Monday, 7 November 2011

Out of the squats and onto the streets; some thoughts on the events of Monday night

Around 400 or so squatters turned out in London on Monday night to oppose the governments proposals to criminalise squatting. More than half were on bikes and met for critical mass at waterloo, but almost 200 also made it on foot to meet at High Street Kensington.

We all had about four days to pull something together and get out there, and the fact that so many people did, well it says a lot. we all give a shit.

SQUASH called the action, and although not all squatters have necessarily been involved with engaging with the government on its own terms, a lot of squatters still recognise the validity of what the squash people have been doing as one particular tactic(their piece on SHIFT chats about this more). So squash called it but of course it took all of us coming out in one big mass of pissed-off-ness to make it into something.

Anyway. Monday. There was a bit of a fuck up. The house that we discovered we were to be sleeping outside of, that is Crispin Blunt's (the under secretary of state for justice, and the megatron scuzbag who's brought in the stupid amendment) was haktuly no longer his - it belonged to his wife who'd left him and was no doubt quite a lot less of a scuzbag. We weren't up for staying there so we went to Parsons Green and joined up with critical mass. There were still 300 or something of us and we all managed to decide to go to Westminster, where we had a sort of picnic and then the police started throwing their toys out the pram and willy nilly arresting people.

The question i want to raise, that we all should be thinkin about way more laterally then we've managed to so far, is one of organisation. Different ways of organising clashed on Monday and some squatters were left feeling disempowered and frustrated at being led way out to the arse end of fulham for pumpkin soup and jazz hands on Parsons Green. It would be easy for this to become another point at which we divide, for us all to go home and say fuck it, our differences are irreconcilable, each one thinking the other is a moron. THIS CAN NOT HAPPEN (those in power are way more moronic). We will literally not survive if we fall apart like that, and if this means we need to now find new ways of organising, that more fits how we live and communicate as squatters, that is fucking great. 

Announcing the exact location for actions in advance is obviously problematic if you want to avoid them being pigged out, but neither is it ideal if this has to come at the price of people's ability to choose what they want to do and how they want to participate. But this is not some enormous unbridgeable gulf, we need  and have to get around it. No doubt as squatters we are more than capable of finding a bunch of solutions that we can work with. Lets not just sit and slag each other off over ash trays in our own squats, we can move things forward. A lot of the time we don't even bother telling each other what we don't like about our different approaches, but we need to be having those conversations, we need to make the effort to get out and meet each other, have some arguments and get the ball rolling... 

nuff love, nuff respect  
there is a comment section, roll with it

From Seth Toboccman's 'War in The Neighbourhood', that focusses around Tompkins Square in 1980s Lower East Side New York, and the various squatter and homelessness movements it was home to:

when i was lookin for pictures of thomkins square, a bunch of stupid dog pictures came up cos apparantly now it is home to the annual halloween doggy parade or something. so err u go.  for the lulz (but scuze me while i sick myself a bit)

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