News from squat.net

Utrecht: Squatting during national day of action – police proceed to unlawful eviction

The national day of action against the ban on squatting was also held in Utrecht today. A group of squatters has just added the vacant building at Reactorweg 164-172 to the housing stock. Help with the occupation is welcome, so come along!

The building, owned by De Waal Beheer, has been empty for quite some time now and plans for use by the owner seem to be lacking. While the CDA and VVD in their own-initiative law are working on new legislation to protect property owners even better against squatters, this action shows that squatting is still the only effective means for people searching for housing to combat vacancy.

~ Let a thousand free spaces blossom! ~
Squatting goes on!

Eviction timeline sunday 15 september:

19:11 – The police are currently trying to evict the building. A policeman with crowbar has been spotted, police dogs are present and the atmosphere is grim, with the squatters present being threatened. Police starts evicting, while it has been admitted that there was no red-handed situation. Fuck the squatting ban!!!
19:29 – The police are trying to force the door, the street is being closed.
20:17 – In the meantime, the fire brigade has also been called in. The police are in the building, but don’t seem to get very far yet. One of the squatters has entrenched himself on the roof.
20:40 – The eviction is completely illegal, squatters already had domestic peace! The police confessed that there was no red-handed situation at all, but came up with vague arguments. They said that the owner had been inside a week earlier. All nonsense!
Another example where the police violate the right of residence in order to keep a malafide owner’s hand over his head. Which proves once again that there is no need for a new squatting law because an owner only has to sigh and squatters are on the street.
21:48 – The BraTra has arrived in the meantime.

update 17/09/2019 : all the detainees have been released yesterday around 11:00 in the evening after they were put for a while in custody. With this vague reason for the eviction and the royal treatment of the detainees, we are very much looking forward to the trial!

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Amsterdam: Squatting goes on!

Since the 1960s, squatting has been going on in the Netherlands. Since then, the housing shortage has only increased. And so it is still being squatted. You could call it a contrary tradition. Today, too, but today we make ourselves extra visible.
Why?
In opposition to the recently tabled amendment proposal for the Squatting and Vacancy Act.
Although the above mentioned law already came into force in 2010 and squatting became illegal, some politicians want to make the illegal use of housing even more illegal. The proposal is to make emergency evictions, including emergency lawsuits, the norm within a time frame of 3 days.
This seems superfluous, because at the moment, too, homeowners have sufficient resources at their disposal to be able to evacuate squatters.
That is why today in Amsterdam the still empty building at Buikslotermeerplein 7 is being rebuilt. Last year, the We Are Here group was evicted here on the spot. Until today, many months later, the building is not used either. The re-squatting emphasizes the dubious reason for eviction, namely that the building is used as a storage facility. This emphasizes the random way in which many people are deprived of their right of residence. Squatting is a necessity in order to guarantee the right to housing.
Even when the Squatting and Vacancy Act was introduced, squatters and sympathizers showed their opposition with slogans such as “vacancy law makes speculators fat”. The law was not only meant to make squatting punishable, but also to combat vacancy. Owners of long empty buildings could now be fined in order to prevent speculation.
It is not surprising that the law was only applied unilaterally. Fines were never imposed and squatters were imprisoned. In addition, the increase in vacancy management gave speculators the opportunity to hide vacancies under the guise of property guardianship and at the same time to exploit precarious tenants, property guardians, further and to deprive them of any rental rights. Property remains the highest asset in the modern progressive western world and the interests of the rich always weigh more heavily – or more expensive.
Through the unilateral application of the law, domestic peace, the right to housing and rental rights have become a hollow reality for many. Residents with a lower income from almost all Dutch cities have had to deal with sky-high housing and rents, a lack of social housing, gentrification, impoverishment and homelessness.
Therefore, it is not only in Amsterdam that opposition to the discriminatory proposal is expressed. Also in other Dutch cities empty buildings were publicly taken over today and other public actions of resistance were organized to jointly show our opposition to the political comedian on subjects such as housing, speculation, migrant workers, refugees and so on. Banners on dozens of buildings show solidarity and a broad opposition to the hypocritical proposal of politicians from the right-wing conservative quarter, which aims to protect public order and legitimate property against criminal burglars (squatters). In fact, the private member’s bill serves to further suppress people in precarious situations so that the rich can sleep peacefully at night.
This is precisely why we continue to fight for our rights, and for the rights of everyone in a precarious housing situation. We are in solidarity with all marginalised people whose most fundamental rights are being trampled underfoot. We continue to campaign for the right to a roof over our heads, for self-organised places within cities, and a maximum of freedom to seek autonomous solutions to problems created by the municipalities themselves.

We will not be declared illegal! We are and will remain here! We continue to squat!

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Netherlands: National day of action against the ban on squatting


Ban the squatting ban!

Since the 1960s, squatting has functioned as a mean of action to stress out a failing housing and vacancy policy: the reason why for decades a squatting ban was regarded as undesirable without any associated effective measures to prevent vacancy. Although squatting has been banned by law since 2010, vacancy and housing shortage have doubled in the past 10 years. And so people are still squatting. The VVD and the CDA do not see vacancies and housing shortages as a problem, but squatting is. At the moment, these parties are working hard for a change in the law to ensure that squatters can be evicted more quickly, without tackling the underlying problems. Because this law will put the legal position of squatters and precarious residents under severe pressure and will only further increase the historically high vacancy rates and homelessness, actions are taking place in various parts of the country today.

One-sided effectuation Squatting and Vacancy Act

Almost 10 years ago, the Squatting and Vacancy Act was passed, on the condition that not only squatting, but also vacancy had to be reduced. Whereas squatting has always been (and still is!) an important stick behind the door of pawnbrokers, from now on municipalities should play a more active role in tackling speculation on vacant property and impoverishment. Fines for structural vacancy, however, have hardly been imposed and thanks to the gigantic boost of vacancy management/property guardianship, it has only become easier for speculators to conceal vacancy under the guise of ‘occupancy through temporary renting’.

Acceleration of the ‘squat carousel’

In the explanation of the proposal, initiators Daniel Koerhuis (VVD) and Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA) suggest that Amsterdam is currently being flooded by criminal housing gangs, who, thanks to the suspensive effect of instituting summary proceedings, could all too easily hop from one property to another – the so-called ‘squat carousel’. “This behavior of squatters is possible because the legislation is designed for incidental, isolated crimes, where squatting itself has an increasingly structural character,” they write. Since its existence as a social phenomenon, squatting has of course already had a structural character, in which solving individual housing needs has gone hand in hand with denouncing social abuses in the real estate sector. The squat carousel has always existed in this sense, because the eviction of a squatted building from the squatters who were thrown out on the street was often solved by the squatting of another building. This is an expected consequence of the bill: not a stop of the carousel, but a further acceleration of the carousel.

Profit over people

We cannot see the development of this initiative law in isolation from the ever-increasing criminalisation of homeless people and migrants (with the refugee collective We Are Here as the most appropriate scapegoat) and the further erosion of the constitutional and treaty-protected domestic law. For years, the VVD has been waging an ideological trench war against assertive people who own nothing – above all to safeguard the interests of the richest. For whoever really benefits from this law is a small minority with several houses, who want to remain able to continue to increase the pressure on the available housing stock in order to have the millions rake in for them. Because the private member’s bill offers no alternative to the desperate shortage of affordable housing, this proposal comes as a heartless trap for the least wealthy and most vulnerable in society. Instead of protecting the homeless, urgent home-seekers and precarious people, the government is only threatening to force more people into situations of housing insecurity.

After all, let’s not forget that squatting stands for a lot of good. From the opening up of accessible, inclusive spaces that can be used by anyone to the condition of existence for the alternative creative infrastructure and non-commercial nightlife and meeting places. And together we still manage to preserve monumental buildings that would otherwise be overthrown for a new building of €800 plus. Together we make a lot of valuable things possible. Together we will fight the sale of the city!

We do not allow ourselves to be declared illegal.
Squatting goes on!

Banners in The Hague:

Demonstration in Nijmegen:
Banners hanged at Knoflook in Den Bosch

Reactorweg 164-172 squatted in Utrecht, evicted on sunday night

Squatting action and in Amsterdam, Buikslotermeerplein 7 resquatted. Music and speakers on the stage.

Banner in Amsterdam

In Wageningen, a group of 10 students squatted a former industrial building on Lawickse Allee.

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Greece: Why is the state attacking Exarcheia?

The Greek state’s long anticipated attack on the rebellious district of Exarcheia began with the eviction of four occupied spaces and a provocative and dangerous attack on the social centre K*Vox. Since the return to power of right-wing New Democracy in the July elections the move has been expected and a difficult struggle lies ahead for Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space in Greece. The short-term fixations of New Democracy and the right explain the police operation but the attack on Exarcheia is part of a deeper desire by the state draw a line under its decade long crisis and declare total victory.

New Democracy have their own reasons for the attack on Exarcheia.1 While in opposition they raised the right’s traditional banner of ‘law and order’ and helped by a cooperative media painted a picture of a society spiralling into lawlessness. None of this was true, after all SYRIZA evicted occupied centres and refugee solidarity projects as well as sending the riot police into the neighbourhood and against demonstrations countless times while one of SYRIZA’s final campaign rallies for the July elections was attended by prominent police officials. Still the new Prime Minister Mitsotakis repeatedly threatened to ‘end’ Exarcheia while in opposition. That the refugee and migrant occupations were targeted first along with other announcements that the government will speed up deportations demonstrates that an anti-immigration agenda will be a priority. This reaffirms New Democracy’s connections with the far-right despite the liberal ‘centrist’ presentation of Mitsotakis.

The operation against the neighbourhood also fits in with economic and social objectives. One of Mitsotakis’ first announcements as Prime Minister was that the long-established law against smoking in enclosed spaces will be enforced. It was a symbolic measure to proclaim that from now on all laws of the state, no matter how minor, will be enforced. Eradicating the social tolerance for the bending or breaking off the state’s rules is a key element of Greece’s restructuring which was begun by the memoranda programmes. Exarcheia as an apparently ‘lawless’ neighbourhood is the physical embodiment of a mentality the government has set out to end. On the economic side Exarcheia is set to be another of the Athenian neighbourhoods undergoing rapid gentrification and exploitation as low property prices, the rise of tourist rental platforms and the tourism industry as a whole combine to reshape the face of the city. Should the political groups be neutralised or removed from the area, Exarcheia will be the perfect hip/alternative tourist destination.

There are then a number of reasons why the new government is attacking Exarcheia but such an operation was inevitable whoever administers the state. Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space are one of the few remaining obstacles on the state’s path to a restoration of normality. The Greek state is in the process of moving on from a devastating decade long political and economic crisis and in recent years it has been able to present itself as slowly returning to normal. In August 2018 the third memorandum programme was finally completed, though budget targets still must be meet for the next forty years and the Greek state remains under ‘enhanced supervision’ from the eurozone. The July 2019 elections saw New Democracy restored to power under one of the traditional dynastic families that have dominated Greek politics since the early twentieth century. Despite being the longest serving memorandum government SYRIZA consolidated their position as the new left pillar of the state, replacing the previously dominant PASOK and restoring the possibility of a stable two-party system. Even better the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn failed to re-enter parliament. Borrowing costs are falling to historic lows and in recently the final capital controls, put in place in 2015, were lifted. Over the last two years the memorandum and austerity were replaced as the main political issue by a focus on national questions such as the historic identity of the state’s northern neighbour and tensions with the Turkish state. When viewed from the top of society it is as if there has been a magical restoration of the pre-crisis status-quo.

