Tag Archives: housing policy

Poland: Call for solidarity – Three months in jail for eviction blockade

Received May 19th via Rozbrat.org:

On the 27th of April 2016 Lukasz Bukowski, a participant of Anarchist Federation Poznan, Poland, went to prison for three months. He had been charged and sentenced with the breach of bodily integrity of a police officer which had happened during the eviction blockade of a disabled woman and her husband, Katrzyna and Ryszard Jencz, from a tenement house in Poznan, Poland. Lukasz refused to pay the fine, which then was changed to community work and then to a prison term. He appeared at a prison in Poznan where he will spend the next three months. Lukasz wants to bring attention to displacements and brutal evictions that still take place not only in Poznan but all across Poland. He refused to pay the fine because he believes that his act of defending the tenants was right. He also wants to bring attention to unequal and unfair treatment of tenants and to the repression that all people defending tenants’ rights face.

The eviction of Ryszard and Katarzyna (who is seriously ill and has been in a wheelchair for many years) took place on 25th of October 2011. Despite Katarzyna’s visible serious condition, the court, which issued the eviction notice, did not give them social housing (which is required by the law but courts often refuse to do it due to lack of social housing). So, in fact, the couple was evicted on to the streets.

Large police forces were mobilized and showed up at the tenement building a few hours before the eviction, cutting off the access to the building and the apartment. Around 70 activists tried to block the eviction. Some people living in the neighborhood also joined them but in the end Katarzyna Jencz, because of her worsening health condition had to be transported out of the building in an ambulance. The debt collector then seized the apartment.

During the blockade, three people, including Lukasz, were detained. He claims that the charges he faced were not valid and his conviction was a form of revenge for his social resistance. The police also charged two more people with leading an illegal gathering but they were both acquitted.

Every year Polish courts issue from 30,000 to 40,000 eviction notices. Debt collectors perform about 8,000 evictions; they are often accompanied by the police. Other people with eviction notices simply leave their apartments before the evictions. The main reason of evictions is the debt growing because of high rents, utility bills, low income and precarious forms of employment as well as no welfare support. Very often the evicted tenants do not get the right to social housing. The authorities do not acknowledge the constitutional duty to provide social housing for people with the lowest economic status, people who are ill and unemployed. The case of Katarzyna and Ryszard Jencz is one of the most appalling ones, as it has showed the ruthlessness of evictions and displacements by the city authorities who often represent the interests of landlords and developers.

We as a movement believe that Lukasz is a political prisoner, a prisoner of conscience, who demands respect for tenants’ rights and demands stopping evictions. His imprisonment marks the beginning of another campaign against evictions, illegal displacements and violating tenants’ rights. Together with Lukasz we demand stopping evictions and changing the unfair social-housing politics that causes so many human tragedies. The victims of these politics are often the poorest people. We are calling the authorities of Poznan to stop 250 evictions from social housing that they have announced would be performed until November and to guarantee that every inhabitant of this city has a place to live. Show the real will to change the social housing politics!

At the same time we are calling all participants of the anarchist and tenants’ rights movements to show their solidarity with Lukasz, all evicted tenants and victims of police brutality.

Stop violating tenants’ rights! Stop police violence! Stop evictions!

Please send letters to Lukasz (he speaks English):
Łukasz Bukowski s. Zbigniewa
Zakład Karny Gorzów Wielkopolski P-2
ul. Podmiejska 17
66-400 Gorzów Wlkp.
Poland

Deutsch / Español / Pусский

Frankfurt, Germany: ABS real estates office attacked

March 18th 2015

The night hasn’t yet finished. We attacked with cobblestones the windows of ABS Immobilien in Bockenheim. ABS Real Estates have houses, apartments, business premises in Frankfurt (Main), Offenbach (Main), Dietzenbach, Mainhausen, Neu-Isenburg and Rabenau, and are responsible for displacing people from their homes because they are hit by profit. People have to leave their homes due to the cost of renting and are pushed even further away from the centre. If this continues as such, Frankfurt will soon take after Paris.

But we will not succeed in resolving the problem of this world only with broken windows from any real estate group. With such attacks, we can show that this capitalist filthy system is vulnerable and point out those responsible, but besides this, alternatives must be created; that a life beyond capitalism is feasible for example, and that only by trying it allows itself to be discovered. From house projects to occupied houses. Battles from Chiapas to Rojava; from Barcelona to Athens. All over the world there’s a growing urge towards self-determination, and we should do everything we can to enable all living beings to live in freedom.

We can likewise examine what happened in Frankfurt on March 18th, with its moments both beautiful and ugly. Thinking about cop cars, broken banks, etc. makes us smile, but also consider criticising the attack on the tram and ambulance, and to not play down or remain silent about such moments. We should also reflect on our own actions and see if we have not acted questionably, or if our conduct was always acceptable.

A solidarity greeting to those who were arrested that day, and those who are already reflecting about how people can be concretely supported.

NO MONEY NOR BANKS
NO WAR NOR TANKS
NO BORDERS!

For Anarchy! (A)

translated from French

Hamburg: Solidarity paint attack against housing cooperative office

Every eviction has its price! Attack with paint against the office of the ‘Bauverein Reiherstieg’ housing cooperative in Wilhelmsburg, Hamburg:

On January 26th, 2015, Heiko was evicted from his home at 10 Otterhaken in the Wilhelmsburg district of Hamburg. For a long-time he was an obstacle against the ‘Bauverein Reiherstieg’ housing cooperative because of his organising against rising rents and due to more involvement from tenants. Since Heiko paid his rent late several times, he had to be thrown out this time.

Nearly 200 people in solidarity tried to prevent this happening. The eviction was delayed by a good 90 minutes. Unfortunately, the cops then succeeded to get through a door at the rear of the building with the help of the BFEs [special units of the German police]. The stairwell was blocked by supporters, but was then violently evicted. All this in the name of the ‘Bauverein Reiherstieg’.

On January 26th, their office was closed for security reasons. Days before and after the eviction, security guards took turns in front of the building. For a few days, it was probably calculated that protecting the property was no longer necessary, but that didn’t work out. On the night of Tuesday 3rd to Wednesday 4th of February 2015, we beautified the facade of ‘Bauverein Reiherstieg eG’ (at 127a Georg-Wilhelm-Straße in Wilhelmsburg) with six paint bombs.

