House Occupation News

Poland: Nora 219Ⓐ Manifesto

We are a family group of Wolfens, that is a grassroot movement for the protection of the Carpathian Forest. We operate as an intersectional collective. We make decisions by consensus. We believe that we can function as we would like the world to function: without hierarchy, human domination over other beings, patriarchy, queerphobia and fascism. With radical empathy and care.
We do not agree to the devastation of wildlife and the exploitation of valuable forests as wood inventories. Bieszczady forests are an extremely complex, sensitive ecosystem that performs many very important functions. These forests are soil and water-protective, therefore the amount of water in the country depends on their condition. This is where the most rain and snow falls. Mountain streams feed rivers and the excess water is stored by the forest. Forests, especially the old, natural ones, play a key role in climate protection.
If they continue to be massively cut, the soil crushed with heavy equipment, and the deep ruts of skid roads continue to run a sea of ​​mud into mountain streams, we have no chance in the fight against drought in the country, floods, not to mention the climate disaster. Meanwhile, the State Forests institution consistently implement a plan to destroy forests in areas that could be included in national parks or where reserves are designed, so as to diminish their natural value, so that there are no longer grounds for protecting them.
We believe that it is our moral duty to fight to defend our common good, and in the face of planned logging in one of the most valuable areas of mountain forests in Poland, we feel that the only way left is to block them directly. In order for us to succeed, we need financial support to cover logistics costs, purchase materials for building houses, climbing equipment, and provide legal support.

Today we, the Wolfens, stand up for the forest.
On behalf of all beings, we demand interspecies justice.
We demand the cessation of logging and hunting in over a hundred-year-old stands in the buffer zone of the Bieszczady National Park, in already planned and designed nature reserves and in all forests in the country, indicated by the public and the scientific community as forests that should be excluded from forest management.
We demand undertaking immediate protective measures and the reform of the State Forests institution conducted in line with social expectations. The climate future, our water safety and the welfare of other species depend on this for they have the same right to live, be free and fulfill their natural needs, in an environment free from human pressure.
Anthropocentric capitalism hijacks the land and destroys nature. Wild animals now make up only 4% of all mammals living on the planet. Piece by piece, we take away their habitats and transform them for our own needs, completely disregarding the rest of the creatures.
Old forests, of a natural character, such as the one we defend, are home to countless species – the Carpathian Forest is not only a bear, a wolf, a lynx and a wildcat, but also thousands of other, no less important, species of animals, plants and fungi.
Since all other methods have failed, we have decided to look after their welfare and protect the forest from greed and man’s lust for power. Shoulder to shoulder, paw to paw, no matter what, we drive back and begin the Forest Revolution!
Join us and stand on the side of those who cannot fight themselves!
Free forests for all creatures!

Nora 219Ⓐ

Saint Nazaire (France): Another eviction

After having evicted us from the various places where we tried to find shelter, they even came to evict us from a parking lot, no negotiations possible, no additional time. The places must be free as soon as possible.

Collectif Geronimo

Poland: New forest occupation

At the beginning of the Carpathians, where the area is still only hilly and where wolves, bears and lynxes live freely, wood is being cut because a piece of virgin forest was not classified as a national park. It planned to become one, in the fifties. Now it is not even nature reserve. This year it is planned to take 30% of the trees from the forest, all the big ones that are not declared as natural monuments. The job of cutting tree is apparently not even profitable: the two local forest management companies have received more than ~30 million euros in the last 8 years because of deficit. 3 times more than the 23 national parks of Poland.
A big part of the forest has never been attacked: it is on the slope and before, it was too difficult to go there with machines. In other words, it is a virgin forest located right next to a national park. If roads are built now to get to the wood, it is not only bad for the groundwater (the water then flows down the roads and is no longer “caught” in the forest), but also for the bears, which have build their sleeping places at least 2 km away from the roads. Many endangered species of lichen and moss live there, as well as protected woodpeckers and owls.
So on January 3, activists moved in to block the access road. With two skypods, the Wilczyce (female wolves) protect the forest on site, because petitions and blockades of the forest management company were not enough. Everyone is invited to join the protest.

The occupation is called Nora 219Ⓐ. Nora is the polish word for wolf’s burrow and 219a is the number the forest management compagny gave the piece of forest.

Website: nora219a.blackblogs.org
Twitter: @nora219a
Instagram: kolektyw.wilczyce
Email: wilczyce [at] riseup [dot] net

If you send us an email, we can help you to find public transport, because their websites can be complicated.
The exact location of the occupation is 49.12642° N, 22.71411° E, two kilometers straight on the way from the Bison Park Pokazowa zagroda żubrów w Mucznem.

