Come the Revolution, New Cross Road

As discussed on South East Central and reported on Transpontine, Lewisham's People Before Profit Party are opening a cafe on the New Cross / Deptford borders, opposite the Royal Albert. Transpontine says:


The poster on the door advertising for staff suggests that it will offer a 'new social space, tea room, meeting room, shake bar, coffee bar, wifi, snacks'.

They get bonus points for the name "Come the Revolution" and the fine purple wrapping, although how much sharing the premises with Housemartin's estate agents ("Focusing on high speed bridging loans makes bidding and buying on the same day possible allowing you to immediately take advantage of a purchase opportunity") will be a mood killer remains to be seen.

In addition to sending us a copy of the menu, which promises cream teas and a gelateria Ray Woolford, the man behind the project, writes:

I hope you will all come and support Come the Revolution. Yes I am an Estate Agent, but i have spent my entire life as a Community activist. With every campaign, we have always come across the same problem; lack of cash. Hence Housemartins was set up to raise cash for community projects, because I believe businesses can be run for people not profit.

So what is Come the Revolution? It is a place were we pay staff £30 for 5 hour shift, plus 10% discount, plus free meal, plus percentage of turn over, something no other green cafe. All our products are organic or fair trade or both. We are also offering a real Hot meal every day for just £2 because we understand every one is finding it tough. We are also offering organic burgers with oven chips, salad and drink for £5 to get kids away from junk food. There will be gallery space and free campaign office space to local groups.

Lewisham People Before Profit, is about empowering people from all sectors of our community, it deserves support, will really make a difference, and show that you can run a viable business run for people, not shareholders.

If you are interested in applying for a job, contact Ray here.

64 comments:

Mb said...

I really don't get this. I had a flyer from the PBF guys that had an ad for housemartins on the other side. Not all estate agents are rapacious exploiters but as you point out they make curious bed fellows. What next? Tesco's funding The Socialist Worker?

But yes, looks quiet smart. I would have gone for The Chestnut Tree as a name myself.

Welcome to 2011 said...

Does anyone know what they are paying their staff?

Anonymous said...

"we are selling Organic and fair trade as much as possible"

:-(

Tamsin said...

Well you probably wouldn't get anywhere saying "We will stuff you with turkey twizzlers and our coffee is sourced from exploitative multi-nationals that kill third world babies by promoting powdered formula milk".
It does say "as much as possible" so there is presumably a compromise on price and principles.

Anonymous said...

Rather than relying on guessing, why not ask Ray Woolford yourself? Then you'll have the answers.

Anonymous said...

They could just concetrate on selling decent drink and grub rather than stressing its green credentials.

mb said...

Well as it's supposed to be representing non-explotative practices then a 'green' fair trade offering is perfectly consistant. I've not got an issue with that, it's not as if your forced to use it and hardly unique. Everyone from Tesco to small independants sell that idea.

It does make the link to an estate agent more stark though, not that I'm offended by that either, its just odd.

Anonymous said...

It's fine to sell food out of an estate agent is it?

Tressilliana said...

Mb, love the idea of calling it The Chestnut Tree! Are PBP communists?

Monkeyboy said...

I've asked ray.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to call it the turkey drummer.

Lou Baker said...

Sounds like one for me to avoid.

What people before profit fail to understand is that profit is, by far, the most successful method of improving the lives of people.

If you wear sandals and you're happy drinking in skanky cafes with pictures by dear old Doris from no 72 on the wall then this might be one for you.

I think most of us are beyond that. And the workers point is crucial. How much will they pay the staff? If it's not a decent wage that'll be telling.

max said...

Unless you want to buy a property at auction Lou, in that case you may want to pay them a visit and enjoy one of their value for money "tea and crumpet for just a pound", which I think is a great idea that will finally liberate cafe culture from the hegemony of the middle class.
Best wishes and power to the people.

Lou Baker said...

There are plenty of cafes aimed at the self-down trodden masses, Max.

Perhaps something more uplifting and inspirational would be welcome, rather than yet somewhere else where the great put-upon can wallow in their own misery.

Brockley Nick said...