We wish to show our solidarity with this action to Heiko and all the others who are, have been, or will be targeted by evictions!

Each eviction must be prevented at all levels, by all means!

We hope that the ‘Bauverein Reiherstieg’ will not continue with evictions, otherwise we will be back!

Anti-evictions Group

Note (translated from French): In the same district of Hamburg, the Authorities for Urban Development and the Environment (BSU), located at 19 Neuenfelder Straße, were similarly attacked in the night of Tuesday 26th to Wednesday 27th of August 2014. Also „fight Capitalism“ was tagged with stains of paint on the front door of the building. The action was claimed by ‘autonomous opponents of gentrification’ invoking the growing gentrification in the district of Wilhelmsburg, which is being made into a ‘new trendy area’, and recalling that gentrification and urban renewal happening for years in the Altona area has mainly affected the Schanzenviertel district.

Leipzig: Real estate company targeted and several luxury vehicles torched

Wednesday 21st January around 3 o’clock in the morning, four vehicles of a real estate company in Leipzig were torched: the cars destroyed by flames were all high-end vehicles (3 Mercedes and 1 Audi). This incendiary sabotage was claimed on Sunday 25th January by “Autonome Gruppen“:

In the night of 20th-21st January 2015, we attacked during a targeted action the whole fleet of vehicles of the multi-million euro real estate speculators GRK Holding in the southern-centre of Leipzig, and with this we delivered flames to four vehicles. The real estate company referenced is one of the largest long-term profiteers of gentrification in Leipzig. Spread throughout the city, the big company projects are either under construction or have already been completed. The systematic terror against the tenants is still high on the agenda, such as gentrification ensuing the cheaply purchased property renders Leipzig more attractive for people with a higher monthly income.

“Founded since 1991, GRK-Holding AG manages and leases, exclusively and qualitatively, high-end properties in and around Leipzig.”

This is enough reason to show these dear ladies and gentlemen that their actions don’t remain without a response. This took place whilst we deposited incendiaries to four vehicles parked in front of the headquarters of the company and a truck parked in the yard, four vehicles and a carport in the flames of our hatred.

The car, reportedly pushed into the street, was parked beside another car when the incendiary device was ignited. It’s not the first time a car starts to move a bit after going up in flames. And it’s all the more gratifying when it interferes with the fire fighting operations and thereby adding to the damage.

By organizing Charity Golfing the GRK Holding GmbH [limited liability company] tries to put itself into a positive light and buy a clean conscience. During Charity Golfing a rich and elitist mob celebrate themselves and some of them donate a fraction of their fortune together with other big businesses to a good cause. The event will run again under the patronage of Burkhard Jung (SPD [Social Democratic Party of Germany]), the mayor of the city of Leipzig. He’s trying to promote himself and present the GRK Holding GmbH as a nonprofit social enterprise, but making people on lower incomes lose their housing tells a different tale. It seems that Jung tries to pacify leftist areas by use of gentrification and by pushing out the people who live there, to create space for persons that fit into his world view and to feel secure in his home in Connewitz. A security as make-believe and fake as the claim of the GRK Holding GmbH to be socially committed.

Autonomous Groups

Germany: KSW estate agents attacked in Leipzig

In the night of the 30th–31st December, the headquarters of KSW on 2 Karl-Heine-Strasse in Leipzig were paint-bombed and the words “Fire protection OK?” were affixed. KSW is one of the large local real estate companies who ensure their profits by practicing aggressive evictions, revaluation and suppression at the expense of tenants.

The case of the evacuation of 28a Holbeinstrasse has been made known over the months, by which KSW has actively driven out the inhabitants by inhumane strategies. Amongst other things, fire doors were removed by KSW, and then the City indicated that fire protection is no longer guaranteed. Thereafter, the City of Leipzig prohibited its use as housing space (more in the blog cited below).[i]

We ask KSW: At home, is there fire protection?

Revaluation, suppression and gentrification or not: the problem’s called capitalism. Identify and attack the agents and ideologies – always and everywhere.

On the case of 28a Holbeinstrasse:…[i]

Further reading on “Leipzig – City for all”:…[ii]

We do not dissociate ourselves from the call to violence.[iii]
_

(Originally translated from German from Linksunten Indymedia into French on Le Chat Noir Émeutier, then into English.)

Translators’ notes:

i. The communique was disclosed on December 31st, 2014, making mention also of this case, and providing a link to holbeinstrasse28a.de/unser-blog. In response to this, the blog’s authors (some 28a Holbeinstrasse “rental parties”) have humiliated themselves by posting a pathetic message on January 1st, 2015, reading: “Not in our name… We dissociate ourselves from violence and property damage. Happy New Year!”.

ii. A network which campaigns “for a social and democratic urban development”; yet again, nothing to do with radical activity.

iii. In support of this callout, and still in the city of Leipzig, another attack targeted a branch of Deutsche Bank.

Berlin: Better angry than sad… Jobcenter attacked

be resistive

In the night of May 6th, 2014, we attacked the ‘Jobcenter’ in Müllerstraße in Berlin’s district of Wedding (with hammers, paint and slogans) because we consider the ‘Jobcenter’ institution a central instrument for the maintenance of capitalist conditions, which deprive people of their freedom and self-determination on a daily basis.

We get angry when we see how people have to strive, hustle and beg to find a job, and rush through their everyday life in the hope that this or that skill-training program,* counseling or guidance cobbled together at the last minute could be their future.

We consistently reject this future, marked by the struggle for one’s survival, and the fear of losing one’s livelihood, by disciplining and sanctioning, leading through to deprivation of one’s living space with forced evictions.

We dream of and fight for a future of love, respect, solidarity and self-determination of everyone, and at this point we declare our particular solidarity with all people from the EU without a German passport who will have the subsistence allowance** withdrawn and thus be deprived of their means of existence.