While it seems in some sense that so little has changed despite the upheavals of the decade-long crisis events since 2008 revealed a political shift in Greece. For much of the twentieth century the Greek state was in a prolonged struggle against a large section of its own population. This internal enemy was the left whether that was the Communist Party (KKE) who led the resistance to Nazi occupation and the fight against the right-wing Greek state that was restored by the British and the Americans post-1944 or the broader left that struggled against an authoritarian state and the far-right throughout the 1960s and 1970s. That struggle ended, as elsewhere, with the election of a Socialist (PASOK) government to carry out progressive reforms and democratise the state. With the election of PASOK in 1981 the Greek left was reconciled with the state. In the modern crisis this allowed the left to step in and stabilise the state. Between 2008-2012 the Greek state was rocked by a series of revolts and social movements that began with the December revolt of 2008 and continued through the massive anti-austerity movements of 2010-2012. The result of these movements was that by 2014 the two traditional ruling parties, New Democracy and PASOK, were huddled together in a coalition that was so politically exhausted it was incapable of carrying out the next phase of the bailout and memorandum programme. In 2015 the Greek state needed SYRIZA and the left dutifully stepped in to manage the situation better.

During 2008-2018 it became clear that the internal opponent of the Greek state is no longer the left but the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space. It was the space which was central to the revolt of December 2008 that marked the beginning of the crisis. The anarchists and anti-authoritarians were key to the riots which threatened revolt during the most precarious moments of the crisis in 2010-2012. The space formed the core of the anti-fascist movement that combatted Golden Dawn and the far-right turn of the state while going on to contribute to the post-2015 refugee solidarity movement. Anarchists such as Alexis Grigoropoulos and Lambros Foundas were killed by the state’s police. It was members of the space that conducted an armed struggle against the state and have since been at the centre of a continuous anti-terror repressive campaign. The anarchist and anti-authoritarian space has become the main challenger to the state and so a strike at its heart in Exarcheia was inevitable at some point.

While the Greek state hopes to sweep into Exarcheia and wipe away a district that has cause it problems for half a century its operation is not without risk. In 2012-2014 another New Democracy led government aimed to defeat the anarchists and anti-authoritarians. Squats were attacked and evicted, there were attempts to shut down the space’s websites and radio stations, guerrillas and their family members and acquaintances were imprisoned and tried as terrorists while a new maximum security prison and isolation regime was threatened. At the same time Golden Dawn were let loose with the protection of the police. In those years the anarchists and anti-authoritarians fought back and while some battles were lost the state’s offensive was blunted. The current situation is perhaps more threatening as in previous years the existence of wider social tensions and mobilisation meant that the state’s ability to attack the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space was tempered by the threat of the wider disorder that could provoke. Now Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space are more isolated as large parts of society are demobilised and disillusioned. Still the fact the police waited until the end of the summer tourist season to launch any major operations shows they remain uncertain of the political cost of the operation.

Greece is almost ‘back to normal’. Its old governing elite is back in power with members of one of the dynastic families as Prime Minister and Mayor of Athens. SYRIZA has stepped into PASOK’s shoes to restore a two-party system. Golden Dawn are no longer needed and have been side-lined while parts of the far-right agenda have been fully absorbed into the mainstream. The memoranda and bailouts are over, the banking systems of northern European and America were protected and now Greece is an open field for exploitation and investment. Exarcheia and the anarchist and anti-authoritarian space are the last bastion of opposition that must be overcome. In this precarious and dangerous position only one thing is certain: Exarcheia will fight.

Neil Middleton

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

1 For a closer look at some of New Democracy’s current objectives see this article by Omniatv (in Greek) https://omniatv.com/853450720

https://freedomnews.org.uk/why-is-the-greek-state-attacking-exarcheia/

Poznan (Poland): Rozbrat is here to stay! Demonstration, saturday 14th of September 2019

„ROZBRAT IS HERE TO STAY!”
THE OLDEST SQUAT IN POLAND FACES EVICTION

SATURDAY 14TH OF SEPTEMBER, 13H
DEMONSTRATION IN POZNAN
START: UL. PUŁASKIEGO, POD ROZBRATEM

http://www.rozbrat.org/news-in-english

THE WEBPAGE OF ROZBRAT HAS ALSO SOME STUFF BESIDES ENGLISH, IN SPANISH OR
ITALIAN.

THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES! DEMO IN DEFENCE OF ROZBRAT SQUAT

ROZBRAT COLLECTIVE COMMUNIQUE

We’ve been taking constant actions in order to defend the place that is a home of a group of people and has hosted various social and cultrural activities. As we announced in the past, bailif has started a procedure leading to an auction of a parcel and buildings that Rozbrat occupies. The date of the auction is still not set – we assume because of our pressure and support we have gathered from all over Poland and the world.

Thank you so much for any kind of support!

At the same time we have met with the city council’s officials. We were pursuing to explain and clarify that the parcel that Rozbrat is placed on might have been bought by current owner (Darex) using scam. We were ensured that the municipality will examine the case once more and if it’s possible – will take actions to defend its interests. Beacuse of the new evidence in the case the collective took additional steps to block the auction procedure.

Therefore we declare that if we formally ease the parcel by prescription, we will pass it to the citizens of Poznań. Our only goal is to defend the place as social, non-commercial and ecological project.

We also know which developers are interested in buying Rozbrat. We are warning – if they take any hostile actions – we will resist.

The collective decided to hold a demonstration on 14th of September, 2019. It will take place during 25th anniversary of Rozbrat squat. We will fill Poznań’s streets to show our devotion to stand for Rozbrat and values it represents. We fight for Poznań free of evictions, poverty and exploitation. Stand with us in numbers!

14th September, Sat, 1pm // start: Pułaskiego st. 21A, Rozbrat / Poznan

Amsterdam: Pretoriusstraat 89hs resquatted

Today 8 september 2019, Pretoriusstraat 89 ground floor has been resquatted. Owner is the family van Zijl from Wilnis, known as infamous real estate speculators in Amsterdam. Until 2013, the building has been used by several butcheries. After, it stood empty for a few years until it was squatted in February 2016. The squatters had to leave in 2018, because the owner wanted to renovate the neglected building and convert its function to living. Since then, not much has happened, the floor is empty and stripped, draughts and rain further damage the property.

The van Zijl family is known for its speculative real estate business, which is conducted through vacancy and neglect. Harry van Zijl, has been called the “Amsterdam King of the Slums”. His son, who takes over the company with a portfolio of more than 80 properties in Amsterdam, employs the same strategy. The more neglected a building, the easier it is to obtain different permits, for example converting its function. The longer it takes, the more it pays off. The housing shortage is not a social problem, but an opportunity for enrichment. That is why many of their houses have been squatted and re-squatted over the years.

For example, Café Van Belle on Mosplein 26 in Amsterdam Noord, which was squatted in August 2014. Also here the squatters had to leave in 2018, because renovations were about to start. However, this property remained empty, until it was sold in July 2018 for 3 million euros. Another speculative object of the family van Zijl is Marnixstraat 388, which was squatted at least three times between 1982 and 2017. The last time squatters entered, the house was completely renovated and separated into five independent apartments. But no one was living in these typical Airbnb apartments.

The government is talking about a new law against squatting, while vacancies, precarious contracts without legal protection and property speculation by investors only increase. We are in the middle of a housing crisis, and that’s why we are taking action!

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

https://www.parool.nl/nieuws/cafe-van-belle-in-noord-gekraakt~be05dbcb/
https://www.funda.nl/koop/verkocht/amsterdam/huis-40695412-mosplein-20-26/
https://www.funda.nl/huur/verhuurd/amsterdam/appartement-40225041-marnixstraat-388-1/
https://www.vrij-links.nl/artikelen/nederland-verkeert-in-een-wooncrisis-wat-gaan-we-doen/
https://www.parool.nl/columns-opinie/vooralsnog-is-kraken-het-enige-antwoord-op-de-wooncrisis~bd9bb117/

Amsterdam: “Free” Space and Squatting. No More Caged Chickens

Free Space Now. The slogan of ADEV in 2018 – an annual street rave organised by squatters and artists in the city of Amsterdam. The slogan refers to a lobbying initiative called the Free Spaces Accord (vrijplaatsenakkord). Inspired by the looming eviction of the ADM and by the new ruling coalition of the municipality’s rhetoric in support of counter-culture, the stated aim of the Accord is twofold: the legitimisation of existing Free Spaces (vrijplaatsen) and the stimulation of new Free Spaces.

The initiative emerges from an influential part of the Amsterdam squatting movement. This loosely defined faction, which includes the ADEV organisation, the Free Spaces Accord, parts of the ADM community, and many legalised squats, believes in integration with the city, rather than attempting to oppose the authoritarian power structures and the social degradation they are responsible for.

This faction campaigns for “the fringes”, hoping to secure a few buildings where a small minority (elite groups?) of artists and “free thinkers” can escape the rat race and be “free”. Only then, the argument continues, can such people make a contribution to the city and – according to one end of the faction’s political spectrum – to capitalism and wealth creation.

It is telling that the narrow, questionable interests represented by the free spaces faction would choose a slogan – ‘Free Space Now’ – that reflects an individualism and lack of political substance that would not be out of place in an ad for the latest pair of Nikes. They represent a tendency within the Amsterdam squatting movement towards political incoherence and submission (in some cases with pleasure) to cooptation and repression.

But the Free Spaces Accord/ADEV organisation are not alone in expressing such sentiments. They are commonplace (though by no means universal) in the Amsterdam squatting scene. So the first question is this: How did the Amsterdam squatters’ movement become largely reduced to a pressure group lobbying for more publicly subsidised, semi-commercial spaces for artists and their followers?

Divide and Conquer

In 1999, the city of Amsterdam introduced the breeding grounds (broedplaats) policy.
The primary focus of the policy was to create workspaces for artists and cultural entrepreneurs. Specially designed to encourage creative industries, the city viewed the policy as a way of making the city ‘vibrant’ – urban planner marketing speak for ‘profitable’.

The city probably didn’t make the decision to divide and co-opt the squatting scene consciously – at least not all the people involved – but it made sense to them. It fitted into their understanding of the world. It appeared to be logical. And that’s because they are a part of the state, and so their interests are the state’s interests, and the state doesn’t accept opposition.

The breeding grounds concept offered the city a way to exploit the squatting movement for its own ends: principally, to facilitate the growth of creative, or cultural industries, but also as a tool for pacification and cooptation. A huge pot of money was created and used, partially, to buy the cooperation of ‘good squats’ and ‘good squatters’. Those that could become the “first link in the creative (thinking) process” [1], which ends in industry. In effect, the policy turned receptive squats into providers of cultural services.

When implemented, the Amsterdam squatting movement had already become fragmented and weak, due to internal struggles as much as external repression [2]. The breeding grounds policy only exacerbated the divides. By providing opportunities to squatters the city deemed useful – the ‘good squatters’ – they automatically labelled the rest as ‘bad’ [fn:1].

Despite their change in status, the threat of eviction did not necessarily decrease for those squats that became breeding grounds [3]. As it turned out, squatters who thought siding with the city would protect them from eviction, were fooled.

The city chewed them up and spat them out. One academic writing on the subject summed up the attitude of the city as follows: `Squatters were great pioneers of breeding places, but we do not need them any longer’ [3]. And that was back in 2004…

In 2010, squatting was made illegal. Since then, the last long-standing squats have been slowly, but steadily evicted. Not a single eviction was prevented by the cultural value of the squat. Even the Slangenpand, arguably one of the most integrated into the breeding ground logic, was not spared (unsurprisingly, unlike their neighbours, they left with the door open, thus showing zero solidarity with the rest of the squatters on the street).

The Case of the ADM, among others

The same story is playing out once again with the ADM. In vain, they have attempted to defend themselves against eviction by invoking the breeding grounds concept.