@Max you are joking about liberating cafe culture from the middle classes right? Lou is quite right that there are plenty of cafes for all sorts. I'll wager there'll be more middle class types hanging out here than, for example, College Cafe on Lewisham Way.

max said...

Yes, but they'll mingle with estate agents, and you can't get more real than that.
For a pound!

Brockley Nick said...

Phew :)

Anonymous said...

Will the 'profits' (ooh dirty word) go towards funding their Trotskyite political party?

Anonymous said...

What if the Tories, Greens, Lib-Dems and Labour opened coffee shops...somewhat bizarre isn't it???

max said...

In all honesty I don't know what to think of it.
An estate agent/revolutionary cafe!
A bold move for sure, and not one that many comrades would have accepted lightly I guess.

Anonymous said...

What about those looking for more honest fare?

Anonymous said...

LPBP just gets more bizarre... the strange thing is, I know (of) some perfectly normal, intelligent people who are supporters. Strange.

Revolution, one crumpet at a time...

Danja said...

Property is, erm, borrowed.

Oh sorry shared, I mean shared.

Anonymous said...

"Revolution, one crumpet at a time"
@anon 23.03 That had me laughing at loud.

Mondee said...

I really wish the tedious 'honest fare' brigade would button up. The comments are never funny and don't mean anything or add anything to any thread.

Anonymous said...

The thing is not one of you knows what you're talking about regarding the cafe, and it's relationship to Housemartins, or indeed anything else - you prefer to blow smoke up each others arseholes rather than actually ask someone who knows the facts about the situation, but then, that's a common and repeated situation that continues on this shoddy and worthless blog - it's pretty simple to get in touch with Ray Woolford, or indeed, LPBP to get the correct information. The only question that remains is, then, why does this not happen?

mb said...

I've left a question on his blog yesterday.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - I emailed Ray yesterday on the question of what the jobs will pay. If they are paid positions, then I'll promote them and refer people to them when I get asked about local jobs (as I often do). I emailed the address in the job ad and on his site. I got an automatic reply saying he's unavailable at present, but I will report the response I get.

What is it about the article you are unhappy with?

Gent Badger said...

"a great idea that will finally liberate cafe culture from the hegemony of the middle class.
Best wishes and power to the people."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AND FINALLY HA!

Right on, Max! You can write the caption for our family Xmas card this year if you like, yeah?

max said...

Gent Badger keep your chimney clean.
Comrade Santa, your revolution compliant property surveyor, is coming to town.

localestateagent said...

Ray Woolford is the proprietor of Housemartins.

Simples!

Gent Badger said...

MAX:

Wise words indeed

Anonymous said...

Is Housemartins the Estate Agents funding PBP? We should be told.

Ray Barron Woolford said...

Dear Blog Readers, with so much interest, i hope you will all come and support Come the Revolution, Yes i am an Estate Agent, but i have spent my entire life as a Community activist, but with every campaign, we have always come across the same problem, Lack of Cash to fund all the issues and campaigns, Hence Housemartins was set up to raqise cash for Community Projects, Which is Why itb has won Loads of awards, and Why the London Chamber Of Commerce,Had me as ruuner up as Business person of the year, because i belive business can be run for people not for profit. Hence my support and work with Lewisham People before profit.
So what is Come the Revolution?. It is a place were we pay staff £30 for 5 hour shift, plus 10% discount, plus free meal, plus percentage of turn over, Some thing no other Green Cafe shop is doing, All our Products are Organic or Fair Trade or Both, We are also Offering a real Hot meal every day for Just £2 because we understand every one is finding it tough, From Both this rotton Goverment and our Crap Labour Council, We are Also Offering Organic Burgers with Oven Chips, Salard and Drink for £5 to get kids away from junk food, We are offering Gallery Space, Free Campaign Office to Local Groups to Take on Community Campaigns, Set Up Resident Groups and mobilize on Planning Issues..We also are lookinmg to set up a Not for Profit Utility company and Much more.. Lewisham People Before Profit, is about empowering people from all sectors of our Community, it deserves support, will really make a difference, and show that you can run a viable business run for people... NOT share holders...Ray woolford

Honest fare said...

I prefer food that is neither fairtrade nor organic; can you cater?

An honest burger + oven chips would be lovely.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear Ray! I for one think this sounds exciting and will be coming down for sure. When do you open?