For a life without domination in freedom.

source: linksunten

* mandatory ‘training courses’, temporary forced work, ‘one-euro jobs’, ‘voluntary’ programs in companies without pay, etc.
** a lower unemployment benefit, known as Arbeitslosengeld II, for registered unemployed in Germoney who are still considered ‘fit to work’

France: Communiqué on buildings occupied in Calais

February 28, 2014

We are a group of people from different countries and different political backgrounds who are fighting for the right to housing for everyone, whatever their origin. We announce that we have occupied (now for more than 48 hours) empty and abandoned public buildings in different parts of the town of Calais, and intend to continue these occupations and maintain them as squats for as long as possible.

Why here and why now? There are more than 4,000 buildings empty in Calais, which represents 9% of homes (500 of them are in fact the property of a single large housing association, the OPH/Public Office of Housing, the town’s major ‘social’ landlord…), and yet against this backdrop more than 500 people are on the streets, out of sight of any dignified solution, and used only as sound bites by politicians who purport to offer assistance and in reality offer nothing. To address this situation, the authorities have turned Calais into a ghost town.

Who can claim to have walked in the streets of this town and not passed at least one house with windows bricked up, doors barricaded, and cellars sealed? Why leave places empty and people outside in the cold? Why spend money to condemn access to buildings rather than using them to help a precarious population?

To answer these questions that the public authorities have chosen to avoid (for several years now), a group of individuals have set out to find collective solutions by giving life to abandoned buildings and the homeless a roof over their heads. Until now, the authorities have responded with repressive tactics that have resulted in multiple illegal evictions based on the perversion of legal procedures, manipulation of witnesses during neighbourhood investigations, and alteration of evidence…

In Calais, the discourse on the right to housing is taken hostage by the various levels of Power that have continued to use the migration situation to stir up fears and fantasies about the issue of squats. In recent months this political manipulation has been incarnated in the call for the denunciation and exposure of squats; spearheaded by UMP mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart (who in reality has no real political prospects for this town), a racist attitude has been established, which suggests that squats and their alleged inhabitants are the origin of all the ills of Calaisians. This poisonous atmosphere has allowed the xenophobic collective ‘Save Calais’ (whose founder is a neo-Nazi with a swastika tattoo) to germinate —their establishment occurring, somewhat coincidentally, just two days after Bouchart’s call for action on ‘the problem of migrant squats’.

Remember, further, that two of the town hall’s main representatives, Philippe Mignonnet and Emmanuel Agius (who both work under Bouchart), came out to welcome ‘Save Calais’ and to support the group’s ‘sit-in’ on Thursday, November 7, 2013 outside the town hall, despite the fact that organizers and participants did not hide their racism (including, for example, some discriminatory remarks that migrants ‘are harmful, three quarters of them are potential aggressors’), and displayed clear affiliation with the Front National.

‘Save Calais’ has since extended their ‘stigmatization of squats’ campaign with a sickening xenophobic discourse and hard-line violence against people trying to find shelter. This group has become the operational arm of the mayor’s call to denounce squats in Calais, and has set up a system for tracking down migrants and others living in squats, identifying buildings being used for shelter, and organizing actions against these people and their homes. It was almost impossible to stay in Calais when you were homeless (particularly homeless and undocumented) without becoming a victim of abuses by the authorities before, but now it’s also a struggle to avoid being the victim of Nazi attacks.

Fascist extremists, members of ‘Save Calais’, and manipulated residents have effectively been besieging a small farmhouse on the outskirts of Calais (which was squatted by a couple of people in need of a home) issuing death threats, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, stalking and attempting to violently attack individuals going about their daily business, and consistently attempting to burn the house down, making life impossible for residents of the house trying to carve out a semblance of a normal life. Today in Calais (and the surrounding area) being a squatter means taking the risk of being lynched under the impassive eyes of police inaction and the defiant ignorance of the sub-prefect and the prefect.[1]

We cannot let the arbitrary violence of a minority—hitherto unpunished—prevent us from having access to shelter and defending the need of decent housing for everyone regardless of their origins. We refuse the trivialization of these methods, and oppose the inaction of state officials; we will not sit back and do nothing, or see these events become an entrenched norm.

It would be great to have more people coming to Calais to help support and sustain our occupations, especially since the police are likely to ignore our strong evidence of legal right to stay, as they have consistently done in the past.

Stop the Rot, Squat the Lot.

[1] In France, the role of the prefect and the sub-prefect is somewhat similar to the one of a district judge combined with the powers of a council official and the crown prosecution service (in England and Wales) in that they can take decisions on police action, whether to intervene in certain political matters, etc.

Germany: Updates from the streets of Berlin, Hamburg and a few other places

previous info here

November 23rd

On Saturday, nearly 6,000 protesters marched in the city centre of Berlin during the annual demo in remembrance of comrade Silvio Meier, who was killed by neo-Nazis in 1992. However, on the same day, approximately 150 thugs from the neo-Nazi scene held a rally in one of their strongholds, Schöneweide, against asylum seekers and a recent attack on a prominent Nazi (Björn Wild, who was beaten up by antifas on the street). The fascists waved Greek and Golden Dawn flags next to other nationalist emblems. The antifascist counter-demo on location was rather small in numbers.

Housing instead of concentration camps…

November 24th

In Berlin, the refugee camp at Oranienplatz has been in imminent danger of eviction already since late November 2013. Refugees and people in solidarity are determined to keep the square as the basis of their struggle against the German asylum policy. However, Kreuzberg mayor Monika Herrmann of the Green Party (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) asked the cops to prepare a raid on the entire camp. She also stated that leftist radicals try to take advantage of the situation… Following these developments, heavy police violence was unleashed at Orienplatz, however activists counterattacked on many occasions.

The refugee camp at Oranienplatz exists for over a year now, and is a point of exchange between residents of Kreuzberg and refugees. There were several political attempts to end this square occupation, with subsequent police attacks. In summer of 2013, there was even a racist knife attack on a participant in the protest camp. The camp began after people in isolation camps, trapped by the restrictive German residency laws, broke out in order to march to Berlin. Refugees have made the camp both a living space and a site of struggle, and have also occupied a nearby school building (that was previously unused), in order to have an inside space during the winter. Both the camp and the occupied school building had been given official “tolerance” by the supposedly pro-refugee Green Party government of the district, in the face of large-scale support. After a disused building in Wedding was offered as winter housing to the refugees by a charity group, the Greens took the opportunity to claim that both the camp and the school should be evicted. The eviction threat comes despite the fact that the building offered only has space for 80 people from the camp, not everyone, and that the residents of the camp made it clear that they have no desire to leave the central and visible location in Oranienplatz to be put away in a house located on the northern edges of the city. However the State is using the rhetoric of democracy and charity to make it seem as if they are helping the protesting refugees, even as they call the police to evict them.