Via Hambach Forest

Ile-Saint-Denis (France): The Pavillon Solidaire, solidarity with refugees

Solidarity, not just a word

What do you see when you take a walk around L’Ile Saint Denis – along the river banks, under the bridges, through the squares, the park? Everywhere desperate people hiding in tents, in flimsy constructions of plastic and wood, in the bushes, in any hole they can find. Hiding from the freezing cold, and hiding from the police with their batons, dogs and choking gas.

Over the weeks before the occupation we checked inside the Pavillon Solidaire several times, we wanted to be completely sure no one was using it. What did we find? The doors left open, rubbish piled up, mould growing everywhere, building work unfinished, foul stench of food left to rot, the garden clogged up with leaves, the building literally rotting.

These days it’s a cliché to say we’re living in scenes from a zombie movie. But that’s just what it seemed like, an abandoned house whose inhabitants have fled the apocalypse. A house that could provide a shelter from the cold and fear outside – at least for a few people, at least for a little while.

So we occupied the building. Now we’re cleaning it up, fixing things, and organising with our neighbours. It is a shelter for some people through this hard winter. But also, we want to make sure it isn’t abandoned again, but in the next months it really becomes open and alive again: a social, cultural and organising space for the neighbourhood.

Should we have waited for the end of the COVID crisis? Should we have waited for the authorities to do something?

To us, it seemed clear: on the one hand, you have people freezing under a bridge, on the other, a building literally left to rot. But the official world has a different logic involving regulations, registrations, budgets, subventions, political deals.

Following the official logic, a lot of things are possible. You can have shopping malls like Marques Avenue, you can build so-called Ecoquartiers (yet more high-price concrete apartments, with a few extra trees), you can organise the multi-billion dollar world spectacle of the Olympics. And all these big-profit projects keep going despite COVID. Yet you can’t do anything to help people sleeping in the park or begging for coins in the street. That’s just how the world is, it’s “beyond our control”.

We refuse to accept this official logic. We don’t want to live in a zombie world. We have different ideas of how the world can be. We can bring empty buildings back to life, bring people out of the cold, get together with our neighbours, help each other, learn from each other, and start to change things.

But then we can’t just sit and wait for others to act, we have to take the initiative. Solidarity isn’t just a word – it comes to life with action.

Political Encounters

Romantic Paris with its violent linings where lie bodies as if they had never dared to venture across lands, mountains, rivers, and people to penetrate borders impenetrable in pursuit of safety. Not life with all its glory is sought; just the hope to live. Not dreams of better, greater, bigger are had; merely the fight to survive. Not hopes of futures radically different from that conceived by colonial ambitions, which continue to take while denying those from whom all rights to life are taken. Where is the land luscious about which the poets rejoice? Afghanistan; the mystical. There is only war. War that devastates. War that colours our streets in bodies and blood. From whence bodies ran; to thence bodies return. Paris, romantic Paris, where bodies line streets as if they had never escaped. What hopes they desire? To live. Just to live. Of what dignity can we speak when even the basic right to life does not exist? Governments sit around tables deciding what is safe and where the undocumented must remain.

So, let us speak in honesty: Why speak of war when years upon years have passed that our young men exist unnamed, unheard, and unspoken of here, right under our noses? Here in Europe they remain and yet Europe speaks of the safety of Afghanistan the very same day when bombs and gunmen devastate an already devastated land of blood and tears. Let us speak honestly of the colonial violence of a system which strategically denies the young men any right to life and thereby to hope? Whose life matters? Not the lives of my kin, evidently, when the only place they can claim is the cold, wet, and piss-soaked sidewalks of the great European progress? Dublin Regulation violently acquires their finger-prints, imprisons them in camps in countries they do not get to choose, savagely discards them outside one borders into another where they must sleep with rats on modern streets of modern European cities. Dublin Regulation forces them to endure beatings, shootings, suffocation by tear gas – all in the hands of the police; that is, to say nothing of all the horrors inflicted by hostile people and vicious climates.

Europe desires to live in comfort and security; but, I ask you, does this not itself necessitate a secure and just condition outside our homes as well as within its bounds? Well, how can we have young men lining our streets with no access to a simple thing as a toilet where they can lay their waste rather than in alleyways and by trees, which exposes rich and poor alike to diseases? Did Europe not once experience the threat of shit on its roads and in its waters?