Lou Baker said...

Good luck. You'll need it.

The minimum wage is currently £5.93 per hour for an adult. You are proposing paying £30 for a five hour shift. 7p an hour above the minimum wage. Not very ethical.

I trust your workers will invest their extra 35p a day wisely - maybe they could splash out on a second class stamp.

There is a lot wrong with society but profit is not one of those things. Profit helps everyone. It helps shareholders - who see a return on their investment. It helps employees many of whom rightly earn well above £6 an hour. It helps customers who have products and services to buy. It generates wealth which is shared.

The problem is actually people. There are too many people who accept crap jobs which pay £6 an hour - fine maybe as a part time thing while you're studying but outrageous for an adult. Then there are people who don't bother with school so end up underqualified for work. And people who believe society owes them everything but who contribute nothing back to society in return.

By all means help people - but the best way to do this is to help them help themselves. Give them aspirations to aim higher. Encourage them to read more. Suggest they seek better paid work in far away places like Clapham or Canary Wharf. Help broaden their skills. Teach them to strive for success.

All this can be done with simple inspiration and encouragement. I don't see how a cafe which only values its staff enough to pay them pence above the minimum wage will ever help.

Anonymous said...

It's entirely 'ethical' - ethics being an individual thing rather than a universal constant of course.

When I had a minimum wage job, it was exactly that. The proprieter has already said they'll be getting more, plus a share in the business. Shouldn't you be applauding the market's right to decide?

Headhunter said...

Honest Fare - "Oven chips"??! OVEN CHIPS? I think you just forfeited your membership of the fried chicken/good honest fare society... People who eat "honest fare" fry everything in "good honest" beef dripping surely? Oven chips are low in fat.... Gigantic fail...

Headhunter said...

Ray - Sounds fantastic!

Anonymous said...

The stamp of approval from the Mung Bean Elite there! Like a Michelin star is that.

mk said...

Well done Lou. Well done for taking something borne out of sincere intent, and pissing all over it with your flurry of negatrons. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Lou, of course, is always welcome at any LPBP meeting, his input would be as valuable as anyone. He won't show his face though, because he's a coward, which is even more of a pity.

Mondee said...

@Anon 08.24, you sound very unpleasant. If you know that not knowing the facts is a 'common and repeated problem' on this website, you must look at it quite a lot. So why are you wasting so much of your time reading such a 'shoddy and worthless blog'?

max said...

Lou, you skipped the bit about the share of the profits and the free meal.
Anyway, besides the oddity of the estate agent/revolutionary cafe combo, good on them, it shows some vision in engaging with the community.
I remember Ross critizising them for existing mostly at electoral time, looks like they listened, and they'll surely get a political reward for having a permanent outlet to build support.

Brockley Nick said...

@Mondee, thanks for springing to my defence:

"If you know that not knowing the facts is a 'common and repeated problem' on this website, you must look at it quite a lot."

But I'd rather say that if he thinks it;s a common and repeated problem then it's because he doesn't look at this site a lot :)

Lou Baker said...

@max

I have no problem with the cafe. If he wants a cafe selling ethical McCains oven fries - that's up to him.

It is this absurd notion that profit is evil, that wealth is bad, that money is wrong that I take offence to. Anyone who puts forward such arguments is frankly wrong. And as they claim to have some sort of political agenda it is right they be taken to task on the politics.

The whole People Before Profit ethos is fundamentally flawed. It fails to understand that profit is often the best way to help people. Most people with money don't abuse it. Most are perfectly decent. Most are perfectly nice. Most have worked hard for what they have. That does not make them evil, bad or uncaring. They also do more than their share for the worse off - paying huge sums in taxes.

I know you come from the camp which believes the state should take responsibility for everything. That induviduals should expect a government funded arse wiping service so they don't have to take responsibility for their own bum hygiene. But arguments like yours are bad for people. If people are led to believe they don't have to bear any responsibility for their own actions, then some won't act
properly. It is not rocket science.

Peoole before profit thinks the problem
is profit. It's not. The problem is people. They need to stop worrying about the profit and start fixing the people.

Mb said...

