Amsterdam: Mobiele Eenheid, new collective on the Gedempt Hamerkanaal in Noord

Press statement, 17 october 2018

Today, the Mobiele Eenheid, a collective of involved Amsterdammers, occupied the old Gedempt Hamerkanaal 86. The building has been empty for over a year without any concrete plans for use in the near future. We plan to transform this badly maintained building into a non-commercial social center; a space by and for people to come together, exchange ideas and skills, work collectively and actively influence the developments in the city.

We oppose the current developments in the city. Over the last 5 years the average price of a house in Amsterdam has gone up by more than 80%. Due to high rent many inhabitants have been pushed out (of their homes) and the city. Many are forced to give up their tenancy rights and live in anti-squats, currently a conventional alternative to renting, even though it enables real estate speculation. In addition, gentrification and tourism are changing Amsterdam. Space for people with a small wallet or non-profit initiatives have basically disappeared. The last free-spaces are currently under threat. Amsterdam is increasingly becoming an expensive, predictable, individualistic and exclusive city, whereas we want to live in a city that is diverse and inclusive. [Read More]

Amsterdam: Gedempt Hamerkanaal 92, Spijkerkade 2 squatted

Yesterday 14 October 2018, the building on the Spijkerkade 2 and Gedempt Hamerkanaal 92 has been resquatted. Not much happened there since it was for a first time squatted on 17 December 2006. [Read More]

Berlin: Liebig34 must stay!

We are Liebig 34, a self-organised anarcha queer feminist house project in Berlin-Friedrichshain made of different collectives: the Infoladen Daneben, the-queer-feminist living-project Liebig34 and the queer feminist eventspace L34-Bar. 40 people from all over the world with different backgrounds and gender identities collectively live together whitout cis-men, trying to create a “safer political space“ without hierarchies, a space where we try to develop, extend and exert anti-patriarchal practices, where we reflect power structures, privileges and where we empower each other.
Liebig 34 was squatted in 1990 and later legalized like many other houses in east-Berlin. After the failed attempt to buy the house collectively, a contract was made for 10 years.

Now, december 2018, our contract is coming to an end.

Our house, like over 200 others around Friedrichshain, is owned by Gijora Padovicz and his company Siganadia Grundbesitz GmbH, famous for the systematic buying, eviction and destruction of houses and houseprojects for commercial profit in detriment of affordable housing spaces for all. [Read More]

London: The Battle for Deptford and Beyond

In Deptford in south east London, local campaigners have occupied a 20-year old community garden to prevent it from being boarded up and razed to the ground by Lewisham Council and the housing association, Peabody. They are also highlighting the absurdity of proposals to demolish 16 structurally sound council flats next door to build new social housing.

What’s happening in Deptford reflects two pressing concerns in the capital today. The first is the prioritising of house-building projects over pressing environmental concerns. The second is the destruction of social housing to create new developments that consist of three elements: housing for private sale, shared ownership deals that are fraught with problems, and new social housing that’s smaller, more expensive and offering tenants less security than what is being destroyed.

The proposed destruction is part of a plan to build new housing not only on the site of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden and Reginald House flats, but also on the site of the old Tidemill Primary School, which closed in 2012. Peabody intends to build 209 units of new housing on the site, of which 51 will be for private sale, with 41 for shared ownership, and 117 at what is described as “equivalent to social rent”, although that is untrue. The rents on the latter will fall under London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Affordable Rent, which is around 63% higher than existing council rents in Lewisham.
[Read More]

Amsterdam: Violettenstraat 10-12 squatted

Neighborhood letter

Dear neighbors,

We are your new neighbors living in Jordaan. We are group of four young people, who are not rich enough to be able to find a roof over our heads in what is fast becoming “Disneyland Amsterdam”.

We are here today to bring life to an unloved, derelict place. We intend to collectively renovate a space left to rot by the squander of a profit hungry corporation and transform it into a quiet, cosy home.

The property we are squatting has been empty for 2 years. Libra International BV, a real estate speculation company, is the owner. This company owns more than a thousand properties in the Netherlands and is well known to operate in the area “between illegal and legal”; they perform house-price raising “property swaps” between their numerous shell corporations; they deliberately render buildings unlivable and leave them empty, degrading, in order to speculate on the land value; they deliberately refrain from their duties as a landlord, withholding their obligated basic maintenance of properties as a means to pressure renters who get in the way of their plans to leave. They render homes into mere sums of money to speculate over, making the city unaffordable, and unlivable for common people. [Read More]

Montreuil (Paris, France): About the demonstration “Let’s occupy the houses, destroy the prisons”

Friday, February 16, we met up at 19h at the Croix de Chavaux in Montreuil for a demo against rents, evictions and jail.
Some CRS and plain clothes cops are posted at the end of the pedestrian street. We set ourselves up anyway, some music, a few banners and little by little we are about 250 people. Talks are linked (why this demo, the Bara collective, a short account of the story of Alfidel, on the occupation at the University of Paris-8, the Gambetta collective, …). [Read More]

Biel (Switzerland): Reclaim The Streets against gentrification! Bahnhöfli stays!

