Tag Archives: squatting

From usingspace11: Interview with a squatter

In issue number 11 we reprinted an interview with a squatter from Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 2016.

Interviewer (I): Let’s just start with the introduction then. So, basically… Can you tell me about yourself?

L: In what sense?

I: Well, for example… How did you start with squatting? Let’s start with that one.

L: I got into squatting in England, in London. I was a student and I started going to tekno parties – free parties – in squats. And this was in the late 1990s. And after the Criminal Justice Act, which was designed among other things to eliminate raves, the scene had sort of gone underground. And then, when I started going to parties, it was kind of resurging. So they were pretty huge parties, like, thousands of people. It was the beginning of acidtekno. There were still some kind of hard tekno people around, but most had left to Europe. So for me it was a really exciting time actually. And through that I kind of met squatters and then when I left university … And in the 1990s, it’s way worse now, but even so: apartments were really expensive. So if I wanted to carry on living in the way that I had without subsidized student accommodation, then an option was to squat. Because at this point I was just kinda DJ-ing sometimes at parties. You know, I didn’t really want to have a 9 to 5 job to earn the money, to pay the rent and then that would be my life. And I’m really lucky that I’ve always kind of found my way around that in different ways. So actually squatting was an attractive option, just so I could stay in London. And in that time, Hackney – which is now extremely gentrified – was still possible to squat. Like, just like in the Netherlands, the glory days were the 1980s. You had like squatted estates, like hundreds of people squatting. Those days had already gone, but there was still squatted social centres. A lot of my friends were squatting… So I kind of got pulled into this alternative scene and I was really happy with that. And then having sort of… Yeah, I think it’s hard to start squatting cause you have to know people and it’s just kind of an alternative system that you have to learn how everything works. So having got into that, basically through music, then I was kind of in that. And then at a certain point I ended up squatting in the Netherlands and I was squatting here again. And periods of my life I have also rented. When I moved back to the Netherlands my first option was to squat, and luckily we are… This is here for something like 18 months, a bit more now. I think we squatted it in 2014. And it was the third place that I tried to squat, the other two didn’t really work out.

I: This is the first?
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From #usingspace8: Learning from the divide between #artistic and #anarchist #squats in #Paris

‘I’ve painted myself into a corner’ – Learning from the divide between ‘artistic’ and ‘anarchist’ squats in Paris

[slight edits 2017]

This comes from the zine using space 8, where it contains lots of pictures of cats.

After an intense week in Paris for the Squatting Europe Kollective‘s annual conference I wanted to set down some thoughts about a rift which seems to go very deep in the squat scene there. I was already aware to some degree of this rupture through discussions with anarchist friends from France and would not by any means claim to have a complete grasp on the situation (if that is even possible); my aim here is to contribute some thoughts from an outsider perspective which would hopefully help to break down this divide, one which ultimately would seem rather destructive for the Paris squat scene (although having said that there is also a real point to be made about who is actually squatting and who is actually in the scene). Places still occupied will not be referred to by name to respect their privacy and what I am saying is intended as constructive criticism, I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong to this, although I would own up to a definite sympathy with the anarchist position. I would hope that debate and introspection is valuable to the squatting scene. I will frame the debate then offer some thoughts on it, adding some experiences from places I have lived in or visited.
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Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles

squattingeurope

Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles

Squatting in Europe aims to move beyond the conventional understandings of squatting, investigating its history in Europe over the past four decades. Historical comparisons and analysis blend together in these inquiries into squatting in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and England. In it members of SqEK (Squatting Europe Kollective) explore the diverse, radical, and often controversial nature of squatting as a form of militant research and self-managed knowledge production.

Contents:

Hans Pruijt: Squatting in Europe
Pierpaolo Mudu: Resisting and challenging Neoliberalism: the development of Italian SocialCentres
Gianni Piazza: How activists make decisions within Social Centres? A comparative study in an Italian city
Miguel A. Martínez: The Squatters’ Movement in Spain: A Local and Global Cycle of Urban Protests
Claudio Cattaneo: Urban squatting, rural squatting and the ecological-economic perspective
Andre Holm, Armin Kuhn: Squatting and Urban Renewal: The Interaction of Squatter Movements and Strategies of Urban Restructuring in Berlin
Linus Owens: Have squat, will travel: How squatter mobility mobilizes squatting
Florence Boullon: What’s a ‘good’ squatter? Categorization’s processes of squats by government officials in France
Thomas Aguilera: Configurations of Squats in Paris and the Ile-de-France Region: diversity of goals and resources
E.T.C. Dee: Moving towards criminalisation and then what? Examining dominant discourses on squatting in England

Available from Minor Compositions, AK Press, AKUK, Active and all good radical bookshops.
Also available as a free PDF download from SqEK or here.

278 pages, 6×9
US: $24 / UK: £16
ISBN 978-1-57027-257-8
Available direct from Minor Compositions now for the special price of £10.
Release date Fall 2013

#usingspace five – a zine about squats, social centres and alternative ways of living

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Using Space 5

Issue five was devoted to a brief and incomplete history of squatting in Brighton, UK.
A more recently updated version exists at the (defunct) Squatters Network of Brighton & Hove.

You can mail us about getting a paper version or download a print-ready PDF via northern indymedia..

#usingspace three – a zine about squats, social centres and alternative ways of living

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Using Space 3

Issue three featured various short pieces taken from a range of sources.

These included: thoughts about the future of squatting; a report on the progress of the now defunct maelstrom centre in Leeds; a personal history of the ELF squat in Amsterdam.

First published 2007.

You can mail us about getting a paper version or download a print-ready PDF here or zinelibrary or northern indymedia..

#usingspace two – a zine about squats, social centres and alternative ways of living

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using space two

The story of a squatted street in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Two long articles and some fotos from the now-evicted project are included.

NOTE the second article is in Dutch, the first in English

Published in 2006, maybe. 24 pages including cover (a foto of our door with lots of luvverly stickers)

Download here or at northernindymedia or at zinelibrary

#lookingforwardto The City is Ours

c_the_city_is_ours
The City Is Ours: Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present

RELEASE early 2014
9781604866834

Squatters and autonomous movements have been in the forefront of radical politics in Europe for nearly a half-century—from struggles against urban renewal and gentrification, to large-scale peace and environmental campaigns, to spearheading the antiausterity protests sweeping the continent.

Through the compilation of the local movement histories of eight different cities—including Amsterdam, Berlin, and other famous centers of autonomous insurgence along with underdocumented cities such as Poznan and Athens—The City Is Ours paints a broad and complex picture of Europe’s squatting and autonomous movements.
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#lookingforwardto Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting

Moral Rhetoric and the Criminalisation of Squatting

Vulnerable Demons

Edited by Lorna Fox O’Mahony, David O’Mahony, Robin Hickey

TO BE PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 30 2014

#lookingforwardto Squatters’ Movement in Europe: Everyday Commons and Autonomy as Alternatives to Capitalism

squatters-movement

The Squatters’ Movement in Europe: Everyday Commons and Autonomy as Alternatives to Capitalism

The Squatters’ Movement in Europe is the first definitive guide to squatting as an alternative to capitalism. It offers a unique insider’s view on the movement – its ideals, actions and ways of life. At a time of growing crisis in Europe with high unemployment, dwindling social housing and declining living standards, squatting has become an increasingly popular option. The book is written by an activist-scholar collective, whose members have direct experience of squatting: many are still squatters today. There are contributions from the Netherlands, Spain, the USA, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. In an age of austerity and precarity this book shows what has been achieved by this resilient social movement, which holds lessons for policy-makers, activists and academics alike.

RELEASED 2014
9781783710416