Brussels: l’École 404, new squat in Schaerbeek

L’École 404 is a squat in Schaerbeek that opened shortly before the announcement of the lockdown.
In this former school lives a mixed collective of about twenty people from different backgrounds.
During the period of the confinement, we did not open the space to the public. However, the school has been fitted out over the last two months to create work and meeting spaces intended primarily for the inhabitants of the neighbourhood and for militant networks.
You’ll find a wood and metal workshop, a lab for the development and printing of silver photography, participatory permaculture gardens, a sewing and drawing workshop, a craft beer brewing workshop, a projection room, meeting and reading areas, a multi-purpose gymnasium. All these spaces are intended to open gradually to the public after the confinement. We hope that the meetings and workshops that will be held here will not only be led by our initiative, but also by those of other collectives, associations and individuals. [Read More]

Amsterdam: New Policy. No Eviction for Emptiness…

As a squatter in Amsterdam, looking back on the past year is painful. 2019 dealt heavy blows to a movement that didn’t seem capable of much more than taking the beating. The city has lost its largest squats and despite numerous squatting actions, hardly any new buildings have survived the end of the year. What’s more, politicians tried to introduce a law at national level to further criminalise squatters while the media reported time and time again how afflicted property owners are being deceived repeatedly by squatters. To top it all off, the mayor concludes the year with a report on a new policy designed to implement a more rigorous approach to squatting.
There’s not much left to say beyond 2019 having been a rather grim year, making it difficult to paint a hopeful picture for squatting in Amsterdam in 2020.

We look back on a year in which we, above all, lost a lot. [Read More]

The Hague: Short Stay? No Way! First week occupation summary

Here is a little recap of what happened in the first week of our campaign and occupation of the Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872 in The Hague. The aim is to create an overview of what we’ve done and why, and list our victories as well as the things we want to work on in the future.

Friday 1st of May
The first steps are made in the squatting of the building. There couldn’t be a better day!

Monday 4th of May
Before we could start our struggle against the building of Short Stay apartments it was necessary for us to occupy and keep the building on the Waldeck Pyrmontkade successfully. Preparations were made to prevent an immediate eviction by the police, as is often the case in The Hague, and a possible reaction on part of the owner.
At 9a.m. some sympathizers, with whom we had discussed the strategy beforehand, called the neighbourhood cop in our name, to inform them of our occupation. Faced with the impossibility to reach the neighbourhood cop we decided to postpone the announcement to the next day. [Read More]

Hamburg: Alltuna squatted and evicted

Alltuna (Alle tun Alles) on Blücherstraße 7-9 in Hamburg Altona has been squatted and evicted on May 9th. Three people have been arrested. Statement made during the occupation:

Welcome back to the map of the squatters! Besetzenhaha
Another world is possible!

By this we do not primarily mean a world without covid-19, but a world where people deal with it differently. In which our lives, our community as people, our health is at the center and not the profit of the richest.

We opened the Alltuna because we think another world is necessary and we just wanted to start with it. Because another world is just around the corner.

We start and no longer ask: Squatting rocks! Open the doors! We don’t ask if we are allowed to create space, because we really haven’t got anywhere with that in the last years. Except into exploitative tenancies, which are now afflicting the entire cultural life in the city! Everything that has been put together through decades of painstaking, unpaid work by various actors is at stake: Because of the rents. Be it the SKF, the Centro Social, the Gängeviertel, concert halls, small theaters, Infoladen or our own living space. If we had just asked the question of ownership earlier. [Read More]

The Hague: Crush economic powers! Against the sale of the city!

Short Stay, No Way!

Recently we occupied the building at Waldeck Pyrmontkade 872 in Den Haag-Zeeheldenkwartier. The ongoing corona crisis has not only exposed but also exacerbated the housing shortage and financial scarcity. The consequences of the crisis are certainly felt by us young adults.
The only things that are available to us are flex-contracts and temporary rents, which cause uncertainty and stress and offer no security.

At this time in particular, it is important for everyone to have a secure home. Especially women and LHBT+ young people, who are a target of patriarchal oppression and as a result often have lower incomes and precarious jobs, should have access to a safe and stable living situation. Even young people who have no choice but to enter into zero-hour contracts are now slaving in supermarkets and delivery services while their living situation is as precarious as their income. That is why we have taken action.

The property has been used for years by support organisations against domestic violence and for youth support. These organizations have moved because of the high rent. Now the property has been purchased by the Amsterdam investment fund RE:BORN real-estate. RE:BORN wants to transform this former office building into 30 luxury apartments, with a “short stay” construction. Short stay apartments are homes, where a tenant may stay for a maximum of six months. These apartments are therefore fully aimed at expats who are staying in The Hague for a short period of time. They often work in our city’s established multinationals and international organizations such as Shell, KLM, Total, Siemens, ICC, Europol and the numerous embassies. [Read More]

UK: Evictions make us sick!

Squat solidarity! This MayDay squatters from across the U.K. have come together to co-ordinate decentralised actions across the country to highlight our plight and address our needs. Both residential and commercial buildings have been occupied to provide housing for ourselves and the others left high and dry during this time of crisis, and banners have been dropped in support by squats not yet facing imminent eviction. Land has been taken to repurpose for clean open space and food, and food distribution is taking place to aid all who are struggling.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, emergency legislation was introduced and put a stay to all evictions for 90 days. However, it took just three weeks for the judges to surrender to the pressure from bailiffs, landlords and banks, and amend the law. Squatting cases will continue to be heard via phone, and bailiffs are now again smashing through our doors the way they always have – but this time we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and it’s scarier than ever before. [Read More]

Zürich: Another vacant house occupied

On Wednesday April 22nd, another vacant house was occupied in Zurich in order to provide people in precarious situations with a safe home and protection against the corona virus.

Already last week, friends from us with the same goal, squatted some houses. Not much has changed since then, so our concerns are still the same. The lockdown still hits hardest those for whom the circumstances were already difficult before. Many people are currently looking forward to the easing of the measures, have locked themselves in or isolated themselves. Others speaking out social-darwinist phrases or conspiracy theories. The last clapping for the hospital staff has silenced and the gift fence is empty. The word “solidarity” remains as the empty phrase to which it has deteriorated. But there are still people among us for whom the lockdown has led to constant stress and who could not deal with the virus in their own way, like we did. Our solidarity belongs to the people who have so far escaped the coercive measures but who have it harder than ever. We want to live solidarity and stand with them. [Read More]

Zürich: We squatted four houses in Altstetten today

Zürich. Switzerland. April 9, 2020. We (Für alle ein Zuhause – English: A home for all) have squatted four empty houses in Altstetten today to create a home and refuge for people from the virus. Like any emergency, this one hits hardest those for whom the circumstances were already difficult before.

To protect the population, the Federal Council appeals to everyone to stay at home in solidarity. While the majority in Switzerland has the privilege of being able to retreat into a house, those who cannot are left out in the cold. Some people have no papers, their rights are denied. They are illegalized, isolated and ignored. Many of these people are locked up in so-called asylum centres, prisons and camps. Their freedom and self-determination are denied to them. Again other people have “fallen through the cracks” – they do not fit into the meritocracy. Our society accepts the premature death of all these people, because protective measures do not seem to apply to them. This situation was intolerable even before Corona. Now it becomes even clearer that it cannot go on like this for one more day.
[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: 12 places squatted

#StayAtHome is not possible for everyone in times of Covid19. Especially if you are homeless. That’s why we squatted one Airbnb, 9 empty apartments and 2 houses in Berlin and gave them for those who need a safe place.
Solidarity will win!
#besetzen @besetzenberlin

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]