East Berlin’s squatter movement erupted across the city after the fall of the wall in 1989. But what role did housing activists in the 1980s play in shaping an alternative vision for the contemporary city?
In September 1988, an anonymous report appeared in the East German underground magazine Umweltblätter describing the plight of a group of squatters who had occupied 61 Lychenerstrasse in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. In the squatters own words, they had “occupied the house in order to overcome the contradiction between, on the one hand, the many vacant and decaying houses [in Berlin], and on the other, a growing number of people in search of housing”. As “squatters (Instandbesetzer),” they proclaimed, “we will resist the further cultural and spiritual devastation of the country.”[i]
Housing for people, not for profit!
We are confronted with a brutal European austerity regime which continues to transform our livelihoods into financial assets for global speculation, which violates the universal right to housing every day, which destroys democracy at all levels and has no socially acceptable solution for the crisis of capitalism. Not only since the crisis it is the poor and excluded who get hit by this system especially hard: un- and underemployed, homeless, precarious workers, immigrants, Roma, students, single mums, and everybody who is not willing to fit into a capitalist mode of reproduction. This group is now becoming the majority of society.
How the capitalist systems plays out in the diverse housing markets in Europe might be different, but the underlying logic of neoliberal politics, privatization and financialization of our homes is the same.
This is why we aim to stand up, to unite our struggles and to broaden our movements. We will not let us be divided by neoliberal politics.
Join our struggle on October 19th!
On August 5th cops in Greece continued their campaign of repression against squats by raiding three squatted spaces in Patras: Parartima, Maragopouleio and the Self-managed Hangout inside the Technological Educational Institute (TEI). 16 comrades were detained in total; 5 squatters and 11 supporters.
While those showing solidarity were later released, the 5 occupants faced charges in court on the 13th. Therefore the next day we painted a banner to express our solidarity with squatters facing charges and evicted from their homes.
Additionally today we hung another banner to show solidarity with the squat Rigaer 94 and all those arrested during raids in Berlin on the 14th. The raids were supposedly related to arson attacks of various job centres and a Molotov attack against police, in solidarity with the revolts in Turkey after the eviction of Gezi Park in Istanbul. [Read More]
According to first reports, there were huge police raids on eight house projects and apartments in Berlin, including the Rigaer 94, this morning (14/8). The cops are supposedly looking for people responsible for attacks on various job centers (‘welfare offices’) as well as a recent molotov attack against police, who were conducting a drug raid in Köttbusser Tor during a solidarity demonstration for the revolt in Turkey. More news as it comes…
Below is a call for spontaneous demonstration in response to the raids:
This morning, August 14th, 2013, cops raided several apartments in the Mitte, Kreuzberg and Neukölln neighbourhoods of Berlin.
In Friedrichshain the police deployed a riot squad, along with special task force troops to invade the house project Rigaer Straße 94 [whose front building was already stormed by cops on August 2nd]. [Read More]
On the second anniversary of the eviction of Liebig 14
“An event can be turned around, repressed, co-opted, betrayed, but there is still something in it that cannot be outdated. Only renegades would say: it’s outdated. But even if the event is ancient, it can never be outdated: it is an opening onto the possible. It passes as much into the interior of individuals as into the depths of society” -Gilles Deleuze
Struggle and Repression
The second of February 2011: a Berlin house project is evicted by several thousand cops. This event paradoxically marks a moment that is both a recent high-point of struggle in Berlin, as well as a highpoint of repression. Thousands take to the streets to demonstrate a collective refusal: we do not accept this eviction, nor the eviction of any other emancipatory space, nor the eviction of any individual or family from their home as a result of a city politics that is so clearly rotten, twisted in its pursuit of financial gain. We refuse the power of this city politics, and its neo-liberal yea-sayers, have over urban space. We will continue to fight for this space – the city we live in – to be a collective creation and not an object of financial speculation.
Today (March 18, 2013 – s!n) at lunchtime, a small but determined protest action took place in front of the Spanish embassy in London to show solidarity with the Mortgage Holders Platform (PAH). People handed out leaflets (attached) to passers-by and embassy staff. Other protest events took place in Edinburgh, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and lots of other Spanish cities. The action in London was supported by local private tenants groups and Unite Community. The protest in Paris was organized by the “Association of the Right to Housing” (“Association Droit au Logement”, DAL), in Berlin the alliance “Prevent evictions” (“Zwangsraeumungen verhindern”) and “Kotti&Co”, amongst others, followed the call for action.
We forward a communiqué related to a spontaneous demonstration in the streets of Kreuzberg, Berlin, and send comradely regards:
On the January 17th a spontaneous demonstration in solidarity with the squats in Athens took place in the streets of Berlin-Kreuzberg.
At 8 pm around 50 people gathered to show their solidarity with Villa Amalias, Skaramanga and Lelas Karagianis, walking through the main street of Kreuzberg.
The demonstration was not registered and most of the comrades were masked. Slogans were spray-painted, an ATM got destroyed, fireworks went off and some stuff was pulled on the street. The demonstrators were shouting “From Berlin to Greece: Fight the police!” and “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” (in Greek). A civil car of the police showed up and got chased off with stones. [Read More]
Repost from mainstream news: The building was once used by the Stasi, East Germany’s dreaded secret police. But, more recently, it has served as a popular activity center for seniors in a high-rent neighborhood. When local authorities decided to shut it down and sell it, retirees adopted a classic Berlin tactic: squatting. And they’re determined to win.
Nearly one year after the eviction of the neighbouring houseproject Liebig 14, our project Rigaer 94 and the squatbar Kadterschmiede got attacked by cops.
On 28th of January 2012, a demo against a police congress and the urban operations-conference in Berlin took place. At night there was an after-demo soliparty in Kadterschmiede which is located in Rigaer 94.
Before the party had even started, the area was already swarming with cops. Soon the usual quarrel with the cops at our gate to the street began. It is not unusual that they try to get into the yard and cause some trouble. At first, they were held back by our outer gate as always.
Yesterday morning (25/12/11) around 7 am two separate fires broke out in the house, one in the basement, another one in the stairway of the house. At that time not only the residents were in the house, but also several party
guests, at the whole around 150 people. The fire left 12 people injured, two of them with multiple broken bones, after they jumped out in panic from the windows of the first floor. Two kids are also among the injured people.
Riots all over Germany after the eviction of Liebigstrasse 14 in Berlin on 2nd of february.
The Liebig 14 was one of the last and oldest squats in Berlin.
On the 2nd of february, 2.500 cops violently evicted the houseproject. It took them 8 hours to evict the barricated house.
One week before the eviction there was a demonstration with 7.000 people in Berlin against the evictionplans.
In the night following the eviction, there were demonstrations with about 3.000 people and riots in the streets of Berlin with an estimated damage of one million euros and more riots with less people and less damage in the following nights.