create a society in which it is easier to be good’, in the words of Peter Maurin. For us, this very effort at localism is in itself part of that. To operate on a small scale, the local, self-help groups and co-operatives are part of a distributist practice that can enable a non-authoritarian society to come about, or at least be present in the midst of capitalism. We believe it is, in a small way, the Kingdom of God in action.

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