The ADM describes itself as, “the largest cultural free-haven in the Netherlands” and, “one of Amsterdam’s biggest cultural assets.” They say they have made a massive effort to, “convince the council of the value of the ADM,” and to demonstrate all the ways the ADM fits “exactly into the brand new coalition priorities.” The description continues, “ADM is a fertile, vibrant space for local and international cultural climates, as well as playing a leading role in the Creative Industry.” [4] In essence, the ADM is claiming to be compatible with the state and an asset to the capitalist economy through its contributions to the creative industry. Hardly a radical position, or one that suggests much solidarity with those repressed by the city’s policies and capitalist exploitation.

One banner created by the ADM and hung up around the city read: “Defend Autonomous Spaces: Because a city without free spaces is like a circus without a clown”, implying squatters are performing monkeys, existing for people’s entertainment, rather than a political movement focused on housing issues. Equally, the slogan devalues the notion of autonomy, presenting it as something frivolous and marginal rather than a radical assertion of principle [fn:2].

If the ADM were to take a radical stand, it could describe itself as follows: “The ADM is a stronghold of squatting in the city of Amsterdam. An example of horizontally structured community endeavour. We call for the decriminalisation of squatting, an end to property speculation, and for houses and workspaces to be owned and managed by the people who live and work in them. We are an example of what can be achieved under such conditions. As such, we stand in solidarity with those who resist the oppression of the state and who reject its legitimacy.”

Instead, “There is no culture without subculture!!” and “Free Space Now”, are the slogans of the ADM generation.

Despite their best efforts to fit in by standing out, the city callously set the date of eviction for Christmas Day. After that, all bets are off.

Considering this example, we see the problem isn’t even that squatters team up with the city by making use of the breeding grounds fund, but that a large segment of the movement has adopted the language of the ‘creative city’ concept – which inspired the policy – without considering the broader impact. As such, they have been working towards the city’s goals, rather than their own. And they are defending themselves by invoking the city’s own arguments rather than pushing their own agenda.

Meanwhile in the real world…

While artists fight for a cupboard under the stairs where they can go to “be free”, the rest of the city is being gentrified – full force! Social rents are going up, while the supply of social housing declines (waiting lists for a house are about 13 years); anti-squat and temporary rent contracts have become the new norm, as has building luxury accommodation for the middle classes and the rich. Communities are broken up to make room for developments and renovation projects, and in the process people are forced to abandon their homes and relocate to cheaper areas further out of the city.

And all the while the social housing corporations, and property developers and speculators of all kinds, are having a party – with champagne, caviar, and Maseratis! The social housing corporations of Amsterdam are no longer social (if they ever really were!) – they are private and run for private gain, while continuing to receive preferential treatment from the state [fn:3]. Under the auspice of crisis, the housing corporations and property speculators have been making a killing.

Some people call this phenomenon gentrification. We prefer to call it extortion, theft, and racketeering.

The strangest part is that most of the squatting community are fully aware of this reality. Yet somehow, the majority remain incapable of articulating a clear critique of the situation and continue to allow themselves to fall into the creative city trap. They seem happy to remain breeding chickens (a derogative term for squatters who use, or try to use, the breeding ground funds supplied by the government), trapped in little cages, laying creativity eggs for the industrial capitalist culture system [fn:4].

Now that the eggs have hatched, and the city is reaping the rewards, the caged hens are being sent to the slaughterhouse, apparently unable to understand why.

Cornered

The long and the short of it is this: the squatting movement has allowed itself to be backed into a corner, defending a narrative it didn’t write. In doing so, parts of the movement abandoned their principles – or proved they never had any – and have been parroting the goals of the breeding grounds policy in an effort to secure a bit of “free space” for themselves. Now that the government’s priorities have changed, it is taking every opportunity to remove the remaining squatters from the clinically clean city scape it has created.

Divided and conquered by the combination of cooptation (creative city concept & breeding grounds policy) and repression (evictions & criminalisation), it is not really accurate to talk of a squatting movement any longer. What we see in Amsterdam is a squatting scene, or community (as pretty much everyone involved acknowledges). The scene reacts to threats to its existence but expresses no coherent political agenda of its own.

Learn from the Past. Plan for the Future.

Squatting is first and foremost about housing, not ateliers, or concerts, and certainly not about creating a ‘vibrant’ creative city. Squatting can facilitate social activities, but it would be preferable to do so within a political framework that emphasises social emancipation – as a few short-lived squats in Amsterdam have done, or tried to do, during the last few years – rather than assimilation into the existing (authoritarian) social order.

Those places that have become breeding grounds – along with the places that have adopted the narrative of the creative city without necessarily receiving the breeding grounds subsidy (a phenomena that could be called voluntary cooptation) – have submitted to the interests of the state and, consequently, largely abandoned radical politics, along with all those people suffering the consequences of living in a profit-driven, authoritarian city.

1980: NO HOUSING, NO CORONATION | 2018: FREE SPACE NOW. [fn:5]

While it may be too late to save the last ‘cultural free spaces’ of Amsterdam, it’s never too late to start building a counter movement.

A New Agenda of Resistance and Attack

We’re on the back foot, taking punches left and right. It’s time to duck and counter. It’s time to write our own narrative, to reframe the situation, and to formulate our own agenda.

Organising Ourselves

In order to create a new agenda, we need to begin a discussion about our principles, our priorities, and our options. A debate has already been initiated by the Free Space advocates with the introduction of their Free Spaces Accord (Vrijplaatsenakkord). While the Accord amounts to little more than a watered-down version of the breeding grounds policy and echoes all the negative attributes of that policy, it does provide an opportunity for discussion. A discussion we desperately need to have if there is to be any hope of future success for the social struggle in Amsterdam and for squatting in the city.

Consider this a small contribution to the conversation.

Let us consider other possibilities rather than blindly jumping onto the Free Spaces bandwagon. One option could be described as a push back strategy or offensive strategy, while the Free Space Accord, in comparison, could be labeled an integration strategy. Let us examine the options.

The Free Space Accord

The Free Space Accord is an attempt to extend the categories of state-sanctioned creative zones. According to its proponents, the goal is to create Free Spaces that can develop “organically”, without regulations or influence from the city council, while receiving their blessing and implicit protection at the same time.

According to the Free Spaces Accord website, Free Spaces are living and work spaces in the mould of commercial/semi-commercial venues such as NDSM and OT301. As such, they are primarily intended for people who consider themselves artists and are designed to encourage small-scale creative industries. The Free Spaces Agreement group hopes to achieve their goals through lobbying and negotiation with city authorities.

The Accord calls for indirect financial support for Free Spaces, a dialogue with the city, and protection of the frayed edges (rafelranden). This means filling empty buildings with cultural, social, or sustainable initiatives for as long as possible and recognising existing free spaces (read: ADM). Their broadest goal is an end to large scale vacancies and a return to the policy of no evictions for emptiness (which was Amsterdam’s policy in relation to squatters for many years, but which seems to have been dropped in practice over the last 5/6 years).

It is unclear how Free Spaces will benefit those without housing, in precarious housing situations, or suffering from extortionate rents. In fact, it may even undermine what little support they have left by legitimising the city authorities directly responsible for their situation. Even the broad goal of ending large scale emptiness will do little for those in precarious situations, if the answer to emptiness is ateliers and petite bourgeois creative industries. After all, not everyone wants to be (or can be) a state-sanctioned creative capitalist.

Based as it is on a small glimmer of political hope offered by the city council’s new ‘left leaning’ coalition, the Free Spaces Accord has focused on lobbying politicians to achieve its aims. During a recent public debate on Free Spaces, a representative of the Accord argued in favour of talking to politicians using the old adage, “someone’s got to do it”. They also suggested we frame our demands in a way that will appeal to them (the politicians). Inevitably, we will have to deal with politicians, but there is a difference between catering to their desires and us demanding what we want. We can choose to work with our enemies or negotiate when it is strategically useful [fn:6].

Indeed, recently the left coalition’s state appointed leader, (the Mayor of Amsterdam) Femke Halsema, demonstrated just how naive people have been to expect anything will be given freely by her and the city council. In an interview, Femke said she appreciates what the ADM has done for Amsterdam culturally, but the ADM residents should not squat other empty terrains. They are supposed to go to the Slibvelden in Amsterdam north; a temporary space available to residents of the ADM for just 2 years. The city went as far as to warn neighbours of the ADM of the possibility of squatting actions being carried out by residents of the ADM in their area [6].

In the same interview, Halsema went on to repeat the breeding grounds logic, “especially in the free spaces or fringes, a culture arises, which in a later phase is profitable for the city”. She clearly demonstrates that her interest in the ‘fringes’, if she has any at all, is motivated by the same goal as for those who created the breeding grounds policy before her.

If supporters of the breeding grounds policy are caged hens, then the Free Spaces Accord advocates are campaigning to become their free ranged sisters. Still under the thumb of an exploitative, authoritarian system, but with a little more space to run.

Given the obvious flaws in the Free Spaces Accord, and the concept of Free Spaces generally, it is clear we need another plan.

The Offensive Path

Instead of asking the city, which has been systematically rejecting us and oppressing its inhabitants, to make a token gesture, we should aim to push the state back, to retrieve some of the ground we have lost and gain new ground in the process.

An obvious starting point is the decriminalisation of squatting, and with it the eradication of anti-squat (anti-kraak) as a legitimate form of housing. Under such conditions, it is conceivable that those currently living without tenant rights, freedoms, or protections under anti-squat contracts, could squat their residences. This would offer them the chance to live far more freely, releasing them from the burden of paying for their precarity, and provide them with the opportunity of creating bigger living groups, thus better utilising the sparsely occupied square metres currently under the management of anti-squat companies.

Unlike the Free Spaces Accord, calling on the state to decriminalise squatting is not asking for something. It is demanding the state back off. We aren’t asking them to support us in our efforts. We don’t want their money, or their political backing. We are simply telling them to fuck off.

If we reject such approaches in favour of the Free Spaces/integration strategy, we will abandon the possibility of solving – or at least alleviating – some of the problems regarding housing in return for a few creative workspaces. Hardly a good deal, wouldn’t you agree?

And we cannot follow both paths. We cannot pander to the city, highlighting all the ways we can live up to their expectations of us, while simultaneously demanding they change their expectations and take a step back. The city will not be keen to surrender the tremendous gains it has made against a movement it has always considered a nuisance and, at times, a threat. Decriminalisation and the end of anti-squat will not be achieved by cosying up to politicians and politely requesting “free spaces”. It will only be achieved through pressure.

Turning the Scene into a Movement

To have any chance of success we must start to view the squatting scene as a housing movement (and definitely not as a Free Spaces movement) – where squatting is one strategy among many, albeit a central one. Calling for a repeal of the squatting ban is certainly justifiable, but it does not count as a social or political agenda, rather it should be considered as a way to open up space for action. A battle to be fought rather than the war in itself.

We don’t squat for the sake of it. We squat for housing. Housing where we control our living space and where we don’t have to pay for the privilege of having a roof over our heads. A house where we can live our lives the way we want to, rather than be forced to accept societies deranged expectations: work hard for someone else, pay rent to someone who has too much, buy things you probably don’t need, consume rather than connect, retire (maybe), and then that’s it.

The conditions we pursue through squatting should be universal. Every inhabitant of the city should have (shared) control over their living space, and no one should have to contribute to the wealth of a landlord, capitalist, or housing corporation to have it. Our position is an ethical one, before it is a political one. This, in short, should be our agenda. Organised resistance, not compliance, is how we get there.

A Final Word

If we are able, through dialogue, to create a shared perspective and a shared vision of our future, the immediate steps will reveal themselves. We will be able to turn what remains of our infrastructure towards the achievement of our shared vision. This could include a revitalisation and reorientation of the KSUs – to emphasise campaigning and consciousness raising activities alongside the traditional functions – and perhaps the creation of new informal and voluntary organisations directed at specific aspects of the task ahead, such as challenging anti-squat companies and owners who hire them, supporting active squatters, and working with other groups dealing with precarious housing issues. This will require us to work with people not currently connected to squatting, people we may not always agree with, but with whom we share a common enemy. These are only suggestions, the details must be hammered out together.