On the night of the eviction attempt the camp at Oranienplatz released the following statement:

“Today 24/11 in the early evening the refugee camp was almost evacuated by the police. The district mayor – Monika Herrmann of the Greens – has ended the official tolerance of the protest camp and has asked the police for help with the eviction. Through a massive mobilization and a large crowd in solidarity at Oranienplatz, an eviction was able to be prevented for the moment. The district government and the police say that the eviction will take place neither tonight, nor tomorrow 25/11 in the early morning. But we cannot rely on that! It is clear that the camp is not protected anymore by the district and that the mayor is ready to destroy it. It is also clear that the camp is a disturbance to the government of Berlin. Even if the district government will not evict it, the mayor of Berlin might do it instead. Mrs. Herrmann was at the camp this afternoon and talked to refugees and supporters. She received the following information: The house that has been offered to some people of the camp as a replacement is only large enough for 80 people. At least 30 refugees returned to the camp because there was no room for them in that shelter. Additionally, some refugees have made clear since the beginning of the negotiations for a ‘replacement object’ that a replacement is not an option for them. Rather, they want to stay and protest at Oranienplatz until their demands (abolish restricted residency requirements, shut down isolation camps, and stop all deportations) are met. Even though the mayor already knew that a larger number of people want to, or have to, continue living at Oranienplatz, she called for a police action. The Green Party, which claims to act for the rights of refugees, has trampled on them in this case. Since the beginning of the negotiations, we have viewed the limited access to a replacement house as an attempt to separate us. Those who are responsible have been informed that it is not an option for some people to leave Oranienplatz. Mrs. Herrmann reacted with the accusation that the struggle of refugees in Berlin has been taken over by left-wing radicals and is being instrumentalized by them. Therefore she has denied the refugees the ability to act politically and in a self-determined manner, even though they have directed their criticism and their demands directly to her. She has also launched a media campaign to de-legitimize the protest. It is an often used procedure: divide and conquer – integrate those who are satisfiable with an emergency shelter for the winter, and deny and suppress those who attempt to change the system; those who fight for equal rights for everyone; those who have demonstrated for more than one year at Oranienplatz. (…) Mrs. Herrmann and all politicians should understand that it is the strength of the protest that refugees and supporters can come together. The protest camp breaks isolation. The demands for open borders and the right to asylum are not those of a small minority. They are unevictable, solidary, and international! (…) Viva la revolución! Viva el Orienplatz! Freedom of Movement for Everybody!”

When the word of the eviction spread, hundreds of supporters spontaneously mobilized to defend the camp and began arriving at Oranienplatz. The police backed down from the eviction, but those who had showed up to defend the camp launched a spontaneous demonstration through Kreuzberg. Between 500 and 600 people marched through the area and broke through police lines several times when the police attempted to stop the demonstration. As during the last several spontaneous demonstrations in Berlin, barricades were constructed as the demo passed through the neighbourhood. Eventually the cops, overwhelmed and facing kicks and punches from the crowd, used pepper spray heavily and at least 5 comrades were arrested and many injured. That night the nearby office of the Green Party was attacked with paint.

The same day, a solidarity demonstration took place in Frankfurt am Main with 80 participants, and in Leipzig a solidarity demo of more than 150 people took place.

November 25th

Another, more pacified, demonstration of several hundred people took place in Berlin after the refugees gave a press conference declaring their intent to stay at Oranienplatz until their demands have been met: closing all isolation camps, stopping all deportations, the right to work in Germoney, and the abolition of restrictive residency laws. (Related announcement, from 29/11, here.)

Further solidarity actions took place in Frankfurt, where a demonstration of 100 marched to the local offices of the Green Party and the SPD (Social Democratic Party).

November 30th

Over 250 people participated in an antiracist demonstration in Bochum. The march went through the inner city, where lots of people who were shopping on the Christmas market received flyers and listened to the speeches. In one speech, a refugee from Africa talked about the current situation in the camp in Heiligenhaus where she has to live. She thanked everybody for their support and invited people to come to the camp, take a look at her situation and to talk about how to organize the struggle in the future.

Red banner reads: “Borderless solidarity instead of narrowed nationalism”; white banner reads: “Our welfare is based on exploitation – Economic refugees welcome” (in response to a racist ‘argument’ claiming that most of the migrants are only seeking state welfare benefits, and naming them ‘economic refugees’). More pictures here.

The weekly demonstration of the group “Lampedusa in Hamburg” became an Advent Demo on Saturdays (before the holiday season, refugees and people in solidarity took to the streets every Wednesday in the city). Continue reading Germany: Updates from the streets of Berlin, Hamburg and a few other places

Athens: Responsibility claim for attack at Sioufas & Associates Law Firm (legal debt collection agency)

We are at a juncture where the State and the bosses have launched an outright attack on the poor and oppressed. Impoverishing our lives and condemning us to destitution, Power aims to control every aspect of our everyday life. We are experiencing in our own skin the breakdown of public healthcare and education, layoffs and wage cuts, tax-robbery raids and militarization of repression. In addition to this slippery slope, the presumed “sacred” capitalist right of home ownership has also been brought into question. But when capitalists speak of property, they refer to the ownership of the means of production, which according to them should be in the hands of a few. This is what they mean when they baptize one’s residence as an investment.

A significant cog in this concentration process of the “residential investment” in the hands of a few is every debt collection agency —and we don’t give a damn if they’re legal or illegal. These companies are extorting and terrorizing people, and they issue orders for payment forcing debtors to mortgage their homes. What follows are the auctions. The largest firm of this kind (in Greece) belongs to the family of Dimitris Sioufas, ex minister and former Greek Parliament speaker. Besides, how could the country’s political personnel be absent from this lucrative, parasitic business?

