Trespass Journal

Squatters Digest

Welcome to the second, and final edition of Squatters Digest (for 2018). You made it, faithful readers.

In a shock headline, squatting in the UK continues. Evictions still take place every month, but due to the huge number of empty properties in the country, people are still finding ways to self-house. These properties sit vacant while people struggle with rents, and with capitalism. Sometimes people die, and still these buildings remain empty. As the temperatures look to drop below zero in the next couple of days, and I sit here with a horrible cold, I am reminded that it is coming up 6 years since the death of Daniel Gauntlett, a man who froze to death outside a building in Kent, too afraid to enter for fear of being prosecuted for the crime of squatting in a residential building, the infamous Section 144 LASPO law brought in back in 2012 that so many people with an interest in squatting will know all too well.
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Amsterdam: Mobiele Eenheid Film 2018

We see that the commercialisation, gentrification and growing tourism are making of Amsterdam an expensive and exclusive city. Amsterdam is becoming more individualistic, more monotonous and boring. Also, the city is now a playground for tourists and a board game for the rich, who speculate with the spaces of the city, entirely not giving a damn about us, the people who use those spaces, whether to live or to meet.

We firmly believe that it is not the right of the rich to play with the buildings of the city or to decide what to do with them. Since we also enjoy a lot of having fun with and in the city, we decided to start playing, but we are doing it in our own way: we are starting a non-commercial, self-organised, autonomous, and free space.


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Abahlali baseMjondolo Goes to Court to Stop the Eviction of Disabled Residents

Monday, 26 November 2018

Tomorrow [Nov27] the eNduduzweni branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo goes to Durban
High Court as the eThekwini Municipality and KZN Department of Social
Development intensified its war on the blind and physical challenged
residents in the eNduduzweni Centre for the Disabled in uMlazi.

At the same time the eThekwini Municipality’s Land Invasion Unit is
intensifying its was on the eKhenana land occupation in uMkhumbane.
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Amsterdam: No eviction for hotels! The squatting collective ‘De Mobiele Eenheid’ stays!

Building squatted
The squat collective De Mobiele Eenheid has squatted the Gedempte Hamerkanaal 86 / Spijkerkade 2 building a few weeks ago and has started a non-commercial social centre with a program of activities almost every day. After only a few weeks that the collective released the building from the control of real estate violence, an end to this freedom was threatening: The owner, Uri Ben Yakir, stepped to court because he intends to turn the building into a hotel.

The judge ruled yesterday, November the 20th, that the squat collective Mobiele Eenheid can stay until February 1, 2019. The collective demands action from politicians and considers to appeal the decision in court and oppose the eviction.

Overcrowded with hotels
Amsterdam is full of hotels and overcrowded with tourists. There is little to show of the so-called Hotel stop that announced the previous city council. The owner of the squatted building in the Gedempte Hamerkanaal 86 / Spijkerkade 2, a diamond merchant, also knows that real diamonds nowadays have two legs, enter through Schiphol and pull roll-up luggage. If it is up to De Mobiele Eenheid, no hotel in the city will be added. As long as politics does not succeed, squatting is necessary.
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Macao: Collective activism

[This long read is from 2017 but gives useful background in English about Macao in Milan which is currently under threat]

One of Europe’s most spectacular music venues is under threat. Christine Kakaire visits the former slaughterhouse in Milan to hear its story.
Milan’s renowned sense of chic is most evident in its city centre, with its wide, clean streets, decorative filigree balconies and streetside flower sellers. Just south of the centre, the tourist-friendly Navigli neighbourhood has a network of historic canals surrounded by lovely cobblestoned lanes. In one such lane, on a warm Friday evening in May, among the al fresco diners and after-work wine drinkers, Ral8022, a cocktail bar, embodied the fascinating split-personality of Milan’s nightlife.

To the right of the bar’s entrance there was a kinetic blur of cocktail shakers and a soundtrack of silky boom bap hip-hop, as patrons sipped drinks in pairs and small groups. To the left of the doorway was the headquarters of the online station Radio Raheem. The Danish breakcore artist HVAD was scorching his way through a DJ set, dancing in the glass-fronted booth that looks out on the laneway. He was wearing a gold chain that looped in front of his blonde hair extensions, which were plaited into his beard and hung down to his waist. Little attempt was made to buffer the sound of one side of the space from the other, making standing in the doorway disorienting.
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Milan council agrees to sell Macao property for €22 million

[From September]

The sale can only go through once the building is empty—which it currently isn’t.
The City Council Of Milan has agreed to sell the complex of buildings that houses beloved arts and music hub Macao.