And for those of you who so predictably claim this plan to be unworkable, unrealistic, and so on, remember this: Capitalism has not always reigned supreme, and cities have not always been hotbeds of authoritarianism. Liberty was wrested from the people by force and deception, we must set ourselves the goal – however remote it might be – of taking it back.

The fear is that it may already be too late for this discussion to be constructive. That the city of Amsterdam has already gone too far down the path towards political and social obsolescence. That it has become devoid of meaning and substance; no more than a play pen for the creative middle classes and rich tourists, presided over by an affluent authoritarian elite. Amsterdam, it’s time to break out of the creative cages.

###

Footnotes

1. It’s not uncommon to hear, at a squatting action involving people from outside of the Netherlands, neighbours complain that the people are “not even Dutch”. As far as we are aware, no such hostility is directed at rich expats, despite the fact they outnumber non-dutch squatters by tens of thousands. There are good squatters and bad squatters, good foreigners and bad ones.

2. Before you get all offended and start accusing us of attacking a beloved Amsterdam squatting institution, let us point out that we are merely analysing how the ADM has presented itself. We do not know whether the position presented by the ADM accurately represents all the people living there, we doubt it. And we also understand that they are desperate to prevent their home from being taken from them and are doing, very understandably, everything they can think of to stop this from happening. Clearly there is not a strong enough opposition to the current narrative for it to be altered. And that’s all that matters in the context of this article. We are also not saying that the ADM isn’t a fun place to hang out, it certainly is. But that’s not what a movement is all about really, is it?

3. The chief executive of housing corporation Vestia, Erik Staal, is reported to have been paid nearly half a million per year, before being forced to resign for causing a financial disaster at the company in 2012 [5]. Hubert Möllenkamp, ex-director of Rochdale was seen driving a Maserati – in an effort to save face, Möllenkamp was fired from the company. And that is to say nothing of the excesses enjoyed by private property developers and speculators.

4. A stellar example of the cognitive dissonance that pervades the squatting movement and would-be radicals of Amsterdam, appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Amsterdam Alternative – a magazine created and funded by a coalition of creative spaces, most are former squats or, such as the ADM, still squatted. This article exemplifies the way in which art takes precedence over all other considerations in the minds of ‘alternative’ types in Amsterdam. In a flurry of contradiction, the article starts out by condemning the public and private funding of art claiming that under such conditions, “you can succeed as an artist, just as long as you’re clean enough for corporate sponsors, or talented at jumping through the hoops of accessing public funding”, before going on to call on the city council to make public funds available for the support of artist workspaces through the creation of a “Space Force”, which, the author argues, could be, “a reinvigorated version of the broedplaatsen [breeding grounds] policy, looking for ways to help spaces that make creative opportunities for younger people, older people, minorities, and so on.” [7]

5. A poster from 1980 demanding housing for the people of Amsterdam, otherwise there will be no coronation. Since there was, of course, no housing provided, squatters rioted on the day of the coronation. The event was described as “civil war” by segments of the press. Next to it, the ADEV 2018 poster, “Free Space Now”.

6. Right now the Amsterdam squatting movement (or rather the housing movement) are no threat to the status quo, and will therefore not be taken seriously. The city holds all the cards. In France, the Gilets Jaunes are demonstrating what is obvious: one must negotiate from a position of strength, not submission.

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Sources:

1. Futurologic Symposium and xx birthday ADM (2017): https://amsterdamalternative.nl/articles/4602
1. The Co-optation of Squatters in Amsterdam and the Emergence of a Movement Meritocracy: A Critical Reply to Pruijt (2004) Justus Uitermark
2. Squatters in the Creative City: A Rejoinder to Justus Uitermark (2004) Hans Pruijt p.700
3. ADM website: https://adm.amsterdam/about
4. Dutch housing sector in crisis over Vestia’s €20bn rate swap gamble (2012): https://www.socialhousing.co.uk/news/dutch-housing-sector-in-crisis-over-vestias-20bn-rate-swap-gamble-21216
5. Halsema wil geen nieuwe kraakacties ADM-bewoners (2018) AT5: https://www.at5.nl/artikelen/189087/halsema-wil-geen-nieuwe- kraakacties-adm-bewoners-meldt-u-zich-bij-de-slibvelden-in-noord
6. Amsterdam Needs A Space Force (2018): https://amsterdamalternative.nl/articles/5980

Greece: We stand against state repression

The state and capitalism continue to target the freedom of the social base and appropriate its labour and resources. In recent years we have experienced some of the most violent attacks on this freedom through the mass impoverishment of the already oppressed and exploited. At the same time, a widespread social resistance and solidarity movement has formed. People have created a variety of self-organized spaces such as housing infrastructures, social medical centers, community kitchens, open parks and public spaces. In spite of setbacks, the movement has created a solid social ground and accumulated considerable knowledge and experience. Through squats, political groups, base unions, squares and neighbourhood assemblies we have formed communities of struggle with strong social bonds. Communities oriented towards society, with a critical eye all the same. At times, the movement has had to use violence as a means of defending and expanding free spaces against state repression, capitalist interests and fascist attacks. It is a movement that grows in diversity and vibrancy, despite the ongoing criminalisation of solidarity and mobility.

In the context of this socio-class conflict, on Monday 26/8, the state, armed with police forces, seized Exarchia and evicted four squats. Two of these squats were migrant homes—Transito and Spirou Trikoupi 17, from where the police abducted 144 migrants, uprooting them from their places of residence for a second time and isolating them in what the state calls detention centers. Evictions were also carried out in an ongoing housing and political squat in Assimaki Fotila street, and the Gare squat, where three arrests were made. Police also invaded the homes of comrades from Gare. In the next days, police kicked out homeless persons from Strefi hill, beat up a homosexual couple, attacked the steki of anarchist immigrants and the squatted social space of K’ BOΞ. The movement gave multiform answers with gatherings, actions and demonstrations. In addition to the squats and the movement, this repressive operation targets migrants. These are some of the most oppressed people in society, since their very existence is considered illegal. In a state of ‘illegality’ there is no access to health and education, and working conditions are like slavery. Many choose self-organisation and solidarity structures in order to survive and resist. Together with locals and internationals they build communities and claim visibility, posing a direct threat to political and economic power. The solidarity we are—all of us together—building is antithetical to the humanitarian aid of NGOs that can be seen to manipulate migrants and make money off their problems. Real solidarity is at odds with state ‘humanitarianism’, which covers up deaths at the borders and deflects from the violent conditions in concentration camps. Prisoners do not receive adequate medical care and therefore suffer from potentially fatal diseases. These concentration camps lack basic hygiene, people live with bed bugs and miserable food and are frequently beaten, all to force them to flee Greek and European territory. Transferring migrants from the squats where they have chosen to live undermines their dignity and self-determination. The excuse that these camps are safer and healthier is a shameful lie of the state, an absolute reversal of reality.

Throughout these years, the solidarity movement has responded to a variety of needs and desires. The most important achievement of the movement is that people of different backgrounds have organized into squats and formed collective bodies to create projects that reflect the world of equality and freedom we desire. Squats are free spaces where social relations can be developed free from state control and economic exclusion. These spaces transgress national, gender and other systemic discrimination and answer basic needs such as housing, breaking out of rent coercion and wage exploitation. In times of mass forced migration, they offer shelter and hope to thousands of people by making inclusive and active spaces. Squats in collaboration with other grassroots forces defend neighbourhoods and public spaces from corporate and political power. The political agenda of New Democracy is a continuation of Syriza’s policy. It aims to transform the whole territory into readily exploitable land for local and foreign capital. The result is further exploitation and destruction of the environment and the aggressive gentrification of urban space that transforms neighbourhoods inside the city into areas of touristic consumption, displacing residents and carrying out an informal “social cleansing”. The militarisation of public space, the imprisonment of those who rise up, the subjugation of workers, students, the unemployed, migrants, women and LGBTQI+ people is essential for implementing such a plan. Some of New Democracy’s first moves were to integrate the correctional system and the immigration ministry under police jurisdiction. At the same time, they hired 1,500 new people to the police force, expanding the state’s army of repression. They further criminalised the means of struggle and abolished university asylum in preparation for the new social and class struggles. The struggles that Syriza assimilated and disintegrated paved the way for an even more aggressive totalitarian state that we saw with the rise of New Democracy.

We call all people of the struggle–the rebels, squatters, collectives and individuals–here and abroad, to join in strengthening our efforts towards a common front against police and state repression. Our primary aim is to defend the squats and our social achievements against the state and capital.

Don’t let the struggle be absorbed by any force of the regime! Let’s expand the already existing self-organised structures and create new ones, let’s escalate our class and social struggles. It is time to crush the oppressive forces, to debunk systemic media propaganda, and to bring out the truth of the struggle of the oppressed.

SOLIDARITY TO SQUATS AND ALL SPACES OF STRUGGLE
LOCALS-MIGRANTS WE STRUGGLE TOGETHER

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

Indymedia Athens https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1599770/

Magdeburg (Germany): Four at a stroke, solidarity greetings to Exarchia

In the night of 4 september 2019, we squatted four houses in different city districts of Magdeburg. We want to express our anger on the brutal attacks in Exarchia where more than 140 people have been jailed in refugee camps or directly imprisoned. At the same time, we want to show our solidarity with the free and rebellious spirits of the district here and of all other resisting places.

Today, several people in Magdeburg came together to appropriate different houses temporarily – with that we are saying: We can take the rooms if we want. Exarchia lives on!
It has been pronounced long time ago, but now Kyriakos Mitsotakis, newly elected prime minister and his riot police MAT striked with full violence. His aim was and is the autonomous district Exarchia in downtown of Athens. In this district which is shaped by self-organisation and the spirit of resistance, Mitsotakis wants to “tidy up”, as it depicts a stain for the gentrification project in Athens. They want to impose a metro station in Exarchia so it subjects itself to mass tourism and real estate speculation. So far they tried to harass the inhabitants of that district through repression, controls and expulsion, now the methods have been intensified.

Immediately after taking over the government, there has been attacks on two squats of migrants, Notara 26 and Hotel Oneiro. They tried to cut the water and electricity supply which lead to that fact that hundreds of people had fear of their lives and freedom. On 26th August 2019, a police eviction started at 6 o’clock in the morning in Exarchia.

The police invaded two squats in Spirou-Trikoupi street and the anarchists squats Gare and Rosa de Foc. They detained 134 migrants which have been distributed to different refugee camps. The deportation of some of the people are being executed now. The images of crying children was spread worldwide. Amnesty International complained about 35 minor refugees who have been detained. Moreover, they jailed three anarchists who have been released of detention on the following day. On 27th August, the police broke the door of the squat Omokentro in Tsamadhou street 32 in Exarchia and searched everything. On 28th August, the homeless people on the districts’ mountain of Exarchia have been expelled. On 30th August, the MAT forces attacked festival visitors on Exarchia place from three sides with tear gas. After that, they tried to trespass K*Vox, battered the glass door and threw inside tear gas grenades while the room was full of people. The people from K*Vox could hinder the police forces to enter the building. One person was hospitalised with serious head injuries…

1985 and 2008, two young Athenian activists were murdered by police. And also now, the all-day repression and attacks against self-organised rooms, migrants and local activists raises suspicion that police will not abstain from acting as brutal as possible. In the last days, a weapon has been drawn two times. In North-West of the police occupied district, the situation got more difficult, especially for the squat Notara 26 which is in the middle of the concerned area and is almost fully surrounded by police. “In this area, a gay couple has been attacked by police. In this area, fascists have been spotted doing small talk with cops, they were wearing t-shirts of the neo-Nazi ultras of “Lazio Rom” and the Identitarian Movement of “Defend Europe.” (from: Exarchia – mon amour, by Yannis Youlountas) Fascists and counter-insurgency units are besieging the district together. On Monday, 2nd September, shots have been fired and shortly after, military police has been seen. The situation in Exarchia is escalating dramatically. A television channel was announcing that a direct and simultaneous attack on 11 squats is approaching to break resistance in the district as soon as possible.