To live is the very ground upon which life gains meaning, but living comprises of the right to be housed. This is undisputable; and yet, here in the land of progress, development, and modernity, exist many unhoused while houses, many houses, remain empty. No-one comes to Europe after our homes, our jobs, and our women. Europe is literally constructed by another’s home, another’s prospect of work, and another’s right to life, so how can the other come here for what is already theirs? As long as they are denied, we can exist. How can we accept such a condition to life; more so, how can it be that we, rationally, accept this as progress?

Here is where politics meets creativity, mobility, and the theatrics of oppression in pursuit of effective rebellion across borders, cultures, languages, and over walls into homes for the unhoused. Here is where strategic failures of the system is translated to tactical interventions by the encountering of those who have been failed and those who resist the system. Here is where rage is agitated, passions excited, and revolution blossom…ing.

Pavillon Solidaire presentation

What are we doing?

The Pavillon  Solidaire is a building in the south of L’Ile Saint Denis which has been empty since February 2020. We occupied the building during the New Year, and ten Afghan refugees are now living there.

The building is owned by the town hall, and was formerly used by local associations. However, it has been deserted since February 2020.

We have two aims:

1) provide shelter for refugees;

2) make sure that the building is not left to rot, but will re-open as a living space for activities in the neighbourhood.

Who are we?

Some of us are refugees from Afghanistan, some of us are long-time residents of L’Ile Saint Denis, others are friends from different places and countries. Some of us are involved with local collectives and associations, others are simply individuals. We invite all our neighbours to join us and participate in this project.

Who writes on this blog?

Different individuals and groups are free to publish their thoughts on this blog. The texts may not necessarily reflect the views of everyone involved in the Pavillon Solidaire. Get in touch if you would like to share your words or images here!

Pavillon Solidaire
2 Quai de l’Aéroplane, 93450 L’Île-Saint–Denis, France
pavillonsolidaire [at] riseup [dot] net
https://squ.at/r/862a
https://pavillonsolidaire.noblogs.org/

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

https://pavillonsolidaire.noblogs.org/post/2021/01/07/lile-saint-denis-solidarity-isnt-just-a-word/
https://pavillonsolidaire.noblogs.org/presentation/

Saint Nazaire (France): Update from Collectif Geronimo

A quick and very fresh hello straight from the camp, temperatures have dropped below -4C, but we are all alive. Thanks to the help of several volunteers from associations, we were able to survive this night.
A few people came to bring us a little human warmth, coffee and pastries.
Thank you for your support!
Current location: Landscaped park, Saint Nazaire.
Edit: Small morning visit of the municipal police, we keep you informed of the rest of the events!

Collectif Geronimo

Saint-Nazaire (France): Geronimo squat evicted

After getting evicted this morning around 9am from La Maison Géronimo, the squat at 33 Rue Emile Littre in Saint-Nazaire, we had moved to a spot behind the Madison night club Rue Henri Gautier, but even there, we were not welcome. As for now, we are looking for a new spot to move on.

Collectif Geronimo
Saint-Nazaire, France
https://squ.at/r/82ez

Some groups in Saint-Nazaire https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/saint-nazaire/country/FR
Events in Saint-Nazaire https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Saint-Nazaire/country/FR

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

Nantes Indymedia https://nantes.indymedia.org/articles/54631

Switzerland: Call to support the ZAD de la Colline

In Switzerland, a few kilometers from Lausanne, the multinational cement company LaFargeHolcim seeks to expand the exploitation of the limestone quarry which consumes and attacks the Mormont hill. The quarry’s expansion threatens to engulf the hill’s protected forest, its unique biodiversity, its history and the cultivated lands which it is home to. The company is no stranger to such aggressions. Its involvement in over 120 cases of environmental and human rights violations is currently documented in 34 countries.

The Birette plateau is an area of precious biodiversity. It hosts an atypical flora comprising several protected species, including rare species of orchids. It is also of crucial archeological and historical importance. Furthermore, the extracted limestone participates in the colossal CO2 emissions produced by LaFarge Holcim and the cement sector, which is responsible for 12% of the global CO2 emissions. Holcim Switzerland is the company producing the most CO2 territorial emissions in the country.

Since the legal recourses submitted were unable to guarantee the termination of the project, the occupants of the Zone à Défendre (ZAD) de la Colline decided to block it in order to defend the hill’s biodiversity, local farming, cultural patrimony and, more broadly, the climate against the concrete industry. Through their physical occupation of the site, they oppose corporate land-grabbing, the rampant exploitation of resources whose transformation and usage is detrimental to the environment, health and human rights. Additionally, this ZAD seeks to understand and combat the socially and environmentally destructive system of which the company’s extractive project is a part.

