Trespass Journal

Fighting for spaces, Fighting for our lives: Squatting Movements Today

Squatting everywhere kollective (SqEK) aims with this book to move beyond the conventional understandings of squatting, investigating its history in different places over the past four decades.

While waves of repression against squatters seem to spread across many places, attacking and shutting down its remaining squatting strongholds and its historical spaces of rebellion, some squatted social centres manage to persist and new occupied zones arise – successfully defended through public mobilization and widespread solidarity, alongside militant action. At the same time, squatting has seen a rebirth as a tool of radical praxis in movements fighting against the rising number of evictions and foreclosures during the financial crisis, facing the policies of racism and creating open spaces for refugees, migrants and people of colour. The collected essays, first-hand accounts and photographs in this book do not intend to offer an over-arching narrative of where the squatters movement is heading. Instead the book provides glimpses into a diverse and multi-faceted movement, with accounts from local struggles, experiences of repression and stories of collective forms of life which have grown out of squatted spaces in various cities and countries throughout the world, including accounts from Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Seattle and Australia.

AVAILABLE NOW! From the publisher. Cheaper in person or at a forthcoming talk.

PDF download (10mb)


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London: Thirty days into the occupation of the Old Tidemill Garden

Yesterday [27/9/18] marked 30 days since campaigners — myself included — occupied the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden, a much-loved community garden in Deptford, and it was a day of celebration, as we secured a court ruling allowing our occupation to last for at least another month.

Campaigners have been occupying the garden since August 29, to prevent Lewisham Council from boarding it up prior to its planned destruction as part of a housing project with the developer Peabody.

Lewisham Council sought to evict the campaigners at Bromley County Court, but although the judge confirmed the council’s right to possession of the garden, he ruled that it cannot take place until seven days after a High Court judge holds an oral hearing at which campaigners will seek permission to proceed to a judicial review of the legality of the council’s plans. This oral hearing will take place on October 17 (and please, if you can, make a donation to our crowdfunder for our legal fees).
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Utrecht: Water tower squatted and evicted again

The water tower in Utrecht has again been squatted! Just like last year it was squatted on October 1 to remember the date that squatting was criminalised in the Netherlands back in 2010.
Unfortunately it was immediately evicted and four people were arrested. A spokeperson for the squatters said to mainstream media that they would probably be held for a while and it wouldn’t stop the actions continuing.

Up the Utrecht squatters!

The banner from last year’s action:

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Utrecht: Defend the Swamp

The state and the company Borghese are working hand in hand to turn the Swamp’s beautiful young forest into asphalt to then build a distribution centre and a bus remise, while there are alternative locations for these projects where the destruction of nature isn’t necessary.

From the Hambach Forest and ZAD evictions, to the ADM case and the expansion of the A27, time after time, people and nature have to defend themselves against capitalist greed and neoliberalist development policies.
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Amsterdam: Hambach solidarity vigil

Hambach solidarity vigil. Thursday September 20th 20.00hr
German consulate Honthorststraat 36-38 Amsterdam

Last Wednesday afternoon a person died during the eviction of the Hambach forest in Germany, after falling from a 20 meter high walkway between the trees. We are shocked by what happened. Our thoughts are with family and friends of the deceased. Many of us have visited the gorgeous Hambach forest over the years or have been involved in activism against the ever destructive RWE lignite mines close to the Dutch border.

Citing fire safety rules the German police has started an massive eviction effort last week. Water cannon, armored vehicles, cherry pickers and hundreds of robocops are trying to evict 50 treehouses in the forest. The deceased person was present as a journalist in order to document the eviction and its necessary and legitimate resistance.
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London: The Battle for Deptford and Beyond

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

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

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

[…] what matters has everything to do with a logic of difference and possibility, autonomy and self-determination: the perpetuation of the possibilities of common life that place-based social relations can create, even amidst a striking diversity of beliefs. Where once the territory’s fight was with the airport or the train-line, it is no longer with high-speed transport per se, but with its world.
– Kristin Ross, The ZAD and NoTav (Verso)

Today I said “À Bientôt” to the ZAD (Zone to Defend) Notre-Dame-des-Landes and took the train to Paris. On arrival, as predicted, France won the World Cup. I decided to take the overnight coach to London, as opposed to flying from Nantes or from Paris.
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Amsterdam: Attack on the free spaces

Things are going well with Amsterdam. The city is extremely popular. More visitors come every year. While there were still plans to demolish the entire ring of canals in the 1950s, the same canal belt is now Unesco’s cultural heritage. Living in the city has become a popular product. In order to meet the demand, according to experts, 350,000 new homes are needed in the city and region. New residential areas for new residents.

‘Build, Build, Build!’, All politicians of the city council said in in unison earlier this year. Sounds good. Amsterdam, the open world city where everyone is welcome. Who can be against this now?

Where does all that new space come from?
Due to that self-imposed construction task, enormous pressure is being created on the existing city. The great densification: allowing more people to live in existing areas. There is also living space. Transform whole parts of the city. Industrial areas become residential areas. The port is moving up. Green spaces and allotment complexes become building plots. This mainly affects soft functions such as free spaces, public space and social real estate. But a city beach must also disappear.

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‘Commercialism eradicates the soul of the city’

ADM in newspaper Het Parool (Tuesday, september 4th 2018):
‘Commercialism eradicates the soul of the city’
(by Dimitris Dalakoglou, professor social anthropology VU university Amsterdam):
“The closure of ADM and the rest of the squats is the death of Amsterdam.

I am studying Amsterdam ethnographically since 2015 and I can say that our city is undergoing some big transformations over the last two decades which although we want to refuse them, they are very much an ongoing process changing the city beyond recognition into a generic global city that is losing its character and its particularities, its history and its living cells one after the other. This process, which includes the closure, forced relocation and repression of squats like ADM -which are the living history of our city- leads to the death of Amsterdam.
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Right now a large scale police action in the Hambach Forest occupation is taking place! The protest camp fighting against energy company
RWEs destruction of land and climate must be sustained until the last tree is standing!
The eviction of the occupation is coming ever closer, and the struggle is becoming clearer every day now.

Climate change does not stop at the borders, and neither does our movement! Therefore we are calling for actions of solidarity to take place all over Germany, all over Europe, and all over the world!
The Hambach Forest occupation has become a focal point in the struggle for climate justice worldwide, and now, as we are preparing for the struggle to come, we need all your support!
So whether you are climate activists, anarchists, anti­police­brutality organizers, or you simply believe in fighting for justice, the callout is clear: Organize yourself, take action, and show your solidarity!

Use the hashtag #HambiBleibt to share your actions with us and the rest of the world!


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