Montréal (Canada): The Prefontaine & Overdale Squats – An analysis

(From the latest issue of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed at:

The Préfontaine and Overdale Squats
An Analysis of Building Occupations in Montreal
by Michael William

I have mixed feelings about the Overdale and Préfontaine squats, which is no doubt the case with many people who squatted or who supported the squats. There were delightful moments and some real triumphs. But there were also many problems and disappointments. [Read More]

Canada, Toronto, Pope Squat Street Festival on Now!!!


  Canada, Toronto, Pope Squat Street Festival on Now!!!


The Pope Squat Street Festival has begun !

In the backyard of 1510 King Street West (just East of Roncesvalles in west Parkdale) the party has just started! DJs are spinning tunes and delicious free food is being served to the people! The squat is still going strong, moral is high, and renovations on the house continue, despite yesterday’s police action. Everyone is relaxed and enjoying the party! You should be there too!

So join us at the Pope Squat and check it out yourself.

DJs all day – performances by DJ Complex, DJ Pilot Boy, DJ KLC, and DJs Stress and Maxxed Out – plus special guests!

Delicious food provided by Mobilization for Social Justice (Mob4Glob) and Latin American Coalition Against Racism (LACAR)

Live performances and bands starting at 4:00 and going into the evening!

Arte e Liberdade (Art and Liberty)
Capoeira performance – not to be missed!

A free-form avant-folk collective put together by songwriter Nick Taylor. With elements of country, gypsy folk, free jazz, and the avant-garde, their performances are always unique.

Shut-In’s music integrates bass-driven post-punk, polyrhythmic pop and noir disruptions.

Fearless Vampire Killers
The deconstruction of hip-hop.

Plus: * street performers and fire spinners!
* spoken word performances!
* Graf. Art competition (on canvases) – bring your spraypaint!

If you’re not at the Summer Street Festival, YOU’RE NOT HAVING FUN!

john <john [at] tao [dot] ca>



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CANADA, TORONTO: ‘Pope Squat’ establishes new social housing in Toronto !


  CANADA, TORONTO: ‘Pope Squat’ establishes new social housing in Toronto !


With the eyes of the world currently focused on Toronto as World Youth Day events get underway here this week, attention has been brought to our escalating crisis of homelessness with a spirited march through the Parkdale neighborhood ending in the dramatic takeover of an abandoned building on King Street West.

Organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, the Pope Squat aims to bring international attention to a situation where over 60,000 families are waiting for up to ten years for subsidized housing; where conditions at many of our emergency shelters fail to meet even the minimum standards established by the United Nations for refugee camps, and where upwards of 500 economic evictions happen every week. The Provincial government has stonewalled repeatedly on any new housing initiatives, and just last Thursday Toronto mayor Mel Lastman publicly expressed his wish to be able to ‘sweep’ Toronto’s homeless from the streets.

This event also highlights a growing political squatters’ movement in Canada, following on the heels of similar actions in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Vancouver and Toronto within the past year. With governments having apparently abandoned any effort to meet the needs of poor people in Canada, it has become increasingly apparent that the only way people can obtain housing is to take it for themselves.

As the Pontiff received hundreds of thousands of youthful pilgrims at the nearby Canadian National Exhibition grounds, people began to gather in a small park near Queen Street West in Toronto’s Parkdale neighborhood. The crowd quickly grew to more than 1,500 as hiphop music blared from a portable sound system and a delicious venison stew (many thanks to the residents of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory for providing this!) was being served. A sizable cadre of helmeted cops hung back across the street, accompanied by a priest wearing a Kevlar vest. (Maybe the Boys in Black were looking for divine intervention?)

Following a number of short speeches the crowd spilled northward out of the park, quickly filling all four lanes of Queen St. W. Led by a group of drummers and a saxophonist and chanting ‘Fight for housing, fight to win!’ and ‘What would Jesus say? “Build housing today!” ‘ the crowd moved west, stopping briefly outside another abandoned building where a fire had claimed the lives of two female tenants several years earlier. Doubling back east along King Street, the march soon arrived outside a large boarded-up house. A huge banner descended from a third-storey window and a ‘no trespassing’ sign was torn from the fence as a speaker declared the Pope Squat to be open!

Speaking over a megaphone from inside the building, squatters re-stated the demands of the action, which include the restoration of rent controls, an end to economic evictions, restoring the 22% which was cut from social assistance in 1995 and the construction of at least 2,000 units of new social housing a year in Toronto. Leaflets were handed out to people with a schedule of planned events at the site, and small groups began fanning out to forage for discarded furniture in the surrounding neighborhood.