Petition

Amsterdam: Public announcement of the occupation of Afrin squat

Since the 29th of December 2020, the anarchist organisation for reconstruction of militant proletariat occupied a building in Amsterdam. (the address of the squat will be announced together with the call for an open assembly inside the squat).

Aims and principles & Points of Unity of Afrin Squat Assembly:

All the problems we face today are caused by- and made worse by the existence of the state and capitalism, which serves and protects the interests of the ruling class and the bourgeoisie. While the rich benefit of disaster capitalism and get even richer of the crises, the proletariat has to bare the burden of the crisis and pay for the bailouts of the rich. The real virus is neo-liberalism and the dangerous pandemic is capitalism. We believe nothing is more important than for the struggle to continue, to be in class solidarity with each other and to self organise against all forms of exploitation and authority.

We believe in solidarity and the need for self-defence by any means necessary. Capitalisms needs crises and the state will always use these emergencies, whether it is imperialistic state war or a public health crisis, to increase their power and to suppress self organisation and resistance. The state is the one responsible for any death as a result of the pandemic, as the public health system is gutted, funding for imperialist wars and the military is still increasing.

As long as the state and capitalism exist, safety only exist for the rich and for fascists, and such a word as safety does not have any practical meaning to the oppressed. Social control and suppression created by the state during the pandemic tries to criminalise any type of class solidarity and resistance against the state and capitalism. The social problems such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty and the horrible conditions of immigrants locked up in concentration camps (AZC) are only made worse in these times.

Our opinion and Identity of the Squat:
A-a Squat is not the goal of struggle but it’s the tool of struggle, which means: the struggle should happen in the street and the squat is a political tool to mobilise and organize social resistance.

B- Squats should be open spaces to the society, which means squats should organise open events that society can participate in. In Afrin squat soon there will be a weekly bar for financial support in solidarity with political prisoners, wanted militants and fugitive comrade. There will also be a free public bath for whoever needs it. The public bath will have it’s own assembly in accordance with the principles of federalism as part of the main assembly of the squat.

C- In our opinion it might be necessary to occupy a space for housing alone, but only squatting for accommodation doesn’t have the right political identity for a political space. A squat is a place that belongs to the movement and exists because the struggle has made it possible. This struggle must be continued actively by squats.

D- In squats the decisions should be taken in a collective way through assemblies, in which everyone can equally express their opinions. If collectives or individuals want to use the space of Afrin squat for reasons related to the class struggle they may join our weekly assembly where we will discuss it.

Common understandings of the basis our collective:
Aims:
Our collective struggle is for the common goal of the reconstruction of the militant proletariat.

Collective responsibility:
The assembly is the centre of the collective. In the assembly we make decisions about the responsibilities of members and everyone should be committed to take responsibility and act on the decisions that we collectively made in the assembly.

Tactical unity:
The decisions and division of responsibilities that were made collectively in the assembly should correspond to the tactic we use in actions during the struggle.

Federalism:
We believe in federalism as a way to organise ourselves. We are against the centralisation of power within one or specific collectives. We believe that our strength lies in our collective power. For the federation this power is in the assembly, which should be the centre of the decision making and the power.

The squats, including Afrin squat, is not necessarily a political group in itself, but they are open social places that can be used for training the people that join the squat. So in the beginning it is not necessary that everyone who joins the squat is fully committed to all the details of the principles set out here. The squat of Afrin hosts the political group of the anarchist organisation for the reconstruction of the militant proletariat, which has the same political standing as the squat but joining this political group will require full commitment from it’s members.

Assembly of the anarchist organisation for reconstruction of militant proletariat
29th December 2020

Indymedia

US: Homeless evictions in Saint Paul

Five encampments in St. Paul [Minnesota] are scheduled to be evicted in the coming weeks, two already have been. @STPCampsHub and local activists have organized an event to raise awareness of the states continued brutality.

When: January 3rd at 2pm
Where: 387 Marion St. St. Paul

Context:

In 1956, after failing to provide electricity, modern plumbing, or municipal services to the immigrant community of Swede Hollow, the City of St. Paul declared the Hollow a health hazard, forcibly evicted families, and burned the neighborhood down. On April 16th of this year, a St. Paul city worker neglected to check a tent before removing it with a utility vehicle, seriously injuring the woman inside. And on National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, the City of St. Paul displaced residents of the Kellogg encampment from their home and from each other.