The person who bankrolls PBF owns an estate agents chain. Not sure where I'd place him on the right-left spectrum. He seems to have reconciled speculation firmly defined by the Market with Marxist twist. It's like fusion cuisine, very '80s.

By the way has Max advocated the state doing everything or is that you forcing a black & White opinion on someone. I'm profoundly shocked.

All in all I'm still bemused.

max said...

It is indeed amusing that Lou is again signing me up to ideas I have never subscribed to, expressed or practiced.

It's like if I called him a pure Tatcherite when I perfectly know that he kisses Steve Bullock's photo evey night before going to bed.

And MB you're right on Ray Woolford too, I don't know him personally but the ideas he expressed in the past are of the libertarian kind, which make PBP even more interesting.

Anonymous said...

My bets are that LPBP are part of a plot by the local Labour party or maybe others to destroy all left-wing opposition to the Labour Council.

It certainly appears that way.

Anonymous said...

The stronger LPBP gets the weaker a realistic opposition to Lewisham Council gets and therefore the stronger it gets.

Maybe Steve Bullock is secretly funding LPBP...

Brockley Nick said...

Don't leave us hanging, what is the credible left-wing alternative to Labour please?

Anonymous said...

Anything but LPBP. They are a joke.

Anonymous said...

LPBP is not funded by Ray Woolford, Ray is simply a member. LPBP is funded by its members in the form of bank standing orders - if you come along to one of the regular meetings you can even find out how much we have in the bank.

Danja said...

how much we have in the bank

The credit union, presumably?

THNick said...

Lou - the problem is not people nor normal profit, but the massive amounts of rent that the owner of capital are able to milk out of the current econopolitical system at the expense of the suppliers of labour. Unfortunately the only way to combat this is through state intervention in the economy.

Not another anon... said...

It seems to be characteristic of most LPBP members and supporters to always post anonymously. I wonder why? Most of the campaign websites linked to them (the ones opposing new developments in the area etc.) are all anon too with no names on the websites of who is behind them. It's a good way to make one person campaigns look like they are bigger, I suppose! Good for Ray for writing under his real name, though!

DAVE BONES said...

I went to the cafe today, its great. What a fantastic idea to set up in the area. Cup cakes for 50p? Where can you get that? I visited some friends in Sicily recently and have been looking for Italian Ice Cream since, even the Italian shop in lewisham weren't sure where to direct me, but these guys ice cream is the real deal at two quid a scoop.

My guess is you wont find anything, anywhere in London like this. Do go down and discuss your political bollox over ice cream and coffee!

Unless someone is going to tell me that those behind it are putting the bodies of children in the mincer I severely recommend this cafe.

foxicus said...

I went for the first time yesterday. It's a lovely space and the staff are very friendly and don't seem to fancy themselves - how rare is that in New Cross these days eh?

The menu's concise and filled with the kind of good deals that, those of us who don't own four-floor Victorian villas from whose rooftops we like to shout laughable marxisms, can enjoy without feeling guilty for spending 'when a cup of tea at home would do'. There's free wifi and plenty of newspapers and information about local matters - aren't we all on this very site to connect with our community?

This place makes me smile. It's a nice place to go for a coffee. They're trying to do something a bit different whilst trying to make a bit of a difference. It's that simple. I can't see how anyone could have a problem with it.

Anonymous said...

It's a great idea and I hope it works out financially for everyone concerned, as for the name though I do wonder if someone has been watching too much 'Citizen Smith' on UK Gold !

Taman Ifque said...

How did they get around the local planning laws as an estate agents has a seperate commercial classification then a cafe, which needs planning permission as they advertise and sell hot food. checked Lewisham planning portal, cannot see them ever applying for a change of use. Surely Ray as a local expert in property matters would know this. If they don't have planning permission, they shouldn't be operating in that type of business and also means they may not meet current building regs if not fully passed by a planning officer.

David & Gillian Mulholland said...

Looked in the window tonight, they have a planning application posted up but not for the change of use but for a development of self contained flats to be built on the site. At last good cheap affordable flats to rent to low income workers - unless they are going to be sold off at current market prices - I'll ask around and report back

Anonymous said...

All staff given four weeks' notice, I hear.

Anonymous said...

All staff given four weeks notice I hear (again)

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