Seattle: Rent Strike

Around the country, as people lose their jobs and wonder how they will pay their rent or mortgage, the words rent strike are being heard more and more. This website https://rentstrike.noblogs.org/ will serve as a resource for how to make a rent and mortgage strike a reality in Seattle. Check back for more resources for how we can refuse to pay together.
Have a resource to share? Want to send us your own declaration of rent strike? Get in touch: rentstrike [at] riseup [dot] net

Why Strike?

In this moment, millions of people are being faced with the reality of being unable to pay their bills. Countless people who live from one paycheck to the next have lost their jobs and income already and have no way to make April’s rent or mortgage payment. Even under normal circumstances, people in Seattle have been struggling to pay rent for years, with rents that are 93% above the national average. It should come as no surprise that in this moment, people simply cannot pay.

Some are calling on the state and federal government to put a moratorium on rent and mortgage collections. If this happens, great. If it does not, this changes nothing. We still can’t pay, so we won’t. Banks and landlords should not be able to continue profiting on renters and mortgages when there is no way to earn money. That’s just common sense. If we can’t make money, neither can or landlords, neither can the banks. [Read More]

San Francisco: On rent strike against gentrification and the pandemic

An Interview with Residents of Station 40 in San Francisco

In the Mission District of San Francisco, Station 40 has served the Bay Area community as an anti-authoritarian collective living and organizing space for nearly two decades. Five years ago, their landlord attempted to evict them, only to be forced to back down by a powerful coordinated solidarity campaign. Now, Station 40 has taken the initiative to respond to the crisis currently playing out across the world, unilaterally declaring a rent strike in response to the economic precarity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We interviewed residents of Station 40 about the history of their project and the context and objective of their bold refusal.

What is Station 40?

Station 40 is a 17-year-old collective living space that has seen hundreds of residents and thousands of guests and many iterations over the years. This space has hosted numerous and diverse events, housed countless people, served food to the masses, beat the odds on everything from infestations to evictions. We’ve been a hub for organizing Mutual Aid workshops, healing pop-ups, memorials for fallen anarchists, revels, book releases, report-backs from comrades all over the world, prisoner support projects, reading groups, benefits for more projects than we can count. Food Not Bombs cooked here weekly for the better part of 15 years. Communication infrastructure like Indymedia and Signal have their roots here. [Read More]

USA: Rent strike declarations

Across the country some have already declared that they will refuse to pay rent on April first. Here are some of their declarations.

Station 40 (San Francisco)

Dear friends of Station 40,
We decided tonight that we’re going on rent strike. The urgency of the moment demands decisive and collective action. We are doing this to protect and care for ourselves and our community. Now more than ever, we refuse debt and we refuse to be exploited. We will not shoulder this burden for the capitalists. Five years ago, we defeated our landlord’s attempt to evict us. We won because of the the solidarity of our neighbors and our friends around the world. We are once again calling on that network. Our collective feels prepared for the shelter-in-place that begins at midnight throughout the bay area. The most meaningful act of solidarity for us in this moment is for everyone to go on strike together. We will have your back, as we know you will have ours. Rest, pray, take care of each other.

Everything for everyone! [Read More]

Los Angeles: A dozen vacant homes reclaimed by unhoused tenants as calls for rent strike grow across US

On Saturday, March 14th, a group of supporters mobilized to defend several families, who launched an occupation of a two-bedroom bungalow in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Calling themselves “Reclaimers,” these new residents are demanding that housing owned by the California Department of Transportation or Caltrans, which for decades has laid vacant, be used to house the houseless in the face of the growing COVID-19 outbreak and continuing housing crisis. The group is inspired in part by Moms 4 Housing in Oakland, California, who led a successful housing occupation in January. [Read More]

Brighton: Squatted Night Shelter update

Hello friends,
We’re sorry for being so quiet lately. In case you were wondering, we wanted to let you know that this project is still going. We currently have a building where people are being housed, although, for now at least, we are keeping its location private for the safety of those of us who live there and in the hope of keeping the building for longer.
[Read More]

London: Eviction Of The Pie ‘N’ Mash Squat Cafe – We Must Push For No Evictions In This Crisis!

As I write this, I should have actually been emailing another article to the Freedom editorial team, announcing the shutdown of the Pie ‘n’ Mash Autonomous Social Cafe, and its rebirth as the Pie ‘n’ Mash Mutual Aid Centre (38-40 Deptford High St).

Instead, I write this from the lounge of a neighbouring squat, having been woken up by High Court bailiffs at 7am this morning. The day that we were to become the hub for sanitation of donations and distribution in the Deptford area, we were torn from our home, and left scrambling for our possessions. This despite a warning on the door that people in the building were attempting to self-isolate for the public safety – well-prepared bailiffs ascending the stairs kitted out in medical masks and rubber gloves.

