Santurtzi: Demonstration, create, support and defend squatting

With this short text, we would like to invite you to the demonstration that will take place on November 28th at 12:30 from the Kultur Etxea de Mamariga in Santurtzi.

Because of the media campaign against squatting that is being carried out from the disinformation media, the anti-occupation neighborhood mobilizations with racist and classist tendencies that force evictions and the the aggressive actions that threaten us and come from the city council. From Mamarigako Kultur Etxea, Mamarigako Gaztetxea, La Kelo Gaztexea and people in solidarity; we have seen that it is essential to organize ourselves to give a forceful response to this situation that affects all the squatting movement.

We want to open this initiative that arises from the squatted spaces of Santurtzi to the rest of the collectives and networks. We would like to make you participate by proposing to use this call to make visible in your environment the different local problems and that November 28 under the flag of the squatting be a meeting point to claim our struggle and the defense of our spaces.

Without any desire to centralize and being open to different proposals, we hope that this mobilization will serve to give continuity to the demands, motivate self-organization and give rise to future actions.

Create, support and defend squatting.

Do we have the right to housing? Do we have the right to work?

We need a roof over our heads, not to be manipulated, beaten, detained or exploited.

Do we have the right to decide in our neighbourhoods and our lives?

We need to make our own decisions, to disobey, to fight and not just be given rights.

Repression is in the streets, at work, in bars, in leisure centres and, sadly, also in the family environment and in unhealthy relations of friendship or coexistence. Repression is within us.

Squatted spaces have always been a refuge for political struggles, where solidarity and mutual support are created without violence, as well as relationships of coexistence between equals and diversity. Conscious spaces, confronted with unique thinking and working together towards critical thinking. Living spaces in a world that wants us submissive, uniform and without a horizon beyond producing and consuming until our body, brain and heart are exhausted.

Always in the spotlight of repression, and not just police repression, the disastrous management of the political class over the COVID-19 leads us to the repression of all activity that is opposed to capitalism.

You must consume, spend your money, and go to work. However, the danger of contagion only increases in spaces that do not interest them. You are allowed the option of buying a book in a shopping centre, but not borrowing it from a library in a squatted centre. You are forbidden to attend lectures, but their parliamentary circus continues its activity. Movie theatres are open for the latest Hollywood rubbish, while you cannot go to a squatted space to watch a political or social documentary. You can also continue to frequent restaurants, but they see it as dangerous for you to go to a vegan people’s kitchen, where in addition to having an ethic about non-human animals, they are usually free or the prices are within everyone’s reach. In this situation, we have become so aware of the repression that we are the ones who reject ideas and projects for fear of evictions and/or exorbitant fines. In short, the system does not want thinking, creative and organised heads.

The system has robotised us, making it clear that we are never expected to produce without considering for whom and consume without considering where and how. They dehumanise the city by taking away the few spaces that escape their control and their mercantile relations.

When renting a house, estate agents demand a monthly payment of the price of the house, to which we must add another two monthly payments, in most cases, and finally the price of the rent itself. Experts from these real estate agencies assess the movements of your account to ensure that you are a wealthy bidder. It could be that the only flat that suits your purchasing power, not your needs, is more than an hour away from your job, family or place where you grew up. You may be lucky enough to find an affordable rental, but it will undoubtedly be a scam with some of your neighbours with whom you will have to collaborate by rehabilitating the house, in the best of cases. The little shame and lack of scruples of some owners has no end.

It is common when you go to the town hall to register that they require you to present rental contracts or the permission of the owners to grant it. This practice is illegal, and they know it, but they ignore the law that they defend so much when it suits them. When you ask them to explain it, they solve it with a sharp “mayor’s orders”. We can expect nothing from laws that they themselves define, but we cannot forget that these same laws deprive many people of the few tools they have to survive. The result is a labyrinth in which housing, social assistance, precarious work and registration converge, and in which the only way out is submission and slavery.

In the face of all these pressures and conditions exerted by the housing mafia, the situation becomes even more complicated for people without work permits or proper papers. Their only way out is through equally expensive illegal rentals, overcrowded families, unhealthy spaces and no guarantees, as there is no contract. Faced with this situation, and with the amount of empty spaces that exist, the fairest and most sensible solution is squatting.

It is no coincidence that rents are becoming more and more expensive thanks to different speculation strategies such as gentrification of neighbourhoods or touristification. This points to the conversion of cities into commodities and not into places to live in, making it easier to consume them as a tourist than to inhabit them as a neighbour.

Real estate agencies, banks, construction companies and town halls are seeking to profit from the speculation of community land. They turn the last strongholds of neighbourhood life, together with their communal and neighbourhood fabrics, into areas of passage where the only possible relationship is the exchange of money through production and consumption.

In our town another new urban plan is in process. Some of its consequences are that where there is now a house with a vegetable garden, in the future we will see a block of buildings; that the streets where people used to stop to talk, will be avenues with shop windows where the masses of consumerist zombies flow; that what used to be a neighbourhood bar used as a meeting point, will now be the fashionable franchise where people drink their coffee looking at their favourite screen. It also means that the neighbours you used to know are individualised people who work an hour away from home and only go out to shop, thanks to the new parcel delivery companies perhaps not even that.

An orchestrated media campaign aimed at our neighbours, our potential allies, leads them to inform on their own neighbours for going outside the norm. It is increasingly common to find demonstrations organised by some neighbours to force an eviction. This practice, apart from being more illegal than the occupation itself, makes us think about where we are going as a people. Probably, towards a society in which we prefer to attack the squatter rather than the bankers, while evictions are taking place around them and remain unpunished. A society that criticizes and fears the squatting but does not fear the clearly armed and violent security forces and does not know how to channel its resentment and hatred against the real oppressor.

We are well aware of the power of the media of disinformation, but we cannot help but be surprised that there are people who feel more anger because someone cannot or will not pay for a home, than for leading a slave life just to have a home. The power of the media is such that they get neighbours to attack families rather than speculators. We are sure that in some cases I know about this situation because of misinformation and fear. But we know, sadly, that this situation is also due to envy and racist, classist, patriarchal and fascist attitudes.

The political parties also maintain their criminalising campaign, accusing us of mafia practices when neo-Nazis instituted in legal mafias profit from extortion and harassment of the movement. It is not by chance that these people come to light in times of economic crisis when people lose their jobs and cannot pay their rents and mortgages.

These companies of thugs allied with the big owners and fascist ideology have managed to legitimise actions that they have always carried out out out of hatred, under the protection of the law and public opinion.

We know that this system has individualized us, so we create collective spaces where we can come together, share our experiences and fight in a horizontal way. We believe that this society is commercialised, which is why we are committed to self-management and collective work in search of autonomy. We see that racism has separated and criminalized, so we know that we have to make an effort to make our spaces break those barriers. Having a home to live in is more than a right to do business with, it is a basic need. That is why we take abandoned houses where we can build a decent life.

We take up the baton of those that came before us and we are not ashamed of what we do, but we are proud of it. Squatting was, is and will be a way of life and a tool of struggle.

In the face of their aggressions they will always find us in front of them.

Create, support and defend squatting.

La Kelo Gaztexea
Las Viñas kalea 63, Santurtzi, Basque Country

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