House Occupation News

UK: Stop HS2 and Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion have finally decided to refrain from trying to take over control of the STOP HS2 protection camps between London and Birmingham, and instead they are offering to HELP the front line activists who actually live there, and to LEARN direct action from them, according to unconfirmed reports from the camps.
Some of the eco-warriors at the Harvil road and Denham camps in Colne Valley near Uxbridge invited Extinction Rebellion to join them at the protest sites last year, and HS2 Rebellion was the name that was eventually chosen to be used by the new recruits. Unfortunately a power struggle developed fairly soon, with HS2 Rebellion apparently insisting that they controlled some kind of hierarchy and were in fact the “leaders” of the climate movement, and all the protesters were obliged to take orders from them.

Extinction Rebellion released a statement about how HS2 Rebellion was becoming the umbrella organisation for all the protection camps and they listed their “criteria and values” which they claimed all the activists had to agree to and abide by. This was regardless of the fact that the eco-warriors had originally started the camps with the Green Party four years before XR came along to attempt to take them over and control them.
HS2 Rebellion started their own fundraiser with £32,000 being donated for the Colne Valley protest by more than 1000 people. The fundraiser stated that the money would be distributed to all the protection camps, but HS2 Rebellion refused to share anything with camps that did not agree to join Extinction Rebellion and obey their rules.
Two camps which agreed to join Extinction Rebellion and obey them were given £16,000 between them, but the Harvil road and Denham camps at Colne Valley near Uxbridge which remained autonomous and independent got absolutely nothing.
The STOP HS2 organisation which started the local residents protest campaign in their own local communities against the high speed rail link 13 years ago asked for financial support but HS2 Rebellion did not want to help them so they also received nothing.

Some activists objected that HS2 Rebellion was crowd funding off the back of a 12 year protest campaign and saying to the public who were donating that the money was going to actions and legal fees for all the camps, yet the activists were having to start a crowd fund for their own legal fees.
Activists at the camps were being told they needed to meet the XR “criteria” to be able to get access to the money raised, and they said they never had this problem for three years “until the XR control freak fascists who wanted to cause disruption and bullying came along”.

Eventually HS2 Rebellion produced the receipts for the money that was allocated and spent, and they showed that two camps got a total of £16,000 but the Colne Valley camps got nothing.
Some activists accused HS2 Rebellion of illegally obtaining money by false pretences or even fraud, since the fund raiser page had made it clear that the money donated would be distributed to all the camps without any terms and conditions involving joining Extinction Rebellion and obeying their rules.
Extinction Rebellion originally came to a protest march that they tried to get the Harvil road activists banned from, and then they started HS2 Rebellion in May 2020 which failed in their attempt to monopolise the campaign.
Extinction Rebellion tried to impose a great deal of authority and control and to police other people’s behaviour according to their “values and principles” which were designed to dominate, control, and ostracise those activists who think for themselves.

Extinction Rebellion gathered a lot of “intelligence” and expected everything to be run past them, and once the protest started building momentum with direct action HS2 Rebellion attempted to move into the camps, creating camp agreements which were rules the eco-warriors had to live by and which were policed by XR members.
They then tried to kick off any activists who were not living by their rules, which pretty quickly failed especially as all the camps were started by local residents and eco-warriors who lived full time at the camps, and HS2 Rebellion would have made them homeless, so that did not succeed either.
Extinction Rebellion tried to police everything that anyone who wasn’t a member of XR did, whilst controlling the behaviour of all those who call themselves XR, giving the impression that Extinction Rebellion may well have been infiltrated by undercover police and agents working for corporations (like HS2) and the oil companies.
Some eco-warriors believe that if Extinction Rebellion had it their own way everyone would just wave flags and sing songs whilst being escorted by the police, and the sooner the genuine activists become autonomous the better.
However the biggest concern for a lot of climate activists is that XR is fake astroturfing controlled opposition being funded by banks, hedge funds, and oil companies to negotiate with the government and promote the false solution of “net” zero emissions which would allow fossil fuel industries to continue to pollute the Earth and kill humanity.
One of the Harvil road and Denham activists at Colne Valley reported that she had spoken to journalists that she knew when XR would not show them the receipts for the money they had raised in the name of the eco-warriors’ protection camps.

“HS2 Rebellion tried to have a monopoly on the fund raising and the media.
“We have never needed people’s money.
“It just makes things safer in trees and tunnels when we have A grade equipment.
“We are all doing dangerous things and that makes us all family”.

Another eco-warrior said “each camp has it’s own set of rules and very different sets of people, it’s a very wide cross section that needs to be catered for without judgement or favour, all come from different places with a common aim which is to stop HS2 and the destruction of the environment”.
The eco-warriors at the Harvil road and Denham protection camps sent a message to HS2 Rebellion in May 2020 as a result of the claim by Extinction Rebellion that all the STOP HS2 activists were members of HS2 Rebellion and were under the control of XR.

What actually happened subsequently at the STOP HS2 camps was exactly what the front line activists had predicted would happen.Following is the message the eco-warriors sent to HS2 Rebellion in May 2020:

“We feel any response, in the interests of openness and collectivism is best made in the open forums rather than to any specific individuals.
“We have a statement we wish to put out, which isn’t responding just specifically to the individual ‘Rebel Action Agreements and Principles Values’ etc, but a broader statement.
“At the point of writing this message there are ten people sat around a camp fire on the front line of resistance, living in occupation, with several concerns and criticisms to raise about what is developing around us.
“Firstly, we feel like we are being spoken on behalf of.
“We believe these parameters aim to homogenise this movement.
“We believe that this struggle’s strength lies in its diversity and creativity.
“The parameters set out in this document aim to homogenise the movement under the banner of HS2 Rebellion – we must ask, who are you?
“The persons involved in making these decisions are unknown to many of us – even some who have been on the front line for more than a year now.
“Who are you speaking for when you create these parameters within which those who oppose HS2 are being told to act?
“We welcome HS2 Rebellion as an affinity group in the same way that we see ourselves as an affinity group within the movement – but reject what feels like an attempt for HS2 Rebellion to become the movement itself.
“We will not stand for the co-option of this movement and for its monopolisation by a single ideology.
“We are concerned as to how these rules and expectations will play out – namely the allocation of capital, both social and financial.
“If HS2 Rebellion continues to monopolise the movement, funds, and media, the security and safety that these bring will be consolidated to the groups branded as HS2 Rebellion and reduced in others.
“There are certain things in the parameters set out which feel oppressive and disempowering, replicating the very state that we are fighting against, such as:

“# Limitations to who is and isn’t allowed to talk to media (citing the select group contacted to be ‘spokespersons’) – this is inherently exclusionary and runs the risk of preserving and furthering class division.
“# We do not identify as ‘Rebels’ or ‘Tree Protectors’ – we find those labels dehumanizing and limiting.
“Ignoring the deeper and broader intentions of people in this fight the reason the emphasis on the correct media/language is effective for this specific campaign is that it is respected within the eyes of the law/current capitalist/patriarchial/imperialist paradigm.
“We do not want to be reduced to winning only this particular campaign.
“We are focused on building a long term movement for social change, that does not and cannot rely on receiving the system’s respect due to it’s oppressive nature.
“# Decisions about asking people to leave camps or actions are serious decisions made with potentially huge implications for the individuals targeted – this is exclusionary and counter to creating reformative systems.

