Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!


  Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!


Koppenhinksteeg @

Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg must stay!

Saturday the 9th of February 2002

Demonstration for keeping Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg Departing from the Koppenhinksteeg at 14.00h

On the 9th of February there will also be an open day in the Koppenhinksteeg. The street will throw her doors open and present an informative cultural programme until the small hours. At 17.30h there will be food and the rest of the evening will be packed with poetry, live music, film etc and at 21.30h ska band ?De Hardheid? will entertain us. All day long: surprises for young and old!

The Freeplace in the Koppenhinksteeg in Leiden is being threatened with closure. For the last thirty-three years, the Freeplace has been a rallying point of resistance, creativity and discussion. However, Leiden council is planning to turn the buildings on the Koppenhinksteeg into an apartment complex with commercial space on the ground floor. There?s no space left for the present occupiers of the buildings. Therefore it?s important that as much people as possible take part in the demonstration on the 9th of February in order to convince Leiden city council that they have to change their minds about the plans. Stop Leiden council?s plans! Keep Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg!

Since the end of the nineteen-sixties, social and cultural activities have been taking place in the Koppenhinksteeg. It all started with anarchist artists who began a youth museum there. In the seventies, young people from a critical trade union occupied the buildings. Alternative bookshop Manifest then came along in the nineteen eighties. Nowadays the street is still bristling with activities such as the Weggeefwinkel (Free shop), Las Vegas, a unique info/book-shop, anti-racist organisation ?De Fabel van de Illegaal?, cultural centre Bar & Boos and a martial arts school. All of these initiatives add something special to the city. An average of 2000 people a week visit the Freeplace, which is run for the largest part by volunteers. The initiatives stand for another kind of society, one of solidarity where money is not the centre of everything. As the Weggeefwinkel?s motto says, there is enough for everyone?s need, but not enough for everyone?s greed. The Weggeefwinkel was the first shop of its kind in this country, and was awarded the Marga Klompé prize for the most social project in 1999.

This Freeplace looks set to disappear if Leiden council gets its way in turning the buildings into commercial properties. We can see comparable developments elsewhere in the city, for example in the area known as the Aalmarkt. Affordable housing and shop space in the city centre has to make way for big money. The city council believes they are adding to the city centre, but we call it selling the city out. The buildings that the Freeplace makes use of are not rented. This means that all maintenance costs are paid for by the organisations themselves. Should the council legalise the Freeplace and renovate the buildings, the foundation ?Stichting Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg? is prepared to rent them at an affordable rate. However, the council refuses to accept this offer as big money is calling! Recently a building permit has been issued. Hundreds of letters of objection have been handed in to the council against this permit and the whole procedure is still going on, and the alternative building, Lammermarkt 41 (which the council offered exclusively to De Fabel van de Illegaal and the Weggeefwinkel) is way too small.

On the 6th of March, local council elections will take place in Leiden. Many political parties have included the preservation of Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg in their programmes. We know that there?s also a lot of support for the Freeplace among the rank and file of other parties. We are calling on everyone to join in our musical and colourful demonstration for keeping the Freeplace in the Koppenhinksteeg, so that the initiatives there can continue to be creative and mutually support and inspire one another.


More information: Vereniging Vrienden Vrijplaats Koppenhinksteeg (Association ?Friends of Freeplace Koppenhinksteeg?) Postbox 2228 2301 CE Leiden The Netherlands E-mail: vvk [at] koppenhinksteeg [dot] nl Telephone: 06-23390616 Website:




Campaign for the autonomist center ‘Free Dom’


  Campaign for the autonomist center ‘Free Dom’


The autonomus cultural center “FREE DOM” from Wroclaw (Poland) is facing troubles from the local government. The support is needed to keep the center, where a lot of cultural and social activities are going on.


The prehistory of “FREE DOM” (“dom” means in Polish “house”) begins in the middle of 90′, when the group of friends squatted a small house near the center of Wroclaw (called “REJON 69”). During 3,5 years the group form a small comunnity and organised many cultural & political events (like punk concerts and festivals, regular food not bombs, demonstrations). In 1999 we had to leave this building and we squatted the next building.