The last squatted house in Biel, Wahnhof, is in danger of eviction! The property-management-department wants to kick out the squatters before the end of the year, to break down the house without any upcoming construction-projects. so it will be an empty place for many years again…
In the meanwhile we got a visit by the Director of public trade inspectorate. He told us that “Bahnhöfli” can stay for now. How long he couldn’t or didn’t want to say. We are supposed to get it written down.
This doesn’t change much so far. Gentrification is still going on in Biel and everywhere.
Therefore we RECLAIM THE STREETS against gentrification and the destruction of autonomous spaces.
Come all and support the struggle for more alternative spaces.

Saturday 25 november 2017
15:30 at Guisanplatz in Biel/Bienne

Bring banners, instruments, trailers, bikes, skateboards. Be creative!
Defend autonomous spaces!
For more squats and trailer parks! [Read More]

Portugal: Voices from an okupation. The assembleia de occupação de Lisboa

Ongoing reflections on an okupation in Lisbon (continuing a discussion) …

The essay below, which we share in translation, is by Tiago F. Duarte, a member of the Assembleia de occupação de Lisboa, a collective responsible for the recent occupation of a residential building in Lisbon’s centre. We share the essay not because we agree with everything that is stated therein – for example, its overly marxist reading of history, of the opposition of the city and the countryside, of class conflict, and its reduction of occupation to a means or tactic of anti-capitalism when it is as much an end and a strategy (that is, these distinctions are in the end not only meaningless, but problematic) – but because of its insistence in reading “okupation” as a radical politics. [Read More]

Montréal (Canada): Let them eat paint! De-gentrification action against “3734”

Just over a year ago, a masked crowd looted the yuppie grocery store attached to the “3734” restaurant on Notre-Dame street and redistributed the food to people in the neighborhood, one of dozens of actions against gentrification in recent years. The grocery store shut down several months ago, but we noticed that the 3734 restaurant was still serving business lunches and expensive dinners to local yuppies. So last Wednesday night we paid them a visit, breaking a window and covering the inside of the restaurant with paint, using a fire extinguisher. [Read More]

Squatting: the urban space as a common good

London_squatters_outside_the_Mayfair“Housing is a need, not a privilege”, “Housing for people, not for profit”. Banners with slogans like these hang from windows in any number of European cities. Across Europe, increasing social inequality is making some urban spaces inaccessible to those who used to inhabit them. Gentrification, corporatization and so-called “urban regeneration” projects are leading to the demolition of social and accessible housing, replaced by unaffordable apartments. This leads to the increased eviction and displacement of tenants from their homes and their relocation to the suburbs and peripheries.

Houses, once owned by councils or their occupants, have become investment opportunities for large corporations. With up to 200,000 living spaces intentionally kept vacant in the UK, houses are being stripped of their social value and becoming objects to secure the elites’ wealth. Workers in precarious positions, families, low wage households and students are being displaced or made homeless, while surrounded by vacant properties. [Read More]

Amsterdam: Future of the Torensluis. The city wants an exclusive Canal District

torensluisbrugLast night the Dagelijks Bestuur of the Central city district made a decision about the future of the Torensluis. The district wants to begin renovations soon, after which neighborhood groups will be abloe to sign a contract with them. As soon as the necessary permits have been obtained (which will probably be around May or June), the district will no longer tolerate us in the space.

The negotiations about a joint plan for the future use of the space were reaching their final stage in November 2016 when our negotiating partners, Stadsdorp 7 and Brug9buurt abruptly left the talks. It turned out that they did not want to sign our jointly devised plan because they wanted to submit their own proposal.

Contrary to the proposal of our former negotiating partners, the Spinhuis Collective wanted to keep the space open for use by a range of groups. We therefore saw the necessity of submitting our own proposal, in which we articulated our vision about public space in the city, specifically in the Torensluis. We therefore went in search of other socially engaged projects for possible collaborations. Neighborhood center D’Oude Stadt and Stichting Het Gespuis, both of whom have been forced to find a new space because of the commercialization of the city center, indicated their willingness to work with us in the future. [Read More]

Amsterdam: Eerste Oosteparkstraat becomes another chapter in the gentrification of the city

201610_Eerste_Oosterparkstraat_114_116_AmsterdamOn the 22nd of September, the residents of Eerste Oosterparkstraat 88-126 were evicted from their homes. Construction work has started to demolish the buildings. It will be replaced by a new block of houses and businesses. We have lived here for three years in a squatted house and we have decided to speak up about what is going on.

The first step to gentrifying the neighborhood begins by evicting and demolishing existing homes and building new, often ugly block houses. House rents will increase and the neighborhood will fill up with rich yuppies. The original inhabitants will be forced to leave their homes and move out of town. The plans to renovate the neighborhood for profit forces people out of Amsterdam. This is social cleansing designed to eliminate social and cultural diversity, and further impoverish the low-wage workers, the unemployed, the homeless.

Owner of these houses is Stadgenoot, a public housing corporation. This corporation owns 40.000 houses, office spaces, storage spaces and garages. It is known for contributing to the nationwide decimation of affordable housing and tenant rights. They bypass tenant rights by using all kinds of flexible temporary contracts, anti-squat, temporary leases and campus contracts thereby by circumventing rent control, while at the same time decreasing the number of houses that used to be social rent. [Read More]