Running with the momentum of the anarchist-instigated mutual aid groups that have blossomed in the South-East of London (and indeed across the country), a plan was set to set up the cafe as a centre for donations, which could then be sanitised, and those involved in assisting people who are self-isolating to be able to collect and clean gear before distributing. Recognising that the crona will affect the poorest the hardest, the plan was to also be able to provide basic household items to those who can least afford to ride out this wave. [Read More]

Rotterdam : 6 squats evicted in the Tweebosbuurt

In the early morning of the 6th of March, residents of the Tweebosbuurt in Rotterdam were shaken awake by police forces. The entire neighbourhood was locked down for a militarized eviction of 6 squats. 6 houses of which the residents were put on the street with their right to a home.
Beyond these symbolic houses, which brought some life back into the emptying neighbourhood, it’s all residents of the Tweebosbuurt that are the target here. Since several months, life in the area has turned into a more joyful reality again, in which residents’ resignation in the face of the demolition of their neighbourhood was seeping away. The authorities have thus decided to destroy these sparkles of hope: no squats, no solidarity, no joy, no hope.
But let them know that the destruction of our living spaces will not suppress our desire for freedom.
Squatting goes on. [Read More]

Los Angeles: Reclaiming Our Homes

No one should be homeless when homes are sitting empty. Housing is a human right!

There are more vacant homes than people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Some of these vacant properties are even owned by the state. We are taking this housing back for our community.
Impacted by the housing crisis, and feeling even more urgency in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are reclaiming vacant houses owned by the state to fight for housing as a human right. We the Reclaimers are calling on the city and state to immediately use all vacant properties to house people. We need all levels of government to make a massive investment in public and social housing so that everyone has a home during this housing and public health crisis.
In California, a person needs to earn $32.68 an hour to afford an average two bedroom apartment. It’s an outrage that the state and city are leaving homes and property unused when so many people need housing. We are holding them accountable and demanding immediate action. [Read More]

Samone di Guiglia (Modena): Eviction of an anarchist squat and arrests

On 28th February a group of people occupied a country house in the Samone countryside, in the province of Modena. There was no welcoming, already in the early afternoon cops, firemen and ROS threatened the eviction. Some went up on the roof and others barricaded themselves in the house, resisting the constant pressure and insistent threats, until the shits went away. The following day they came back calling all their friends over. They managed to storm the house beating and hitting with truncheons. Meantime some of the squatters went up the roof. Ten people were taken to the prison in Modena and arrested on charges of resistance, violence and insulting, some were handcuffed. Five squatters resisted on the roof for eight hours, they took it well in spite of the cold and the Apennine landscape obfuscated by the shits in uniform threatening to arrest everybody as soon as they came down. After they were granted permission to take their personal belongings they came down from the roof. As soon as they got down, however, they were taken to police headquarters in Sassuolo to be charged but once there they were photographed and fingerprinted. After the usual, long disgusting hours waiting, the noise made by people in solidarity at the gates made the cops release the five – not before physical and verbal threats to them, even before there were any charges for resistance, occupation and trespassing. [Read More]

Alcázar De San Juan (Spanish state): CSOA La Idea attacked and trashed

Since our beginning as a CSOA (self-managed occupied social centre) on 23rd May 2017, we announce with much sadness and resignation, that the collective LA IDEA ceases its activity in the current premises.

In the early morning of last Thursday 5th March, the social center suffered an extremely serious attack for the development of the activities we had been carrying out. The social center has suffered irreparable damage, they have destroyed all the infrastructure we built: windows, doors, solar energy, water tanks, furniture and much more seriously, they have stolen and destroyed all the electrical installation that made it possible to hold events and activities. They have opened the fences that delimit the space and have destroyed all the material that we had, such as cleaning products, refrigerators, stoves, tables, chairs, kitchens, bathrooms, lighting and a long etc… [Read More]

Zwolle: 17 squatters arrested

Sunday night March 8th (technically Monday morning March 9th) 17 squatters were arrested in Zwolle, Netherlands.

The building was occupied by squatters after 5 years of vacancy. Unfortunately the police got wind of the situation and after a while they were at the door with all their might and power. Not soon after the police entered and the squatters were summoned to get down on their knees, with hands on their heads. The squatters were handcuffed and taken to the police station, where they were all detained for more than 16 hours. During the arrest, breaking tools were also found by the police.

All squatters are now free. They have all received a fine (€225) for trespassing, which is a strange situation for people who are homeless or barely able to pay their rent. During the arrest the squatters were not given the opportunity to pack their belongings, these things are still in the building.

After Sunday night there are two losers and only one winner: The police had to use violence and some of the squatters are still homeless. The winner is Janssen Vastgoed: his building (one of many vacant premises) is still empty and as far as we know the company is not being bothered by the municipality. [Read More]

Amsterdam: Sarphatipark 87-H squatted

This afternoon a vacant building in Amsterdam got new inhabitants

The vacant building, Sarphatipark 87-H, has been empty for a while now. It is owned by the recently deceased real estate owner van Zijl. An owner that had a lot of buildings in Amsterdam, known for being vacant for a long time.
At this moment there are no concrete plans for the building.
The action went smooth, cops came verified the house was indeed squatted, and left. Some hours later, some other cops showed up, told the squatters that they were caught red handed and that there was no house peace. They told the squatters to immediately leave the house.
The squatters did not comply. You can’t really say they are caught in the act, several hours after their colleges already verified that people are living there. Also, the lack of house peace is being disputed by the squatters. By that time there has been a nice dinner, people took showers, some took a nap. Pretty homy.
The police insisted that they want to evict the place. It looks like tonight that it is not going to happen. They drove by a few times but that was it.
The squatters welcome everyone to come and help with the occupation

Fight for your rights!
Houses for everybody! [Read More]