Dear Ms Sassen,
in an interview with the German daily ‘tageszeitung’ published on May, 25th 2013 you answered extensively with regards to your position as curator of this year’s international building exhibition (IBA) currently underway in the Hamburg borough of Wilhelmsburg. Throughout the interview you emphasize that there can be no talk of
‘gentrification’. You virtually refrain from corroborating your statement with hard facts beyond your repeated statement that the managers of the building exhibition show ‘goodwill’ and that it is their ‘declared aim’ to not drive out the ‘local residents’.
We were quite surprised to read this. Judging by a few of your texts which we have studied, it was our understanding that it is your intention to point out a growing polarization as a result of the development of ‘global cities’.
On Wednesday morning banners were dropped from a disused building belonging to the State on Rue de Quatre Coins reading ‘A Roof is a Right’ and ‘This is a legal squat’. The building had been occupied for many days beforehand, although clandestinely, and being safely past the 48 hour point, after which the police cannot enter or evict without a court order by French law, the occupants decided to make their occupation public. Police Nationale arrived shortly after but then left again to return with more police, but did not try to enter seemingly understanding their legal position and respecting the rights of those inside. A representative from the town hall also showed up, as well as a police forensics technician, who both took pictures of the door (and the legal notice that had been taped to it) but did not find anything to have been damaged and left again.
However, the next day at 7:30 AM around thirty PAF arrived and forced entry into the building by breaking the front door and climbing in an upper story window. Three people who were inside were arrested and taken to Coquelle, where they were held without food for ten hours, but then released without any charge or summons despite refusing to cooperate with police or identify themselves.
Occupied now for a month and a half, the squat on Boulevard Victor Hugo was visited by the city bailiff and a vanload of CRS yesterday so that they could take the name on the house and begin legal proceedings.
One week after the beginning of the occupation, the Assistant Mayor Phillippe Mignonet showed up with police and used obvious demagogy to try and convince us of our illegitimacy, but without actually being able to do anything. The politician (who holds extremely right wing views and celebrates repression against migrants in general) told us, “I will make your life hell. It’s not a threat, it’s a promise!”
Although this may be his intention, he is in fact completely impotent in the face of our occupation. This was acknowledged by the article in the Nord Littoral newspaper entitled ‘Un groupe de No Borders indélogeable’, which stated that despite the passage of the police and the municipality it’s impossible to dislodge the squatters after 48 hours of occupation without going through a legal process. [Read More]
Last week, residents at the Stay Away received an eviction notice from the Alameda County Sherriff, ordering them to vacate by this Tuesday, July 23rd. The Stay Away is a squatted four-unit apartment building that was started in November of 2011 in the midst of the events surrounding Occupy Oakland. It has housed numerous people since it began and provided free rent for those who needed it. Now it is threatened with destruction at the hands of REO Homes LLC, a predatory entity that has bought hundreds of foreclosed houses in the City of Oakland (especially West Oakland).
Today (June 18) the court in Calais declared the municipality’s request for the eviction of the squat on Rue Caillette “unreceivable” for procedural reasons. This means that the city will have to resubmit and argue their case all over again before being able to evict, giving those living there more valuable time before being forced back onto Calais’ streets. Here is an open letter which was submitted for the defence by the occupants.
The ineptitude of the municipality in how they handled this case has been surprising although very welcome. Apparently, when forced to respect the law and abide by procedure the city does not know what to do, having gotten so accustomed to breaking down doors and throwing people out over the years (old habits die hard). [Read More]
In picture: rubber-cloved police smirk as they chase away Roma in a dawn raid on 19 July against the Marble Arch encampment in London’s high-class Park Lane district, assisted by immigration officers and staff from the Romanian Embassy. Some seventy people, including children, had been sleeping in the open under blankets and plasic.
Yesterday morning, Lambeth Council, the National Eviction Team and dozens of cops evicted 75 people from their homes in Rushcroft Road, Brixton. After 32 years, Lambeth Council has now decided to sell off the properties to estate agent giant and notorious tax dodger Foxtons. Fuelled by anger at the increasing gentrification of Brixton alongside Lambeth councils continuous failure to provide affordable housing, squatters, residents and locals put up a strong fight against the evictions.
A very excellent eyewitness account of yesterdays events can be found here.
And a Vice magazine article with some good pic’s here.
Activist Says Property Seizure is Designed To Harass Homeless Out of Santa Cruz.
On July 3, an activist served representatives of the Santa Cruz County government with a written notice stating that the Sheriff department’s policy of seizing the property of pre-trial homeless detainees violates federal code and the United States Constitution. The notice was accepted, and the activist believes that if a lawsuit is brought against the county, the authorities can not assert that they were unaware of the dangers they subject the homeless to. The activist served the notice wearing a face mask, believing strongly that individuals have the right to serve branches of the government with legal papers anonymously.
Rushcroft Road Eviction – this Monday 15th July.
Join the people of the Rushcroft Road to stop Lambeth evicting Brixton.
We are 75 people living in 6 blocks of residential flats in central Brixton who are facing eviction from our homes. Most of us have occupied and squatted the building for decades. One person has been here for 32 years. Generations of families have grown up here.
Lambeth council have let these buildings go into a state of disrepair. We have made these buildings into our homes.
Now there are significant profits to be made they will renovate the buildings and sell them off. In doing so they are destroying a community with deep roots in Brixton. This is part of a wider trend in and around London boroughs where councils socially cleanse, motivated solely by money, pushing out those who have been for many years. [Read More]
The Federal Government is obligated by law to invest money in the National Housing Trust Fund, which should go inro housing for folks hit hard by the financial crisis – as well as folks hit hard by centuries of institutional racism and oppression!
But that money is MIA.
In fact, over $380 million is missing from the trust fund.
That’s why we’re suing the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
And that’s why we had this press conference yesterday.
All of our photos from the lawsuit-announcement press release are here.
A terrific article in the Wall Street Journal goes deep into the background of the suit. [Read More]