Nation-Wide Squatting Campaign Begins in Canada!


  Nation-Wide Squatting Campaign Begins in Canada!


On October 26, 2002, the cross-Canada “Give It Or Guard It!’ squatting campaign began. Called by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), hot on the heels of their success with the 4-month-old Pope Squat, and after squatting actions in Quebec City, Vancouver, Victoria, and the bulldozing of Toronto’s Tent City squatter camp, OCAP put out the call for a national squatting campaign. The idea is to force governments to either allow homeless people and squatters to take empty buildings, or to spend resources guarding them with lines of police.

Squatters in Halifax cracked open an enourmous empty hospital and barricaded themselves in on the 4th floor. Supporters outside blocked the front entrance to the building with their bodies. On the 27th, police raided the squat and arrested 7 people. A support demonstration outside the jail was held.

In Montreal the Anti-Capitalist Convergence Housing Committee held a march and guided tour of potential squats and chanted against the gentrification of their neighbourhood. The group occupied an old building that is slated to become a luxury condo, dropped a banner from one of its windows, and left the building without any arrests by police.

In the small town of Sudbury, Ontario, the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, and the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Common Front held a march for housing, put stickers on abandoned buildings, and briefly occupied an empty school, where they dropped a banner. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty faced-off against a huge police presence and police attacks on their demonstration in Toronto on October 26. Several potential squats were guarded by lines of police, and at several points bicycle cops and mounted policemen attacked the march, beating and clubbing people. There were 5 arrests for “breach of peace”. Towards the end of the march, OCAP members managed to crack open a building through its back doors, drop a banner from an upper-floor window, and escape through the front doors into the crowd as police broke in through the back to raid the building.

In Ottawa, the Ottawa Coalition Against the Tories held a demonstration and picket of a Home Depot business, in solidarity with the Toronto Tent City squatters who had been occupying Home Depot land in that city and were brutally evicted by Toronto police recently.

In Vancouver, the tent city outside the Woodwards building continued into its 42nd day, and the Anti-Poverty Committee released to the media the addresses of 6 buildings they intend to squat.

The movement continues to grow! Squat the lot!

sabate


Trouble in Valencia


  Trouble in Valencia


The last week, 4 anarchists and squatters from Valencia (CSO Malas Pulgas), were+arrested after an action against especulation after the eviction from their +house, the anti-terrorist law was aplicated with them and after 5 incomunicated+days, when the people waits them, they were taked to the prison and accusated +of a terrorist organization!! (and in the tv say that they are +middle-vinculated with ETA only for one panphlet about the bask prisoners!) the+4 are now in prison and the attorney says that is a 15 years accusation… We +need solidarity now and that the notice will be publicate in your web page. Thank you and fuck the spanish state!!

[squat!net]


Tags:

Police evicts a squat in Moscow using brutal violence


  Police evicts a squat in Moscow using brutal violence


Evgeni Schetov is an artist, to whom Moscow Union of Artists provided a space some two and half years ago. Since then, small space in Armyanskiy Pereulok 1 has become important hub for libertarian revolutionaries in Moscow, in particular for radical ecological movement Rainbow Keepers and Radical League of Artists. This made both city officials and bureaucratic art prats from Moscow Union of Artists unhappy, and during more than a year the space has been under a threat of an eviction. In reply to threats, Schetov has quit paying rents and municipal services – making space the first political squat in Moscow since 1997. Neither the Moscow Union of Artists nor the person who owns the place bothered to go to court to nullify the contract which is in force until October 2004. Instead they decided to use illegal direct action and violence to reach their goals.

Pressure against the place has been growing during last months, with regular attempts of police to break into the place and violent beatings of activists by people from Moscow Union of Artists. Breaking in has not been an easy task since the place is located below ground level and has a heavy door protecting it. However in the morning of Saturday 12th of October police managed to destroy door with axes, and police and members of Union of Artists rushed in smashing all the people on their way. One of the attacked got a brain crash, some others bleeding wounds. 3 persons had to visit hospital. Everyone got arrested. In time of the arrest, Moscow Union of Artists threw all property to street and changed the locks.

