End the rot // Squat the lot

[Update : see also a short documentary film on squatting in London : Empties]

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” ~ Anatole France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault), The Red Lily, 1894

Amsterdam’s new squatters : And the rise of the anti-squat entrepreneur
Nancy Durham
CBC News
February 27, 2007

Short of cash and need a place to live?

In the Netherlands, you can get around it by squatting. There, occupying someone else’s space — as long as it has been left vacant for 12 months [until recently, this was actually one month] — is considered a right. That’s how Bart and his friends came to reside at 91 eerste Oosterparkstraat, a rundown townhouse in central Amsterdam…

In Australia too, homelessness in someone else’s world can be ‘got around’ by squatting, though the laws which relate to squatting are far harsher than Holland (or England for that matter). In Australia, there is no ‘right’ to housing, and squatting — while not in and of itself a crime — is rendered a criminal activity under more general property laws, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance.

Or not.

Melbourne has a long history of squatting, both residential and social, and Barricade has an archive of materials relating to this history, which covers the period from the late ’70s through to the early- to mid- ’90s, and which will one day soon — hopefully — be uploaded… stay tuned!

Word on the street is that Victoria Police have recently organised an anti-kraak squad. This is presumably in response to a number of recent (social) squatting activities, a housing market — especially in the inner city — which excludes the poor — especially students — and an expectation that, as wages decrease, and rentals sky-rocket, more and more people will choose to forgo enriching real estate agents and their clients, and instead squat empty housing (of which there is approximately 750,000 units Down Under). Then again… perhaps this is merely the remnants of the “Inner City Squats Committee” of 2004?

    See also : ‘Personal Property’, Adam Ferguson, Big Issue Australia, November 14, 2005 | SquatSpace (Sydney) | Hans Pruijt, ‘Squatting in Europe’; English version of Pruijt, H., 2004, “Okupar en Europa”, in: Miguel Martínez Lopez and Ramón Adell (eds) ¿Dónde están las llaves? El movimiento okupa: prácticas y contextos sociales, Madrid, La Catarata, 35-60

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2019 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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20 Responses to End the rot // Squat the lot

  1. @ndy says:

    Cheers. Hopefully there’ll be a backlash. A big one…

  2. I was charged with squatting in QLD when I was a teenager and homeless. I was found guilty and then on appeal innocent. I cannot understand what the problem is really. If someone doesn’t have anywhere to live and/or can’t afford to pay rent and a place is just sitting around collecting dust, why not be able to move in.

    But then again owning private property has always been a bad idea. It means the poor don’t have a roof over their heads whilst the rich own ten houses. Go figure.

  3. Darrin Hodges says:

    Private property a bad idea? I don’t care if somebody owns “ten houses”, it’s their private property and they are entitled to [do] with it as they wish, including charging rent. Just “moving in” to somebody’s private property, unused or otherwise, is theft.

  4. Darrin do you always think so selfishly? Really. Why should one person own so much whilst another can’t find a safe place to sleep. Theft is a construct of capitalism and capitalism is disgusting.

    I’m sure Andy can put it much nicer but I’m not in the mood for the me, myself and I mentality this evening.

  5. Darrin Hodges says:

    Private property is a bad idea?, capitalism is disgusting?, Miss Politics, perhaps you might be happier in a non-capitalist country. But since most of them are broken and China is developing a nice market economy that might not be to your taste, I guess it’s either DPRK or Cuba for you. Cuba’s good until Castro falls off the twig and everybody leaves. ( http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000018/001839.htm )

    I suppose there is always Flannery’s Geothermia – http://www.news.com.au/sundaytelegraph/story/0,,21313210-5001031,00.html

    Theft is a construct?, oh my.

  6. @ndy says:

    ‘Property is theft’ ~ Proudhon.

    Yeah, private property — and I’m referring to the private ownership of ‘the means of production’, not yr toothbrush — is ‘bad’, at least insofar as better modes of life are possible, ones based on common or communal ownership and control. Anarchists oppose both capital and state, and consequently seek to dissolve these forms of social relations, and reconstitute them — and hence our being — on a radically ‘democratic’ and egalitarian basis.