“This is not an exhaustive list, but simply a reaction and critique in the moment.

“We do not wish for this campaign to be fractured into factions, but equally we cannot allow the whole movement to be co-opted into a homogenized package.
“One group will not win this alone, HS2 is one symptom of the many ailments of our society, there is not one single way that this fight will be won – if and when this fight is won, the struggle will not end there”.

Signed: Crispy of the Jibley family, Desmond, Elrack, Fairylax, Jack, Lykos, Night-quimble, Quercus, Reg, Stitch.

UK: Poors Piece camp eviction alert

On Monday the 21st of September, Poors Piece Conservation area will be facing eviction… they have amazing structures & homely straw houses. This ancient woodlands was a life saving project years ago to give wood and timber to the locals who at the time were financially deprived. The land now is conserved by a local called Clive, who is very supportive of the group who are their to protect all life within from HS2.

If you can join those there to protect this land, please do!

This Stop HS2 camp is at Steeple Claydon, Buckinghamshire, MK18 2HH, UK

An update from the No TAV campaign and thoughts on its relevance for Stop HS2

The No TAV campaign in northern Italy has been fighting an expensive, unneeded and corrupt high speed railway link for over three decades. The proposed mafia-linked freight train service from Turin to Lyon has been repeatedly exposed for its fantastical predictions and is slated by local people who see no reason to leave their homes for a white elephant. If you are already thinking about the similarities to HS2 here in England then you are in the right place. I will start by giving a very brief history of No TAV, then an update on recent events. In the second half, I will concentrate on what the Stop HS2 movement can learn from No TAV.

For those who have never heard of the No TAV movement, it is a campaign born thirty odd years ago to resist the construction of a 270 kilometre long high speed railway (Treno di Alta Velocita) between Turin (in Italy) and Lyon (in France). There is widespread opposition on both French and Italian soil, since the railway is a corrupt scheme proposing to transport freight based on fantasy figures and the people who live along the route see no benefit (the train won’t be stopping there). They argue that the already existing railway infrastructure should be improved instead. The resistance is greatest in the breathtakingly beautiful Val di Susa (Susa Valley), which stretches from Turin to the Alps for fifty kilometres. In summer, the valley is bright with colours, the blue sky and green grass bisected by the snow on the mountains. It has a unique environment, since one side sees the sun and the other does not. The train line would rip straight through it before entering a tunnel of 57.5 kilometres to France. This tunnel would be longer than the Chunnel and in fact would just squeeze in as the longest rail tunnel in the world, if it ever gets built. Local people are concerned that drilling into the mountains will disturb uranium and asbestos deposts, that mafia construction will lead to health hazards and that the overall economic case for TAV no longer stands up.

The political situation is bad. After gaining power with halting the TAV as one of the very planks of its campaign, the populist Five Star party was unable stop it; founder Beppe Grillo had been arrested at a No TAV protest in 2010, yet in 2019 Five Star could not prevent Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte from gaining parliamentary approval for the scheme. Combined with the EU promise to fund 55% of the TAV costs, it now appears unlikely the line will be stopped at the level of mainstream politics. Naturally, there is still the grassroots opposition, which prizes the will of the people over the will of corporations. Over the years the No TAV campaign has fought on many different levels; it has organised countless events, marches, demos, lectures and acts of sabotage. The Free Republic of Maddalena was set up and brutally repressed. Valley shutdowns have occurred with thousands of people on the streets. From the beginning, activists have waged a long war against the construction sites, slowing down progress considerably.

Despite a mainstream media blackout, the protests continue into the present. In what was perhaps the highlight of the campaign so far, activists set up the Free Republic of Maddalena in May 2011 on land near to the town of Chiomonte, where TAV planned to build an exploratory tunnel. For a brief period, the autonomous zone flourished, with concerts and assemblies and another way of life seemed possible as archaeologists visited, philosophers lectured, actions happened and everyone ate communally. Unfortunately the republic was then brutally evicted by 2,000 agents of the state on 27 June 2011, using teargas and bulldozers against non-violent activists. Over a hundred people were injured on each side and in nearby Venaria, an elderly woman was run over and killed by a riot van.

In 2015, committing a massive public relations blunder, the construction firm and former leader of the project Lyon Turin Ferroviaire sued well-known Italian author Erri De Luca when he commented that in his view acts of sabotage were justified. Unsurprisingly, they lost the case and helped publicise the cause far and wide.

RECENT UPDATES

The latest wave of repression took place in December 2019, when the DIGOS arrested people in assorted raids across the Peidmont region. Squatted social centres in Modena (Guernica) and Vincenza (Bocciodromo) were attacked. Askatasuna social centre in Turin has been associated with the No TAV struggle since the beginning and was raided again.

This state harrassment was nothing new, for example in 2012 over 30 people were arrested following a day of action when hundreds of demonstrators had laid seige to a construction site, with police raiding addresses on a fruitless search for weapons and explosives. To show the diversity of opposition, those arrested included local councillors, former Red Brigade militants and people involved in Askatasuna. Prosectors attempted without much success to brand the activists as terrorists, using laws designed to combat Al-Qaeda!

In June 2020, reports of renewed construction activity resulted in the occupation of the old mills at Val Clarea, buildings that are scheduled to be demolished to make way for the TAV. The new occupation became known as Presidio Mulini (presidio meaning a physical space where activists live and monitor construction). In the following weeks there were skirmishes with police around the edges of the construction works at Chiomonte; cop cars encountered nails on the road and street surveillance cameras were removed.

The festive nature of the No TAV movement was also on display, although sadly the annual Alta Felicità festival was cancelled due to coronavirus. However, the Critical Wine festival in Bussoleno and the political ecology camp in Venaus both went ahead as planned. Most recently, the Mulini Presidio organised a weekend of events at the end of August, see flyer above.

COMPARED TO HS2

The similarities to the Stop HS2 campaign in the UK are surely obvious, yet still worth spelling out. Just like in Italy, the mainstream media blackout on the resistance here is also quite noticeable, recently a Stop HS2 camp popped up at Euston Square Gardens but you’d have to be following @HS2Rebellion to hear about it, whilst we have heard a lot of blabla on TV and radio about construction works starting. As regards ballooning costs, well nobody now thinks HS2 will cost under £100 billion. The TAV was reckoned to cost 15 billion euros in 2011 and that was a conservative estimate back then! Nowadays estimates range from 20 to 100 billion euros.

There is clearly massive corruption in the TAV project, which is Italy’s largest infrastructure enterprise in recent times. The ‘Ndrangheta family have deep links to construction companies in Piedmont and a 2014 investigation led to 20 arrests whilst wiretaps revealed the mafia planning to take over the Chiomonte construction zone. By 2016, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) was involved, probing cost overruns and mafia links in Italy and conflicts of interest in France. Roberto Saviano, author of ‘Gomorrah’ has commented: “Everybody is speaking about the TAV, but first of all we should consider mere facts: in the last twenty years the high speed railway has become a tool for widespread corruption and organized crime, a successful model of business.”

