Manchester: Lessons of Cornerhouse

The Cornerhouse is a former theatre in Manchester squatted from January to August 2017 by self-organised homeless people linked to the Manchester Activist Network. This is their story.

As the final pieces of our belongings, donations and clothes were brought out of the infamous Cornerhouse it was time for Manchester Activist Network to reflect back on six months of occupation. From the Loose Space festival and surviving three eviction attempts, to the rough sleepers we housed and three other squats opened over that time, this had been a busy, and at times stressful but productive period that none of us will ever forget.

The biggest thing that came out of the Cornerhouse was a reaffirmation of the need for solidarity when we are faced with big issues. In order to fully tackle rough sleeping and stop the rise in homelessness we all need to be prepared to give a little of ourselves. Not money, but from inside of us. We need constructive dialogues, we need to drop the egos, forget about the “company line,” reflect on what we put our energies into and how we can change as individuals. Only then can we better the systemic problem that is homelessness. [Read More]

UK: Manchester homeless call out council ‘one way ticket’ scandal

Following revelations that Manchester Council has spent £10,000 on one-way tickets to push rough sleepers out of the city, activists have been expressing their disdain for executives’ excuses that the measure is aimed at “reconnecting” people with relatives who can help.

In a statement, Manchester Activist Network (MAN), which has been heavily involved in homeless self-organising in the city explained the real way in which the system works:

Person becomes homeless. Person goes to local town hall. Person is told no housing available, all the money is in Manchester. Person goes to Manchester and asks for help. Person told they have no local connection, go back home. Person kicks off a bit. Person is offered a train ticket to stop them from staying in Manchester long enough to be considered as having a local connection (six months). Decision time. Go back to the place that’s already failed you (and has a waiting least of two years+) or stay and take a chance in a city where at least the public care even if the council doesn’t. [Read More]

Manchester: Council gears up for eviction of the Addy

Andy Burnham’s Labour administration found itself in yet another mess over homelessness today as it made its first abortive attempt to scare a self-organised homeless group off an occupied site in Hulme — just days after pledging to “end homelessness” in Manchester.

The spectacle has been particularly humiliating for City bosses because the squatted empty property was once better known as North Hulme Adventure Playground — a community space which was shut down by council funding cuts cuts in 2014.

The council-owned land was occupied in August by around 40 people who had been evicted from Hotspur Press — itself an embarrassing episode for Mayor Burnham which prompted protests outside his office only weeks after his election on a ticket of helping rough sleepers. [Read More]

UK: The social centres roundup

For all its small size and general impoverishment the libertarian socialist movement actually runs a surprisingly large amount of real estate around Britain, all on non-hierarchical lines, by and for the people of the cities and towns we’re in. Housing co-ops, bookshops, bike collectives, archives, distros, printers and the like are all part of the collective mix. Below, Freedom News briefly rounds up some goings-on at 15 radical social centres and spaces over the last few months. [Read More]

Manchester: Shock eviction of Cornerhouse centre puts 20 people on streets

Homeless people rounded on Andy Burnham’s Labour administation in Manchester today after 20 people were rousted out of the well-regarded Cornerhouse squatted centre in an early-morning raid.

Manchester Activist Network, which has been heavily involved in the space, said today they will be looking to hold highly-paid council bosses to account for promises made during Mayor Burnham’s election campaign in May that his team would “end rough sleeping by 2020”:
[Read More]

Manchester’s self-organised homeless challenge Andy Burnham to join them

201705_Cornerhouse_Cinema_ManchesterOrganisers at squatted former arts space Cornerhouse have called on new Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham to go a step further than simple charity donations and engage directly with homeless people in finding solutions to the city’s rough sleeping crisis. Cornerhouse, owned by Network Rail, has been occupied by homeless people and Manchester Activist Network (MAN) since January and successfully saw off an eviction attempt late last month.

Writing in response to Burnham’s recent pledge to give 15% of his pay to homelessness charities and “put words into action” to help the rising street homeless population, MAN said:

This sounds great Andy, however what do (former mayor and new business and economy deputy) Richard Leese, (power player and former Manchester council chief exec) Howard Bernstein and (Manchester city centre tsar) Pat Karney think about this?

From the information we have been provided with it seems that Leese will continue to have the large sway of the Devo (devolutionary budget) mayoral power and you will be pushed out to the outer regions. Maybe this is why Oldham and Rochdale were mooted as potential places for shelters. Will you have any real Mayoral power or is this just a token? [Read More]

Manchester: Loose Space squatters cleaning up before eviction

Manchester: Sleepout against anti-squatting laws

Around 20 people slept outside the BBC on Oxford Road, Manchester last night to oppose new legislation that would criminalise squatting. An amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which will be read in the House of Commons today, Tuesday 1 November, will make it a criminal rather than civil offence to trespass in an empty residential property.
[Read More]

Manchester: OK Cafe social centre returns

Manchester’s OKasional Cafe has returned. The temporary squatted social centre project has occupied a disused old people’s home in Fallowfield, South Manchester. For three weeks the space will provide vegan lunch, dinner, workshops, events, gigs, parties, a library and more.

For an up-to-date programme of events see here.
[Read More]

UK: Whatever they say squatting will stay!

October 1 2011 marked one year since the Kraakverbod made squatting illegal in the Netherlands. However, hundreds of people still squat and will continue to squat.

With squatting in the UK coming under threat, join us to hear 3 squatters from Amsterdam talk next week in several cities across the UK about squatting before the ban, resistance to the criminalisation and what’s been happening since the Kraakverbod became law.
[Read More]

Manchester (UK): RBS occupied and banner dropped

March 5th, 2011

They took our money to pay for their mistakes,
and now they take our home…

Despite being empty for 4 years and having no plans to use the property above RBS, we are faced with being uprooted from our temporary security and shelter which we cleaned and worked on from a state of disrepair to make our home.

[Read More]

Manchester: “Freedom of movement for all & Defend autonomous spaces” demo

No Borders demo and mass action
April 17th 2008
Report by Manchester No Borders of the “FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT” and “DEFEND AUTONOMOUS SPACES” demonstration on Saturday, April 12th. See also http://www.april-12.blogspot.com

Last Saturday evening, up to 200 squatters and supporters followed our call for an unauthorised demonstration in the city centre. We were accompanied by a samba band (Rhythms of Resistance) and two soundsystems mounted on bike trailers. With the cops not bothering to show up, we marched undisturbed from Victoria Station into the Northern Quarter, along Market Street and Kings Street , through Spinningfields into Castlefields.

[Read More]