Unfortunately it lasted only 2 weeks. Anyway we organised there “Eviction party” (concerts connected with spectacles and games for children), which showed the support of local (Jewish) community and made the “questions of squats” present in the media – first time on such a level. Owing to the big campaign, in the september 2000 we get the building for the cultural activity from the local authorities. It was quite devastated and we’ve spent almost a year on repairs. We called it “FREE DOM”.

information in polish:

Counter-Cultural activities of the “FREE DOM”

The activites in the house began in the spring of 2001 with a new alternative library, space for the anarchist black cross, and cinema and concert rooms with acts like; Citizen Fish, Catharsis, Sin Dios, Tragedy, and many many others. There is now a info cafe, dark room, serography space, art gallery exibitions and every Sunday there is Food not Bombs which gives squatters a chance to give food and eat together with local homeless people and speak to the community people.

Activities with the local community

Many things we do is to have contact with the local people it is a cultural “community” center after all with the purpose of taking care of the local issues. We plan to start a local newspaper to give out independent information as well as promote anti-capitalist ideas and alternatives to capitalism, and give more possiblittes for community involvement. We’ve started activites with the city kids which have started to become part of the house. Together with their parents we held parties and childerens feasts with games and painting. Also in the plan is to begin an “after school” program where they can get help with homework and spend their time with some creative activites like juggling, theater, photography workshops etc.

Cooperation with other cultural centers

The idea and function of the Cultural center is to be the place where people can come, and without money realise non profit projects, ideas, or just have a place to meet. This house is the only legal place like this in the city. But – we cooperate with the squatters groups from the city. Now there are 2 squats and one wagenburg in Wroclaw – we are in close contact with this groups, we’ve tried to give them support, when they had problems with police (eg. Kromera – one of the squats was evicted and reoccupied after 2 months, owing to large campaign it exist until today). We cooperate also with other squats and autonomous groups from Poland – last November we’ve hosted persons from dozens of Polish autonomous groups on the congress.


Polish squatters used to have problems with the police. There is not any good squatters laws, police is often agressive and works outside of law in the contacts with squatters. “Free Dom” as a legal center doesn’t have such a troubles. But our activity is also not acceptable for many politics from the local government – eg. Food Not Bombs, contacts with children. Instead of police they use the fact that we are legal: we have to fullfill many rules, ordered by Fire Brigade, police, building inspectors. Many of these rules are absurd and we can’t fullfill them because we don’t have enough money to pay bribes (and we generally don’t want to do it) and to make many reparations. We can’t organise any cultural events, if we don’t fullfill it and we can be kicked out from the building.

So – much support for us is needed – especially from abroad. When the local government see, that some groups and individuals from abroad supports us, it will help us very much in negotations. They must feel that we are not alone!

You can send the letters with support (the best solution is to write few sentences in English and in your native language) to the following addresses:

doivon [at] um [dot] wroc [dot] pl – city goverment sekret [at] um [dot] wroc [dot] pl – president of the city architek [at] um [dot] wroc [dot] pl -building inspectors

Fire Inspection: Fax: +48 71 329 21 88 City Goverment (Wroclaw) Fax: +48 71 344 78 29 We need also money for the repairs, lawyer, architect, etc… so if you want to help us financially, please contact us.

Our address: “FREE DOM” ul.Jagiellonczyka 10 d 50-240 Wroclaw (Poland) freedom69 [at] go2 [dot] pl

(for more informations about our group and activities – write us an email, we will send you it)


  —- Example of the support letter

I support the existence of cultural center “Free dom”, placed on JAGIELLONCZYKA 10d, WROCLAW. I think that the activitiy of “Free Dom” is important for the alternative culture in Poland. Such centers exist also in many countries all over the world. They should be supported and not blocked!




News from Berlin


  News from Berlin


Call for a demonstration “BUILD UP THE LEFT – DEFEND RIGAER94!” on 26.01.02 in Berlin

On the 20th of December Berlin`s highest district court gave Suitbert Beulker the go ahead to evict the cultural projekt “Kadterschmiede” and an open workshop, both of wich are situated in the ground floor of the Rigaer 94.

As if that wasn`t enough! The same district court decided against giving the occupants of the house a contract, the so called Rahmenvertrag, that would have protected their collective structure as well as giving them the right to decide themselves with whom they want to live with and even the possibility of keeping the “Kadterschmiede” open. During the court case the judge even said that he could have decided to give the Rigaer 94 the contract, but instead clearly showed that the interests of a “house owner” are more important than those of a collective, self-organised house project.