Whilst critics like to characterise people opposing the TAV as NIMBYs, just as with HS2, in Piedmont the resistance comes from all walks of life, yes of course from people living in Val di Susa who will lose their land but also from the wider northern Italian area. As a No TAV activist puts it: “we became a united community looking for an alternative model of development, careful of the needs of the people living here”. For the mayor of Villarodin-Bourget, a small French village on the proposed route of the line, “after we started looking at the project in details, we soon arrived at a position of complete opposition. We thought that it had been well-thought out by some super-intelligent people who knew their stuff, but we soon realised that what it has been forecast for 2020 was the opposite of what it became reality”. These views sound pretty similar to what people have been saying about HS2.

Regarding alliance building, there is much to learn for Stop HS2 from No TAV. The campaign is fortunate to have a base in long-lasting squatted projects, something which the UK lacks but which we can of course create, especially as we sink into an economic downturn and derelict buildings proliferate. It’s a shame that current lockdown restrictions have stemmed the usual flow of people and experience between radical projects and protest sites like the ZAD and Hambach Forest, but the HS2 camps are springing up all along the route. And we should remember that No Tav has been going for thirty years and so it is an example of where Stop HS2 is heading.

Pro-active moves such as setting up “free state” zones and presidios on areas about to be demolished by have served No TAV well. Alongside the amazing tree protection camps, these other forms of occupation might become an important part of the Stop HS2 struggle, since surely by now farmers and house owners further along the proposed route have seen the terrible compulsory purchase treatment of people in Buckinghamshire and Denham, and they might be thinking it’s better to let Stop HS2 activists onto their land sooner rather than later to save the trees. I know that’s what I’d be thinking! We only have to look to France to see how various ZADs have been influential in stopping megaprojects such as airports and dams.

The level of militancy in Italy always seems to be a few notches higher than in the UK but there’s no reason why that has to be the case in future. Certainly mass mobilisation and support in Piedmont means more tactics are available and No TAV can call on thousands of people in a short time period. Simply give HS2 Limited a few more years to threaten a few more beloved local habitats and we’ll see how things are looking for Stop HS2 in the UK.

Amsterdam’s lost FREE heaven

In 2019, after 21 years of occupation, one of the world’s most incredible free spaces was demolished, and its residents evicted, in order to make space to … nothing at all!

Our friend Anita, a member of Underkonstruction sound system and part of the amazing Nostruckture travelling stage, has been visiting the ADM community for several years.

We asked her a few questions about the past, present and future of ADM.


When and how did you get involved with ADM?

“The first time I arrived at ADM squat was in 2012. I was invited by a friend living there to help in their annual anniversary festival. The place blew my mind straight away. I helped before and during the festival cooking meals for all the people involved and later at night at the bar. After that visit, I came back again to help and enjoy other events and festivals in the following years. In 2018 I‘ve stayed at ADM for a few months as a guest and really got to know the ADM community”

What was ADM’s site in Amsterdam’s port like?

“ADM was located in the port of Amsterdam. It used to be a shipyard company before being squatted a couple of times. The last time was in 1997 and it lasted until January 2019 when the ADM community was evicted. The big open space had a pier and two big buildings. One of them was used as living spaces and small workshops. The other one, “The Loods”, was a big open space where tools, materials and imagination were put together to create, fix and enjoy. The whole ADM space was covered by nature and some protected living species had their homes there”

Describe the ADM community.

“Around 100 people from different ages, nationalities and backgrounds formed this amazing community. On top of that, many people could stay as guests to get involved in ADM. On a few occasions, people who came from all over the world to take part and help at the events have never left”

What kind of initiatives and events took place at ADM

“Many events and festivals have taken place at ADM, although Robodock was the very first one that attracted lots of artists and performers because of the innovation and connection with the underground subculture scene. The first edition took place in 1998. Every year the festival had a different theme, with industrial installations, robots, fire shows, music, theatre (…and more) taking place”

“Once a year ADM celebrated its anniversary with a big festival as mentioned above. Another big festival hosted at ADM was the circus and experimental music festival “Jetlag”

“Several other events, concerts, workshops, gardening, radio, etc. happened there. On Sundays a vegan dinner on donation would be served with a Jam session, many times started by ADMers musicians and accompanied by many friends of the place”

Tell us some interesting anecdotes

“I was told many anecdotes about the place and the people, although the one that kept closer to my heart is the story of “The Papillon”. Squatters arrived at ADM in this boat called Papillon at first and it was mooring at the pier for a few years. One day its pump broke down and unfortunately, the Papillon sank. Nevertheless, with the help of some friends’ running the art project “Fer a Coudre”, it was brought back to life, taking it from underwater and placing it upside down in front of the Loods. Afterwards, It became one of the art icons of the place and was used as an open space for people’s ideas, creations and performances”

What happened after the eviction?

“ADM was recognized by many Amsterdamers as an alternative, cultural and art space. Many people from the city were attending its festivals and events. I would say that ADM has been an important place for the Amsterdam underground scene… and sadly is gone”

“However, Amsterdam’s municipality offered a space in the north of the city before the eviction. The space is not able to hold the same amount of people or to be used with the same purpose as ADM. Still, the ADMers had managed in almost two years to keep on the ADM spirit in this new space. The municipality agreement will end this year in November, meaning that again eviction is at threat”

“There is a petition to sign up to help the ADMers to remain in the north of Amsterdam and continue existing. Please sign it to keep underground subculture alive”

Protonart

Madrid: First attempt to evict the Ateneo Libertario in Vallekas stopped. The struggle continues

On September 16, it was again made clear that solidarity and direct action are the best weapon we have as a means of defense against the state and repression. About 150 people from Vallekas and other neighborhoods of the city gathered at the door of the Ateneo Libertario de Vallekas to prevent the eviction of the space. This is not just the eviction of a space, it is the defense of squatting as a tool of struggle in the social war, as a tool to create with our own hands, outside of parties and institutions, spaces of struggle, meeting and learning.

And we achieved this (thanks to all of you). We had a modest deployment of journalists, municipal police vans and the district commissioner. Due to the flow of solidarity, the judicial secretary had no choice but to pass by. Now, any day and without notice, the Ateneo can be evicted.

This show of solidarity is even more special if we take into account how the repressive discourse on Vallekas (and the working class neighborhoods of Madrid in general) is unfolding: media criminalization, constant targeting by the media and the political class of the cases of Covid-19, persecution of migrants, police abuse, video surveillance, fines and a particularly intensified persecution of the squatters in recent months. All of this with the eyes loaded with images like the hunger queues, which do not cease, the evictions, which do not cease, the health centers, collapsed, the workers crowded into the subway and waiting for a politician to tell them if they can go out into the street for something other than working for bosses. That is the logic of the state and capital for the poor and the neighborhoods where we live.

