After a lengthy legal process against four ex-occupiers the vibrant, active, self-managed SPARK project among the orchards of Lleida is condemned to be evicted in the new year by capitalist speculation
original by Sergi Bertran and Sonia Perez at La Directa. … translated summary by The Free
….We are on the outskirts of Lleida city (in Lleida province). This area has undergone a major change in recent years… where there were small family orchards and country houses today they have built fast food chains, department stores, hotels and luxury villas. The companies and new owners of the land have been moving out the locals, buying up their land at high prices…
The vacancy crunch: The current housing crisis in the Netherlands and the repression of squatting
Recently, an opportunity to discuss the current housing crisis in the Netherlands was wasted. The government published a report evaluating a law realised in October 2010 which both criminalised squatting and suggested a few paltry measures to combat building vacancy (see “From Convicting to Condoning: Evaluation of the Squatting and Vacancy Act” [Dutch]). The report received a few mentions in the media but was accompanied by no real analysis. Whilst the Minister for Safety and Justice writes in a letter to Parliament that “this assessment does not require policy changes,” a careful look at the statistics produced by the report instead indicates that much more could be done (see “Presentation of report evaluating the Squatting and Vacancy Act” [Dutch]). The number of people needing to be housed is increasing, and the best way to solve this problem is to liberate the empty building stock, putting it back into use through both legislative measures and squatting.
Squatting has always been a direct solution to housing need, providing homeless people with immediate free housing that they can have some control over. Squatting has changed over the decades, from taking over entire empty streets neglected by councils in the 1970s to now moving into empty business premises before developers manage to tear them down and throw up yuppie flats in their place.
Changes in the law and attitudes (particularly from property owners who are taking a much greater interest in their empty properties these days), as well as the hyper-gentrification of inner-city neighbourhoods have made it much harder to squat at a time when there is greatest housing need. Solidarity with your local squatters is more important than ever. Here are some of the reasons to support your local squat – and the growth of the wider housing movement – and how to get involved:
(No specific names or places have been used in this article. Much of the information is purposefully left vague for two reasons. Firstly to respect people’s anonymity and secondly so individuals and groups do not feel they are specifically under attack, which is not at all my intention. My intention is to put the squatting campaign in a wider political context, and examine some of the attitudes I have observed within this context)
As a prelude to the criminalisation on residential squatting in the UK in 2012, the right-wing media went on a hysterical smear campaign against those who self-house. All sorts of disparaging nonsense was thrown about. The media’s focus became the (in)conveniently timed squatting of a large house in a wealthy area of London. It was too tasty for the media to resist: a photogenic affluent professional couple. A baby due. And freeloading squatters invading their future family home. The hacks went mental.
Can Vies social centre in Barcelona recently hit the headlines across the world when its eviction led to five consecutive nights of protest and rioting. But the story is much bigger than that. At the time of writing, the social centre is being peacefully re-constructed and a Can Vies crowd-funding campaign has gathered more than €17.000 already. The goal is to gather €70.000 in solidarity with those arrested during the protests and to buy all the materials necessary to re-build the Social Centre.
Given all the media attention on Police malpractice recently, and the constant, repetitive wheeling out of the “few bad apples” analogy, it seemed timely to explain why Anticapitalists hate the Police so much. Rather than present some dry, academic thesis full of depressing facts and figures (there are plenty of those about at the moment!) we have decided to simply post one local Anticapitalist’s experience of dealing with the Police as a “Political Activist” and homeless person.
Ancient Roman law gives illegal squatter £400,000 home. Or so you would think from the coverage of builder Keith Best’s Land Registry claim to have 35 Church Road, Newbury Park, Ilford, registered in his name.
The importance of the case is (or will be when it goes through appeals) that it should clarify how far the criminalisation of squatting (LASPO S.144) impacts on the law of adverse possession.
The occupation of the former police station on Lower Clapton Road by Hackney residents who describe themselves as “not political” but homeless provides the owners – namely Free School Trust the Olive School – with the opportunity to prove their claimed commitment to “community service and charitable giving”, as reported on their website.
The Olive School must act humanely and negotiate with the occupiers to find a mutually beneficial deal that allows the occupiers to remain in the building until refurbishment commences.
FROM THE GUARDIAN, MAINSTREAM UK PRESS
There are more than 700,000 vacant homes in the UK, something housing campaigners say is a shocking waste. Photograph: Martin Godwin
More than 11m homes lie empty across Europe – enough to house all of the continent’s homeless twice over – according to figures collated by the Guardian from across the EU.
In Spain more than 3.4m homes lie vacant, in excess of 2m homes are empty in each of France and Italy, 1.8m in Germany and more than 700,000 in the UK.
East Berlin’s squatter movement erupted across the city after the fall of the wall in 1989. But what role did housing activists in the 1980s play in shaping an alternative vision for the contemporary city?
In September 1988, an anonymous report appeared in the East German underground magazine Umweltblätter describing the plight of a group of squatters who had occupied 61 Lychenerstrasse in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. In the squatters own words, they had “occupied the house in order to overcome the contradiction between, on the one hand, the many vacant and decaying houses [in Berlin], and on the other, a growing number of people in search of housing”. As “squatters (Instandbesetzer),” they proclaimed, “we will resist the further cultural and spiritual devastation of the country.”[i]
From : http://takethesquare.net
In the past two years we have completely reinvented the way we try to transform the world into a place where life does not hurt. The old demonstrations, so grey and limited, become obsolete and useless, and have given way to an infinity of possibilities. We rethought the action, the complaint, the relationships, the public, the common, and our imagination has completely overwhelmed the space of what is possible, building already new worlds inside the old structure of this one. We collect here a list of dozens of actions and constructions that we have organized during these two years, sharing all of them that brightness of the new, that smell so special that returns us the confidence in us, and announces what is to come. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
[Original Spanish version of the compilation in this link]