The peoples’ resistance in Exarchia will get bigger and more intense – at the same time, international solidarity is in demand. Because: “The defence of Exarchia is defending our possibility to show that other ways are possible out of the current deadlock in which the world is situated.” (Yannis Youlountas)

Solidarity with those people who have been brutally evicted from the houses in Exarchia – Solidarity with the people who have been jailed in refugee camps and prisons by the Greek state – Solidarity with the squats in Exarchia and all other places of resistance!

Some groups from Magdeburg in Solidarity.

Some squats in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE

Indymedia Germany https://de.indymedia.org/node/37098

Athens: MAT entered inside the steki of anarchist immigrants (Tsamadou 19) and destroyed everything

The night of 1th September, the event of solidarity gathering had taken place in the steki of anarchist immigrants (Tsamadou 19). After the event of solidarity, there was a riot against military check point of the MAT next to the steki, which molotovs burned MAT hardly; after the riot, MAT destroyed the door of steki, entered inside and started to smash everything. At the moment, the door of steki of anarchist immigrants is open and MAT are next the steki.
We have said it, the resistance is still alive and resistance will exist, even if the streets of Exarchia become red from our blood.
The state is try to terrorize the society in order to control it, this is the plan of all the state but we should not fear and we have to throw the fear in the body of the system.
Steki of anarchist immigrants (Tsamadou 19) will be still the center of radical immigrants.
Long live resistance

Steki of anarchist immigrants (Tsamadou 19)
https://squ.at/r/7bac
2th September 2019

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1599751/

Greece: First they take Exarcheia…

Recent evictions of several squats, some housing refugees and migrants, mark the beginning of a new chapter of repression and dissent in Greece. In the autonomous Athens neighborhood of Exarcheia on the morning of Monday, August 26, hundreds of masked riot cops with tear gas at hand cordoned off an entire block. Overhead, helicopters circled the scene.

No one would be blamed for thinking a civil war, or worse, was about to erupt. But no, the Greek state led by the new conservative government was mobilizing its full repressive armada to evacuate several squats occupied by refugees and migrants. Theorist Akis Gavriilidis weighed in:

This affair is a scandalous waste of public funds, for a result that is not only zero but negative in every respect: moral, legal, practical, economic and whatever you can imagine. To detain dozens of refugees — including children — who have committed no crime, to evict them from places where they have lived a dignified life they have helped to shape themselves, with the only prospect of being imprisoned in a hell where they live in much worse conditions, forced to passivity and inactivity.

I cannot see who derives joy from these actions, apart from racists and bullies. As a Greek citizen, I demand an explanation as to why public funds have been wasted on such an unethical, illegal and ineffective outcome.

One of the occupiers explained, “The fascist state expelled us today at six o’clock in the morning and they are taking us to the Petrou Rali police station. They took us out of our house. They take our things out of the building, closed the door and blocked the entrance and the windows. They try to bury us. They don’t know that we are seeds.”

Four squats were evacuated in Exarcheia that morning, two of them housing refugees and migrants: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and the anarchist occupation Gare. The raids were concentrated in the north-western part of the neighborhood, which is also home to Notara 26, Greece’s first housing squat for refugees and migrants. Better guarded and symbolically important for the neighborhood, Notara 26 has thus far been left untouched.

From two buildings in Spirou Trikoupi 17, 143 people were detained and taken to the Attica’s Aliens Department to check their immigration status. Of the 143 people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Turkey, 57 are men, 51 are women and 35 are children.

From another building in Kallidromiou Street, three people were taken into custody and brought to the Athens police headquarters. The fourth building, on Fotila Street, was empty at the time of the eviction. The operation involved units of the MAT riot police, various special identification and forensic units and the DIAS motorcycle patrol. Apparently no drugs or weapons were found in the buildings — there was no trace of “danger”. A police spokesperson stated nonetheless that “We are the new silent vacuum cleaner that will suck in all the garbage.”

Since last week’s offensive tensions have been rising in Exarcheia. Local residents are unsettled by the continuous police presence in the streets and their violent, homophobic and sexist behavior. Police have been seen drawing their weapons on several occasions.

Last Thursday, on the first night of the “Beautiful Exarchia” book festival, organized by local publishing houses and bookstores on the neighborhood’s central square, the police attacked the crowd with teargas and batons. Later that night, MAT units were spotted marching towards the square in the middle of the night, shouting to local residents: “You assholes, you’re going to experience this every day!”

On Saturday around 2.000 people joined a demonstration in Exarcheia in response to the crack down on the refugee and migrant squats and the police presence in the neighborhood. Resistance is resurfacing for sure.

Our Exarcheia, Their Exarcheia

If it were up to the wealthy, Exarcheia would finally be transformed into the showcase quarter of Athens, boasting yuppie cafes, mass tourism and beautiful vantage points. Fortunately, this vision, which has been on the minds of urban planners and local government on and off since the 1990s, is still far from reality.

There are 23 occupations in Exarcheia and 26 others in the wider district, for a total of 49 occupations concentrated in a relatively small area. In addition, there are other types of self-governing places, some of which are rented — such as the Nosotros Social Center — and dozens of private residencies housing activist groups.

Exarcheia, known as an alternative neighborhood with a tradition of left-wing and anarchist organizing and a site of all kinds of illegal activities like drug trafficking, has always been a sore spot for the state and its rulers. In the public security discourse, it is reviled as a “state of emergency.” In recent years, conservatives have often picked up on the rising number of riots — mainly small groups of people attacking police with molotov cocktails — in order to accuse the previous Syriza government under Alexis Tsipras of losing control of the area.

In a parliamentary debate and during TV interviews in 2017, Kyrgiakos Mitsotakis, the head of the conservative opposition — and now governing party — Nea Demokratia (ND), claimed that he would “clean up Exarchia” if he took office. Now that Mitsotakis is prime minister, he is following through on his threat. At the time, Syriza retorted that Mitsotakis was touting a classic “law-and-order policy” based only on “repressive police operations and the incitement of hatred,” regardless of the fact that Syriza itself had already began evacuating the squats housing refugees and migrants in Thessaloniki the previous summer.

Exarcheia is a historic neighborhood nested between two hills in the heart of Athens. Named after a grocer, the neighborhood was built at the end of the 19th century. Since the 1960s, it has developed into a student hotspot and meeting place for the alternative political and cultural scene. Today, the district is characterized by its many cafes, print shops, independent publishers and small bookstores.

The history of the neighborhood is closely linked to the development of left-wing radicalism and anarchism following the end of the dictatorship in 1974. During the 1973 Polytechnic uprising, a banner made clear that the resistance was directed “against state and capital.”

In 1985, there was nationwide unrest after 15-year-old Michalis Kaltezas was killed by security forces. Decades later, in December 2008, when the 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos was killed by the police in the center of the neighborhood, a revolt broke out that quickly spread to all corners of the country. The 2008 violent revolt is the culmination of this long-standing meeting of students, the politicized and the precarious — the 2006-’07 student protests against the neoliberalization of universities were a stopover.

The district itself is constantly changing. On the one hand, it is the place where many self-organized initiatives come together, where new social movements are born and met with repression. On the other hand, it is a place of contested socio-economic interests. Its central geographic position in the city makes it attractive for real estate sharks who wish to gentrify the area and ultimately displace the unruly population and import high earning yuppies of all kinds and countries.

Before the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis in 2009, the gentrification was already evident; the cityscape changed with the arrival of high-end and yuppie cafes and other facilities and services targeting middle-class consumers. The crisis put a spanner in the works for the gentrifiers. With the real estate sector in red, no more loans were given out, drug gangs took over the area and the police once again lost control.

At the same time, the number of political squats in the neighborhood increased, first as a result of need and self-organization, then as a solidarity structure for the arrival of thousands of refugees and migrants. The response of the local population and activists to the closing of the borders was to open dozens of residential squats, organize education, and distribute clothing and food.

More than an “autonomous stronghold”

Is Exarcheia today a “problem district”? Spending a day in the neighborhood shows that it is more than just an “autonomous stronghold.” It is a historical site of social conflict in Greek society, but also a culmination of alternative processes. It is a networked neighborhood that has been defending itself for years against organized drug trafficking and gentrification processes.

Many left-wing and anarchist groups operate their own centers — including the Center for Migrants run by the Diktyo network for political and social rights, or Nosotros, a social center of Athens’ anti-authoritarian movement.

Making Molotov cocktails is an important part of street culture, but people also meet for events to criticize capitalism or build collectives. Within the framework of crisis management in recent years, other projects have emerged, such as a social medical practice at the anarchist center K*Vox, and refugees and migrant housing. Notara 26 and the City Hotel Plaza squats — the latter now defunct because of fear of a violent eviction by the new government — provided thousands of refugees and migrants with housing, food and other services.

According to a plan that was developed and implemented with the participation of various departments of the Athens city administration, such as the environmental and infrastructure departments, Exarcheia is to be purged of illegal drug trafficking, sex work, refugees, and “anti-state elements” such as anarchist groups. The vision envisages the construction of the Exarcheia subway station within five years, the removal of graffiti, and the installation of new street lamps.

This summer, the first phase of the large-scale action plan kicked-off with increased police controls. Phase one is clean up, phase two is to maintain the area and make the first superficial changes to the district, and phase three is to build the Athens Montmartre. In this first phase, the police found 42 grams of marijuana, which they presented to the public as a major heist. Further evacuations will follow ahead of the ultimate confrontation with the revolutionary group Rouvikonas, Mitsotakis’ personal archenemy.

Named after the river Rubikon, Rouvikonas has gained popularity among locals by carrying out spectacular direct actions against private companies, government agencies and embassies in recent years. During Thursday night’s attack the riot police even tried to invade the occupied social center K*Vox on Exarcheia square, which the media has painted as the “operation center” of the group.

The Rollback

The new conservative mayor of Athens and nephew of Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Kostas Bakoyannis, was sworn in on Sunday, August 25. The next day’s police actions were also the first mark of Mitsotakis as the new prime minister — perfectly timed for the return from summer vacation and seasonal work.

The rightwing clamp-down is emboldening: Mitsotakis also announced in the Greek parliament that he would lift the capital controls that had been plaguing Greece since 2015. It was a success for him, thanks to his friend Yannis Stournaras, the President of the Greek Central Bank, a success that the Syriza government was denied by pressure from its “international partners”.

This week’s evictions in Exarcheia should not only be seen as part of a local action plan, but as part of an even larger scheme. The government of the Nea Dimokratia is a mixture of capital-hungry, conservative and neo-fascist elements that will tackle several fronts — lifting capital controls, handing out some money to small businessmen to supposedly make their lives easier, and setting the social catastrophe in motion.

The abolition of university asylum — a rule that has applied since the military dictatorship and that prohibits the police from entering university campuses — is only the first step in the final neoliberalization of Greek universities. The creation of private universities will draw investments from the private sector, inevitably turning them into profit-driven institutions.

Students and professors are organizing against this neoliberal turn, but on a smaller scale than the 2006–07 protests during the last round of education reforms. Years of crisis have destroyed the social networks, and political organizing processes ground to a halt after widespread disappointment with the Syriza government.

Solidarity as defense

But resistance will soon resurface in Greece, not because of “rebellious Greek blood” or other mystical nonsense, but because of the continuous history of social struggles since the beginning of the last century. It is not the history of instigated world wars or peaceful revolutions, but the history of great resistance against both foreign and homegrown fascism and of revolts that have moved above and beyond the realm of subculture politics.

