On this month’s edition of Floating Anarchy on The SUWA Show (5.30pm /// Friday, September 23 /// 855AM /// streaming live on 3CR), Dr Cam and I have a yarn with uber-special-lovely-Berlin-squatter-guests Lukas, Patrick & Rizo all about Rigaer94, squatting in Berlin, anti-gentrification, anti-fascism, naughty pixies and moar!
George Katsiaficas’s account covers the period 1968-1996 and pays special attention to the role of autonomous feminist movements, the effects of squatters and feminists on the disarmament movement and on efforts to shut down nuclear power, and the antifascist social movements developed in response to the neo-Nazi upsurge.
In addition to providing a rare depiction of these often overlooked movements, Katsiaficas develops a specific notion of autonomy from the statements and aspirations of these movements. Drawing from the practical actions of social movements, his analysis is extended into a universal standpoint of the species, a perspective he develops by uncovering the partiality of Antonio Negri’s workerism, Seyla Benhabib’s feminism and notions of uniqueness of the German nation.
On this month’s episode of ‘Floating Anarchy’ on The SUWA Show on 3CR (5.30pm /// Friday, August 26 /// 855AM /// livestreaming on the 3CR website), our extra special guest is writer, musician and raconteur Iain McIntyre, who talks a bit about … squatting! Iain also helps maintains the Australian Museum of Squatting — ‘A celebration and documentation of Australians putting abandoned and disused property to good use’ — which is ace and grouse.
Otherwise, it’s a very busy weekend for squatters.
On Saturday in Footscray:
Hot Shots Monthly Skillshare presents: SQUATTING IN AUSTRALIA – PAST AND PRESENT
‘An afternoon of discussions, talks and skillshares exploring squatting in Australia, its history, current campaigns, practical skills and more.’
See : HOTTTSHOTS! for more infos on Saturday’s fun and all the other heaps good stuff happening @ Footscray’s hottest spot. (NB. On Friday night there’s a benefit gig for compañerxs @ Rumah Api in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.)
On Sunday in Collingwood:
Bendigo St Festival, Collingwood ⌂⌂⌂ Celebrating Community ⌂⌂⌂
‘This Sunday, join us as we celebrate almost 5 months of fighting homelessness and building community in Narrm Melbourne. Many houses along Bendigo Street will open their doors, to share food, live music, workshops, film screenings, and conversations about housing and homelessness.’
It has now been over a week since our doors were first cut off, cops and security intruded into our housing project, installing themselves in our stairways and other previously collective spaces. From then, the speedy and aggressive eviction and destruction of the ground level of our home began. Our social space, the Kadterschmiede, along with our workshop, laundry, attic and garden were stripped of all recognition in clouds of dust and mortar, while rubbish skips were filled with our belongings and collective histories.
Our rebellious, emancipatory project has been overrun by empty headed lackeys in uniform and we are pissed – not the least because we are used to better company than this. Whether these unwelcome wardens wear uniforms issued by the state or private security companies makes little difference to us. They both show their petty allegiance to the logic of domination and control not only via their presence but also through daily acts of physical violence, harassment, degrading comments and leers – not only directed towards us, but our visitors, friends and neighbours including young children. The police have set up a restricted area, closing off the entrance to the building and its surrounds, with anyone wanting to enter their home or visit us having to pass a gauntlet of beefed up aggressive cops and security, often needing to present identification. This process can take hours.
Further it has just been exposed that the police have been recording the details and compiling a database of people that have been identified coming into the house. At least part of this list has been passed on to and published by organised Nazi groups.
The pretext of this eviction is that the owner John Richard Dewhurst, a taxation lawyer, millionaire mega investor with companies implicated in The Panama Papers, and previously an attorney for the South African Supreme court during the apartheid era, wishes to house refugees in these spaces. If of course they can pay market rate rent in the newly renovated spaces, an amount too high for most people and above what refugee housing organisations can afford to fund. The irony of this claim doesn’t bypass us.
The clear instrumentalization of refugees as an excuse to attack a space that has shown political and practical solidarity with refugees and other people in precarious positions does not surprise us. For those in the most precarious positions are frequently pitted against each other under this current system that is set up to exploit us for the benefit of people like Dewhurst. To add salt to the wound, in this violent and invasive process three refugees who had found a home with us in the 94, can now no longer live here for fear of extra repression and police stress. The state and its most wealthy have once again moved to destroy safer solidarity spaces for those in our community whose struggles intensify on a daily basis.
The area around Rigaerstrasse has been heavily gentrified in the past decade and skyrocketing rents have seen many residents pushed out, displaced and evicted in order to make room for new developments. These are unaffordable to most existing long term residents but bring in more profit for investors. As part of a larger neighbourhood coalition of projects and individuals we have struggled against this process of gentrification, fighting to keep our neighbourhood a place for all, not just the rich. Over the past year or so we have seen the relationships of warmth and solidarity between people in our neighbourhood growing and people increasingly sharing daily life. Neighbours from both the projects and private living spaces have met and organised on the streets, in our garden and at the peoples’ kitchen in Kadterschmiede.
We understand the aggressive, overbloated attack on our collective spaces as part of the wider repressive conditions under capitalism. Conditions that see all elements of collective life and resistance attacked, commodified, co-opted and as a last resort destroyed and replaced by more controllable and consumable forms of life. We also recognize the power of collective spaces, campaigns, actions and initiatives in the face of the increasing pressure placed on all of us under a rotten and collapsing system that tightens the noose around all of our necks as it slowly drowns under the weight of its own bloated corpse. It is clear to us that the effectiveness and potentiality of these liberatory collective forms, including our own project, poses an increasing threat to this system and all those who benefit from it.
We will continue to fight for all projects, initiatives and spaces that provide space and opportunities to experiment with alternative ways of living under these shitful conditions, across all divisive borders imposed from above.
We invite you to join us in expressing our resistance and rage.
Your solidarity however expressed gives us strength and warms our hearts,
For the last few weeks, good folk have been occupying empty housing in Bendigo Street, Collingwood. The houses — previously scheduled to be demolished in order to make way for another fucking highway — have been left standing empty since the Victorian government cancelled the billion-dollar East-West Link road project in December 2014. As for the private developers responsible, they were left laffing at the cancellation, the previous, Tory government having agreed to pay them massive compensation if the project was scrapped … and if the rich are happy, who could ask for anything more?
After a long-fought day, protesters have successfully occupied an empty domestic property on Bendigo St this morning.
This is despite being informed late yesterday afternoon, after weathering a 3-hour holding pattern conducted by Victoria Police officers and an anonymous party of three, that their occupation of 18 Bendigo St, Collingwood, constituted an act of unlawful trespass on private property …
Since then, the occupation has been ongoing. See :
This Wednesday, March 14 a new documentary film will be screening at the Melbourne Anarchist Club (62 St Georges Rd, Northcote). Called Okupación, the 80-minute film documents contemporary social struggles in Spain for housing and public space. Filmmaker Chris P will be along to discuss this exciting look at activist life in Madrid. Entry is free. Doors open at 7.30pm, film screens at 8pm.