The deal, reportedly worth €22 million, will see the council transfer ownership of the entire Viale Molise complex, which spans seven buildings, to a real estate fund run by the international banking group BNP Paribas. News of the sale came as a shock to the team behind Macao, given how closely they’ve been working with the council to secure the venue’s legal legitimacy and elevate its cultural standing.

“What we cannot process is the fact that this administration (one of the few remaining ‘left wing’ governments in Italy) decided to disqualify a year-long political conversation concerning the use of public resources for the common good and for the self-determination of individuals,” reads a statement from Macao.
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Rome: Salvini campaigned for 22nd eviction of Baobab camp

[From Nov14]

Baobab is one of many informal settlements in Rome and provided basic shelter to people who were forced out the system. Baobab was setup for the first time in 2015. Most people stayed only for a few days in the camp before they continued their journey, but others stayed for months. In the days before the eviction about 300 people were staying in Baobab. According to local authorities in Rome 75 people were assigned alternative accommodation this past week, which means that yesterdays 22nd eviction sended dozens of vulnerable people onto the streets as winter sets in.

No Name Kitchen works in the Baobab camp and wrote of their Facebook page: “Our worst predictions have been confirmed. Today, Tuesday 13th of November, the Italian police have started to clear the Baobab camp, where the No Name Kitchen has been involved in providing support over the last months. The fascist Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, has boasted about this measure in a message saying that ‘free zones, without state and legality, will no longer be tolerated’. Nothing could be further from the truth. TOLERANCE will eventually beat racism and we will keep working to achieve it!
Still, from the Baobab camp, we send out a big hug to those who, once again, find themselves without the safety of a place to stay.
We keep on working!”
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MARS Attacks! A Cautionary Tale from the UK on the Relation between Migration and Refugee Studies (MARS) and Migration Control

Abstract This article makes four related arguments regarding the academic field of migration and refugee studies (MARS) in the UK and its relations of knowledge production with UK state agencies. The first, most empirical, argument is that the field’s members harmed their human subjects by providing technical and symbolic assistance to two UK Home Office-managed organisations in controlling migration: the Advisory Panel on Country Information (APCI) and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The second, most theoretical argument is that these MARS-UK state agency relations of production, and the harm that the field’s human subjects experienced as a result, are intelligible as aspects of the neoliberalisation of the capitalist mode of production. The third and fourth arguments that are made in this article are more normative. One is that the similarities between the cases of MARS in the UK and the field in Germany warrant attention both to the latter’s relations of production and to the effects that these might be having (or may have already had) on its human subjects. The other normative argument is that a ›critical‹ MARS is a structural impossibility.

Free to read/download at Movements Journal

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Against Anarcho-Liberalism and the curse of identity politics

Anarchism in the UK is a joke. Once symbolising hard-fought struggles for freedom, the word has been stripped bare to make way for narrow-minded, separatist and hateful identity politics by middle class activists keen to protect their own privileges. We write this leaflet to reclaim anarchism from these identity politicians.

We write as self-identified anarchists who see our roots in the political struggles of the past. We are anti-fascists, anti-racists, feminists. We want to see an end to all oppressions and we take an active part in those fights. Our starting point though is not the dense language of lefty liberal academics, but anarchism and its principles: freedom, cooperation, mutual aid, solidarity and equality for all regardless. Hierarchies of power, however they manifest, are our enemies.

Identity politics is part of the society we want to destroy.
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Squatters digest- low tide: next comes the flood

Welcome to the Squatter’s Digest, a new column for Freedom News, highlighting the ongoings of the squat scene in London and beyond, along with providing opinions on the politics of said goings-on. Quality and coherence are not guaranteed.

The 29th of October saw 150 high-court bailiffs and police descend upon the Tidemill Community Garden in Deptford, London, at 6am, pulling people from their tents, dragging them out of tree-houses, and laying waste to the entire occupation. Occupiers climbed the trees and refused to vacate, while outside fights broke out between the supporters and bailiffs (County Enforcement, well-known to squatters, see Corporate Watch’s latest article on them), who of course were protected by members of the Metropolitan Police force. At some point in the afternoon the last squatter was removed from the trees and the garden was all but lost. But this didn’t stop the people outside from trying for one last push to regain entry to the site. Rushing for the fences, people were thrown to the ground and detained by bailiffs and police, but also linked arms and refused to allow their fellow protestors to be taken to the arrest vans, defiant to the last.
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