The struggle continues in many and varied forms, solidarity has no limits or barriers, and goes beyond the concrete days of evictions: banks, real estate agencies, speculators, police, media, politicians and businessmen are still there, managing and creating the conditions of our exploitation. We call for the extension of solidarity in all its forms.

This Sunday, we are calling again for days of resistance in the Ateneo, and we continue with the call: on Friday of the week of the eviction of the Ateneo, a demonstration at 8pm in Vallekas in solidarity with the occupied spaces. The exact location will be confirmed on the day of the eviction.

Solidarity with the squatted spaces!
No eviction without a response!
Occupation, resistance and direct action!

Ateneo Libertario de Vallekas
Calle Párroco Don Emilio Franco nº 59
28053 Madrid
ateneolibertariovallekas [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/6due
https://ateneolibertariovk.noblogs.org/

Some squats in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/madrid/squated/squat
Groups (social centres, collectives, squats) in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/madrid
Events in Madrid: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Madrid

Directory of squats in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES/squated/squat
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC/squated/squat
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE/squated/squat

Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/XE

Events in the Iberian Peninsula:
Spanish State: : https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/ES
Catalonia: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XC
Basque Country: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/XE

A Las Barricadas http://alasbarricadas.org/noticias/node/44635

Mexico City: Occupation of national human rights commission

Mexican women have occupied the headquarters of the national human rights commission (CNDH) in the capital Mexico City. They have promised to stay until the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Amlo) recognises the rights of women instead of allowing the high levels of sexual violence and murder to continue. Eleven women are killed every day in Mexico and 98% of murders go unsolved. Predictably, Amlo focused more on the hilarious vandalism going on than the activists’ concerns. Inside the buildings slogans have been painted and various paintings have been improved. Pictures taken by the only tolerated press photographer Andrea Murcia (Inst@usagii_ko) have lit up the internet. She has known the occupiers from the beginning and therefore is trusted by them.

An adulterated portrait of Francisco I. Madero (pictured, 33rd president of Mexico) has received the most attention online. As well it should, it looks great now, gotta love the ACAB. The original artist doesn’t like to collaborate it seems, saying “The most outrageous thing is that they believe that losing respect for the characters who made our Mexican history will solve the lack of the kind of government that we all deserve.” In response, Yesenia Zamudio on of the occupiers said “If he doesn’t agree with us painting the painting, I don’t agree with that my daughter was murdered and that for five years nobody has helped me.” [Quotes]

What a world we live in, when violence against women is ignored and people get upset about graffiti! As Erika Martínez said, “The president was indignant about a portrait – but why wasn’t he indignant when my daughter was abused?” Another woman added “I voted for you, Amlo. I believed you when you said, I will be on your side, I will study and check every single file. It’s not true. The files are covered with dust.”[Quotes]

Local human rights commissions have also been occupied in Puebla, San Cristóbal, Villahermosa and Tampico. In Ecatepec the offices of the human rights commission were squatted and brutally evicted. The high profile nature of the protest in the capital means that probably won’t happen there.

Andrea Murcia, who took all these amazing photographs, commented:

We live in such a patriarchal machista country and men were always the heroes of our stories … Specifically with this administration, history is extra symbolic. And now they’re complaining about the damage to the paintings and disrespect to history without talking about who painted on them: women who have been raped, abused. But they’re not victims anymore. And they’re not weak. They’re strong. They are putting their bodies into the movement to create space. Their paintings represent more to me than the original paintings. It’s the new history. The history of women taking up space. We’re not scared anymore. That’s what the paintings represent.[Quote]

Two, Three, Many ZADs

A ZAD means a “zone to defend” (zone à défendre in French). These environmental protest occupations have recorded successes such as preventing an airport near Nantes and a dam in the region of Toulouse. This a roundup of recent ZAD news. In July this year, activists from ANV-COP21 and Extinction Rebellion occupied land in Besançon near to the Swiss border, before handing it on to anonymous occupiers supported by Gilets Jaunes. They are resisting plans to build a controversial “eco-housing” district, saying they prefer the wetlands which are now threatened with destruction. Despite being initially reluctant to use the term ZAD, they are now going by ZAD des Vaîtes.

Currently, there is a standoff of sorts. The mayor refuses to negotiate until a watchtower has been demolished (for the safety of the campers she claims) and the Zadists are digging in for winter, having already celebrated two months of occupation. Meanwhile at Roybon, a small village to the south of Lyon, the squatters have won! After a long struggle both in the courts and in the trees, Center Parcs Europe decided in July to halt their construction plans. They had planned to build a new waterpark and a thousand holiday cottages in a forest, sparking concerns about the amount of pollution it would have created. The Zadists have announced that after six years of occupation, they actually quite feel like staying, which has outraged the local mayor. She is calling for eviction and the story continues. More news on social media or at their website.

Most recently, at the end of August, a new ZAD was born in the wetlands at the mouth of the Loire river near to Nantes. Like its nearby big sister the ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), the ZAD du Carnet aims to stop environmental devastation. The wetlands are vital for hordes of migrating birds yet capitalism marches on and the port of Saint-Nazaire wants to expand. The ZAD is in its starting phase and wary of eviction, you can follow events on social media and its website. They have announced that if they are evicted, there will be a callout to reoccupy the site on the third following Sunday.

Meanwhile at ZAD NDDL, the annual ZAD en Vies festival happened in August and things continue as normal for those projects not evicted in 2018, although the farmers were finding it difficult that the markets had been closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Negotiations continue between the state and Vinci about damages for the cancellation of the airport project and to leave you with a laugh, Vinci are asking for one billion euros!

ZAD partout!!

Freedom

Athens: Call for international solidarity for a trial on September 18

On September 18, the trial against two comrades from Berlin and two comrades from Athens will take place in Evelpidon Court in Athens. On November 26, 2017, the four persons were arrested during the eviction of Gare Squat, in the Athens district of Exarcheia. Among other charges, they are accused of trespassing, attempted serious bodily harm, refusal of forensic identification and possession of explosive materials and explosive bombs. This eviction was the first of three in which the four comrades were detained for 4 days. They were released on conditions or bail and now, almost three years later, have to appear in court.
At least since November 17th, 1973, Exarcheia has developed as a neighbourhood of the resistance. In the last decades a large number of houses have been occupied, among them a number from and for refugees. There exist self-organized structures that were primarily created during the crisis, such as a self-administered hospital, food distribution and housing. Within the neighborhood, structures for communal living have emerged, like a park with a playground and gardens. In addition, there are various occupations that are inhabited or used by various political currents and promote a diversity of political debate. In the neighborhood, the resistance and the way of living together, which often takes place beyond state control, and often leads to conflicts with the cops. In the various phases, these clashes with authority were of varying intensity.