This approach is in direct contradiction with CDC Guidelines, which state, in part: “[i]f individual housing options are not available, allow people who are living unsheltered or in encampments to remain where they are. Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.” We contend that shelters wherein residents must share restrooms do not qualify as “individual housing options”, whereas hotel rooms do. If there are currently only 385 hotel rooms available, there are not enough “individual housing options” for every person living outside in St. Paul. And evicting an encampment with an active COVID-19 outbreak will only create further spread.

According to the City of St. Paul’s “Coordinated Response to Unsheltered Homelessness During COVID-19”, “encampments represent a serious health and safety risk.” The CDC recommends several methods for mitigating these risks, none of which the City has implemented adequately. These include “work[ing] together with community coalition members to improve sanitation in encampments” and providing functional, well-stocked restroom facilities.

“Quality of life” policing in cities across the country jeopardizes the physical safety, sleep patterns, and mental health of unhoused people. If City ordinances that prohibit “camping” truly aim to reduce the size and presence of the homeless population, then they have been wholly ineffective—recent statistics reflect growing numbers of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in St. Paul year after year, despite their enforcement. As various City departments continue to expend funds on enforcing and administering these laws in St. Paul, we urge you to instead direct these resources toward proven methods of reducing homelessness. The National Homelessness Law Center published Tent City, USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments, and How Communities are Responding, which includes best practices, model policies, and case studies from cities across the country responding to encampments.

If we do not provide long-term, permanent indoor housing options at this time, we must at least allow unhoused people to maintain their stable residence outdoors.

We are calling for the City of St. Paul to immediately:
Convene an emergency St. Paul City Council meeting to address these issues
Place a moratorium on enforcement of any illegal camping ordinance, to last the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic
Halt the clearing and disposal of tents and other sheltering materials to ensure that unhoused people do not lose what may be their only present means to self-quarantine and practice social distancing
Adhere to the existing statewide eviction moratorium
Follow best practices outlined by the National Homelessness Law Center

Petition – Mayor Carter: Stop the Evictions of Encampments

Calais: Eviction at Grande-Synthe

8.45am [December 29] in Grande Synthe where an expulsion of refugees is taking place. Two identity checks, impossible to enter the forest where about twenty police entered. They are accompanied by cleaning crews, who tear up the tents to prevent their reuse.There are a lot more these day, the ground is soaked, spongy. One by one, the police destroy the tents where migrants are still sleeping. A Kurdish man hurries out, stuff in hand, heading into the forest. It’s raining, two degrees. Some go quickly, carrying on trolleys what they can save from the blows of the digger. Cops Police officers try to convince them to take the buses, without knowing themselves where these buses go. All the tents and tarpaulins are cut and torn, one by one. A young Kurd from Erbil, annoyed and laughing nervously, takes a pciture of his big orange tent being destroyed, “Oh no, man, don’t touch my house, no, no” “OH. I’m homeless now”.

11:28 am, those who were unable or unwilling to leave on the buses burn their blankets which after being thrown into the mud when the tents were seized by the police are soaked, soiled and unusable. Here are photos of the cleaning teams who accompany the police during the evictions in Grande-Synthe. Balaclava, knife in hand to slash the tents. Imagine for two seconds the amazement of the migrants awakened by this at 8am this morning.

[Machinetranslated from twitter]

Zadar (Croatia): Nigdjezemska roof appeal

We invite you to support us in rebuilding the decayed roof of “Nigdjezemska” (“Nowhereland”),which despite our efforts and attempts continues to leak rain while destroying inventory and activities in the concert and performance space of “Nigdjezemska”. The socio-cultural center “Nigdjezemska”is a project of the civic initiative “Nigdjezemska” gathered around a former boiler room and canteen in the military complex Stjepan Radić in Zadar.

At the end of 2012,the initiative had renovated the dilapidated boiler room building with the intention of gathering in an autonomous socio-cultural scene to act and cooperate on the horizontal “Do It Yourself” principles of cooperation and solidarity, while striving for self-sustainability. Nigdjezemska has opened its doors and started the program in the spring of 2015 and began activities such as concerts, discussions and workshops, a free shop, a communal garden, and infoshop library, film screenings and the provision of space, human and technical support to individuals and associations in the field of cultural production.

In this context, we invite you to support us once again, this time in the renovation of the decayed roof of the building of “Nigdjezemska”ie the concert and performance space of “Nigdjezemska” which despite our efforts and attempts continues to leak rain and destroy inventory and activities in the space. After having seeked expert advice, we came to the conclusion that the most optimal solution is to re-raise and replace bitumen-tar strips and metal sheets along the edges of the roof, i.e. a partial restoration of the upper part of the roof.