Squatters are now launching a campaign against eviction, to get back what is rightfully theirs. Please help us in our campaign, and distribute this message! We are organising a fax campaign for MONDAY 21ST OF OCTOBER to pressure institutions which are responsable for the eviction. Please send faxes Monday 21st of october to following adresses:

Moscow Union of Artists: +7-095-921-86-08
Head Department of Internal Affairs in Moscow (GUVD) +7-095-973-20-41
General prosecutor’s office +7-095-921-41-86
Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow (MVD) +7-095-237-49-25

Best time is the working time in Moscow, which is 6 AM – 14 AM Greenwich Median Time. If you have problems with the schedule, send faxes any other time later in the day or the same week.

Below a a sample letter you may use. Any further edition of the letter on your own is very much recommended!

Please report how much you have send faxes, by whom and to which adresses to dikobrazi [at] lists [dot] tao [dot] ca. Reporting is very important! Write also if you have problems in getting the faxes through.

A Sample letter:

To <Select appropriate among the following:> Moscow Union of Artists/Head Department of Internal Affairs in Moscow/ General prosecutor’s office/Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow

Saturday 12th of October police and Moscow Union of Artists attacked the space in Armyanskiy Pereulok 1.

The place is hosted by Evgeni Schetov and Radical League of Artists, who have worked closely with Rainbow Keepers movement and other left organisations in Moscow. Now the Moscow authorities and Moscow Union of Artists have decided to smash this important centre of Moscow left youth. 3 of the squatters were beaten up and then moved to hospital, others were evicted from space and arrested.

We strongly condemn this attack of bureucrats against autonomous culture. You are not following even your own laws here!

We demand returning the place back to artists, as their contract remains in force until October 2004 and you have not bothered to go to court to finish the contract.

Date, signature

from the caravan99 [at] lists [dot] riseup [dot] net listserv


Dublin: The Plight of Carrickmines castle

Since August 30th this year the site of the 800 year-old castle has been occupied by a group of activists known as the “Carrickminders.” They are there in an attempt to stop the extension of the M50 with inclusion of a roundabout that will almost totally obliterate and eventually condemn to memory the site, which is of vast archaeological significance. To date over 30,000 artifacts have been discovered there. Following the original excavation which was forcibly ended on August 30th (upon which the Carrickminders stepped in) certain of the 130 archaeologists were taken from the pits crying over the amount uncovered and that would be left there to be destroyed by the building of the road. [Read More]

Vancouver (Canada): Wood Squat has its own website!

Friends of the Woodwards Squat is pleased to announce a text-only info clearinghouse for the current housing action in Vancouver.

The site includes updates, links to audio, video, and photographic documentation of squat activities and the police violence & property destruction on 22 September & 03 October, as well as:

– The Demands from the Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters
– Information on how to support the squat and legal defense fund
– Information on the eviction of 21 September and arrest of the Woodwards 58
– Contact information for affiliated groups involved in the squat
– Interviews and writing from squat residents
– A chronology since 14 September with links to documents
– A bibliography of commercial print media coverage
– An index to the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. newsletter with on-line reprints
– A list of upcoming events

Note: Woodsquat.net is not an official site of the Woodwards Squat nor any of the organizations or individuals involved in the housing action. It is not a subsidiary of any media outlet, commercial or otherwise, nor does it receive any form of state funding, directly or indirectly. Friends of the Woodwards Squat publishes the W.O.O.D.S.Q.U.A.T. newsletter and does not represent the Squat. FWS is a support group that helped with supplies and garbage removal during the occupation & now assists with legal support for the Woodwards 58, the people who were subsequently attacked by police on 22 Sept, and the people who lost their possessions in the garbage trucks after the Sunday night attack. Please direct questions about demands or specific support actions to the Woodwards Coalition or another of the many groups and individuals involved in defense activity.

http://www.woodsquat.net

“Friends of the Woodwards Squat” <violetta_sera [at] hotmail [dot] com>

Quebec City: A squat short story (from Barricada #18)


  Quebec City: A squat short story (from Barricada #18)


On Friday, September 20th, the 920 de la Chevrotiere squat in Quebec City was evicted following more then 4 months of occupation. The eviction was carried out by a small army of cops and city officials.