The repressive measures taken against the neighborhood and its residents range from surrounding the neighborhood with MAT units, patrols with armored vehicles, arbitrary controls, to the regular deployment of anti-terrorist units in the neighborhood. These measures are often accompanied by a media campaign against a lawless space where drugs are traded and controlled by the mafia. This is an attempt to depoliticize the local struggle and marginalize the resistance to various state interventions.
The occupations in the neighborhood are fundamental in making the resistance possible. They provide space for retreat, housing, infrastructure for communal living and for various needs such as food, electricity, washing and internet. They provide the space for meetings of different political collectives, cultural events and a basis for political discussions, they are a meeting point for activists and infrastructure for the movement. In this way they have developed into intersections between the movement and the neighborhood. Precisely because of the anti-state, anti-authoritarian attitude of the occupations and their autonomy, the state focuses on their elimination and openly attacks them. It is irrelevant here which party is currently in power; evictions and other attacks on occupations have been and are always taking place.

Something similar is happening in Berlin. Especially those structures that openly oppose the state, experience the most repression, and especially those that do not respond to offers of legalization, cannot be seized by the state, and reject attempts of reform are fought with the utmost severity. This year, various projects are under eviction threat, one has been evicted and the big wave is expected in the fall. There has been a growing resistance to this since a long time, which has caused the struggle to flare up citywide in the various neighbourhoods. The collective resistance against these state attacks has the consequence that we find a new strength.
The occupied houses are not relevant because of the stones they are built of, but because of the ideas that are created and lived in them. These ideas can be found all over the world and are also attacked everywhere by those in power. This makes international networking and solidarity necessary in order to jointly resist and defend our ideas.
For example, every year on December 6th in Athens there is a demonstration in memory of Alexandros Grigoropolous, an anarchist youth who was murdered by cops in Exarcheia in 2008. Many supporters from all over the world come to this demonstration to show solidarity with the local movement and to actively defend the neighborhood against the cops. The revolt that started immediately after Alexis’ death in 2008 and the strength of the movement is one reason for the intensified state attacks every year at this time. The first eviction of Gare Squat, during which the four defendants were arrested, took place just before this date. In view of the role that Gare had played in previous years in the preparation of the actions and around December 6, the choice of the time of the eviction was not surprising. It was an attempt to weaken the movement in these combative days.
Also last year, the recently elected conservative Nea Demokratia government began a massive attack on the movement two weeks before December 6th, accompanied with a wide media coverage. The Minister for Citizen Protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, publicly announced that he would evict various squats, especially in Exarcheia, and issued an ultimatum. To divide the movement, the government called on all squats to sign contracts with the state. All those who resist should be evicted. Chrysochiodis also drew up a list of those squats that were to be evicted first. None of the occupations accepted the offer of legalization. Only a few days after December 6th, the first houses were evicted and offered massive resistance, which led to a wave of international solidarity. The state’s attacks on the movement, and especially the occupations, continue in order to finally break the resistance, especially in Exarcheia. The elimination of the anti-authoritarian movement, which has a long history in Greece, and the gentrification of Exarcheia has already been made a priority by Prime Minister Mitsotakis in his election campaign and that of Nea Demokratia, in order to win the predominantly right-wing electorate. Even if this has not been completely successful to date, several squats have been cleared, most recently Dervenion suqat in Exarcheia on June 26. Together we must prepare ourselves for further attacks by the state.
Show solidarity, accompany the trial against the defendants and resist together against state attacks on us and our projects!

Solidarity with the Liebig34, Meuterei, Potse, Syndikat, Sabot Garden in Berlin!
Solidarity with Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis and all other people affected and persecuted by repression!

Gare squat, Exarcheia https://squ.at/r/2y9b

Some squats in Athens: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/athens/country/GR/squated/squat
Some evicted squats: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/athens/country/GR/field_active/1/squated/evicted
Groups in Athens: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/athens/country/GR
Events in Athens: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Athens/country/GR

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

Act For Freedom Now! https://actforfree.nostate.net/?p=39067

Berlin: Don’t touch Liebig 34! Eviction date on 9 october 2020

Today, on September 15, we received mail from the bailiff T. Knop. They threatened to evict Liebig34 on Friday, October 9 at 7 am!

We will not let that happen! How is it possible that an attempt to evict is being planned even though it is publicly known that a different association than the defendant is present in the rooms?
How is it possible that in times when a second wave of Corona and #StayHome is expected, a home is to be evicted by so many people?
How is it possible that especially now, in times of fascist marches and a shift to the right, a feminist, leftist and queer house project is being attacked so massively?

We are angry but determined. We will not easily give up the Liebig 34.
Support us in our struggle.
Come to the general assemblies, annoy politicians and homeowners.
Be creative! Let’s make the eviction attempt a disaster!

MORE INFOS WILL COME – WE’LL KEEP YOU UPDATED!

Liebig34
Liebigstraße 34, 10247 Berlin
liebig34 [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/4u9p
http://liebig34.blogsport.de/
https://defendliebig34.noblogs.org/

Groups in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/berlin
Events in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Berlin
Stressfaktor https://radar.squat.net/de/stressfaktor

Groups in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE

Indymedia https://de.indymedia.org/node/104092

Chania: Rosa Nera evicted, the struggle is just beginning

Rosa Nera is an autonomous, anti-authoritarian political collective and since 2004, has squatted and given its name to the historical building that was formerly known as the “5th Army Division”, declaring it, for the first time in its history, a liberated space.

The squatted building of Rosa Nera, was built around 1880 by the Turks as a palace for the local pasha. It continued to house different representatives of the authority, the latest being the local military command, during the military dictatorship of Papadopoulos.

In 1985 the building passes from the ministry of defense to the ministry of education, which offers it to the Technical University of Crete, under the condition that it would be used solely for educational activities. Nevertheless, from 1985 till 2004, the building was totally abandoned.

In June 2004, the building was occupied and revived. It was transformed from a ruin that was falling apart, into a political, cultural and social activities center, as well as a house. Everything was accomplished with collective work, collective will and collective financial support. That means that the people did it all, by organizing themselves through horizontal and non-hierarchical procedures.

Rosa Nera squat had organised and operated amongst many other things, an non-commercial cafe-bar, a theater, a clothes exchange bazaar, a children’s space, an event and film projection room, a library, a workshop, a guest house, a collective kitchen, and an open vegetable-garden. At the same time, many political and cultural events were taking place, always with a free entrance or voluntary-donation based.

Most importantly, Rosa Nera, as a political group, supported and participated in social and class struggles, always standing in solidarity with the oppressed and struggling people, fighting against any exploitation and oppression, for justice, equality and freedom.

On the 5th of September 2020, after 16 years of active presence in the social and political life of the town of Chania, police forces evict the squat, arrest the people inside and empty the building with the assent of the municipality and the administration of the Technical Universcity of Crete. The reason behind this eviction was the leasing of the building by the university, to a privately owned hotel group (BELVEDERE) in order to turn it into a luxury hotel.

In a town that is suffocating under the unrelenting growth of tourism, where the public space has all but disappeared and during a health crisis that has gravely affected the labour market and has highlighted the catastrophic character of the economic monoculture of tourism, the eviction of Rosa Nera and the plans of turning this historical building into another boutique hotel, seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The struggle is just beginning.

