London: New week of action venue. Welcome to GRASS!

While Green London is still holding strong in the former Paddington Green Police Station, we felt it was unfair to bring members of the public into a situation where they could be exposed to the aggressive and threatening behaviour of the police and bailiffs. We have therefore, while continuing our occupation of Green London, decided to open a new social space for our week of action: the Green Revolutionary Anticapitalist Social Space. GRASS!

GRASS is located in the former George Pub near Holloway Road tube station. It is a warm and welcoming building which we are very happy to be using, and look forward to welcoming you in.
Our new address is 9 Eden Grove, Islington N7 8EE. Just a stone’s throw from Holloway Station!
We will be opening this Tuesday. Our openings hours will be 12.00-10.00 each day for the week of action. We have a full programme planned so check it out. [Read More]

London: Police Station is squatted! Join the resistance!

London squatters are organising an anarchist social centre in a notorious secure police station in central London. It is leading to a week of action for GAF, Green Anti-capitalist Front, from 24th February to 2nd March. Come and help with this once-in-a-generation opportunity to perfect barricading and organise towards the COP26 and more! We look forward to welcoming you to this liberated space for global resistance in a centre of international capitalism.


Green Radical Anticapitalist Social Space (GRASS) in Paddington

Was nice to meet Oli (and Rich!) from JOE.co.uk the other day! The GRASS (Green Radical Anticapitalist Social Space) was originally formulated as the result of a public assembly to come up with ideas to tackle capitalism in ways that not only ‘stick it to the man’, but demonstrate that it’s entirely practical and possible to build a new society. A society based on fairness, compassion, co-ordination and communal working and living. The sort of society where no one will be without a home or a chance to live a fulfilling life. [Read More]

London: Paddington Green Police Station occupation in anticipation of our week of action

On the night of February 7th, a group of activists from the Green Anti-Capitalist Front, alongside squatters and other activists, occupied the abandoned High security police station at Paddington Green. The intention is to hold the space and turn it into a community centre, the activities of which will culminate in a week of action against capitalism.
This is motivated by the belief that capitalism by its very nature will continue to destroy our planet and ultimately our civilisation. We chose this building because the police have time and again shown that they will gladly break their own laws to suppress any challenge to the entrenched, unjust, systems our society is based on.
Only by moving beyond the inherent oppression of capitalism to a system based on co-operation and communality, can we hope to survive in any meaningful way to the end of this century.
During the week of action the space will host workshops, skill shares, socials, planning sessions and a wide variety of other informative and entertaining events while also acting as a base from which to launch actions to reclaim our public space from corporations and government, and strike at the very heart of capital. We will show the mega rich and powerful that we will not stand for their greed and corruption. [Read More]

UK: The Social Centre Bulletin. Fash Attack Pie ‘n’ Mash

I was going to leave the Bulletin for another couple of weeks but then fascists happened. It’s always fascist innit, they got a thing about social spaces. Kicking off and trying to spoil everyone’s nice time.
On the 9th Nov, down in Deptford in London, a couple of hooligans tried to smash their way into Pie ‘n’ Mash squatted community cafe with the intention of attacking the people inside. Obviously not appreciating the re-appropriation of their bit of rhyming slang (it’s “Antifash Pie ‘n’ Mash” now see :p) nor the signs of any community organising it seems. They’d been seen lurking around the streets of Deptford for a few weeks (even visiting the squat a few times) and had been caught being typical racist trash in the local offy spewing homophobic and racist slurs as the fella behind the counter in the run up to their assault.
Then a couple of Saturdays ago they thought they’d give the social centre a go, putting through the front windows and kicking in the door before bailing as support came down the stairs to see what the noise was about. It’s nothing more than a nasty attempt at intimidation from people who only know threats and violence. [Read More]

London: Fascist Attack At Pie ‘n’ Mash Squat in Deptford

Last night, Saturday the 9th of November, two bonehead hooligans kicked in the front windows of the Pie ‘n’ Mash squatted community cafe in Deptford, London.
After stomping around the streets of Deptford in the last weeks, and even entering the squat twice previously, the two hooligans demanded to be let in, in order to beat up the squatters, and then proceeded to put their steel-toes through the front door before scarpering as support arrived from upstairs.
The boneheads had been seen the night before in the off-licence (liquor store) abusing the owners, calling them taliban and making homophobic jibes, and seem to think they have a free reign of an area that has for many years been a stronghold of multiculturalism and antifascist community. We have since spoken to the shop owners who are excited to be part of organising against these wannabe-nazis, and we will be coordinating with anarchists, antifascists, and neighbourhood groups to keep these scum off our streets. [Read More]

Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden one year after eviction

One year ago yesterday, the two-month occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, a community garden in Deptford, in south east London, came to a violent end when bailiffs hired by Lewisham Council evicted the occupiers in a dawn raid.

It was a disturbing end to a long-running effort on the part of the local community to save the garden — and Reginald House, a block of structurally sound council flats next door — from destruction as part of a plan to re-develop the site of the old Tidemill primary school. The garden — a magical design of concentric circles — had been created by pupils, teachers and parents 20 years before, and the community had been given use of it after the school moved to a new site in 2012, while efforts to finalise the plans proceeded, with the housing association Family Mosaic (which later merged with Peabody) and the private developer Sherrygreen Homes.
[Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest, to our friends, and former room-mates

Summer is waning, holidays have been had, and so we all go back to the grindstone — and by grindstone I mean opening new squats. So let’s start by taking a look at who needs to open a new building.