On Tuesday afternoon, December 10, 2013, we chose to attack the headquarters of the aforementioned firm, which is located on 7, Eikostis Pemptis Martiou street in the district of Tavros (Athens). Apart from its obvious political symbolism, our attack is also a praxis of dignity, of social and class solidarity; an act of resistance by, and for, all of us who experience everyday violence of the bosses; an action which is part of our total struggle against the State and the Capital.

We do not forget the thousands of our fellow human beings who bent under the weight of the statist and capitalist barbarity, and were driven to suicide. We do not forgive any of those who have contributed to this outcome.

We raise our fists in comradeship with those who continue to fight for Social Revolution inside and outside the prison cells of “democracy”.

Anarchist men – Anarchist women

PS1: It was a political choice to not come into conflict with the firm’s employees. We understand the coercive condition that may have driven them to this type of work, but we cannot be blind to the fact that they have assumed a specific role in the onslaught launched against our class. What they deserve is social scorn and isolation.

PS2: For us, houses belong to those who live there, covering their basic needs without any sense of ownership. To make ourselves clear, we are only interested to see the homes of small proprietors saved.

Hamburg, Germany: Demo on the 21st of December in solidarity with the Rote Flora squat, the Esso houses initiative, and for refugees’ right to stay

This demonstration was called as a sign that the autonomous spectrum will never accept an eviction of the 24-year-long Rote Flora squat. However, the mobilization has had two other main reasons, too.

Gentrification in Hamburg, and other cities, is moving rapidly every day. In Hamburg’s district St. Pauli, the Senate wants to demolish the two Esso houses (named after the gas station on the main floor), home of over 100 people. Resistance within an initiative against the demolition of Esso houses has been diverse and strong.

The refugee struggle in Hamburg has been going on for many weeks (notes on the struggle here). Over 300 self-organized refugees keep fighting against the racial profiling and deportation threat. Numerous solidarity actions and demonstrations with thousands of participants, in solidarity with the Lampedusa refugee group, have taken place in Hamburg and beyond.

Now these struggles are coming together on the street for a large demonstration on the 21st of December 2013, to show that resistance against the Hamburg Senate politics can only intensify…

Shut down Fortress Europe! Right to stay for everyone!
No Border – No Nation!

Flyer in German here; call & flyer in English here: i, ii

If you’re planning to join the protest in Hamburg, and you need more info, please contact the Rote Flora squat at: flora-bleibt (at) nadir.org. If you’ll also need a place to sleep, please send an email to: schlafplatz2112 (at) riseup.net.

Netherlands: Thunderdemo for Ubica prisoners in Utrecht

more sun, less police

Saturday the 22nd of June 2013 there was a wild, unannounced demonstration in Utrecht in solidarity with the evicted Ubica houses and the people who are still in prison.

With a short dynamic walk through the city centre, with lots of noise and leaflets, a clear stance was taken against police repression and for keeping autonomous free spaces.

The demo ended in front of the boarded up Ubica, and after a couple of loud bangs the people disappeared as quickly as they came.

The passion for freedom is stronger than any prison! Law or no law, squatting continues!

The text of the leaflet:

IT’S ABOUT THE SPINE

On the night of Friday the 24th of May 2013, while the terraces on the Ganzemarkt were full of people, the final part of 21 years of squatting history of the notorious Ubica squats in the centre of Utrecht started, with an outburst from the squatters.

The confrontation with the police started with burning barricades, paint bombs and skyrockets. After a lingering process of several months of negotiations and court cases, the judge eventually decided the squatters should leave the house, to stop the obstruction of the desired developments in the building. It is a doubtful verdict, since the current owner, the infamous slumlord Vloet, stated he does not want to sell the buildings.

The choice for resistance is not a light choice. It’s not a ghost from the past, but it’s the reality of today that brings this necessity up. Squatting, grabbed from the box of tactics of social struggle, is a weapon in the defense of lives that are more and more under pressure.

No steady work contracts, almost impossible to get an affordable house, more expensive studies and the breaking down of the social health system became normality. The reaction of the State is solely the one of hardening and repression.

Squatting is one of the last means with which we can defend our lives; an emergency measure to provide in our own living space, to build social structures and give space to anyone who wants to take shelter in the storm.

The Ubica, for now, was the last big autonomous free space in the centre. Even though the prisoners will be released, new houses will be squatted and the struggle will continue… it is good to reflect on this. To imagine how one and another want to shape their worlds and what will for them be the point that they will stand on the barricades, put them on fire and say: “this far and no further!”

Because in the end:
a city without smoke plumes is no city!

in Dutch

Netherlands: A report on the eviction of Ubica squat

Utrecht, Holland: 24 May 2013, night time…

Suddenly they came storming out. They were ten or fifteen. Black clothes, hooded. They had a fire extinguisher, a ladder, paint and some tires with them. And gasoline. The great final act of the sad drama of the Fall of Ubica had started.

The tensions were high up to eleven o’clock. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It seemed such an ordinary Friday night for beer drinkers on the square, Ganzenmarkt. Another week working, another night consuming. Nothing to worry about; tomorrow is another day like any other. But three visitors knew better. They heard that the squatters would not just give up their home after 21 years. “Not without a fight”, was announced on Indymedia. But, of course, no time was indicated, so it was nail biting and waiting. One thing was certain: the city hall will soon not look the same.

If you just had gone inside to order a beer, you would have missed the spectacle. As soon as they emerged, the “ninja-like types”, as they were later described in the media, disappeared again. Suddenly the city hall was blue and the square was on fire.

It was clearly a well-coordinated action. The group knew exactly what they were doing. A person trashed the city hall with blue paint and then gave a window a good smack with the fire extinguisher. Meanwhile, someone else repainted a security camera. And right in front of Ubica, a barricade of tires was set on fire. Among the jet-black smoke from the tires, which filled the whole square, the people dressed in black disappeared. On the roof of Ubica, people with hoods also appeared. Out the window a banner was unfurled: “Vloet may ruin Ubica again?” (Vloet is the owner of the house and a notorious Utrecht speculator.) And from the roof: “BRING IT ON THEN!”