SOLIDARITY WITH ROSA NERA SQUAT

STRUGGLE FOR FREE, NON-COMMERCIAL SPACE

Chania, Greece, 2020

Rosa Nera
rosanera [at] espiv [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/336f
http://rosanera.squat.gr/

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

Vitry-sur-Seine: Presentation of La Kunda, new autonomous social center

Since February 2020, we are about fifty people – precarious, undocumented, students – to occupy a plot of land with three buildings in Vitry-sur-Seine. This place, empty for less than a year, owned by the Val-de-Marne, was a home and the headquarters of a company of land shareholders in the department. We chose to call it La Kunda (the community in Soninké).
Why squatting it? The squatter responds first of all to the need, for some of us, to have decent housing and for others, quite simply, to have a home. We refuse precarious work in order to pay a rent that is too expensive, just as we refuse the blackmail of the real estate market and social institutions.
Some of us are undocumented, and follow long procedures that leave them on the street, without housing and without the possibility of working. Without the squat, it is the street, and everyone knows the difficulties of the street. Thanks to these places, some of us can go to school, move forward and have a place to live.
In a historical moment when cities and neighborhoods are gentrifying at a high speed (Greater Paris, Olympic Games) -, in a moment when even services and transportation are not designed for a better quality of life but for speculation and rising rents, squatting is also a form of survival and collective resistance. If squatting is therefore for us a means of responding collectively to the precariousness of our lives, it is also a practical affirmation of our opposition to real estate ownership and the current social order that we want to abolish. And finally, we squat because we want to anchor our networks of solidarity in the long term, and this cannot be done without a place, and because we need space to organize and struggle.
Having opened just before the confinement and the crisis of Covid-19, although it blocked us in opening this place to the outside, the fact of having a space like the one we occupy has allowed us to act directly, doing recuperation, food sharing and mask distributions, and thus expand the network of mutual aid that has already existed for some years in 94.
Since then, we continue to expand these dynamics of solidarity: by continuing our food distributions in Ivry and Vitry, by holding a solidarity market every Sunday in front of one of our buildings, by offering a free space (clothing, hygiene products, household appliances), language courses and food. We also want this space to be a place to share knowledge and practices: we have a library and an infokiosk, a space with a selected mix, a cinema and a sports hall. There are also organization spaces open to groups that need it.
This place is meant to be benevolent: we do not accept any oppressive behavior: sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, …!
This space is open to everyone (every other Wednesday there are open meetings), don’t hesitate to contact us to invest in it, to participate in the activities or to propose some.

La Kunda
51 Boulevard de Stalingrad
94400 Vitry-sur-Seine, France
kunda [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/804f
https://lakunda.squat.net/

Refugees related groups in France https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/topic/sans-papiers
Some squats in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/squated/squat
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR
Events in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/FR

La Lunka https://lakunda.squat.net/presentation/

Calais: a decree forbids associations to distribute food to migrants, humanitarians rise up

An order published Thursday by the prefect of Pas-de-Calais forbids associations not mandated by the State to distribute food to migrants living in Calais. L’Auberge des migrants and Utopia 56 insist on such a measure which they consider “shameful and scandalous”.

A new tug-of-war between migrant aid associations and the authorities in Calais, northern France. In a decree published on Thursday, September 10, the prefect of the Pas-de-Calais, Louis le Franc, announced a ban on “any free distribution of drinks and food [in about twenty streets, quays, squares in the city center] to put an end to public disorder and limit the health risks associated with undeclared gatherings.

“Non-compliance with distancing measures”

Insofar as the State has mandated an association, la Vie active, to provide “four daily distributions of meals”, that it makes available to migrants 38 water taps 5 days a week, including “22 accessible 7 days a week” and that water is distributed during meals, the prefecture considers that “the set of services provided makes it possible to provide migrants with sufficient humanitarian services with regard to the needs of this population, particularly food”.

In particular, the authorities believe that the meals distributed by associations not mandated by the State are “characterized by the failure to respect measures of social distancing in the context of the fight against Covid-19, that they create nuisances and that waste is left on site”.

An order welcomed by the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart. “The Minister of the Interior told me that special attention would now be paid to the city center to prevent the creation of fixation points (…) and prohibit the distribution of meals organized in a totally anarchic manner,” she said in a statement.

A “scandalous” decree according to the associations

The associations, on the other hand, are outraged by such a decision. “This decision is scandalous,” protests François Guennoc, of the Auberge des Migrants, contacted by InfoMigrants. “It’s a shame,” added Antoine Nehr of Utopia 56, also contacted by InfoMigrants.

“The arguments put forward are totally exaggerated, we’re not going to let it go! When we let people live on the street, it is obvious that social distancing cannot be respected”, adds Antoine Nehr. For François Guennoc, this measure is counterproductive. “Thousands of migrants are going to pile up at the distributions of the Active Life, so the distancing measures cannot be applied”, thinks the activist. According to the associations, about 1,400 migrants are currently present in Calais.

“This measure is, once again, part of a policy of exhaustion and non-acceptance of migrants in France, and especially in Calais,” Antoine Nehr deplores. The associations are going to consult their lawyers to find out what action they can take in court. In the meantime, “we will try to distribute food outside of the areas prohibited by the decree”, says François Guennoc.

In October 2019, the town hall also issued a similar decree. But the text was annulled in court in December of the same year. The administrative court of Lille had indeed judged the city hall “incompetent” to take orders to prohibit in certain places the distribution of meals to migrants, as it also did in March 2017. “The police being state-owned in the commune of Calais, it was only up to the prefect to take such decisions,” the court concluded.

Refugees related groups in France https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/topic/sans-papiers
Some squats in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/squated/squat
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR
Events in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/FR

Leslie Carretero, InfoMigrants https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/27209/calais-un-arrete-interdit-aux-associations-de-distribuer-de-la-nourriture-aux-migrants-les-humanitaires-s-insurgent

From Leipzig to Berlin. Every eviction has its price!

On Wednesday 2nd september Luwi 71, an anarchist squat in Ludwigstr. 71, Leipzig East. which was squatted on 21 august 2020 got evicted.
For the day after, Thursday 2rd september, a Day X+1 demo was called in solidarity with the evicted squat. The demo took place in the Eisenbahnstraße neighborhood. It was really dynamic and determined. Cops were attacked, barricades build and lighten up. During the confrontations people tried to resquat Luwi 71. On Friday 4 september a building at Bornaische Strasse 34 in Connewitz was also squatted. The cops managed to evict the new squat after few hours, and for that reason there was another spontaneous demo the same night. A cop station was attacked, stones were thrown at the cops, surveillance cameras got destroyed, couple of windows damaged by color and stones and streets were closed because of burning barricades. In this situation cops lost control and two cop cars crashed into each other. On Saturday 5 september evening, the announced demonstration “Uniting Struggles” took place. Its character was once more dynamic showing that the antagonistic movement is united and determined. Luxury apartments were attacked, small attacks on the cops took place and a lot of fireworks were lighten up. At the same time a water canon parked at the police administration office went up in flames in the west of Leipzig.