At around 6 pm several plainclothes officers entered the building, read a legal eviction notice with a megaphone and asked the people inside to leave. The squatters did not resist the eviction and were given permission to go inside two by two to pick up their belongings.

Once this was done, city workers boarded up the building. As soon as the news of the eviction was known, some 40 supporters and friends gathered in front of the building for an impromptus support demo. The official reason given for the eviction was that the place was no longer safe because there was no running water (water was cut a few days before the raid). Despite the eviction, the former squatters will continue the struggle and move ahead with an already planned demonstration scheduled for September 26th (some 100 people came to the demo).

The Story of 920 de la Chevrotiere

On Friday May 17th, after months of organizing, some 300 angry tenants, housing activists, anarchists and other radicals gathered in Quebec City for the largest local demonstration around housing issues since the 1970′s.

The call, issued by the Comite Populaire Saint-Jean-Baptiste, was crystal clear: “come support a direct action” and announced an “unlimited occupation against the housing crisis”. As this was part of a wider campaign coordinated by the FRAPRU (Quebec largest reformist tenant union federation), locals where joined by a busload of tenants from Montreal and Sherbrooke who occupied various abandoned industrial buildings during the week. 12 occupations were organized all over the province by various housing groups involving more then 1200 different people. At this time, no one knew that the Quebec City action would be the longest occupation of the week.

The occupied house was highly significant for the neighborhood and the Comite populaire. In the 1970′s, during the great demolitions, 6 houses known as l’Ilot Berthelot miraculously stood tall and were not demolished. The place was bought and sold so many times in the last 30 years that it’s impossible to keep track of the various owners. All of them, however, wanted to demolish the 6 houses and build in their place huge towers instead of luxury condominiums. There was so much speculation on the value of the buildings and the land that by 1991, it had became the most expensive plot of land in the city.

That’s also when the Comite Populaire, a citizens committee active in the neighborhood since 1976, and the social ecologist group Les AmiEs de la Terre de Quebec chose to move their offices into one of the houses (910 De la Chevrotiere). Their demands were clear: they wanted the take over of the buildings by a self managed housing cooperative. In the face of growing public awareness, the city finally bought the 6 houses in 1994 at the cost of 1 000 000$ (that’s almost 10 times their 1970 value!). Four of them where initially transformed into a self managed housing cooperative, but the 2 southern houses were not. They stood empty for 3 years before the squatters moved in. The city hoped to sell them to some promoters who would demolish them and build luxury condominiums sold at 150 000$ each.

The occupied house was a small two story building typical of the neighborhood. While the action was organized by the Comite populaire, a collective of squatters and supporters have taken over from day one (you believe in autonomy and self-management or you dont!) and the Comite was relegated to a “support” role. The struggle was led by a general assembly of squatters and supporters and the house was managed via regular squatters meetings. The demands of the squatters being three fold.

– First they want the place to be given away to a non-profit group so that it be used for collective needs (such as a social center) and they want the empty land surrounding it developed into a self managed housing cooperative for low-income families.

– Second, they want a stop to the transformation of apartments in the city into luxury condominiums and a total ban of them on site.

– Third, they want the government to finance at least 8 000 new social housing units a year in the province (which would mean 700 in Quebec City).

Support for these demands is high in the city. More then 2 000 people from all over the place –including Basque refugees and French squatters!^?came to visit and signed a petition. The majority of the cooperatives in the neighborhood originally sent letters of support, including the Coop de l’Ilot Berthelot who gave cheap electricity and water to the squatters for three and a half months. You can see posters of support in many houses and, to the squatters surprise, in more then a dozen local stores. Social groups of all kinds sent support letters and some of them, especially student unions, made small and big donations. In this context, the so-called left-wing municipality didn^?t want to send in the cops and hoped the squatters would either burn out or that the support would erode.

A delicate and unforseen situation developed in the last two months of the occupation. Indeed, since the beginning, the occupation attracted it’s fair share of victims of the housing crisis who needed a temporary housing solution, the time necessary to catch up and find a more stable place to stay. In the vast majority of cases, it was going fairly well.