The audience stood apathetic, looking on at first. But when the tires began to crackle, they woke up. Meanwhile the people on the roof shot off some fireworks. A free show on the weekend! They had not expected this. They filled the show itself with a cascade of prejudices: Hippies! Profiteers! They’re on welfare! They do nothing all week!  Unfortunately, they were unaware that they were present at a historical moment. Violent resistance against Capital — who would have even dreamed of this in 2013, in the Netherlands?

The police did not arrive for quite a long time. The first two cops arrived in a panic. They started to block one entrance to the square three times. They forgot — or they did not dare to come to the other side. Those occupying the roof had enough paint bombs ready to fill the whole square.

By megaphone, police ordered the disaster tourists to leave the square. This was not obeyed. Only when the square was hit with paint from Ubica, did it empty in no time. A heavy rocket was fired at the square, aimed at the police car parked in front of the city hall.

Suddenly, then the popo were everywhere. Undercover cops, horses, riot police, ordinary uniformed police and even the city guard and a helicopter were deployed. From that moment no one could leave or enter the square. People who lived right next to Ubica were unlucky. They had to wait for the eviction to be completed to get home. The evacuation lasted sixteen hours.

The initial shock on the cafe terraces was gone. Little was happening outside. The fire on the square spread to a nearby trash container. The people on the roof had the square well colored and threw down occasional heavy fireworks. The police waited, the residents were inside their house, barricaded in every possible way and chained to the house.

The riot cops found an entrance on the side and climbed a window with a ladder. It was not clear what exactly they did there. But it could be heard. The few who returned, were almost unrecognizable as riot cops: completely covered in paint.

It was only at 15.00 the next day (25/5) that the last squatter was removed from the house. It must have been a tiring night, but the plan was successful. To not wait in apathy to be dragged out of your house, to not wait for the announced eviction, but instead to go on frontal attack and make it as difficult as possible for the cops to carry through the eviction.

It is sad that, after 21 years, Ubica is back into the hands of Vloet. But if that was inevitable, then at least it happened after heavy resistance. And despite everything, they have succeeded. The squatters have taken matters into their own hands and displayed dignified resistance to the corrupt housing polices.

Squatting continues!

source

Barcelona: Testimony of Ester Quintana, protester who lost an eye to police brutality on November 14th, 2012


November 29th —press cc button to enable English subtitles

Ester Quintana, 42 years old, lost an eye to the impact of a projectile fired by the Mossos d’Esquadra (the Catalan anti-riot police) during the 14N general strike in the city of Barcelona. Her version frontally contradicts the statements of the Catalan minister for Home Affairs, Felip Puig.

Your contribution is very important to Ester: If you were in the area of Passeig de Gràcia between the Gran Via and Plaça Catalunya (calle Casp) on November 14th from around 20.30 to 21.00pm (local time), or you saw anything relevant to the case from a window or balcony of a flat, you are kindly asked to contact Ester’s relatives and friends immediately at: animsester@gmail.com

Yekaterinburg, Russia: Solidarity action with Delta squat, comrade Gustavo Quiroga and all other anarchists in Greece

Freedom for comrade Gustavo Quiroga González

On November 18th, comrades in Yekaterinburg carried out an action for the Food Not Bombs campaign that they dedicated to anarchists from Delta squat, in Thessaloniki, as a token of international solidarity.

Here follows a raw translation of brief excerpts from their communiqué:

“When people commit suicide due to poverty in Greece, when homeless people die every winter, empty buildings in the centre of the second largest city of the country look like a farce. In a country devastated by the crisis, there will be no money to invest to the evicted building, so it will stand empty and decaying, guarded by police units who protect the premises from evil anarchists. At such times, it becomes clear that the junta never disappeared. The facade of Greek democracy collapsed, and we see a totalitarian dictatorship in it. (…)

We wish our mates in Greece, in the face of all existing difficulties, never to give up but rather to continue the fight against the Greek State, which is the only terrorist. We hope we’ll meet again, when the red-black flag will fly over a free Greece and Russia.”

FUCK THE POLICE

In the early days of November 2012, anarchist immigrant Gustavo Quiroga (detained since the eviction of Delta squat, on 12/9) was moved to the Attica Aliens Division (deportation centre in Athens). On November 4th, he was deported to Colombia.

At least now the comrade is out of prison, and despite all that happened, he is doing relatively well. We send him all our strength and unconditional support… until we meet again.

Athens: Eviction of the housing squat on Spyridonos Trikoupi street in Exarchia

On October 30th, at around 10am, anti-riot squadrons stormed the streets surrounding Exarchia square and violently evicted the housing squat on Spyridonos Trikoupi street. According to the initial information, approximately ten people were taken to the Exarchia police station, while the ‘legal’ owners of the building have not (yet) filed a lawsuit against the detained squatters.

Update, 18.00 (GMT+2): The ‘landlords’ filed a lawsuit against the squatters. All detainees will be held at the police station until tomorrow, 31/10, when they are expected to appear before prosecutor.
_

Meanwhile, since this morning, Athens IMC was temporarily offline due to power failure (not due to repression). At 16.30 (GMT+2) Athens IMC went online again.

Bogotá, Colombia: Solidarity action with displaced squatters

No more urban speculation – No more ruined and empty houses

On Friday, October 5th, 2012, in a day of solidarity with displaced squatters in Bogotá, approximately 25 people gathered from 12.00 to 2.30pm in front of a squatted residential building at the corner of 47th street and 7th avenue, in order to publicly denounce the appalling housing situation in Colombia and to factually support more than twenty people already displaced from their homes in other locations.

On the same day, prisoners who are organized in the Anarchist Black Cross–From Within (CNA–Desde Adentro, from a prison in Bogotá) declared their solidarity with the squatters on 47th street.

On Sunday, September 30th a group of five families occupied the aforementioned building, which was abandoned for a decade, and are now threatened with eviction. Among them are six children and a woman over 80 years old.

Despite the presence of national police forces, who guarded the premises 24 hours a day, preventing free entry and exit to its truly legitimate new residents, and despite pressure from the ‘legal’ speculative owner, who had recently sealed off the doors, the activity took place in an atmosphere of joy and fraternity, bringing together the families of squatters with students, youths, teachers, workers and others.