Crowdfunding

South Africa: Fire at Cato Crest occupation in Durban

A fire that broke out in the early hours of yesterday morning has left more than 70 families without homes in our Marikana occupation in Cato Crest. Many people were not in their homes when the fire took place at around 5 a.m. today. Many are away in the rural areas with their families who they have not seen for a long time as a result of the lock down. These families will be coming back to ashes in what used to be their homes.

All the families were unable to take out their possessions or save their building materials. They lost everything. Most were away and others, who were at the occupation, could not save their possessions or building material because the fire was so strong. The situation is very difficult at the moment as many people have lost their jobs as a result of the Corona virus lockdown which had a devastating impact on the economy.

Apart from facing the economic decline, job losses and the pandemic we in the shacks are facing fires which leaves us destitute. This is because decent housing and services are not provided. These fires are taking place at a time when we are supposed to be with our families in the rural areas. To us happiness is a dream even at a time when people are in joyous times.

Our movement has been working to politicise the understanding of shack fires for 15 years. They are not accidents or tragedies. They are a direct result of oppression. We are left to burn because we do not count as human beings to this society and this government.

We continue to burn in the shacks of indignity during these trying times when the world is facing a serious pandemic that has taken many lives. For many years the local leadership of Abahlali in Cato Crest have tried to engage with the ward councillor, Mzi Mnguni, on the issue of electrifying the settlement. This has not born any fruit as the ward councillor has always been against the Marikana occupation. Many of the people who are living in the occupation were left out of the housing project nearby because they were not members of the ANC. Instead of services being provided to us we are attacked by the Anti Land Invasion Unit and the local hit men. Our struggle for land and dignity is responded to with regular violence from the state and the ruling part.

These attacks have led to many members being injured or killed. Our homes are not regarded as important because they do not “have value” on the market. That’s why they are destroyed by the municipality with impunity. That’s why the fire emergency services do not come on time when we are burning. That is why disaster management will only respond 48 hours after we have been burnt. Our lives continue to be vandalised by this government.

We do not matter in the eyes of this government. We have to rebel.

This is a very difficult time in our country, especially for the poor and working class. We appeal to those who can extend their hands in these trying times in our country to offer whatever solidarity they can. We urgently need building materials in the form zinc, poles, etc. so that we can rebuild our homes and our lives. We also need clothes and food for the kids.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, December 28, 2020.

Hambacher Forest: Information on the arson attack against the vigil of the occupation

Right at the beginning, it should be pointed out that the brief information about the arson attack unfortunately has to rely, in terms of content, primarily on reports from the blogging service “Twitter”. A format unsuitable for serious reporting, which does not nearly meet the criteria for independent media. There, of course, the typical sneering social media comments and fatuous speculations about an alleged orchestration, open expressions of approval and references to the following “begging” for donations are not to be missed. It would make sense if at least the spectrum of activists and supporters who consider themselves anarchist, autonomous, anti-authoritarian, libertarian, or similar, would rely on their own information structures. Twitter cannot replace independent media work with reports in a structured form.

The police investigation is ongoing. The association “Buirer für Buir” has, according to its own statements, informed the executive that Molotov cocktails were discovered at the crime scene and is now hopeful that DNA traces may exist that will contribute to the investigation. The association points out that a vigil is an event in accordance with the right of assembly and that shedding light on the crime would therefore be socially relevant.

It is unlikely that the various groups of activists and supporters will be able to agree on whether cooperation with the police is allowed or even makes sense. In addition to theoretical knowledge about the role of the police, many people on the ground now also have relevant, real experience with the practical work of the state executive and local security services cooperating with it.

To what can be inferred from the reports so far:

In the early morning of December 26, a large part of the vigil and its infrastructure, important for the forest occupation, went up in flames. Pictures show that the info tent was completely destroyed. Other pictures show Molotov cocktails, which were thrown and caused the fire. The memorial for the two activists “Vergissmeynicht” and “Waka”, among others, remained intact. (Vergissmeynicht died in a fatal crash on September 19, 2018, during an eviction in the Hambacher Forest). The former forest squatter “Waka” died on October 7, 2018 in Hajin/Northeast Syria in the fight against Daesh).

The person who was at the vigil that night was staying in a trailer a little further away from the fire. She later reported that she heard several loud bangs, as in an explosion of firecrackers, saw the fire and immediately called the fire department.

Call for donations:

It is clear that there still needs to be a contact and information point like the vigil. Since its establishment, in August 2018 at the corner of L276/L257 between Buir train station and Hambacher Forest, it has been a good opportunity to exchange information together about current developments in Hambacher Forest. Donations for the forest occupation have also been received and sorted here.