This said, however, we must recognize that, thanks to capitalism, the vast majority of the people of our class who end up in the street are also those that are the most vulnerable and it is rare that housing is their only problem…

A conflict developed in the squat which resulted in homeless people moving in the empty building on the other side of the street, the 921 de la Chevrotiere (which was deemed unsafe by the general assembly). Soon, there was no discussion possible between the two groups, the occupants of the 920 de la Chevrotiere had become the ennemy, false squatters, false anarchists, etc. In the beggining there was three of them… but they where fast joined by other homeless who where kicked out of the various “community resources”. In the end, there was 15 of them.

Sometimes it was calm, but other times they would take to screaming after any and all passersby. One of them tried to assault a women of the neighborhood cooperative. Concrete threats were made against individuals and the squat. Serious violence erupted from time to time inside the building. Soon, the attitude and anti-social acts of these people started to affect everyone. The occupants of the 920 tried to deal with the situation but failed to act on it fast enough. The cops and the municipality succeeded in using the situation to split the support of the squatters.

Political Maneuvers in the Last Two Weeks

Two weeks before the final eviction of the squat, the neighborhood coop had a general assembly where it was voted unanimously to find a “final solution” to the problems coming from the 921 de la Chevrotiere. While the squatters of the 920 tried to explain the differences between the two squats, the executive committee of the coop came to the conclusion that since the unwanted squatters came from a split in the first squat, the only way to get rid of the problem was to close both (which was not exactly what was voted on in the general assembly).

In the end they announced that they would cut electricity and water to the 920 de la Chevrotiere building and would publicly withdrew support if nothing changed. It took a few days to convince all the people in the 921 de la Chevrotiere to move elsewhere, but when it was finally done, the coop had already called the cops and the municipality. The day after the last person moved out, the cops came in and boarded the place (that was on Friday, Sept. 13th).

In the meantime, the municipality had mobilized all of it’s allies to launch a full fledged political attack on the squat. On Monday, September 16th, the chairman of the neighborhood coop and the coordinator of the regional housing coop federation called a press conference to officially denounce the squatters as people who don^?t help the struggle for social housing and to ask them to put an end to the occupation. The same day, the mayor also came out saying that the occupation must end now and that social housing was to be built on site as soon as the squatters were evicted.

Indeed, the coop federation had made a deal with a private promoters to build both social housing and luxury condominiums on the site. The public message was that the squatters were in the way… The intent of the city was clear, they wanted to isolate the squatters and make it look like they where loosing support. This strategy didn^?t work however, and, in less than 24 hours, the squatters succeeded in mobilizing most of the allies they had in the housing rights movement and other social movements to restate their support for the occupation after some 3 months of silence.

But the city chose to ignore this and on Friday, September 20th they sent in the cops to evict the squatters. Only time will tell if the city will pay for this or get away with it as usual, but it is clear however that the regional coop federation did isolate itself from the social movement and that they will pay for it (a new local housing rights coalition was just formed and they where not invited).

Partial victory and the Struggle Continues

While there still is no total victory, the occupation already did get some positive results. First, there will be new cooperative housing on the site (around 30 units). This was not granted at all since the city only wanted to have condominiums. The issue now is whether it will be possible to totally ban condominiums on site (that’s the theme of the next demo).

Second, the city finally gave in in August and voted a moratorium on new conversion of apartments into condominiums. This moratorium is shitty, as it has many holes and exceptions, but it is clearly a response to the occupation and other actions. The whole anarchist criticism of legislation applies here, of course, but it is still a small step. So the squatters did win a few things from the powers because of their action, but the main victory is not there.

The occupation legitimized direct action in the mind of people and showed the support it can have. It helped to educate a large number of people about the housing crisis and the remedy to it. Furthermore, the squatters where not just sitting on the place, it was an experience in itself. An experience of direct action, direct democracy and another kind of social relations. And an experience that allows for other actions.

A radial Infoshop was opened in the basement stocking literature ranging from union newsletters and ecologist literature to Maoist newspapers, anarchists books and Trotskyist magazines. The kids in the neighborhood had a safe place to come and play (and do their home-work!). There have been a number of community activities ranging from free meals to video nights and parties. And groups from all over the city use the space (including the local NEFAC group who had a number of meetings and public activity there). People are already talking about forming an autonomous collective to continue the whole experience elsewhere.