In Exarcheia, the struggle for the territory will only be successful if it is framed as part of a larger counteroffensive, one rooted in the desire to change the world. For this, solidarity must first be rebuilt and threat of gentrification processes combined strategically with other upcoming social fronts like the student protests.

After the return from summer holidays and hit by the first blows of state repression, the neighborhood has turned to each other. The occupiers of Notara 26, for example, have drafted and distributed an open letter to their neighbors, calling for support and solidarity actions. The first local solidarity demonstration in Exarcheia gathered around 2.000 people on Saturday, followed by some clashes with police. For September 14, many groups and squats are mobilizing under the slogan “No Pasaran” for a big demonstration in central Athens.

For those of us abroad, it is time to be vigilant once again after years of relative inactivity in our solidarity work during the Syriza government. It has been a long time since we have visited the Greek embassies and company branches. Some are already reacting to the call of solidarity: according to activist and filmmaker Yannis Youlountas, in the past few days declarations of solidarity and action reports have arrived from nearly two dozen countries.

Exarcheia will fall if not for solidarity. If it remains, it will be a beacon for all of us in our unfinished adventures.

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

John Malamatinas, ROAR https://roarmag.org/essays/first-they-take-exarcheia/

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.

Our friends in Manchester, having just lately had such great success with the Chorlton Leisure Centre, got the boot so to speak just the other day. This squat lasted a lot longer than expected, and as a result was able to host the previously mentioned Persons Unknown festival, along with the associated Persons Unknown punk nights. Often after losing a longer-term place things are a bit unstable and take some time to get back on track, but safe to say I think we haven’t seen the last of the Persons Unknown collective.

XM24, the famous squat of Bologna, Italy, saw its final days this month. After 25 years of working within the community, and as a beacon of locally-organised autonomy, the municipality decided it had had enough. Time to regenerate the area. A fresh coat of paint at the expense of all that everyone had strived to achieve. Squatters took to the rooftops, refusing to come down and allow the bulldozers to do their job, only relenting when other members of the collective engaged with the local authorities and came to a negotiation that would see another building being offered to the squatters to allow them to continue their activities. This isn’t due to happen until November, so bets are on as to whether the council stabs them in the back…

Mexico saw the loss of Casa Naranja at the end of last month, an anarchist space that lasted totally illegally for 13 years. Rather than engage in the legal process they have moved with their heads held high before the state can violently evict them, for in Mexico this may well mean the deaths of many people.

Previously written about due to threat of eviction, this month is the 25th anniversary party for the Rozbrat squat in Poznan. The party will also be paired with a demonstration on September 14th.

Repression Continues In Greece

In the news in the last few days as the police has pushed ahead with New Democracy’s plan to wipe out the autonomous neighbourhood. Four squats evicted in the one morning, with the neighbourhood occupied by police as they arrested hundreds of people, mainly migrants, and relocated them to detention camps. Evicting the migrant housing squats will of course be the first target for the state, and will continue to be so, as the general population is much less likely to take issue with it. However all autonomous and anarchist spaces are now fair game for the pigs there, with attacks taking place against K*VOX and Steki anarchist strongholds in the last week too.

Massive demonstrations are planned for the weekend and beyond in Athens, and in London on Monday 2nd September there is a demo planned at the Greek Embassy called by the Anarchist Federation in support of all anarchists and squatters in Greece. If this goes to print before then, the demo will be held at 1pm at 1 Holland Park, W11. Bring your mates, your crew, or just join the masses on the day. Otherwise stay tuned for a report back later on.

Taking Back The Land

In Aotearoa, New Zealand there is an ongoing struggle that has taken place over the last few months (well, last few years … well, last century and a half). Ihumātao is a sacred land, one of the first settlements on the island, and now that is at risk of being destroyed for yet more housing. The occupation has in fact been going since 2016 through a group, SOUL, but in the last couple of months people have flocked to the site to protect as the courts issued an eviction notice. Eviction resistance at its best. Police initially attempted to arrest people but then relaxed their presence as people decried that they would not be moved, embodying Whina Cooper’s cry of “not one more acre” during the Maori Land March 40 years prior. The struggle continues as the Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has not yet responded to requests to attend the site (she’s a politician, what did they expect?).

Closer to home, Olsterholz forest in the Rhineland has been squatted to protect the trees there from the Oetelshofen company who plan to destroy the ancient forest. They say they’re willing to leave voluntarily if the deforestation plans are dropped. Power to them, let’s see. Their friends, the Hambacher Forest occupation persists of course, and in a couple of weeks they are holding their skill-sharing camp that lasts ten days. If you get a chance go check them both out.

Hey, You! Ex-Squatter Over There!

Speaking of checking things out, why don’t you come check out what’s going on in the squat world? Far too often I hear people talking about how hard squatting must be these days, how they really enjoyed their time squatting, but could not do it now, or how they wish it would make a comeback. I’m reminded of this article in the Guardian from a couple of years back, in which the author “dream[s] of a gigantic, coordinated, nationwide flash squat of multiple empty sites all at once”. Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but there sure as hell are some things that could be done. In the first instance, there’s no point at all in dreaming about a return to squatting when the concept of squatting itself only now resides in the abstract or the ether of one’s dreams. Whatever laws have changed since you were doing it, however the culture has shifted, we’re still here squatting. It is still a useful tactic for both housing and organising, and not only that, the people you meet in squats may prove to be worth fostering relationships with. There are still many things happening in temporary autonomous zones such as ours. Some places are used to organise arts and performances, some draw up plans for the revolution.

There are a lot of people that do simply long for the old times for nostalgia’s sake, but others have said to me that their physical limitations or non-conformance to the idea of the ideal squatter prevent them from participating in the squat scene. It should be noted that yes, squatting does tend to foster a particular identity and set of expectations that revolve around usefulness, but this doesn’t need to be the case. This should very much be on us to attempt to change the culture, ensure that people of all capabilities are able to participate. Obviously the squatting scene is not one homogenous group, but there is scope for certain subsets of people to look to make things accessible for all. We don’t just need people who can break buildings (and this is speaking as someone who used to think like that). We need mentors. We need people from outside our own little circles to participate, to cross-pollinate, in order to strengthen our ties and our possibilities.

So in mirroring my first call the good part of a year ago for squatters to participate in other local social spaces, this is a call for people who once were participating in activities taking place in squats, or often talk of a desire to, to come and get involved. And it is a call for fellow squatters to think about how to think outside of our little spaces and encourage people to participate once again in the squatting movement. It is of course harder to know where to look, as squatting has been driven further underground, but not all is lost. If you know people who live in squats, ask them what’s going on. Head down to the Advisory Service for Squatters and ask them what’s new (or if you’ve got loads of experience why not volunteer your time helping out?). Get on the NELSN phone tree (text 07575 013-111) and look for events that interest you.

Take for example in just a few weeks, the long-running Temporary Autonomous Arts takes place from September 26-28. 18 years it’s been running, with a mix of squatters and otherwise involved in the creation of the event. Providing a platform for political art, the three day event incorporates sculptures, organically-developing paintings, interactive performances, live music and talks and workshops. It will be held in a squatted building in central-ish London and there will of course be an afterparty on the Saturday. Perhaps someone can paint a picture of the good old days. Or perhaps we can paint utopias of the good times ahead.

If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover (I’m sure I miss loads of good squatting coverage around the globe) please get in touch at squattersdigest [at] riseup [dot] net.

Groups in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/london
Events in London: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/London

Groups in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GB
Events in UK: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GB

https://freedomnews.org.uk/squatters-digest-to-our-friends-and-former-room-mates/

Netherlands: Stop the new law against squatting!!!

Squatting is not the problem, but the solution…..!!!!

The new bill on squatting has no added value whatsoever. Since the Squatting and Vacant Property Act came into force in 2010, the squatting of homes and business premises has been reduced enormously. People who want to squat are frightened by the sanctions that are imposed if caught in the act. Owners have a large number of options to bridge any temporary vacancies by registering or by hiring anti-squat companies.
It is precisely the massive deployment of vacancy management by owners that has made squatting considerably more difficult. Owners also have a legal option to have a squatted property to their disposal again. At least, provided they have adequate concrete plans for that building. It is this legal intermediate step that makes it clear whether owners speculate on properties or not. In that sense, squatters have always had a signal function. This important function disappears with this new law.
Squatting is already complicated enough for squatters under current legislation. Practice shows that most buildings remain squatted for less than 3 or 4 months. Squatters who have been working on this for a number of years often have to give up after such a period because it is difficult to constantly have to leave under pressure and start something new. The current practice and law is therefore really no problem for owners. They usually only lose the use of their property for a short period of time.
It is undesirable that the new law allows owners to leave their properties vacant and unhindered for the sole purpose of enriching themselves. And that while there is still a drastic vacancy of homes and business premises and the housing shortage has risen to unprecedented levels. In addition, the number of social rental homes has been reduced considerably.
Starters or people with a lower income are increasingly getting into serious problems because they cannot afford the current ‘normal’ rents. The liberal developments of the market ensure that rents are constantly being increased. As long as the government is unable to make the housing market more accessible to everyone and, in addition, to tackle the housing shortage firmly, squatting is a means that must be allowed.
The current squatting and vacancy law is used unilaterally: only to the detriment of the squatters. Where owners are obliged to report vacancy on pain of a fine, which, incidentally, is very limited, since 2010 only ONE single owner in the whole of the Netherlands has been fined. And that was in 2017! How is that possible if the vacancy rate in Amsterdam was more than 2.5 million m2 in 2010 and currently still 1.5 million m2? How many owners register their vacancy? When will that become public? More and more, laws seem to be becoming an instrument for an elite that mercilessly enrich themselves on the basis of those laws. Get rid of the new proposal and destroy the old squat law.

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

https://www.indymedia.nl/node/46582

Athens: Demonstration on 14th of september. Solidarity will win!

[an update on the repressive campaign by the state and call for international mobilizations in solidarity with the squats and the anarchist movement in Greece]

At dawn on August 26th, strong repression forces evicted four squats in the neighborhood of Exarcheia, arrested three squatters and detained 143 refugees and immigrants. While men, women and children refugees were piled in police vans by the armed hooded men of the Special Repression Counter-Terrorist Unit, institutional fascism released its ideological propaganda through the media: a representantive of Greek Police compared the repression forces to a “vaccum” of new technology that will wipe out from Exarcheia “the disturbing dust”, the refugees and immigrants, and afterwards the real “trash”, the anarchists, announcing the continuation of the repressive operation and their declared target.

The recent police invasions are a first manifestation of the repressive campaign, announced by state officials, against the anarchist movement, the squats, the self-organized structures of housing immigrants and refugees, the world of solidarity, social and class resistance in general. A repressive campaign that consists the spearhead of the state and capitalism’s attack on the plebeians of society, aiming to terrorize them and neutralize resistance, in order to proceed uninterruptedly to the onslaught of state and capitalist brutality. The elections of July 7th marked the continuation of the imposition of suffocating living conditions for the workers and the unemployed, the imprisonment of immigrants and refugees in concentration camps and the deaths in the borders, the intensification of the looting of social wealth and nature, the attempt to establish the state of emergency. The government of New Democracy is building on the attempted neutralization of social and class struggles and the tens of repression attacks against squats during the administration of Syriza, promising to crush the people of the struggle – to all those that have stood and are still standing against the plans of the authority.