In order to be able to continue (and it will continue!) a new stable and all around lockable tent, benches and tables (beer tent set) are now urgently needed. Financial donations are also useful because, among other things, after the examination of the cause of the fire, there will be high expenses for disposal.

Please also donate to the charitable bank account:

IBAN DE03 3705 0299 0147 2708 03

BIC COKSDE33XXX

Name of the Bank: Kreissparkasse Köln

Account holder: Initiative Buirer für Buir

Description: Mahnwache

Submitted to Enough 14 in German. Translated by Enough 14

US: Over 40 Units At Port Of Tacoma Travelodge Occupied To Provide Emergency Housing

Tacoma Housing Now reports on an ongoing housing occupation that so far has housed over 40 people for over 4 days at the Port of Tacoma Travelodge. This situation is unfolding, so follow them on social media for updates.

We’re on day 4 of the hotel occupation and settling in for night 4! Negotiations with the hotel owner, city, and county start tomorrow, but we have 50-70 people ready to defend if needed. Housing activists from Tacoma Housing Now, Seattle (the Yellow House), and Olympia have coalesced into a broad Puget Sound coalition that will support housing actions in each other’s cities. Most of our medics on-site are veterans of the recent far-Right battles in Olympia that saw two antifascist protestors shot. We’re also in a chat with housing organizers from Philly, Ashland OR, Medford OR, El Sereno CA, and Los Angeles trading tactics and media tips — the national movement is growing.

We’re currently in the unique position of allying with the hotel owner, because we’ve made it clear to him that we want to get him paid. We’ve started contacting city council members and will contact the rest of the city council and county council tomorrow, so CARES and/or FEMA money can be used to pay for hotel rooms.

While the City of Tacoma claims to provide hotel vouchers for houseless people, nobody we’ve talked to has ever seen these mysterious vouchers. Other, smaller towns in our county are paying for hotel rooms, so Tacoma should, too. Our message is that there’s room at the inn: pay for it!

Our action last week — picking up trash from a camp and dumping it in front of City Hall — got local media attention, but so far we’re in a local media blackout on our hotel occupation. While we were literally occupying a hotel to keep 43 people from freezing to death on the streets, as 5 houseless people already have this winter, local media was writing feel-good stories about giving houseless people mittens. We hope the media blackout changes on Monday.

Whatever happens tomorrow — the hotel owner has threatened to call Travelodge corporate — we have already achieved victory: keeping people off the streets for 4 days. Many of our houseless coalition members have severe, dire medical conditions, and being able to stay warm and take care of hygiene is helping keep them alive. We’re ready to throw down tomorrow but hope that the city and county will pay the hotel owner instead.

itsgoingdown

London: Four squats evicted just before Xmas

Today [December 21] four separate squats were evicted in London. One being the mutual aid community free shop [pictured] in Harringay that was very close to our hearts. They illegally evicted us, as they didn’t tell us we had court on 17 December.

Many people have been made homeless today due to parasitic landlords. They’ve destroyed homes and communities. All befoere 9am.

Support your local squat. We’re working with other members of the crew to relocate and get running again but cannot guarantee when. We hope soon.

Kill bailiffs. Kill landlords. Kill cops.

Squat the world. We’ll squat the copshops. We’ll squat the bailiff HQs. We’ll squat your fucking holiday homes.

UK: Major case management hearing ahead of an upcoming High Court case on anti-Traveller wide injunctions

On Thursday 17th December 2020, a major case management hearing took place ahead of an upcoming High Court case on anti-Traveller wide injunctions, due to be held in January 2021.

Since 2015, councils have increasingly used injunctions to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from stopping on council-owned land. The majority of people who pull up on land in this way have nowhere else to go due to councils’ failure to identify land for sites and stopping places.

Despite this, anyone found to be breaking an anti-Traveller injunction faces criminal action. A landmark Court of Appeal ruling in the London Borough of Bromley V Persons Unknown and London Gypsies and Travellers case, denied Bromley Council’s injunction against “Persons Unknown” and set strict criteria for local authorities to meet before applying for these injunctions, such as providing transit sites.

After the Bromley ruling, Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT), the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups (NFGLG) and London Gypsies and Travellers (LGT) with support from Moving for Change and the Baring Foundation instructed Community Law Partnership (CLP) to make submissions at hearings where councils were attempting to extend their injunctions. This led to Harlow, Enfield and Canterbury councils withdrawing their injunctions.