Location, Location, Location (That’s A Squat Crew Moving Thrice In A Month)

In London, the Church, home to an endless number of benefit parties over the last year, finally met its demise at the hands of the bailiffs just a few weeks ago, leaving a particular void in terms of readily-available squats that are able to host such events (of course it does not escape me how a building can be fairly easily opened just a couple of days in advance of such festivities, but it does entail a whole lot more work). All and sundry are invited to fill this gap, such things are needed as at least one planned fundraiser was scuppered by this eviction.

In a similar area of south-east London, the Charity Shop squat on Deptford High St was re-opened temporarily. Used previously to great effect by the previous crew to organise local action in the neighbourhood, unfortunately the new crew have not been given much time as the owner seems to have gotten his shit together and gone immediately for an Interim Possession Order. [Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest, Greece

Greece, the home of democracy. And molotov cocktails. They also enjoy regular cocktail nights to raise money for the squats and imprisoned anarchists. It’s one thing to know what is going on inside the UK with regards to squats, but I feel we are severely lacking in communication with squats across Europe, or indeed the world. Hopefully I can bring to you some of the news from some of the squats in Greece along with the usual round-up of news from London and beyond.

Setting The Scene

A quick explanation of how the law works in Greece, from a meeting I had with a lawyer personally involved in one of the local neighbourhood squats. Unlike in the UK, squatting is a criminal rather than civil matter. It is based around a few points in the penal code, such as breaching someone’s right to asylum in their own house, or disturbing the community. However the police cannot act unless a complaint is made by the owner to the state prosecutor, who then instructs the police to enforce it. For public buildings there is a bit of a loophole in the penal code dating back to 1938, and a lot of squats in Greece fall into a kind of “hybrid” category, meaning the prosecutor is less likely to take action unless pushed by the local government. However as of the 1st of July this year, the penalties have gone up in accordance with the introduction of a new penal code. What were simple misdemeanours for resisting can now be classified as heavier breaches of law, and can see a jail-term of 3 years, up from the previous maximum of 1 year. Interestingly this was introduced at the same time as the reduction of a lot of other penalties, prompting outrage from other parties. In any case this was the doing of Syriza, and with the election on July 7th, the conservative New Democracy is back in power, so things can be expected to only get worse (more on this later). [Read More]

London: Call out for a noise demo in solidarity with Barcelona’s war on gentrification

On Monday 8th July at 8.30am, activists will gather in front of Blackstone offices at 40 Berkley Square in London W1 J5AL for a noise demo to show solidarity with Barcelona’s residents fighting against gentrification.

Blackstone Group, a New York based multinational private equity firm and the World’s largest alternative investment company*, is the biggest property and hotel owner in Spain. The firm, along other large companies such as Goldman Sachs, Apollo Management and Cerberus, have been buying tens of thousands of residential properties in Spain and then raising rents and evicting thousands of long-term tenants to make space for richer and more “desirable” residents: or just leaving homes to rot empty while their value increases. [Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest, Festivals and Frontlines

As the riot police continued to batter the last of our barricades, blasting through the structural brickwork of the back entrance to our squat I knew it was time to go. I tried to lug my bookshelf down the stairs to safety, but sadly was forced to leave it behind as I was dragged past the lines of helmets and shields to await my fate in the outside world. Sorry for the delay, but welcome back to Squatter’s Digest. Stick around as I try to rattle off all the comings and goings in the squat world over the last couple of months.

So we were finally evicted from our squat in East London, overwhelmed by the riot squad, local bobbies, and high court bailiffs. Two of our number were arrested, although have since been released. In the words of the rossers themselves “apparently it’s okay to assault the police these days” (you can taste the bitter sarcasm with which such words were offered). It may be just coincidence, but it does feel like there has been a push by councils in east London (particularly Newham and Tower Hamlets) to rid the borough of squats. In fact at the time of writing there were no less than four squats either going through court or due to be evicted in the week. [Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest: The Fight To Remain

No, no, not that fight to Remain. You’re here for the squatting right?

Well if you read last month’s entry (this is something of a journal I guess, rather than journalism), then you’ll be pleased to know that I write to you from the comfort of my squat, the same one as before. With 30 fellow squatters outside the barricaded front door, serving breakfast, tea and coffee, and a free shop to the public, the resistance to our eviction was handled with ease. So, here I remain.

Further resistance to the bailiffs was seen within a few days time in London, this time in the south, in Deptford. Expecting a somewhat firmer attempt from the bailiffs, people gathered from 7 in the morning to barricade (although some were still up from doing this the night before) and to protect the entrance-way. High court bailiffs arrived, and it seemed like it was on. However, despite the posturing of the initial few enforcers, and the entrance of another half-dozen reinforcements, the bailiffs had no success in removing the squatters. With the squatters being an integral part of local campaigns such as the oft-mentioned Tidemill Garden, scores of local residents and campaigners came down to show their displeasure at the attempt, and the police and bailiffs caved to the pressure and retreated. [Read More]

London: Squatter’s Digest: Grow Heathrow halved, ciao to Asilo

I do have a pretty good excuse for being a little late in writing this month’s column, namely being arrested and remanded for a squatting-related offence (of which I am not guilty for the record, as I will be testifying at trial later in the year).
At least I’m not all talk and no walk huh.

A couple of nights in the cells isn’t so bad though – let’s start this round-up with some hard-hitting news from abroad. The Fraguas case in Spain. For those not aware of the situation, since 2013 a group of squatters calling themselves the Association of Rural Repopulation of Sierra Norte, more commonly Fraguas Revive, occupied an abandoned village in Guadalajara near Madrid. The intention was to breathe life back into the village that was left empty since the expropriation by the Franco regime, and to provide space for people to imagine and act out utopias of the future through self-organisation and sustainability. [Read More]