The intervention was called by the anarchist group Bifurcación (formerly known as Anarchist Black Cross) and the libertarian group Vía Libre, and was also supported by the Alternative Educative Collective, the journal Desde Abajo (‘From Below’) and the Anarchist Student Group.

Protesters chanted slogans such as ‘One eviction, another squat’, distributed hundreds of fliers and waved placards against property speculation, in favor of the struggle for a decent roof, and in defense of squatting, arousing the sympathy of bystanders and drivers who showed their spontaneous support to this struggle.

Supporters managed to collect several kilos of food products, blankets, diapers and other useful items for the residents of the building. Participants renewed the call for solidarity with the squatters, taking an initiative for upcoming actions.

sources/more photos: i, ii, iii, iv

From London to Bogotá, Squat the World!

Athens: Responsibility claim for arson on the headquarters of Trastor real estate investment company

FAI/IRF AGAINST EVERY NATION

We are witnessing the most extreme contradictions that are born and die in this shit-world. While the calculators of sorcerer’s apprentices of economic statistics are counting 23,000 dead in Syria, billions of people are watching besotted the London Olympic Games; the distance between the Olympic and the ‘practical’ shooting in the field of operations is just a simple push of the button on a remote control. If only it could happen… all these rivers of blood to become an impetuous torrent which will drown athletes and spectators. If only it could happen… We can refer all the same to the thousands of homeless people ‘messing up’ the image of the dire city, while the rich enjoy their luxurious comforts in the gardens of Ekali and Kifissia (two of the richest suburbs of Athens).

Societies that, despite their contradictions, manage to reproduce the stench they’re emitting, partitioning everyone and everything, manufacturing hundreds of microcosms.

Power is not a compact structure but a diffused edifice, located on the systemic structures—economic, institutional, etc.—and human relations. Starting from society’s chopping into antagonistic-with-each-other subsets, the constant fragmentation continues in the individual’s daily life within the capitalist world; in every aspect of the individual’s life, in every field of expression.

At this point the system completes its ‘omnipotence’, at the point where it raises the walls of isolation even in the most trivial of everyday processes. At the point where the paravans of resignation and indifference fall, hence rises the sepsis of the sleaziest kind of selfishness, of the most petty ego, an exalted sense of passive midenism.

For my part, my part, my part. For me, me, me.

The practical recording of the above assessment can be found either in the material possession of illusions in the era of capitalist prosperity—home, car, rapid rise of ‘small property’— or in the emigration for work abroad amidst conditions of economic crisis. It’s the same ideologue of modern lifestyle with modified variables. From illusions of the ownership’s onslaught, to stampede.

“When, at the end of their lives, most people look back they’ll find that they have lived their lifelong ad interim. They’ll be surprised to realize that the very thing they allowed to slip by unappreciated and unenjoyed was just their life. And so a man, having been duped by hope, dances into the arms of death.” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

A result of the intensity observed in the social machine is the fascists’ growing momentum; a fact that in no way goes unnoticed. We’re talking about a general shift of society and the State towards racist/ fascist/ nationalist guidelines. This can either be about the bodies of HIV-positive women that got humiliated through the collaboration of the cops with the KEELPNO (‘Hellenic Centre for Disease Control & Prevention’) and the mass media, or about the ongoing pogroms against migrants and the dozens of murderous attacks against them. ‘Legitimate’ and ‘illegal’ operations become one, under the ironically allegorical name Xenios Zeus. The democratic operation’s culmination was the assassination of an Iraqi migrant (on Anaxagora Street, in Omonia) by rippers identical to the goldendawners.

So, the conclusion is that the state mechanism’s moves against migrants reflect a SOCIAL DEMAND; the racist hatred of every shit-souled macho Hellene is added to the demand for security. The knife of the insulted pseudo-egoism of the Greek-souled wanker is to be found next to the police buses and paddy wagons and the concentration camps for migrants, and the ribs of some random migrant will be stabbed at the first opportunity with that knife, applying the logic of collective responsibility.

Under no circumstances do we highlight these incidents from a victimized perspective, nor will we ever proclaim ourselves self-appointed patrons of nobody; far off from a rhetoric that sanctifies all migrants and turns them into a unified whole, we believe in humans, stances and choices, and based on these we assess others and let ourselves be assessed.

We are at war with the system, and fascists are nothing but one part of it, always apparent in specific historical periods with very specific targeting and distinct roles. That is why the attack on fascists should not be perceived as a strike against the ‘undemocratic’ aberration—using expressions such as gang or making appeals to declare Chrissi Avgi/Golden Dawn illegal—but an attack against democracy in its whole entity and, obviously, against the leftist bullshit-talkers of all kinds and tendencies, too, who consent like foolish virgins and then meet with the Palestinians’ butcher Peres.

Thus, our projectuality could not be other than the all-out conflict with the fascists as much as with every front of the authoritarian complex. With our own knives embroidering their bodies, our firearms targeting their heads, our gas canisters and explosives placed in their offices and homes.

Traveling mentally to the prison brothels where our brothers and sisters are held captives: During the last period, a very important struggle has been launched by anarchist hostages inside Greek prisons; a struggle which is geared towards the refusal of body cavity search —i.e. the attempt to offend an inmate’s dignity. Anarchist prisoners who refuse to undergo this offensive process are dragged to the physical and mental torture of isolation that reached its highest point with the scuffle in Domokos prisons between the humanguards and the comrades and R.O. CCF members Panagiotis Argirou and Gerasimos ‘Makis’ Tsakalos, and more recently with the case of anarchist Rami Syrianos—who managed to exit solitary confinement after a victory in his hunger strike—as well as the case of anarchist and R.O. CCF member Olga Ekonomidou. Both of them paid the price for their choice to break with this ‘penitentiary’ measure by staying tens of days in isolation. Last was the case of anarchist comrade Sokratis Tzifkas: After his return from a hospital (in Thessaloniki), where he had been admitted for health reasons, he denied the prison strip search and was tortured by the pigs in Diavata prisons that kept him in isolation for 10 days in appalling conditions. It’s important to mention that our comrade Olga Ekonomidou was also tortured with solitary confinement for 54 days in the same prisons.