These days in Leipzig made clear to state and capital, and as well to the radical movement in Germany, that massive militant resistance in the streets is still possible. Through the two squats, the dynamic demos and the decisiveness of the movement in Leipzig, the motto “Raus aus der Defensive” (Get off the defensive), which was materialized in Berlin during the 1st august militant demo, acquires content and continuity. The creation of such collective militant moments should be one of our political priorities, and the current circumstances are a fertile ground for building such moments and creating strong political bonds and relationships. Only through these moments our proposals and ideas are actualized, our fear becomes experience and friends become comrades.

We consider such attempts, as the two squats that took place in Leipzig, as necessary and encouraging for the radical movement, especially when tactics such as re-squatting are attempted. Choices which show the decisiveness and militancy of a movement. In a reality in which housing is becoming a privilege, cities are becoming fields for capitalist profit, defiance of private property and legality are becoming the way to develop and rally the movement.

These militant days gave a strong answer to all our political enemies. No eviction will stay without an answer. As long there is state and capitalism, exploitation and repression, racism and hetero-patriarchy our place will be in the streets.

Let’s bring our anger in Berlin too. Giving a continuity to the fights that took place in Leipzig, lets come together at the Demonstration on 12 September at Wassertorplatz (Berlin Kreuzberg) at 8 p.m. showing our solidarity with Leibig34, fighting together against the city of the rich, the state and the cops.

Solidarity with the people got arrested in Leipzig!
Every eviction has its price! Solidarity with all the threatened projects!
Demo 12 September, Wassertorplatz (Berlin Kreuzberg) at 8 p.m.

Rigaer94
Rigaerstrasse 94, Berlin
https://squ.at/r/49pd
https://squ.at/r/5fm
https://rigaer94.squat.net/

Groups in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/berlin
Events in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Berlin
Stressfaktor https://radar.squat.net/de/stressfaktor

Groups in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE

Source: Rigaer94, Indymedia https://de.indymedia.org/node/103371

France: ZAD du Carnet

In just one week, the ZAD du Carnet has become a place of resistance, solidarity and welcome for all those who wish to join it. A welcome area raises awareness about the project for locals, cyclists and walkers. Every day we set up common living spaces thanks to donations of equipment and recycling and a free-shop offers second-hand clothing or other items. Self-built structures protect people from the rain and wind. A bicycle repair workshop allows bicycles to be repaired in order to be able to move around the site. The barricades still prevent construction machinery from passing, material and physical resistance necessary to prevent the continuation of the devastating works.
The ZAD obviously does not prevent walkers and residents from accessing the Carnet natural area, it only protects it from roadworks. We are a free zone where sexist, racist, homophobic and ableist oppressions (among others) are proscribed, feel free to join it.

IMPORTANT INFO

Come to join: http://zadducarnet.org/index.php/venir-nous-rejoindre/
Supporting the struggle: http://zadducarnet.org/index.php/soutenir-la-lutte/
Facebook: ZAD du Carnet
Twitter: @ZAD_du_Carnet
Mail: zadducarnet [at] riseup [dot] net
Receive the newsletter by email: https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/info-zadcarnet
Receive urgent info by message: send ′′ hello ′′ to the number from Signal:+ 1 25 12 92 15 23
Reoccupation:In case of eviction in the next few weeks, we are already calling for a massive protest to reoccupy the site on the third Sunday following.

Via https://fr.squat.net/2020/09/08/frossay-44-bienvenue-a-la-zad-du-carnet/

Montpellier: Squat des Archives, towards an evacuation and a legal transition?

The Luttopia collective, who is coordinating the squat of the former departmental archives, met today with the Prefecture’s chief of staff, Mr. Smith, in the presence of representatives of the municipality, the Departmental Directorate of Social Cohesion (DDCS), the Communal Center for Social Action (CCAS) and the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII), to discuss the future of the building, which is subject to a judicial decision of eviction.

A change in the Prefecture’s discourse?

During this meeting, it would seem that the Prefecture has relatively changed its discourse regarding the eviction of the Squat des Archives, which Prefect Jacques Witkowski had announced last February. A certain awareness of the catastrophic situation of housing and social support in the department has obviously made it possible to envisage a common solution for the future of Luttopia 003, with a view to re-housing its occupants in a truly sustainable manner.

The Prefecture thus proposed that the Luttopia collective be coordinated with the SDCS and the CCAS with regard to the social support of the people concerned. The collective is also led to work with the Agence Intercalaire and the Abbé Pierre Foundation on the prefectoral requisition of one or several empty buildings, for a long-term provision of at least 90 accommodation places. Prefectorial, communal and departmental services would thus coordinate with the Luttopia collective to avoid a dry exit from the Archives building and rehouse its occupants in the best possible conditions.

The catastrophic housing situation in Montpellier

As we have informed on several occasions, a certain number of squats in Montpellier are in fact assuming the duties of the State to compensate for the severe deficiencies in housing and social support in the region. Let us recall that in the department alone, 44,000 applications for social housing are pending, 22,000 in the city of Montpellier, for a processing time of 36 months. In Montpellier, despite an 83% increase in emergency accommodation places in three years, according to the Prefecture’s own assessments, at least 1,500 people are homeless, without any support, including squats. Before this summer’s waves of evictions, the squats were housing at least 1,000 people.

“Today, we are seeing a change in the population that finds itself on the street. There is a huge influx of people affected by the economic crisis and the quarantine, we are in a profile of a lower middle class,” explains Jo, co-founder of the Luttopia collective. With a combatant’s path to assume in an administrative labyrinth that is often unknown to them.

During the quarantine, the presence of the Luttopia collective within the food redistribution platform was part of an unprecedented link between the public authorities and a certain number of organizations, squat collectives and associations. This one had moreover allowed the requisitioning of new places of lodging in front of the emergency of the quarantine, of which one located on the banks of the Lez and whose management was entrusted to the association Gammes, saw its operation renewed once the quarantine over.

The citizen taking in hand of the social accompaniment will have led to a certain quarantine on behalf of the Prefecture in the action of the Luttopia collective, and to the distinction between the illegal occupation of a place, and the social work carried out, today recognized. It should be noted that the collective alone handles more cases of return to common law than all the social centers in Montpellier.

A pragmatic approach to the squatting movement

It appears today that the frenzied real estate mechanics of the big cities condemn the squat movement to ever shorter and more precarious occupations, endangering the stability and living conditions of the occupants. Evictions, which sometimes bring vulnerable families into contact with police violence, are multiplying and are particularly aimed at the 48-hour delay that makes them unilaterally possible when a squat opens. At the same time, the system of access to housing is comparable to a snake biting its own tail: the delays for access to social housing in large cities exceed the validity of DALO files (12 months), which results in an administrative impossibility to access housing in this context without going through indirect channels.

