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?
Continue reading →
‘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.
Continue reading →