This is the same owner who has also bought -up the neighboring houses – Rigaer 95,96 and Liebigstr.14 without bothering to consider the needs or ideas of the tennants. In this sense he is just as responsible as the town planners whose yuppification policies forces people living on low incomes out of the city centre. Old houses in the inner city, after an eviction fetch a far higher price than, for example the typical high rise estates built by the GDR. Every year in Berlin 12,000 households are faced with eviction, mostly because of the rent arrears and simply because the rent continues to rise while wages do not. In 1993 an average 17% of a persons “take home – pay” had to be spent on rent. In 1998 this had increased to 27%. This is no co-incidence. The face of the new Berlin is effecting change with an aim in mind. The inner city is to be only for the rich and those of us who are seen as “unwanted” are to be forced onto the edge of the town. Background The house was bought in autumn 2000 by Dr.Suitbert Beulker (Schönhauser Allee 73a) after the occupants had already established a cooperative with the intent of buying and managing the house themselves. There were attempts to negotiate a solution that could perhaps best suit the interests of all. But from the beginning it was apparent that our plans for self – organized collective living would not be possible as long as there is a hierarchial structure with the landlord in place. After a short while Beulker put an end to the negotiations. Since then he sent eviction notices to all the tennants he began to make numerous eviction trials and the “Rahmenvertrag” became of utmost importance. This contract would preserve the collective living structure, emphasize the right to common space for the house and give the occupants the right to decide with whom they wish to live together with. There was a contract,the “Rahmenvertrag”, made in `91 that Beulker promised with a written statement to bring up to date during the negotiations. As was stated before he cut off the negotiations and did not fulfill his word and on that basis the house – collective decided to file a lawsuit against him with the hope of obtaining such a contract.

The Berlin line

Again and again the governmental housing policy has forced the unwanted out of the inner city. In 1872 the barracks which provided a root for the homeless people near Frankfurter Tor (five minutes away from the Rigaer 94) were evicted. Bismarck, in power in this time saw Berlin as the centre of prussia and germany. The eviction lead to rioting in which the inhabitants of Friedrichshain fought for three days against the police. Over the next few years flats where squatted and tennants refused their rents. In 1932 as widescale unemployment and rent increases meant housing was not affordable, evictions caused a new wave of riots against the police.

During the 1970`s as Berlin was cut off from the rest of West Germany, a special climate developed. This was answered with large squat actions throughout the 1980`s. The government of Berlin, which obviously saw the squatting as a problem, came up with the “Berlin line”. This law allows the police to evict houses which an owner can show are for example to be renovated. At the same time thin laws gave the police powers to immediately evict every new squat. During the wave of new squats in 1990, the law was discussed again by the government of Berlin. They did not change the text, but 24.7.1990 was set as being the day after which all new squats were to be evicted and all old ones should get contracts. Only half of the houses got (after years of fighting for their right to stay) contracts, the others were evicted. Legalisation was a short term solution which served only to quiet down the squatters movement. The ultimate differences and contradictions between the interests of the town planners and the squatters were left unchanged. The destruction of more and more “free spaces” continued…

Our resistance against those in power needs a social base. We need house projects, “wagenplätze” (caravan/vehicle sites), collectivly organised, uncommercial meeting points and social centers! We need places where we can at the very least begin to live freely. For us it is an essential element of our politics that we confront our own inconsistencies and try to live out our own political utopia.

With the demonstration we want to show that evictions are not isolated problems, but are a problem for us all. The point is we cannot accept their politics of clearing out “undesirables” to make room for new development and must demand different political solutions that better benefit the interests of all. For that it is necessary that with this demonstration we develop a strategy of bringing the resistance on the street and in the minds of the people to come nearer to an emancipatory society. Only when the ruling class understands that it cannot continue to enforce anything and everything against everybody, than the status-quo can be changed.

Join us and come to the Demonstration on 26.01.2002 at 13°° p.m. Rigaer Str. / Liebigstr. Let’s start the revolution!!

Defend autonomous free spaces! Kadterschmieden aufbauen!

Stop the Berlin Line! For a Revolution worldwide! Rigaer 94 bleibt! No evictions – houses for all!

Build up Social Centers! Contact: Tue and Fri 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 030-42017067 rigaer94 [at] squat [dot] net Rigaer94 [at] web [dot] de Kadterschmiede: Mon., Tue., Thurs. and every 2nd Sun. at 9 p.m.

The court process costs money! To send donations: Rote Hilfe e.V. Berlin, Ktnr. 7189590600, BLZ 10020000 Berliner Bank, Stichwort: Rigaer94

Rigaer 94