RESIST WITH « LES 400 COUVERTS », FRENCH (GRENOBLE) SQUATTED STREET UNDER THREAT OF EVICTION!
After the eviction of le « parc mistral » (see http://grenoble.squat.net/#parc) where people struggled in the trees and on the ground all winter to prevent the destruction of a public park and the building of a massive football stadium, Grenoble’s « socialist » city council wants to destroy les « 400 couverts » a 3 years old squat project that brings life, autonomy building, subversive culture, actions and solidarity right in the town center. People there are preparing to resist and their project needs urgent support.
This text was written to inform the neighborhood and local people about the « 400 couverts » present situation but should be of interest for anyone who wants to know more about one of the creative experience and resistance of the french squat movement.
WHAT’S GOING ON IN « LES 400 COUVERTS » ?
A WHOLE STREET PROGRESSIVELY OCCUPIED IN THE TOWN CENTER…
- 6 squatted buildings that are rehabilitated since two years and an half + the housing of twenty people and a collective living space
- the « chapitonom »; an home-made public space, a circus tent in a barn where more than 2000 people met during one of the 70 free public events organised since two years (gigs, cinemas, theater, debates…)
- a baker’s oven made of cob (mud, straw, manure…) builded in spring 2003 in order to bake bread, pizzas, cakes with woodfire and used for neighborhood public food organized in the street.
- an oil filtering working space to feed the squat’s vehicles with recycled sunflower’s oil and to replace diesel
- the infoshop and a library of more than 1000 books, booklets, magazines and videos about various political issues. This infoshop is part of the french infoshop network and involved with the website http://infokiosques.net
- a free zone where everybody can get clothes and various others things and put whatever he/she doesn’t use anymore.
- a « yourte »: do-it-yourself mongol tent for half-nomadic living projects.
- a vegetable garden
- a public garden, rehabilitated, painted and decorated with mosaics
- various fruits trees planted in the streets
- some spaces of meetings and stockage for various associations and collectives (festival of resistance against capitalism, indymedia grenoble, anti-psychiatry collective, sunflower oil network, iosk and zanzara athée booklets distros…)
- some barns to keep skips and home-made food
- a practice room for dance, theater, boxing, feminist self-defense workshops…
- a computer workshop based on free softwares (unix/gnu-linux)
- a bicycle repairing workshop
- a collective kitchen to organize public meals
- some specific workshops and skill exchanges on stained glass, screen printing, joinery, pottery, seam…and general house rehabilitation (electricity, plumbing, lime, tiling, masonry and all sorts of crazy decorations….)
All these spaces and activities are made Do It Yourself, without any institutional subsidies and generally without money, outside any business or institutional structure. They’re linked together through exchanges and meetings between people, inhabitants or participants to these activities and through developing some common state of mind and interrogations. Our activities are aimed at challenging various norms and systems, from « cultural consumption » to this society based on profit, competition, and « growth »…
The life of the 400 street is rythmed by skipping and skill exchanges, researching human relations without domination, meetings, fest around a white tablecloth, country-town links, theoretical discussions, friendliness times with the neighborhood, transmission of knowledges, participation to some demonstration and social struggles (in particular around the housing issue with the defend-toit collective)…
The city council of Grenoble, owner of the place, has always been either indifferent or frankly hostile towards les 400 couverts : they threatened to cut the water, have started a trial for eviction and have destroyed the roof of one of the houses to prevent it from being occupied… It is only through the local newspaper, the «liberated dolphiné» (dauphiné libéré), that we have been informed of their project to destroy the building and evict us in 2004. Grenoble’s city council didn’t get in touch since two years and seems to put in practice their so-called politic of « dialogue » only through bailiffs and riot cops.
WE WANT TO UNDERLINE WHAT WILL DISAPPEAR IF THE « 400 COUVERTS » ARE EVICTED.
Grenoble city council propaganda praises « avant garde », cultural diversity and so on… but will sign the death of a priceless experience of collective living and self-management , right in the town center, integrated since years in the neighborhood and in a network of local and regional collectives. The city council spend millions in its « house of culture » for entertainment…but put to dust a space of creativity, exchanges and solidarity that doesn’t cost anything. With this forth eviction of our collective in four years (the squats CPA 1, CPA 2 and sing sing…), they show clearly that they don’t want to let any space for this kind of projects.
(Grenoble’s city council is a so called «socialist party» municipality and therefore create a specific public « social » speech that tries to hide their liberal and authoritarian agenda. Following words in italic are typical of their hypocritical propaganda…)
Is it the way they want to solve the huge «housing crisis» ?
Is it the way they want to recreate «social links» ?
Is it the way they want to promote the creative «initiatives» of grenoble’s inhabitants ?
What will they sacrifice again to clean, control, and standardize the town, to attract new investors and a profitable population of nano-technology engineers ?
What new fake shows of dialogue will they offer in order to give a human face to their evictions and other such glorious initiatives ?
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY IN THE « 400 COUVERTS » SQUATTED STREET MUST GO ON, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A «TEMPORARY ANOMALY».
With many people and creativity, we can still stop the city council. Some of us came in this street to live, make bread, dance, see shows, debate in small groups, choose free clothes…let’s defend this street together. Spaces of autonomy and experimentation are priceless, we won’t let them be destroyed
Spread the news, join the phone-tree… You can also write support letter and send it to us, all initiatives are welcomed :! There’s an infopoint everyday at noon to meet us, ask questions and give ideas, to visit the place and see what’s going on, and to know about the last 400ers adventures.
more on other self-managed spaces and projects in Grenoble on :
Les 400 couverts