Montreuil (Paris-banlieue): opening of l’Écharde

Monday October 1st, 2018, while Jardin d’Alice‘s docile artists were giving back their building’s keys (at 19 rue Garibaldi, in Montreuil), about thirty people came to disrupt their plans, occupying the building. After three years of caretaking, this space was about to be given back to Nexity, French “master” of property business, who is managing the building on behalf of the EPFIF (Public Land Office of the Paris region). While the state is trying to empty the meaning of housing struggles by signing precarious occupancy agreements to artists (like Jardin d’Alice) and zadists, while the left-wing mayors talk about requisitioning to scrounge a few ballot papers, we, like many others, are squatting. With the next metro at la Boissière [a Montreuil neighborhood], the renewal of Bas-Montreuil [another Montreuil neighborhood] and more generally the project of integration of the city into “Grand Paris”, the social outcasts are relegated to distant suburbs. When we snatch living spaces from the owners, we don’t want to compensate for the shortcomings of the state, but to be offensive against the state.

L’Écharde [the Splinter] is not only a living space, it is also a self-organized squat for political activities. Some projects are already begun, articulating different struggles, notably around housing, against borders, prisons and all kinds of internment. Other perspectives will come from the encounters happening at l’Écharde or in the streets, in demonstrations, in university occupations or economic blockades… We would like l’Écharde to amplify the struggles that do exist, and to be a space from which to attack what oppresses us. In a few words, long live the struggle for freedom!

Ends and means are linked. This space is anti-authoritarian, therefore anti-capitalist, a non-commercial space, and against all forms of domination. Without parties or trade-unions, we want to put in place our own ways of organization. Because we know that each of us can reproduce relationships of power, we will be attentive to the oppressive behaviors we can convey, by taking them in hand without delegating them to the institutions.

On these bases, l’Écharde is intended to welcome discussions, meetings, projections, meals, regular or occasional activities and other political events. You can come and propose an initiative every Sunday at 5pm, during the public assembly created for the organization of the collective spaces. The first one will be on Sunday, October 21st.

We invite you on Saturday October, 20th, at 6pm, place de la fraternité in Montreuil, for a gathering and a collective stroll towards l’Écharde, where a meal will be served around 8pm.

[Translated from French. Also translated in Italian.]