The squat as direct action is one of the ways we can get out of the dead-end of protest as usual. Short of a massive rent strike, it’s the most dramatic action a movement around housing can take. While most of the time public opinion can just ignore the effect of the housing crisis, high profile political squats polarize it. On one hand there are homeless and badly housed tenants, and on the other there are empty buildings. Squats bring all of this in your face, and force people to take a stand. As a direct attack on private property, squats can also bring to the fore the fundamental contradiction of the housing question (housing right vs property rights or human needs vs market). Squats are also everything but symbolic and contrary to most protests, they can’t be ignored by the authorities, tilting the balance of force further to our side.

Nicolas Phebus
La Nuit Collective (NEFAC-QC)

The 920 de la Chevrotiere occupation was the longest single direct action ever on the housing front in Quebec and probably Canada.

[Ok, this was a subjective report written from *my* perspective. Other participants in the squat may (indeed DO) have another interpretation of the events (this is why the article is signed!). This article will be published in the october issue of Barricada. Objectivité existe pas!]

This article was printed in Barricada’s new special double issue which is available now. Barricada is the monthly magazine of the Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC).

Singles copies are 3$ (us), 4$ (can), 1.50$ (Boston) for this special double issue.

Subscriptions are $15 USD for six issues (US and Canada) $30 for twelve issues. $20 USD for a six issue subsciption to Western Europe. Write for bulk rates.

Money orders are best, checks with the “pay to order of” left blank next, or well concelled cash at your own risk.

Barricada
PO Box 73
Boston, MA 02133

Barricada on the web – http://www.barricada.org

For more information about NEFAC, visit us on the web at:
http://flag.blackened.net/nefac(English)
http://www3.sympatico.ca/emile.henry/nefac.htm(French)

=====
I need land, a place where no money is spent, then kick back and live life immaculate. – The Coup.

Nicolas Phébus


Vancouver (Canada): Woodwards Squat Requests Support


  Canada, Vancouver, Woodwards Squat Requests Support


Coalition of Woodwards Squatters and Supporters
Corner of Abbott and Hastings St. Vancouver, BC
Phone (604) 682-2726 FAX (604) 687-4347

September 30th 2002

Dear Friends,

We the Woodwards Squatters are struggling to sustain our presence outside the Woodwards Building in our fight for social housing and we need your help.

Last night our security team counted 125 squatters, homeless, and their supporters, sleeping around the building. Everyday our numbers grow which is both exciting, but also increases our need for more resources.

We need your support in the form of donations (see list below). In return for your help, we will add your name to the list of our endorsers and supporters in our upcoming poster campaign, press conference and website. Anonymous donations are also respected.

Any resources you can contribute would greatly benefit the cause and society as a whole. Join the supporters in your community by supporting the Woodwards Squat.

How to help: There are two ways you can contribute: 1. Bring down your donations, or 2. Items can be picked up.

1. Bring down your donations:
Donations can be brought down directly to the squat at the corners of Abbott and Hastings, or to the office at #42 Blood Alley PH (604)682-2726

2. Items can be picked up:
If you need help getting your donation down to us, just call us (604)682-2726 and we will co-ordinate a pick up.

Things we need (ongoing):

Food and Spices
Blankets, sleeping bags, etc.
Water, Juice, Coffee
Pillows, Quilts
Large cooking pots
Warm jackets, sweaters, socks
Disposable dishes and cutlery
Mattresses, foam pads and tents
Fuel-Fed Cooking Stoves and Fuel
Tarps and Rope
Cleaning supplies
Rolls of Plastic
Art materials (paint, markers, large rolls of paper etc.)
Hammers, pliers, nails etc.
Money for cooking materials and security (radios etc.)
Staple guns
8 1/2 x 11 and 11x 17 paper
Computer, printer
Ongoing photocopying access
Toilet paper, tampons and napkins
Soap, towels and toiletries

We appreciate your support towards the fight for social housing.

In Solidarity,

The Woodwards Squatters

Name of Business / Non-Profit Organization
___________________________________________

Address
___________________________________________

Phone, Email, Fax
___________________________________________

Items Donated
___________________________________________

Date
___________________________________________

“Friends of the Woodwards Squat” <violetta_sera [at] hotmail [dot] com>