As a minimum token of solidarity with anarchist Sokratis Tzifkas, as well as all anarchist prison hostages who have recently been tortured in solitary confinement, in the evening of Monday, August 13th, we placed an incendiary device against Trastor REIC—formerly Piraeus REIC, a subsidiary of Piraeus Bank—on the 5th floor of the building on 1 Davaki Street and 116 Kifissias Avenue (in Athens), a real estate investment company that also participates in further economic bargains such as purchases, investments, etc.; in sum, a company that consists a target just like any other.

Solidarity with revolutionary hostages at prisons
Strength to wanted comrades across the world

A raised fist for Luciano ‘Tortuga’; your latest letter touched our heart.

With rage, we go about the new battles that are yet to come against the enemy and the weak aspects of ourselves.

War against civilization!
Long live Anarchy!

Informal Anarchist Federation
International Revolutionary Front
Unit: ‘Fire to sweatshops’

PS. And perhaps one of the few pleasant events this summer was the sight of the dead idiot (civilian who attempted to stop bank robbers on their escape and died instantly after being shot) on Paros Island. His stupidity reached such levels that he sacrificed his own life for a few grand which had just got robbed from a BANK! This is the future that awaits snitches-citizens who wear the cop’s uniform in a hurry and pretend to be heroes.

source

Rio de Janeiro: Genocide and Spectacle (pdf)

Genocide and Spectacle

An anarchist reflection on the current context in Rio de Janeiro, the operation Shock of Order, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil

Brazil: Amid the Carnival, the military police raided the students’ autonomous space in the University of São Paulo (USP)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tESNNolMudk

In the morning of Monday, February 6th, a warning regarding police presence close to the main gate of the university campus mobilized the students’ movement and other supporters. It was the deadline for the repossession of the students’ autonomous space, known as Moradia Retomada (‘Retaken House’), located on the ground floor of the G block of the residential premises of the USP (CRUSP).

After series of human rights’ violations during the repossession of the occupied rectorate, late last year, the persecution of the USP workers’ union, mass layoffs and attacks on the ‘Black Awareness Cell’, the rector keeps managing the university as if it were a business. This time, he decided to ‘sweep’ the university campus a few days before the first-year students’ registration, which took place from 8th to 9th of February.

In the early hours of February 19th, during the Carnival holiday, the military police of São Paulo seized the opportunity to attack the students’ autonomous space of the USP. The cops used rubber bullets, and no student from the next buildings could get close to at least film the repressive operation. Twelve students were arrested. They are held in the 14st military police department, located at 369, Deputado Lacerda Franco Street, accused for civil disobedience and damage to public property. All 12 haven’t yet been released, because they are forced to a monetary bail. A group of students that support the detainees called everyone in São Paulo to gather outside this police station, to support the students’ movement and help decide on the next steps of struggle in the USP.

It must be noted that, often in Brazil, young people get kicked out by police from dorms in university residential buildings. In São Paulo, the students claim residence through a housing policy, as well as the end of surveillance of political and personal activities of people living in the CRUSP.

The self-managed space Moradia Retomada has existed since March 17th, 2010. The specific building was formerly under the administration of the Coordination of Social Assistance (COSEAS). The students’ autonomous space has been both legitimate and, in almost two years, proven that it provided more assistance to the first-year students than the bureaucratic system destined for this service would ever give. Counting on internal organization, the members of Moradia Retomada were planning and holding activities for the reception of new students. This self-organized space must be preserved as an important base of the ongoing students’ struggle.

Source: CMI Brasil

Brazil: The ‘Land of the Drizzle’ mourns victims

Are you a random tourist, a businessperson or a sports fan? Have your local travel agencies ever mentioned that Brazil has it all? And has anyone suggested that you ought to check out Brazilian attractions? Should you pick eco tours in the Amazon rainforest of missing tribes, or street parades in the annual Carnival of sexual consumption? How about visiting its largest city São Paulo or ‘Terra da Garoa’, one of the host cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, or Rio de Janeiro, the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics —could there be more? But did they also warn you that favelas, ‘shanty-towns’, exist in all major cities and are ‘dominated by poverty and violent crime’? Whose violence and crime, after all? The following news, that outlines the generalized eviction tactics in the Brazilian territory, urges you to rethink now your direct or indirect participation in any murderous enterprise of one more State that serves as crutch of the global Capital. It’s not going to be a ‘joke’ anymore.
On December 22nd, 2011, in São Paulo an entire shanty-town was burned down under ‘mysterious’ circumstances. At least two people were killed from the massive fire in the Favela do Moinho neighbourhood, which is located in the district of Barra Funda. Those who suffered the tragedy know it was in fact a forced removal.

The community known as the Favela do Moinho was established by 576 families in 2006. It is estimated that more than one thousand families joined this community after expulsions, evictions, arsons that occurred as ‘accidents’ or for sanitation reasons in various areas of São Paulo. The residents were engaged in a self-organized recycling project, but also built bonds with cultural projects aimed at expanding opportunities for their youth.

On December 27th, 2011, the Favela do Moinho released an open letter (the original here) to tell a story that the particular residents and so many people living in the suburbs know all too well. For years, poor people of Moinho resist eviction and intimidations. Of course, arsons makes the lives of families even more difficult, while the fire and subsequent damages serve as an excuse to displace them and prevent the reoccupation of the area, as is customary in these situations —for example, in the case of Jaguaré, where an estimated 1,000 people were left homeless after an incendiary attack on the favela Diogo Pires in November 2011, or in Morumbi, where about 1,300 people were dumped on the street after an arson against the Favela do Real Parque in September 2010.

In this case the details are still unverified, but in several similar incidents arsons occurred during the exact same period in which large companies were contracted to carry out construction works in the same areas —works that require the expulsion of residents. In addition, several of these arsons are blatantly criminal, due to great delays in the arrival of firefighters, and there is no investigation whatsoever into the real causes. Therefore, arson is a very efficient way to destroy poor communities, which are true ‘bumps along the way’ of real estate Capital and its minions who populate the state bureaucracy. Continue reading Brazil: The ‘Land of the Drizzle’ mourns victims