The site proved ideal for a number of reasons, being a large, attractive building located on a major street, with a sizable backyard. The place had once been a rooming house until the company which owned it arbitrarily evicted all the tenants more than ten years ago, after which the place sat empty. This company has since dissolved and has defaulted on the property taxes, which has essentially left the ownership of the place in a complete legal limbo.

Following their brutal handling of another building takeover on March 22 this year during the Tory leadership convention (during which people were tear-gassed, Tasered and more than 60 arrested) the cops appeared remarkably cautious in their approach to this event. While there was a large police presence, they kept pretty much to their own side of the street throughout and made no attempt to interfere with people. As of four AM more than a hundred people still lingered outside the building, watched by approximately a dozen uniforms from across the street. On our side, participants have handled themselves in a consistently responsible and disciplined fashion and the organization of the whole action has been outstanding.

A full schedule of community-oriented events has been planned for this site for most of the next week. including a clean-up and repair party today, movies being shown tonight, and a big street festival happening all day Saturday. Solidarity has been strong, with different organizations agreeing to take support shifts outside the building or prepare meals. The squatters themselves have affirmed they have no intention of leaving. The planned outside events will also go ahead even if the squatters are evicted. We’re not going anywhere!

Graeme Bacque July 26, 2002

Graeme Bacque <gbacque [at] colosseum [dot] com>



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Ljubljana: eviction of AC Molotov?

Salud! it’s maja here from ljubljana, slovenia. I finally found time to go to internet. I will write this in english, because i don’t have time to make croatian versions. it was (and it is still) very tuff situation for us in Avtonomna Cona Molotov, a squat which the owner (Slovenian Railway Company) wanted to illegaly evict. You can find more detail info on

At 11.7. at the morning (5.30) came the private security company G7 with no explanation and papers and tried to kick us out. I came at about 7.30, because I was at the sea in Croatia. First reaction was anger – why I am not allowed to go into our house, why do I have to talk with my friends through the window bars? Fortunately, there were people everywhere – around the house, on the roof and media was presented all the time. The workers were there also with no papers and “no leader”. no-one is responsible in this fucking state – every answer you get is the same: “I got the orders from my boss. Ask him. I don’t know where he is, I don’t have his telephone number, I don’t give my name…” they came with excavator and other equipment to destroy the house and the Company’s answer was: “we wanted to chech the house to deceide or to destroy it or to repare it”. Then, the only person from the Company, who was speaking, said: “nobody is living there, they violently at! tacked the workers, that’s why we brought the Security etc.” When I read his statment, I was on the roof for all day, my head was boiling and I got very angry. I talked with this person S.Salkic before & told him me and other 14 persons are living there. I got his mobile phone and called him. I told him that the only thing I want is true and he put down the phone. He did this the same to Tine, who later wanted to talk to him an Salkic run away. [Read More]





Rent controls have been eliminated, the provincial government has enacted the blatantly pro-landlord law ironically named ‘Tenant Protection Act’, and landlords have been raising rent to levels that quite simply put the basic human need of shelter outside the reach of thousands of people. Throughout this crisis all levels of government; city, provincial, and federal have failed to adequately respond and build the tens of thousands of units of social housing that is required. However, the housing crisis we’re facing hasn’t stopped the city from spending millions of dollars on the Pope’s visit to Catholic Youth Day 2002. These millions should be spent on providing basic necessities of life to Torontonians, not on a scheme to take huge amounts of public money and subsidize an event that will create huge profits for private businesses. We clearly identify our opponents in this struggle as the City, Provincial and Federal governments who refuse to build housing and not any of the Catholic youth, church or communities. In fact, we are hoping to work with many progressive Catholics that agree with us for the need to open social housing. It is for these reasons that we are calling upon all poor and working people, Catholics and social activists to open an abandoned building on Saturday July 25, 2002, during the Pope’s visit when the world’s spotlight will be on Toronto, and create self-managed, social housing and a community center. We are calling for the opening of ‘The Pope Squat’ (slang for occupying an abandoned building) because we feel that the Papal visit, the large number of Catholic youth delegates that will visit our city, and a wide show of support from social justice organizations and unions, will help create a political situation that will make the regular brutality the police show towards poor people and squatters very difficult. We see the Papal visit as an opportunity to literally get our foot in the door. After the Pope leaves we will rely upon the tremendous popular support that exists and we are working to deepen in our neighborhood. As poor and working people we have decided that waiting for the city, province and federal government to open social housing is a waste of time. We’ve been waiting, agitating, protesting, lobbying and asking for social housing to be built for years. We have seen thousands of friends and family evicted. We have seen our rent shoot through our decaying roofs. We have seen hundreds of people die on our streets. We can wait no longer! If the various levels of government refuse to build social housing in the amounts required then we have no choice but to open it ourselves, for ourselves. Not only do we intend to open social housing for ourselves we also intend to make the building a community center that will provide space to neighborhood organizations, events, and programs. Due to downloading and City cutbacks our community centers are not able to meet the needs of our neighborhoods. Again, we have no choice but to provide for our community ourselves. We will also use our building as a space to organize with other tenants in our neighborhood against slumlords and yuppie developers who want to either keep us living in holes to line their pockets or drive us out of our neighborhood all together. While first and foremost is our desire to directly open up self-managed social housing and a community center, we also have modest demands that the various levels of government need to meet in order to even begin to address the housing crisis we’re in. They are: A massive drive to inspect and order repairs on all unsafe and substandard housing; A stop to economic evictions; Abolishing the housing tribunal, which has only served as a rubber stamp for landlords; Restoring the cuts to social assistance. Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour; No unlimited rent increases on vacated units, restoring rent control; And building 2000 units of social housing a year in Toronto. While this squat is being organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty we need vital support from other poor and working people as well as social activists to ensure success. We have to stand up for ourselves and turn this situation around.