    It’s a long story…

    CUBA:

    ‘Cuban Anarchism: The History Of A Movement’, by Frank Fernandez, See Sharp Press, 2001:

    http://www.illegalvoices.org/bookshelf/cuban_anarchism/

    ‘The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective’, by Sam Dolgoff, Black Rose Books, 1977:

    http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_Archives/bright/dolgoff/cubanrevolution/toc.html

    CHINA:

    ‘Dimensions of Chinese Anarchism: An Interview with Arif Dirlik’, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Vol.1, No.2, Fall 1997:

    http://www.anarchiststudies.org/perspectives/2dimensio.htm

    ‘The Chinese Anarchist Movement’, by R. Scalapino and G. T. Yu, 1961:

    http://www.illegalvoices.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=29

  7. Your right Andy people can own their own toothbrush as I certainly don’t wish to share in that respects. I do however think that property is something that should be owned by everyone and I agree we need a new type of society.

    I am going to ignore to supidity of Darrin’s most recent post as I am one very angry young women this week and when angry I can’t think logically.

    Oh and I posted an entire paragraph with no spelling errors. Do I get a prize now?

  8. @ndy says:

    No Miss P. You get spanky for being cheeky:

    1) “Your” = “You are” = “You’re”.

    2) “respects” = “respect”.

    3) “to supidity” = “the stupidity” (and gross ignorance).

    4) “women” = “woman”.

  9. No not that one. The post on the 3rd of March 2007. I dont see any spell check lines happening on that one.

    Spanky eh … Now young man be careful with terms you imply to communicate … After all I may like to be spanked and you may have dug yourself a hole.

  10. Indeed it does! I am overwhelmed by the action of the Council. Actually I am more at a loss that good sense prevailed.

  11. Darrin Hodges says:

    My concerns are who will be paying for the power being put back on and who will be paying for the electricity being used? and will the squatters move on when its time to demolish the buildings, or will we see them try to burn everything down like they are in Denmark?

  12. Well it would be the same tax payer who foolishly pays for middle class welfare. I dont have a problem with my taxes being used to pay for people to have a roof over their heads. As the article says theres a housing crisis at the moment. Besides squatting is not an evil thing in itself. You should try it sometime.

    As for Denmark … I am sure they have reasons for burning things down … will read up on it and get back to you … Though again Andy will probably have an in-depth analysis somewhere methinks … Though he is very quiet of late on the comment threads …

  13. Can you correct my essays BEFORE I hand them in?

  14. @ndy says:

    Inre electricity: I hope the corporation pays. Failing that, I assume one or more of the squatters will — that’s the usual deal. Iceland’s been squatted for yrs, btw, hosting weddings, parties, anything (inc. SquatFest — TropFest alt.film — in 2005). It’s not unusual for these sorts of arrangements to be made b/w squatters and local authorities either, whether in Sydney, Melbourne, or hundreds of other cities throughout the world.

    As for Denmark … the authorities obviously need a lesson in manners, and the brothers and sisters have provided them one.

    As I see it, one of the functions of such actions — ‘rioting’ — is to increase the economic, social, and political costs to the state associated with destroying autonomous expressions of culture, especially, as in this case, radical, youth-oriented culture. And as an Italian-American anarchist framed and executed by the state of Massachusetts wrote in a letter to a little grrl a long time ago:

    “Dear Alfonsina,

    I heartily laughed to hear that the fingernails of the little cat have scratched Zora’s nose, and I continue to laugh every time I think about it. Surely, it is a good lesson not only for Zora and other child, but for mankind. The little cat knows very well it has a sharp nails, and that when a little girl molests it, it is enough to scratch a little her nose for be let free. People too have sharp fingernails, and the noses of tyrants and oppressors is make of flesh too. Oh, how much less sorrowness and misery would be among the mortals if they know just what a little cat knows.”

  15. Darrin Hodges says:

    As I see it, one of the functions of such actions — ‘rioting’ — is to increase the economic, social, and political costs to the state associated with destroying autonomous expressions of culture…

    Yes, well when you destroy public schools, it’s the students and the taxpayer who will bear those costs. It’s amazing how similar the agenda of these various extremist groups is. Anarchists, Islamists, KKK, nazis – all are seeking to impose their vision of society onto everybody else and it’s the ‘everybody else’ who bear the brunt – planes being flown into buildings, crosses burning in front yards, swastikas daubed on synagogues or rioting and damage to property for its own sake.