Part of this anti-revolt strategy is the declared aim to occupy Exarcheia – (a neighborhood which bears a deep culture of challenging authority and a great historical and political weight that has been attributed by the struggles of thousands of people. For the period of Nazi occupation, the events of December 1945, the Junta, till the revolt of December 2008 and the large mobilizations of resistance against the imposition of even worse living conditions during the following years, till this day. This is the reason why the neighborhood of Exarcheia is an important ground for the development of social and class resistance at the center of the city. It is a thorn in the state’s attempt of imposing itself on society and control the city, causing the long-lasting wrath of state officials and numerous repressive operations over the last decades.[1] A neighborhood inextricably connected to the anarchist anti-authoritarian movement, which, over the last years, with the mass arrivals of people persecuted by the war conflicts, revived solidarity and mutual-help, through numerous housing squats. A neighborhood that the state attempted to control through the establishment of drug-mafias and the effort to impose social cannibalism all these years). Part of the same anti-revolt campaign is the eviction of squats – one of the state’s long-lasting intentions especially after the social revolt of 2008 – and the abolition of university asylum, revealing the dominants’ fear of enclaves which have functioned in the past and still function as a spark to the development of social dynamics, strong enough to wipe out their arrogance. And if the message that the government is sending through the release of the murderer cop Korkoneas, through the reinforcement of their legal arsenal against the people of the struggle and the ongoing repressive attacks is that their murderous violence will extinguish the flames of revolt, in order to go on destroying society unhindered, we know that: No threat could ever eradicate solidarity, erase the desire to live a life without masters and slaves, without states and borders, or crush the struggle.

The announced repressive attack started by cutting off electricity in the housing squat for refugees Notara 26 and the attempt to do the same in the housing squat for refugees “Oneiro” in Exarcheia, continued with the demolition of squat Brooklyn in Ioannina and was advertised through numerous articles in the media. Against this repressive campaign, we participate along with other comrades from squats, self-organized structures and political collectives (Spirou Trikoupi 17, which was evicted on August 26th, is one of them), in the assembly NO PASARAN!, in order to defend collectively and dynamically the spaces of the struggle, and to declare against the state’s threats that there will be no surrender and no truce. In this context, we have co-organized public mobilizations-gatherings at Lelas Karagianni 37 squat (August 8th), at Notara 26 housing squat for refugees and immigrants (August 7th), the Spirou Trikoupi 17 housing squat for refugees and immigrants (August 13th) and lastly K* Vox squat (August 20th). In the same spirit, we are calling a demonstration in the neighborhood of Exarcheia this Saturday, August 31st, at noon and a central demonstration in the center of Athens on the 14th of September.

After the evictions of the four squats, a first response was given by a protest called by Spirou Trikoupi 17 outside of the neighboring squat of Notara 26 and the demonstration of hundreds of people to the police lines in front of the evicted squats of Spirou Trikoupi. While people were shouting slogans, comrades climbed the sealed building of S. Trikoupi 17 and hanged a banner behind the police lines, saying YOU CAN’T EVICT A MOVEMENT.

We call the anarchist comrades and members of squats, all those who struggle against the global dictatorship of the state and capital in every corner of the world to support the NO PASARAN campaign, the struggle for the defense of squats, refugees and immigrants and the counter-attack against state repression.

Against our common enemies and in every point where repression takes place, we should counter-pose internationalist solidarity, our common struggle which will overturn the decayed world of authority and will open the way to Social Revolution, for the creation of a world of equality and freedom.

AGAINST STATE REPRESSION, WE RAISE BARRICADES OF SOLIDARITY

NO SURRENDER – NO TRUCE !

NO PASARAN!

GATHERING-DEMONSTRATION SATURDAY, AUGUST 31st, EXARCHEIA SQUAR

DEMONSTRATION SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th, PROPYLEA, ATHENS

no nostalgia for this decayed world that, for so long now, belongs to the past. No compromise with the unbearable present that promises only the worst. No hesitation and fear for the future we desire:

Social Revolution, Anarchy and Communism

Athens, August 2019
Lelas Karagianni 37 Squat
all_anar [at] hotmail [dot] com
https://squ.at/r/7aw5
http://squathost.com/lelas_k/

*Abstract from a statement of the Assembly for the Reappropriation of Exarcheia, 25/7/2019.

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

http://lk37.squathost.com/2019/08/29/lelas-karagianni-37-solidarity-will-win/
https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1599688/

Greece: Exarcheia under police occupation!

Alert! What we have been announcing to you for a month and a half has just begun this morning, just before dawn. Athens’ famous rebel and supportive neighbourhood is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-terrorist untis (OPKE), police on motorbikes (DIAS), members of the secret police (asfalitès), as well as a helicopter and several drones.

A unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and its solidarity with precarious and migrants, Exarcheia has been in the sight of the right-wing government since its election on 7 July. The new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had made it a personal affair, especially since he had been mocked in early August for failing to achieve his goal of “cleaning Exarcheia in a month” as he had announced with great fanfare.

This morning, 4 squats were evicted: Spirou Trikoupi 17, Transito, Rosa de Foc and Gare. The offensive currently concerns the north-western part of the district, with the notable exception of the Notara 26 squat, which is considered better guarded and very symbolically important for the district as the first historical squat of the “refugee crisis” in downtown Athens.

There are currently about 100 arrests, including than brutal attacks on people trying to film. Only the mass media in the service of power are allowed to cover the event.

In total, there are 23 squats in Exarcheia plus 26 others around the district, for a total of 49 concentrated in a relatively small area. 49 squats to which other types of self-managed sites must be added, including some rented (Espace Social Libre Nosotros, free shop Skoros, etc.) as well as dozens of private homes groups of activists, often near the terraces to allow access above the streets.

On the squats that are precisely inside Exarcheia, 12 are accommodation squats for refugees and migrants and the 11 others are squats of anarchist and anti-authoritarian collectives (although most refugee squats are also obviously very political, starting with Notara 26 and Spirou Trikoupi 17 with direct assemblies and many links with the rest of the movement).

In the squats of Spirou Trikoupi 17 and Transito (on which servants of power are now bricking up windows), more than fifteen children have been torn from a peaceful and happy existence in order to suddenly being sent to camps. These sinister camps are unhealthy and overcrowded, migrants are malnourished and suffer from temperature variations, humiliation, and sometimes torture, and Mitsotakis also demands that they all be well closed and, in the future, completely cut off from the rest of the territory.

The face of Europe is constantly hardening, the same process is happening in other continents. This evolution increasing authoritarian capitalism leads us to question what the coming times will bring: the offensive against the pockets of utopias coupled with the confinement of the scapegoats reminds us of the dark hours of History.

The whole world is becoming fascist and Greece is once again one of them, one of the laboratories.

But nothing is over. September is coming soon. Seasonal jobs are about to end. The social movement gathers and organizes itself again. Places like Notara 26 and K*Vox are under high surveillance. Answers are being prepared, as well as several major events mobilizers. Autumn will be hot in Athens.

Resistance!

Yannis Youlountas

Some squats in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR/squated/squat
Groups in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/GR
Events in Greece: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/GR

Original in french http://blogyy.net/2019/08/26/exarcheia-sous-occupation-policiere/

Freiburg (Germany): KTS-anniversary – 25 years and no end in sight!

The autonomous social centre KTS Freiburg exists since 25 years and we would like to celebrate this unique place of culture and politics. From the 16th until the 26th of October a diverse program of noncommercial exhibitions, DIY culture, protest, demonstrations and celebrations will be awaiting you. We are looking forward to a cracking festival full of libertarian, autonomous, queer-feminist, radical-ecological and political education intervention, which will strengthen our structures and will make our anti-capitalistic utopias visible.

After the fights of the 1980s and through squatting in Vauban from 1994 on, the “new autonomous social centre” was established in the Baslerstraße since 1998. Here, we organise and fight for emancipation and against the right – and intend to stay a thorn in side of the reactionaries. The repressions of the last years, attacks by our political enemies and the lawsuit against Indymedia linksunten do not keep us from expanding this place for anarchist politics. By now, several generations are celebrating and fighting with the backing of the autonomous social centre, and, with all their power, stand up against the swing to the right within society – which seems to be more needed than ever.

During the ten days of festivities in October, we await friends from near and far to discuss the situation in different left places and to take action against gentrification together. We are looking forward to hot autumn days together with you; the program is in the works and will be available during the summer. We are going to organize the infrastructure and the cultural program and, additionally, some surprises, in the hope that you will also contribute in some kind of way. For questions and response, please, use the email address below.

Let us, loudly and boisterously, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the KTS – for more autonomous social centres and an anti-fascist future!

KTS
Basler Straße 103
79100 Freiburg
do-it-together [at] kts-freiburg [dot] org
https://squ.at/r/e7o
https://www.kts-freiburg.org/

Some squats in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE

Published on Radar https://squ.at/r/7aky and KTS website https://www.kts-freiburg.org/?article2817

Berlin: Waggonplace DieselA and Rummelsburger Bucht faces eviction!

Since May 25th we squatted the area at Hauptstraße 2-3 in Rummelsburger Bucht. Extensive infrastructure was built and installed for our living space as well as for the public and communal area WIDER-STRAND. There are many solidarity events at WIDER-STRAND, connecting with our neighbours and other projects in Berlin.
We do not want to live on the sideways of the streets anymore. The waggongroup DieselA needs a safe place for living. Besides that we want to make a spotlight on the disgusting way how the plan for the Rummelsburger Bucht was agreed on.
Hundreds of people will loose their living space and/or place for activities and free time. The Coral World is planned to be build here for 500 000 visitors a year as a tourist attraction, the interest is not to keep alternative living spaces. The City of the Rich expands!
For the last months we were ignored by police, politicians and the owners, now the situation is getting more acute. They brought a lot of fences to secure and control the future construction site that will be enormous. Some days ago we heard the rumor that the whole Bucht should be evicted by 2nd September 2019.

An agent of Investa GmbH and 4 security people sneaked on the DiselA place and left a letter where they request us to leave the property immediately – with „kind regards.“
For us this place has been since almost 3 months Home.We refuse to be pushed again on the streets, where we are again exposed to the system of state and their followers, in a city that became unaffordable. We love to live in our trucks, buses and waggons and to live on a place like this is for us an alternative concept to the capitalistic solitary society and also an opportunity to get rid of the crazy unchained rental market! This is why we wish for your support and solidarity!

Eviction threat by Investa GmbH

Investa GmbH is a project developer that is located in Eschborn (Germany). They work allover Germany on the market of the upscale properties. They bought our place in 2017 from the city. After the plan for the Rummelsburger Bucht was decided by the politics of Lichtenberg (by a big coalition from left party to AfD), from 1.Juli 2019 Investa GmbH is also officially owner of the property.
The plan says that on our place should be build crazily expensive property-flats with garage and offices.
Also for the Coral World that is planned for the property next to us, people are threatened of eviction, chased from place to place in favor of the City of Rich.
They are daily confronted with racism and depreciation, an eviction will just mean even more marginalization.
People from the boats will also be chased away. They want to extend the prohibition to put down and lie in anchors, just for fitting in their image of a luxury place. We will loose the last alternative and free spaces that the city has.

This attack on our spaces should not be without an answer!

We call for the early morning of 2nd September 2019 or even the night before to come to the Bucht and stand together against the eviction, capitalist profit and expulsion. We make the city! No matter if the pigs actually will come on that day, now is the time to defend the bay!

We all stay!
Solidarity with all threatened projects!
Against the City of the Rich!
Prisons to gaps – gaps to Waggonplaces!

More information about the construction plan and about the involved enterprises here: https://padowatch.noblogs.org/info-flyer-die-rummelsburger-bucht-und-ihr-ausverkauf/#more-676

Groups in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/berlin
Events in Berlin https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Berlin
Stressfaktor https://radar.squat.net/de/stressfaktor

Groups in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/DE
Events in Germany https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/DE

Besetzen https://besetzen.noblogs.org/2019/08/21/wagenplatz-diesela-und-rummelsburger-bucht-konkret-raeumungsbedroht/

Utrecht: Protest action against new anti squat law

Today, there was an attempt to resquat the Watertoren on the Amsterdamsestraatweg in Utrecht. This water tower has been squatted many times already. Today, squatters unfortunately failed. The water tower, a designated national monument, has not been in use since 1986. The real estate developer who bought it in 2014, has not succeeded yet in developing anything. At the same time, alternative uses are not tolerated and eviction for emptiness has been the systematic answer. This while the monumental building is falling into disrepair.