THE POPE SQUAT JULY 25, 2002 MASARYK COWAN PARK (Queen St. W. & Cowan Ave., west of Dufferin, east of Lansdowne- in Parkdale!)


1. Convert the squatted building into social housing.

2. City-wide inspection and repair blitz: Inspect and order repairs on all unsafe and substandard housing in the City of Toronto.

3. Stop economic evictions: Raise the minimum wage to $10.00/hr. Restore the cut to social assistance.

4. Restore rent control.

5. Build 2000 units of social housing every year.




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Canada, Toronto, Radical Garage Sale at the Pope Squat


  Canada, Toronto, Radical Garage Sale at the Pope Squat


Bring your unused stuff to sell or barter at the…


Monday, July 29, 2002
12 – 6 PM
Front Yard of the Pope Squat

On July 25, 2002, OCAP will open the Pope Squat. In the middle of Toronto’s housing crisis, as the City spends millions of dollars funding the Pope’s visit, squatters will demand the construction of more social housing as they occupy an abandoned building in a Toronto neighborhood. The Pope Squat will ultimately be transformed into self-managed social housing and a vibrant community center.

Toronto activists are inviting you to celebrate the opening of the Pope Squat by coming to a Radical Garage Sale on the Squat’s proverbial front lawn on Monday, July 29, 2002. Although garage sales are normally held by residents of a building when they move OUT, this community garage sale is being organized in support of the occupants who will just have moved IN!

So clear all the unused stuff out of your stifling apartments. Bring it down to the Pope Squat on Monday afternoon and sell or barter it for someone else’s unused stuff. Sales contributions of Radical Kitsch are especially encouraged.

Proceeds from your sales can be donated to OCAP and the Pope Squat.

The location of the Pope Squat will be announced when it is opened on July 25th. Check your email or the OCAP website for updates: For more information about the Radical Garage Sale, please get in touch with Anna at awillats [at] sympatico [dot] ca or John at john [at] tao [dot] ca.


john <john [at] tao [dot] ca>



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Pope Squat Radical Street Festival!


  Pope Squat Radical Street Festival!


Come celebrate the opening of the Pope Squat!
Join OCAP and the Squatters for a…
Saturday, July 27, 2002
At NOON — ’til the Music Runs Out
In front of the Pope Squat
Somewhere in a Downtown Toronto Neighborhood

CALLING musicians, DJs, street-theatre troupes, fire-spinners, fire-breathers, puppeteers, tightrope-walkers, and otherwise artistically inclined folks…If you’d like to support the Pope Squat by performing during the Summer Street Festival, please GET IN TOUCH as soon as possible! Email john [at] tao [dot] ca or phone 416-925-6939 and leave a message for John.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty will open the Pope Squat, on Thursday, July 25. The City of Toronto is spending millions of dollars funding the Pope’s visit for World Youth Day while neglecting the basic needs of the thousands of people deprived of shelter as a result of skyrocketing rents and evictions. Squatters will occupy an abandoned building in a Toronto neighborhood during the Pope’s visit; their demands of all levels of government include the creation of 2000 units of social housing a year. The Pope Squat will ultimately be transformed into self-managed social housing and a community center for neighborhood use.

In order to celebrate the opening of the Pope Squat, OCAP is inviting neighborhood residents, social activists and squat supporters to a Summer Street Festival on Saturday, July 27, featuring:

* performances by bands and DJs
* circus stunts and face-painting
* speeches by your favourite Toronto politicos
* a community barbecue
* an atmosphere of festive resistance & reappropriation.

The Festival will start at Noon and continue on well into the evening. It will take place outside the Pope Squat; the exact location will be announced at the opening of the Squat on July 25th. Check your email or the OCAP website ( for updates.