    The danger is, people are being driven to these extremists groups because they lack choice. We saw it happen in Germany in the 1930s and again in Yugoslavia in the 1990s and we are starting to see it now. The people will vote for somebody to lead them out of the ‘evil of their times’ only to find they’re being led into the abyss.

    If yoof want to express their ‘radical culture’ then they can pay for the space to do it like everybody else, not impose the cost of such expression onto the state (therefore the tax payer).

    Miss Politics, I don’t have a problem with my taxes (and rates) being used to help others. I just resent people who think it’s a right. I won’t be ‘squatting’ anytime soon, but who knows, maybe I’ll have to squat my own house if the interest rates get too high.

  16. @ndy says:

    A few points:

    1) Inre ‘destruction of public schools’: AP reported on March 4 that one school had been “vandalized”, but provides no further deets.

    Run for the hills.

    2) Inre ‘political agendas’: the agenda of thousands of Copenhagen and other European youth was to prevent the destruction of a social centre in a multi-ethnic, working-class neighbourhood of a major European city; a social centre that had been used by them (and others) since 1982 in order to provide housing, to hold meetings, workshops and gigs, and to be put to 1,001 other uses by the poors, local and ‘foreign’.

    The building itself was of immense historical significance, having been used by the Danish labour movement as an organising space since its construction in 1897 — hence originally being dubbed *The People’s House* — hosting, among many other events, an international conference of the Second International in 1910; a conference which subsequently decided to hold an International Women’s Day in March — a day which continues to be celebrated by women right around the world on March 8.

    TOMORROW!

    It is a sign of just how far ‘social democracy’ has degenerated that the current Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Jytte Ritt Bjerregaard (b. 1941) — a self-described ‘feminist’, member of the Danish Social Democrats, and former Vice-president (1992-1994) of ‘Socialist International Women’ — has paid tribute to the historical struggles of her sisters by authorising the destruction of the centre.

    In other words, typical yuppie scum behaviour, shitting on working class history, culture, and values.

    To then proceed to draw an equivalence b/w activity designed to prevent this desecration from occuring — a struggle which, incidentally, has been waged for fucking yrs, and which has indeed utilised and then exhausted all the available legal channels — and that of Islamic or neo-Nazi terrorists is

    COMPLETELY FUCKING ABSURD.

    The rest of yr contribution is on a similar level.

  17. It is indeed International Womyns Day tomorrow! How do you find all the details in your posts Andy? Honestly I had no idea of the significance of that particular building. Its terrible that they want to demolish it. Not simply because of its significance to feminism but also for the other points that you raised.

    In regards to the said minority struggle I of course completely disagree with you Darrin. Minorities have every right to push for change. I find it rather amusing that a person who is struggling to pay off a mortgage due to high interest rates who in a complex yet disturbingly simple way cannot grasp the concept that they are being fooled. You see those mortgages are due to the fact that we live in a society where profits are the new god. Where the system of capitalism fools the masses into thinking that they are getting ahead. The reality is that over 90% of the worlds population work to ensure that around 10% remain very wealthy. You keep working at it eh. Longer hours. Less pay. Worse conditions. Go to Uni rake up a debt big enough to put a deposit on that house. Keep working. Keep pushing shit up hill. I for one am no fool. I can see it quite clearly.

    The system is rotten. Just like all rotten things it needs to be thrown away and new seeds planted so that we can restructure our society so that we are all safe, healthy, happy and secure.

    Dont just scoff at the ideas. Inform yourself. Think about your life. More importantly think about the lives of billions of others who suffer and who like us would benefit from the capitalist system being overthrown. Democracy sounds great in theory but in practice it sucks. We need a change. Think about it before going off with your ill-thought-out radical crap.

  18. Darrin Hodges says:

    argh, this stupid validation system just ate my post. why does it baulk at certain characters? why does it insist on escaping other characters — often multiple times if you enter the wrong validation code. what a heap of shit. geez.

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