Some people think cities aren’t just for cars and yuppies.
Police in Sweden have embarked on a mission to evict squatters living in the south of the country, with the university town of Malmo turning into something of a hotbed of activism. The squatters are not happy about an ongoing housing shortage in the region, so they’ve taken to the streets in Malmo and Lund to protest the need for more homes in southern Sweden…
A rooftop protest is being staged in Bristol by squatters who have been evicted from the building. A group occupying the four-storey house in Ashley Road, St Pauls, moved onto the roof after eviction orders were made on 12 November. The squatters are calling for talks with the housing association which owns the building – Places For People…
…last night also saw the screening of Uso improprio by Luca Gasparini and Alberto Masi (in competition in the Italiana.doc section), a film that has also made news, going beyond what the filmmakers had originally intended or imagined. “We wanted to make a documentary on the All Reds sports club, which is in the occupied ex-Cinodromo in Roma”, says Gasparini, who at nearly 50 had gone back to playing rugby with the team from the social centre, Acrobax. Then two of the young “squatters” died: one while working as a messenger, the other stabbed by a young fascist. Thus, what was originally an intimate story of a newfound competitive sports spirit transformed into a film on politics as well.
Squatters’ rights: Police raid on Prague’s Cibulka squat sheds light on global way of life
Benjamin Thomas Cunningham
The Prague Post
November 26, 2008
There is no place like home for the holidays.
Assuming one has a home — and that is sort of the point of their whole movement, say squatters.
At least seven people are looking for a new place to live after police raided their home, a squat in Cibulka, a former monastery in Prague 5–Košíře, allegedly pursuing a criminal into the residence. A chaotic scene ensued, during which at least one gunshot was fired.
“We thought we were being attacked,” said one former Cibulka resident who would only give his first name, Ondřej. “We climbed up onto the roof, because that is the hardest place for them to get you. The roof tiles started to collapse under us and a gunshot was fired, but by that time we were trying to come down.”
Squatting is a phenomenon the world over, but has seen increased popularity in Europe since the late 20th century, when rent prices in city centers began outpacing what many people could pay…
…Those wishing to subvert the system have learned by now, from bitter experience, that we cannot place our faith in states. The last decade has instead seen the development of thousands of forms of mutual aid association, most of which have not even made it onto the radar of the global media. They range from tiny cooperatives and associations to vast anti-capitalist experiments, archipelagos of occupied factories in Paraguay or Argentina or of self-organized tea plantations and fisheries in India, autonomous institutes in Korea, whole insurgent communities in Chiapas or Bolivia, associations of landless peasants, urban squatters, neighborhood alliances, that spring up pretty much anywhere that … state power and global capital seem to temporarily [be] looking the other way. They might have almost no ideological unity and many are not even aware of the other’s existence, but all are marked by a common desire to break with the logic of capital. And in many places, they are beginning to combine. “Economies of solidarity” exist on every continent, in at least eighty different countries. We are at the point where we can begin to perceive the outlines of how these can knit together on a global level, creating new forms of planetary commons to create a genuine insurgent civilization.
Visible alternatives shatter the sense of inevitability, that the system must, necessarily, be patched together in the same form—this is why it became such an imperative of global governance to stamp them out, or, when that’s not possible, to ensure that no one knows about them. To become aware of it allows us to see everything we are already doing in a new light. To realize we’re all already communists when working on … common projects, all already anarchists when we solve problems without recourse to lawyers or police, all revolutionaries when we make something genuinely new…
See also : Reflecting on “Hope in Common”, by David Graeber by the authors of the excellent blog Colonos. “Colonos – Amazonia por la vida? is a blog that two colonists, Colono and Colona, are using to communicate experiences arising from living on what is probably best described as the frontiers of capitalism, or western, (neo-)liberal colonisation of the rain forest. Colonos is the word used locally to describe the people, encouraged by the Ecuadorian governments in the past and the present, who come to seek fortune in the land opened up by the destruction of the forest and the inclusion in the capitalist economy of the people who traditionally lived in the Amazon – the so-called indigenous peoples. Although it is clear that we, as Europeans and as members of a higher education institution, are also colonos, we hope that we will be able to engage and live with the people and the environment in a slightly less destructive manner than is common for the Euro-breed.”
Thank you very much for the kind words! 🙂
David Graeber’s piece is really good and an important imaginary exercise, but it is best read, I dare say in all modesty, with the commentary on Latin American neo-capitalism that we provide at the end of it.
The struggle continues!