There are many ways you can contribute to this celebration of resistance and reappropriation:

==> You can participate just by showing up, getting to know the squatters and the neighbors, sharing good food and celebrating the capacity of people to take and create the shelter they need in order to survive and flourish in this city.

==> If you are an artist or performer, and would like to support the Pope Squat by performing at the Summer Street Festival, please get in touch with John at john [at] tao [dot] ca or at 416.925.6939.

==> If you would like to speak in support of the Pope Squat during the festival, or know of good speakers who might, please let us know! Again, you can get in touch with John at john [at] tao [dot] ca or at 416.925.6939.

See you at the party!

When the government refuses to build housing, people have no choice but to take it themselves! Fight to Win!


john <john [at] tao [dot] ca>


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Canada, Quebec City! A new infoshop comes to life


  Canada, Quebec City! A new infoshop comes to life


Since june 20th, « La Page Noire » proposes dozens of books, magazines, brochures, music etc that offer alternatives to the current political and economical system. Situated in the squat on La Chevrotière Street, La Page Noire is in the middle of varions social struggles that goes on in Québec City regarding housing rights. Selfmanaged collective operating on an anti-autoritarian and anti-hierarchy basis, our collective tries to put on a leftist library. We?ll shortly be able to publish our own brochures. We invite all the groups, collectives and libertarian editors to contact us for more infos on possible distribution (and donations!).

La Page Noire is currently open on Tuesday from 10 AM to 4 PM, Thursday 4 PM to 9PM and Saturday from 12 PM to 5 PM

Snail mail : La Page Noire, 916 de la Chevrotière, Québec (PQ), Canada, G1R 3J2

E-mail: lapagenoire [at] altern [dot] org

Dany <dany [at] dojo [dot] tao [dot] ca>




Melbourne: SCAN social centre talk

21 July 2002, 6pm, at Irene Warehouse, 5 Pitt St Brunswick (Melbourne)
Social centres and autonomous organising – the Midnight Star social centre experience

Five months into a barricaded occupation – the Midnight Star is a squatted ‘social centre’ in Homebush, in Sydneys’ west. Forging the beginnings of a self managed community space, the social centre grapples with questions like; its relationship to its neighborhood ; experimenting with decentralised decision making: ‘free spaces’ and market relations; and how to engage in effective networks of liberatory activity. Autonomous organising or bust? Participants in the Social Centre Autonomous Network (SCAN) will talk about their experience of squatting the Midnight Star – possibilities and limitations for social centres in anti-authoritarian movements.

Anarcho sando <anarcho_sando [at] hotmail [dot] com>

Slovenia: Urgent action, activist squat eviction in process!

Dear friends,

we want to inform you that an activist squat in Slovenia called “AC Molotov” is in state of permanent fight with security guards of private security company called “G7” which is trying to evict activist living in side of squat. There was a lot of talk about evicting of a squat in last months, which is inside of an old building of Slovenian Railway company, but on Thursday at 5:30am security guards showed up in front of squat and blocked it. Now there is more than 10 people inside who are stopping destruction of the squat.Company does not have court order to evict the squat and it is oblivious that this action is mainly pointed to the anarchist politics that is finding its grounds in side of this squat.

More than 15 security officers are in front of squat, and are not letting anybody to bring water or food inside the squat. That is not the problem for the time being because there is large quantity of food and water inside of squat. Problem is that security is not letting anybody who leaves the squat to come back in. [Read More]

Slovenia: AC Molotov needs you!

Squatted place named Autonomus zone Molotov (Avtonomna cona Molotov – ACM) in Ljubljana, which provides pace for living, cultural and political activities is in big trouble…

The first larger action against squatters took place on Sunday, 7. 7., when around 30 policemen came in the building. They came with dogs and criminalists. The action was illegal and violent. Police put severe pressure and repression against squatters and activists. Supporters form outside ? students, activist, even people from media came in 5 minutes and documented with cameras all the happening in Molotov. We asked police to show us some document, and we asked for the head of this police action. Our friends and media prevent physical violence from police. Police action lasted since 23.30 ? 1.20, and then policemen left without any explanation on their arrival and their action and left AC Molotov. [Read More]

Squat action in Kassel against the documenta11 exhibition


  Squat action in Kassel against the documenta11 exhibition


since the 8th of june a house in HOLLÄNDISCHE STRASSE 44 is squatted. 22 rooms, facilities for concerts (2 halls), a café, exhibition space also provided.. it’s name is DOKUMENT (A) . squatted on the same day the world’s biggest artexhibition (documenta11) opened in Kassel, we give an answer to the commercial elite art show : in this space everyone is free to work & express & fullfill one’s desires, without commercial background.

if you like to get in contact with us (4 concert, exhibition, showing up & stay some nights, whatever..), email to: dokumentaaa [at] gmx [dot] net

dokumentaaa [at] gmx [dot] net