Today’s squatting action was intended as a protest against the plan of the CDA and VVD to tighten up the law against squatting. The aim of the 2010 law was to tackle both squatting and vacancy. In recent years, squatters have been the main target of prosecution, while only a few cities have been acting against emptiness. The new proposal gives squatters hardly any time and space to defend themselves. The right of residence of people who take matters into their own hands, is so further eroded.

The new law fits into a time marked by the demolition of social housing and renters rights. The renewal of neighbourhoods in the centre of (middle) large cities such as Amsterdam and Utrecht is bringing a change in the housing market, which is increasingly focusing on the wealthier middle class. The waiting lists for social housing are growing and rents are rising. Larger and owner-occupied houses are being built and social housing is being sold or demolished. This can be seen for example in Kanaleneiland where the less fortunate are forced to leave their neighborhood because of a million-dollar deal. The fact that renters rights are under pressure is also evident, for instance for the people refusing to move in Rotterdam. They refuse to leave social housing in order to make way for a smaller number of luxurious apartments.

While in 2010 the plan was to tackle both squatting and vacancy, so far hardly anything has been done to reduce vacancy. Owners are not punished. In the future, it will be made even easier for them to leave properties empty and to make a profit on the backs of people looking for housing. Squatting is a form of protest to tackle emptiness and housing shortages. In a society in which ‘participation’ and self-reliance are valued, those who create more homes instead of housing needs are criminalized. The water tower is one of the many examples of a building that is vacated time and time again, without tackling the vacancy.

The lack of (social) rental housing or adequate housing is not the result of people, but the market. A means to tackle squatting already exists, a new law against squatting is no solution. So government, tackle speculation and vacancy, and let alternative forms of housing exist!

Press release, Sunday 18 august 2019, Utrecht.

Some squats in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/NL
Events in the Netherlands: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/NL

Sources:

• AD. 2018. Wie zitten er achter de miljoenendeal met woningen op Kanaleneiland?
https://www.ad.nl/utrecht/wie-zitten-er-achter-de-miljoenendeal-met-woni…
kanaleneiland~a04bac45/?referrer=
• NOS. 2019. Eerste ‘weigerverhuizers’ Rotterdamse volkswijk voor de rechter.
https://nos.nl/artikel/2294298-eerste-weigerverhuizers-rotterdamse-volks…
• PvdA. 2018. Toelichting college over miljoenendeal Kanaleneiland onvoldoende.
https://utrecht.pvda.nl/nieuws/verkoop-woningen-kanaleneiland-was-en-bli…
• Rijksoverheid. 2015. Rapport ‘Van ontruimen naar inruimen. Evaluatie van de Wet kraken en
leegstand’ https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2016/02/01/van-ontruim…
inruimen
• Wendingen. 2016. Platform voor de Amsterdamse School. Watertoren Amsterdamsestraatweg,
Utrecht. https://amsterdamse-school.nl/objecten/gebouwen/watertoren-amsterdamsest…
utrecht/
• Het Yuppenparadijs. Over gentrificatie. https://yuppenparadijs.wordpress.com/

Original in dutch published on Indymedia https://www.indymedia.nl/node/46525

Athens: Statement from Spirou Trikoupi 17

The last weeks, after the elections, we are witnessing the development of a more totalitarian and far right state, that threatens the existence of our self-organized and free structures, as well as the life of the most poor and oppressed parts of this society. The new government started from the very first day showing its real face by taking control of the medias, disestablishing the ministry of migration and transferring its jurisdiction to the ministry of public order, under the authority of the police. They continued with massive arrests of people without “legal” papers, they strengthened the borders controls, pushing back to Turkey “illegally” people, and they banned the access of refugees and migrants to the national health system, by not providing them the social insurance number that it is needed. This also have immediate consequences to the access of the children to the education system, that without vaccines they are not allowed to attend the school. One other dimension of the same policy concerned Exarcheia and all the structures of this neighborhood that they are against this rotten, hierarchical and corrupted system. Their plan is to gentrify and take control of the only place in Athens that still resists. Immediately they attacked two refugees’ squats, Notara 26 and Hotel Oneiro, trying to cut down the water and the electricity forcing hundreds of people being scared for their lives and freedom.

In Sp. Trikoupi 17 we brought back life to a totally abandoned building that was empty for 15 years. We started from building bathrooms and separating rooms, we managed to create a classroom and a playground for the children, educating and making their lives more colorful. We created a self-organized space with a weekly assembly and working groups, that we all are taking decisions about our common life and our struggles, with antiauthoritarian, antiracist and feminist values and principles.

From our side we are in solidarity with every self-organized structure, squat or social space that keeps on struggling and fighting for a different and better society. A society where solidarity, equality and self-organization will be its principles and high ideals. We will not surrender, we will resist against the appetite of the state to exterminate and extinct us.

We ask for your real and active solidarity as you were showing towards us all these years. In this battle we must stand all together, united for our ideas and against every inhuman repression mechanism that is trying to struggle us. We ask for the support of the society, the neighborhood and the political collectives who are standing next to us.

Your repression shall not pass

You can’t evict a movement

We will resist together, alive and free

Solidarity will win

ST17

Bologna (Italy): The bulldozers of the Partito Democratico against XM24

The bulldozers of the PD of Bologna against XM24, the historic social center of Via Fioravanti, active for 17 years. After years of threats, at dawn on Tuesday August 6, bulldozers, armored vehicles and dozens and dozens of uniforms showed up to clear the XM24. The declared objective of the mayor PD Merola’s junta is to gentrify the area, between students for money and other real estate operations, cloaked in the usual rhetoric of “decorum”. Inside and outside XM24 there are hundreds of solidarity workers, to defend the experience of self-management of the social space.

5 p.m. – The activists who have been resisting the eviction of the XM24 since dawn this morning are still on the roof. Gradually, the other people who were inside the building went out and joined the garrison that is still in progress in the parking lot near the social center. In the meantime, the workers continue to work quickly to demolish most of the structures inside the building and take away the material. The destruction of the garden also began a short while ago. It began shortly after 15.30, after the meeting at the police headquarters between a delegation of the XM24, the city councilor for culture, Matteo Lepore and Valerio Montalto, general manager of the municipality.

Below, the editorial published by Zic.it, which is following the clearance:

“Thank you, thank you and thank you again to those who thought of having an excavator in via Fioravanti, together with the cavalry. Let’s call it a bulldozer, which is done first. That’s right. Thank you, really, because that bulldozer is not only used to overcome a barricade and so hope to be able to wipe out the history, the present and the future of XM24. That bulldozer, first of all, sweeps away a huge pile of lies, hypocrisies, duplicates, crocodile tears and good chatter for some press statements and some deadly session of the city council. The democratic bulldozer is the same as Salvini’s bulldozer. It crushes, demolishes, passes over, shreds what is in front of it. “Everything will go well. In the best Bolognese tradition”, declared the mayor Merola less than a week ago. And how to blame him today? The best Bolognese tradition is there for all to see: this city, this administration, signs yet another eviction with the punctual result of impoverishing the social and cultural fabric, fueling loneliness and speculation. This is it, the taste does not improve even if you drown it in the sauce.

Ruspaaa! (bulldozers!) is the echo that resonates in the streets of Bologna.

In recent months there have been rumors that the hypothesis of an eviction of XM24 was becoming more and more concrete because the PD in Bologna, seeing what was happening in other cities, did not want to run the risk of making a shitty figure leaving Salvini the chance of an Augustan intervention against the social center. In short, with the regional elections coming up, in the PD there was a great fear of being overtaken on the right by the League. Here, the roar of the bulldozer started this morning in Via Fioravanti closes the circle. A noise that is confused with the howls of the jackals of every single party of the right that, in record time, already exult unsheathed and sing victory: ‘dear’ strategists of the PD, maybe you should ask yourself some questions.
While in Bolognina the dirty work is being done, we don’t know on which beach the mayor Merola is spending his holidays. But in Papeete, if you’re on the right track, there’s always room.

XM24 reaches agreement: “New space by November 15” (august 6th – 19:13)

An agreement has been signed with the municipality, which undertakes to find an appropriate location for all activities of the social center from the assumptions already proposed by XM24. But “the resistance continues”, make clear the activists. The people who had remained on the roof went down.

Also the last XM24 activists that had remained since this morning on the roof of the social center under eviction have gone down. This is after the meeting in the police headquarters with the municipal administration ended: “The negotiation went quite well,” is announced to the megaphone from the solidarity garrison in the park in front of the building.

They add shortly after the activists who have returned from the Police Headquarters. Today’s day represents “a victory of determination and solidarity”, because “hundreds of people on the streets from 4 in the morning until 7 in the evening, August 6 under the mugginess of Bologna, no one has ever seen them. And what’s more, today’s is “an eviction that ends without any complaint”, they continue. “The comrades who are on the roof come down victorious and this result has been achieved thanks to all and everyone”, screamed the activists, adding: “We respect to the sender the statements of the mayor Merola who equates the bulldozers on XM24 to the hypothetical bulldozers on the fascists of Casa Pound”. The Bolognese Council of the PD “acted with XM24 in a serious way, with the bulldozers, like the current Minister of the Interior and there is no difference in this”.

Coming to the results of the meeting, “what we have managed to achieve thanks to all of us is a serious commitment, signed, with a date for new space that will be given to XM24 to be able to resume all their activities. The activists explain again: “It is the municipality that commits itself to find a new suitable location in which to restart the activities as soon as possible and in any case no later than 15 November 2019. It will not be just any place but will be evaluated starting from the buildings that we have already proposed to the administration last August 1st. Properties that are all in Bolognina”, is the announcement welcomed by applause, smoke, firecrackers, fireworks and the choir “Bolognina paura non ha”. This “does not mean that the fight is over, no, the resistance continues because we do not trust them”, underlines XM24. “We are happy with the paper, but the paper sings when we take it like today”, conclude the activists, pointing out that Thursday will be held the market of Campi Aperti in front of the XM24 to “guard” the property and then Tuesday a meeting.

XM24 will have a new location “adequate to restart its activities as soon as possible and no later than November 15th 2019,” confirms councilor Matteo Lepore at the end of the meeting at the Police Headquarters. Lepore explains that he has signed (representing the municipal administration) a text with XM24 in which the municipality, recognizing “the importance of political, social and cultural planning of the public space XM24” undertakes to find a new location at the social center. The decision on which will be the new headquarters will come from “the evaluation of the buildings already proposed by XM24 from August 1st. The Municipality undertakes “to identify ways of allocation and support on the basis of forms of self-management through a table every fortnight starting from August”. This means that from next week, or at least by August, the XM24 activists and the administration will meet to “identify the new headquarters but also to continue a path of collaboration together,” says Lepore: “We started with the scraper of Salvini and I would like to end with the boat of Bologna that I think is the most important symbol on which we all must stand.

XM24
xm24 [at] ecn [dot] org
https://squ.at/r/5em
http://www.ecn.org/xm24/

Directory of squats in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT/squated/squat
Directory of groups (social centers, collectives, squats) in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/IT
Events in Italy: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/IT

Radio Onda d’Urto http://www.radiondadurto.org/2019/08/06/bologna-la-ruspa-del-pd-contro-xm24/
https://www.zic.it/lxm24-strappa-accordo-nuovo-spazio-entro-il-15-novembre-audio/

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