“Today it is necessary to educate the population about their rights and to make them understand that we have the capacity to oblige the State to requisition” for Jo. In fact, the Élan law adopted in January 2018 obliges the State services to implement concrete measures, including the requisition of buildings, when deficiencies are found, whether in social order, housing, or culture, for example. The first decrees for the application of this law came in June 2018 thanks to the political courage of the mayor of Montreuil, Patrice Bessac, in conjunction with the Bara association.

Today, the Prefecture can no longer escape its legal duty. However, it would seem that structurally, the State is incapable of applying the law correctly, and is therefore obliged to rely on the social work carried out by citizens. An awareness that seems to have occurred today in the Hérault services, faced with the failure of the classic administrative mechanisms, and which could therefore lead to the establishment of a permanent place, where humanitarian associations, collectives, and social support organizations could carry out real social work, in the best possible conditions and with more freedom. The Prefecture has indeed said that it is “open to experimentation”.

The Luttopia collective has chosen to adopt a pragmatic strategy, militating for the application of the Law by the State while proposing its contribution to its implementation. A stance which has therefore been welcomed by the prefectural services, and which enables it to preserve the housing conditions and stability of the people concerned.

The word of the public authorities put to the test

A new appointment was made at the end of September to discuss more concretely what will be put in place. The recent eviction of the CSA Bonnard, and of the Bouisson-Bertrand squat (see this article), which was nevertheless in connection with the prefectural services, scandalized the social and humanitarian associative circles of Montpellier. The images of dozens of migrants in their sleeping bags in front of the SPADA, without any proposal for permanent re-housing that a handful of nights in a hotel, have marked the spirits. Prefectorial inaction with regard to these people was clearly contrary to the Law.

The presence of municipal representatives at this meeting is also representative of Mayor Michael Delafosse’s position. Contrary to his predecessor Philippe Saurel who had systematically refused any dialogue with the squats, the new mayor seems to have understood that the housing situation in Montpellier was concretely catastrophic, and that to subscribe to the eviction and stigmatization wishes of the squat movement would be counterproductive, all the more so when one claims to be socialist. The position of the city council at the opening of the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul squat in one of its disused buildings is a good example of the political will not to be lit up at the beginning of the term of office. It remains to be seen whether this position will be maintained throughout the term of office and lead to an active and concrete social commitment.

Collectif Luttopia,
Utopia 003, 2 avenue de Castelnau, Montpellier, France
luttopia [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/9p3

Some squats in Montpellier https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/montpellier/country/FR/squated/squat
Some evicted squats in Montpellier https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/montpellier/field_active/1/squated/evicted
Some groups in Montpellier https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/montpellier/country/FR
Events in Montpellier https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Montpellier

Refugees related groups in France https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/topic/sans-papiers
Some squats in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/squated/squat
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR
Events in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/FR

La Mule du Pape https://www.lamuledupape.com/2020/09/11/squat-des-archives-vers-une-evacuation-et-une-transition-legale/

The eviction of the Bouisson-Betrand squat has put dozens of people out on the street, who came to apply for emergency accommodation at SPADA.

USA: From Hoovervilles to Trumpvilles, Homeless Crisis Deepens

Nearly a century ago, when the Great Depression descended on New York in 1929, Gotham, like cities around the country, sprouted Hoovervilles, homeless encampments. In New York, a dozen or so were in Central Park and dubbed “Hoover Valley,” “Shanty Town,” “Squatters Village,” “Forgotten Men’s Gulch” and “Rockside Inn.”

Other Manhattan encampments included “Hardlucksville,” the city’s largest encampment, at 10th Street on the East River, and “Camp Thomas Paine” in Riverside Park and the West 70s. Farther uptown, the homeless found residence in floating shanties along the Harlem River around 207th Street; at Camp Dyckman, which consisted mostly of World War I veterans; and at Marble Hill, just across the Spuyten Duyvil, where Sarah J. Atwood and her daughter, Mavis, ran a boxcar village.

The outer boroughs were also home to encampments. In Brooklyn, a large facility operated on Columbia Street, in Red Hook, and near today’s Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn Heights, some six hundred people lived in “Hoover City.” Writer Edward Newhouse lived for three weeks in a Queens encampment to do research for his novel You Can’t Live Here.

A new generation of homeless encampments – Trumpvilles – are spreading throughout the country.

In New York, they have popped up in each of the five boroughs as recent press reports indicate. Three examples are suggestive:

  • In Manhattan – there was a homeless encampment on Sixth Avenue between West 23rd and 24th Streets.
  • In Elmhurst, Queens – an original encampment of around 15 to 20 expanded to 60 and 70 people.
  • In Staten Island – an encampment sprouted outside the Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George, home of the Staten Island Yankees.

Throughout the nation, Trumpvilles are multiplying:

  • NPR reported in January — “Across California and other parts of the country, these growing homeless encampments evoke shantytown ‘Hoovervilles,’ where hundreds of thousands of destitute Americans lived during the Great Depression.”
  • In Berkeley, CA — Berkeley Fire Department doused a fire at the city’s largest encampment, at University Avenue just west of Interstate 80.
  • In Philadelphia, PA – there was an encampment on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Ridge Avenue.
  • In Minnesota – homeless Native American men, women and families build a tent colony at the Wall of Forgotten Natives near Hiawatha and Franklin Avenues.
  • In Tacoma, WA – the city government reports: “… the number of homeless individuals exceeds the number of local available shelters. Finding immediate shelter options for people being displaced from encampments continues to be an ongoing challenge.
  • In Seattle, WA– an unmanaged encampment was recently removed in the area behind the Navigation Center on a public stairwell.

Taken from longer article at Counterpunch

Barcelona: Massana school occupation

The abandoned Massana School, has been occupied for a soup kitchen and emergency accommodation. The action has been vindicated by the Housing Union and the Raval Mutual Support Network. The occupation which was made public at the end of a protest procession that started at 8 pm on June 23rd in Plaza Salvador Seguí, was attended by about 250 people.

This occupation is not the only one that has existed in the old Massana School. In the spring of 2018, a group of immigrants had occupied to denounce the job insecurity experienced by the group and to demand solutions from the administrations.

The groups denounce the state of a building “abandoned for years by the institutions” and declared that it will become the “base of operations of the popular movement of the Raval”.

“We warn the institutions that we intend to stay, and that for every step they take against us, we will take three,” they said in a statement read minutes after the occupation was made public. The intention of the occupation is to provide a place in the Mutual Support Network, the Housing Union and the Popular Food Network.

Excerpted from Iberia: Hundreds of Mutual Aid networks as Covid Collapses Capitalism

Barcelona: Despegando Squatting Manual

Here you have a brief manual about squatting in Barcelona, constructed from personal experiences, legal resources and texts from the Squatting Office. The purpose of L’Oficina per l’Okupació (OfiOK) is tackling legal and technical problems regarding squatting abandoned places, keeping in mind the political significance of the action as well as the social aspects. we have chosen to make a practical manual as a quick reference and for mass distribution.

If you have any question visit the OfiOK or send an email to oficinaokupacio [at] sindominio [dot] net, look out for other manuals or consult other squatters. Good luck and happy squatting!

Version1 pdf
L’Oficina per l’Okupació

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