Zürich: Update from new squats in Altstetten

On Thursday we occupied four houses in Zurich Altstetten. This action is a sign of an inclusive solidarity. Soon the first house will be handed over to people who are constantly excluded from society and forgotten. The current situation varies from house to house. We experienced solidarity reactions from the owners, as well as incomprehension and rejection.

We are often asked why we occupy and do not choose the “legal” way:

1. we stand up for the fact that all people can live self-determined. That they themselves can decide where, how and with whom they live. We have occupied these houses in order to occupy our privilege to share with people who cannot do so themselves due to repression. [Read More]

UK: Don’t believe the hype. Evictions continue despite moratorium

The ban is a lie. Despite the UK government declaring a “complete ban on evictions” due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in the last 24 hours an autonomous homeless shelter in Brighton and an occupied space in Peckham have been illegally evicted by people claiming to be bailiffs, allegedly with the full support and cooperation of the Sussex and Metropolitan police officers in attendance.

The government’s no evictions claim is really just the abdication of due process and the scant judicial protections formerly afforded to tenants, squatters and the under-class in general.

Get ready. The bailiffs and their bosses are taking the law into their own hands, with the police in full support. [Read More]

Calais: Coronavirus, housing and deportations

For more than two weeks now, France has been on lock-down. With most French people unable to leave their homes, migrants in Calais are still being evicted from theirs. Human Rights Observers in Calais have counted 45 deportations since March 17th. A police union, Synergie-Officiers, has called for an end to these daily deportations, but the department and prefecture still insist they continue. The PAF (Police Aux Frontiers) have stopped carrying out these daily deportations in the city, initially retreating to their work in the detention centre. This just means different cops do them (CRS and Gendarmerie).

The crisis that is the states’ response to the coronavirus pandemic does not show any signs of letting up. Additional powers are being granted to states from now. As one example (stay aware of others) of the state using the pandemic to meet its goals that could not otherwise be easily achieved, Greece used it to justify evicting many families from the Politechnio squat.

In Calais, health and sanitation have already been used as excuses for deportations. Despite a later ruling against the closing of shops and restaurants in the jungle, armed police seized food, water, gas, cigarettes in 2016, under pretext of “sanitary control.” Calling it a humanitarian intervention, in 2014, the state evicted about 650 people because of scabies and sanitation. Neither then nor now, the state took responsibility for creating these conditions for people or gave solutions. [Read More]

Madrid: Imagine not having social centers

Last week, in the midst of all the commotion caused by the current health crisis, we were stupefied by the publication in the BOE (Official State Bulletin) of the resumption of the administrative process to evict the new social centre at Calle Alberto Bosch, 4. Despite the fact that last 14 March, with the Royal Decree of Covid19 , all administrative procedures, including ours, were stopped, the Ministry of Justice has decided to resume it on the grounds of “public health reasons”. As we have made public, our activity in the building is on hold since the declaration of the state of emergency, following the recommendations and restrictions implemented to curb the epidemic. Obviously, we conclude from this that the rush to resume the eviction procedure is based on political will. Taking advantage of the state of exception that prevents us from defending ourselves, the intention is to carry out a new aggression against self-managed social centers and deprive the city of Madrid of an essential space for social movements.

This situation has made us ask ourselves some questions: what role will social centres play in the coming period? Is it really relevant, in the midst of this gigantic systemic crisis, that a space like the new headquarters of the Ungovernable should disappear? Can we imagine a Madrid without social centres? [Read More]

UK: Evictions held over, hotels for the homeless — Covid is upending housing

The legal situation has been changing so rapidly that even full-timers are struggling to keep up, but with the introduction of Practice Direction 51Z it looks like eviction proceedings are finally off the table for now and we have time to take stock of what is now utterly uncharted territory in British housing.

Minutes after I’d finished an article regarding the situation regarding squats and ongoing evictions in Britain the information became outdated, as emergency procedural changes were brought in by the government, in theory protecting everyone, squatters, renters, and the street homeless, from the risks of being out on the streets during this period. Let’s explore what each of these measures might realistically mean.

Up until this moment, the government had promised a three-month breather for mortgage repayments, and then – under pressure – caved and stated that tenants who fail to pay rent will be protected from eviction for the next three months. This does not mean a lot in practice, as the rent still needs to be paid, and agreements for doing so settled on. [Read More]

Berlin: “We will squat…

… until we no longer have to.” That’s what we have always said. In times of “emergency”, this wording can be expanded to an appeal: “You have to join in!”

Covid-19 is hitting more and more areas of the world and it turns out that the so-called emergency is the rule. For, where people are called by the supposedly necessary and strict father state: “Stay at home!”, not everyone has a home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the state itself has been pushing up for a long time the numbers of homeless by evicting them. At the same time, the state closes day-care centers that the homeless need for the measly bread of mercy and a little soap and water. In its brazen double standards, the state then exhorts patriarchally, “Pay attention to hygiene!”

“Avoid social contacts!” That’s what the governments demand. But where should refugees retreat to, when they are penned up in camps and deportation prisons at Europe’s external borders and the German periphery? With human rights – such as asylum, freedom of movement and housing – they were also deprived of the opportunity to effectively protect themselves against Covid-19. [Read More]

London: Squatting, Evictions, and the Coronavirus

Some days after granting a 3-month breather for mortgage payments the government caved to pressure and stated that renters who fail to pay rent will be protected from eviction during the next 3 months. This meant very little to squatters, and as explained later, still means very little to renters.

The Pie ‘n’ Mash Autonomous Cafe was evicted the morning of that same announcement, the same day that the cafe (having closed for safety reasons some days earlier) was to become London’s first Mutual Aid Centre, to complement the anarchist-instigated and autonomously-organised Mutual Aid groups that had sprung up around the city, and now the country. The council (who without a doubt had a hand in effecting the eviction of the Pie ‘n’ Mash) announced the very next day their own initiative of a centre to assist Mutual Aid groups in distribution of needed goods, co-opting the idea to suit their own agenda and save face in the eyes of the public.

Things have not gotten better for squatters by any means in the following days. Multiple evictions have taken place on buildings that have been awaiting bailiffs for weeks, seemingly a rush by owners and bailiff companies to do business in the case that the government prevents them from doing so in the future. [Read More]

Athens: Anti-Covid19, network for Mutual aid and Struggle

In the unprecedented social conditions we are living in, the spread of coronavirus has taken critical dimensions for the national healthcare systems and the capitalist mode of production as well as social organisation in general. For the system to survive, state and bosses implement totalitarian politics and a further devaluation of our lives. [Read More]

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]