Following a significant judgment in the case of Canada Goose V Persons Unknown and PETA, Justice Nicklin found many councils with invalid injunctions as well as a number of issues on injunctions against ‘Persons Unknown’, warranting further investigation.

The case management hearing on 17th December came following an order from Justice Nicklin to more than 35 councils with wide injunctions to show they are complying with the Bromley ruling criteria.

It is now confirmed that of the original 38, only 16 local authorities will carry on through to the January hearing. These are:

Basingstoke and Dean
Rochdale
Nuneaton and Bedworth
Hounslow
Hillingdon
Walsall
Reigate and Banstead
Ealing
Test Valley
Wolverhampton
Enfield
Barking and Dagenham
Havering
Thurrock
Redbridge
Richmond

In the January hearing, FFT, LGT and the NFGLG will act as ‘joint interveners’, giving evidence on the wider impact these injunctions have on Gypsies and Travellers.

Speaking about the drop in local authorities pursuing wide injunctions, Sarah Mann, Director at Friends, Families and Travellers:

“The significant drop in local authorities pursuing wide injunctions shows that local authorities can no longer ignore their statutory obligations. Using evictions as a quick fix to the Gypsy and Traveller accommodation issues is not enough – you cannot simply paper over the cracks and hope it all goes away.

Councils should immediately identify suitable land for nomadic families to stop on and accept that everyone deserves somewhere to call home.”

Friends Families and Travellers

Seattle: House squatted and evicted

Puget Sound Anarchists reports that activists from the Cal Anderson Community in Settle recently occupied a vacant building on December 16 and it was found empty by cops on December 18 when homeless people were again evicted from the park in a sweep which happens monthly.

Press release from December 16:
Activists from Cal Anderson Community occupy vacant building while facing sweep; demand a stop to sweeps and housing for all

Facing an eviction notice for 7:30 am Wednesday morning, dozens of housed and unhoused activists occupied a vacant house at 1006 East Denny, on the Northeast corner of Cal Anderson Park. At 3:30 pm Wednesday, these members of the community, which has formed over the past six months around Black Lives Matter and homeless advocacy, dropped a banner stating “Housing Is a Human Right!”

“They’re trying to evict us… Where do they expect us to go?” lamented one houseless activist. “This has been as close to a home as I’ve had in years. There aren’t enough shelter beds in the City for people like us, it’s cold out, and it’s almost Christmas. But there are thousands of empty spaces– why won’t they open them up to us?”

The activist’s demands are clear: Stop the sweeps, and guarantee housing for all.

“So many people don’t want to stay in shelters because of past trauma, or because they’re high-barrier or accept only youth or women,” said one activist, a social worker who works with the houseless community. “We need to provide places where people can live independently, get back on their feet, access services, and be treated like the human beings that they are.

“The Housing First model works,” the activist continued; “We’ve seen it in academic research and in real-life cases. It’s more cost-effective, it’s better for long-term recovery, and it’s the only intervention that’s a real solution, not a Band-aid.”

Seattle’s shelter beds have been historically inadequate to meet the needs of the Homeless State of Emergency declared by King County in 2015. Since the beginning of the pandemic, shelters have had to reduce capacity to meet social distancing requirements. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines urge cities to allow homeless encampments when other housing options are not available, and to instead install handwashing stations and portable toilets to improve santiatio. Further, the guidelines state, “Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community.”

Cal Anderson Community Activists Occupy Vacant Building

Manchester: Winter Shelter update

Well, time to check in with you all.

As you have probably gathered there is no shelter this winter. It became an impossible situation. We are continuing to distribute clothing etc to Outreach, and recently furniture and household goods to 1st Homer’s. Bless all involved and it’s been lovely to meet you. X

We kitted out the squat lot with fridge freezer, beds, bedding, pots, pans, plates, cups, food, dog beds and blankets, clothing, towels, toiletries, everything to give them a good start.

Hopefully they will remain safe from eviction for the winter. It was not possible to engage further with them. We hope they get the help they so obviously need.

MERRY CHRISTMAS
Manchester Winter Shelter

Brighton: Using Space 15 about the squats of London Road

Using Space is a zine about squats, social centres and alternative ways of living

Recent (2020) squats in Brighton on the short stretch of London Road which goes from St. Peters Church up to Preston Circus led me to reflect on this area’s incredibly active radical history. To focus on just one element, let’s walk past the sites of former squats on London Road …

This is a 28 page zine which is presented A4 sized and can be easily printed brochure to make a A5 zine. Download here or at cobblebooks.

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