Monthly Archives: August 2012

BETTER TO SQUAT THAN LET HOMES ROT!

Wow. We just discovered these awesome free stencils from the Anarchist Media Project. Let’s get them to every squat in the UK. Please share/repost/retweet or get some printed, get on your bike and cycle them out around town!

We wouldn’t ever encourage criminality but hey! Seeing as you’re likely to become criminalised on Saturday why not get out there and graffiti them round your local area!! (We’re joking, of course…)


Below are our favourite stencils, the rest can be found here:


http://anarchistmedia.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/better-to-squat-than-let-homes-rot-free-street-art-stencils/


Big up to the Anarchist Media Project!!

DIFFICULT TIMES ON THE HORIZON…

We attended an emergency meeting last Monday to discuss ways of dealing with the new leglislation. Organised by the Advisory Service for Squatters, a large number of squatters came together to work out exactly what is meant by the new law and in what ways the squatting community can come together to support eachother. The following important points were raised:


1. The new law does not affect you if you have some sort of licence to be in the property or if you were tenants/subtenants. This means that if the owner of the property has said that it’s o’k for you to stay in it then you are doing nothing wrong. If you don’t have anything in writing, write down the time/date of when you had contact with the owner and summarise the conversation that was had. If the police do show up, you can show them that you and your housemates have a licence and thus are not breaking the law.

2. If you are in a building that is both residential and commercial (ex a shop/pub) it is important that you do not live in the residential part of the building. We guess it would be o.k for you to use the residential area for other purposes, such as storage etc. However, make sure the sleeping and kitchen areas are in the commerical part of the premises so you can protect yourself from breaking the law.

3. The squatting community is gonig to come under an enormous amount of pressure as the effects of this new legislation kick in. Now is the time to network, join together and show solidarity with eachother so we can minimise the distress caused as much as possible. If you are in a commercial building there are many ways you can support fellow squatters.For example, offering storage space for the important possessions of those suddenly kicked out on the street could be helpful.

A few weeks after this legislation comes into force there will be a squattastic event. This will allow us to come together again as a community and see how the law is being used & share coping strategies & support. Watch this space for more details.

Solidarity to all, together we’ll get through this. Remember…

WHATEVER THEY SAY, SQUATTING WILL STAY!

LAW CHANGE UPDATE

We have recently been informed that as of the 1st September 2012 squatting in residential properties will become a criminal offence. Here’s a statement from an ASS member:

‘The new law will be coming into force on the 1st September (sorry for any confusion) and we need to be prepared. You will not be committing an offence if you are squatting in non-residential property, if you have a licence or tenancy, if you are not living in the property or intending to live there (just visiting).
Make sure you are prepared to explain why the new law does not cover your circumstances.’


We want to emphasise that we need to organise and be prepared for this law change. Our advice to those squatting in residential properties is as follows:

1.  If you are ‘just visiting’ people who are squatting in residential properties then this law does not apply to you. The police will need to prove that you were living or intending to live in the property in order for you to be arrested. It should be o.k for you to gather your friends possessions in case of eviction, just explain to the police that you are doing so. 


2. Have a back up plan and be ready. Make sure your possessions are packed and ready to be moved. Start looking now for a place to move to. Join up with other crews and support each other. This will be vital for the survival of the squatting community.


Please do get in contact if you need any further support/advice. Call us on 07591 415860. We are usually contactable 24/7 although if your call is not urgent then  call during the daytime. If no credit text/miss call us and we’ll get back to you asap. 


Solidarity to all. 



WHATEVER THEY SAY, SQUATTING WILL STAY!!

The international squatting symbol

According to Robert Neuwith , author of Shadow cities ,there are more  than  a billion squatters living on this planet.  One in seven people. 


Brazilian squat community

Evidently there is a huge global need for land to grow food on and homes in which to live.  Yet, according to academic Kesia Reeve, “squatting is largely absent from policy and academic debate and is rarely conceptualized, as a problem, as a symptom, or as a social or housing movement.” 




South African Squats

The global response on the part of the 1% has been to make squatting  illegal in most countries. Despite this criminalisation of a huge political movement, (squatting is political), the occupation of empty buildings and land continues.



Squatted Land in London


In the UK, section 144 of the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill 2012 criminalises squatting in a residential buildings. The Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) keep their website current and will let people know when this legislation is enacted. Check it for updates: www.squatter.org.uk



Jamaican squat


Eviction Resistance will be hosting the next London squattastic event.  This will be a great opportunity for London squatters, and guests to come together to brain storm tactics that will ensure squatting continues in England and Wales post criminalisation . It will be on the 2nd of September, from 2pm-6pm. Keep checking this blog for more updates. 





AVON & SOMERSET POLICE: FOUL PLAY

66 Queen Square, site of tonight's illegal eviction by Avon & Somerset police
66 Queens Square Bristol, site of Tuesday’s illegal eviction

Disturbing reports yesterday of yet another unlawful eviction having taken place. In the earlier hours of Tuesday morning, members of the Avon and Somerset police force decided  to evict a group of young squatters on the grounds that they were ‘trespassing’. They stated that squatting had become illegal and that they now had the power to evict the building.

They didn’t. Section 6 of the criminal law act 1977 still applies; entrance by force or by threat of force to a persons residence is still a criminal offence. The inhabitants of the former building society in Bristol had committed no crime, they are were simply occupying an abandoned building and this is still completely lawful. Although the offence of squatting in residential buildings has been passed, it has not yet been enacted. This means the police have no power at all to evict/arrest under this new offence.


Three complaints have been made against the officers who were involved in this incident. We’ll keep you updated on how these complaints progress. The squatters resquatted the property shorty after the police left and to our knowledge they are still there. Respect!


For more info check the indymedia article:


http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2012/08/498995.html


GRANDMOTHER BEATS THE BAILIFFS!



Wow! We love this story. Don’t let bailiffs intimidate you. If this lady can stand up to them so can you! 


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/propertynews/9425340/Grandmother-foils-bailiffs-after-sit-in-at-sons-3m-stately-home.html#

It goes to show the elderly really can be a force to be reckoned with. This story reminds us of an awesome poem by London spoken word performer, Furious George. Anarchist O.A.P’s smashing the state – good stuff! Check it out….

http://mightyjahj.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/o-a-p-s-confessions/

URGENT CALLOUT


In the Royal London intensive care unit there is a squatter who is in critical condition. In the early hours of Saturday morning he jumped from the roof of his squat to escape a raging fire, falling 8 metres. The fire ripped through the disused salvation army building and tragically took the life of one of the inhabitants. In total there were 3 admitted to hospital, a man and woman were discharged on Saturday after receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.


We have been doing all we can to verify the identity of the squatter in intensive care so the nurses can contact his family and friends. Sadly, we have still not been able to do so. We visited intensive care yesterday and can give the following information:


*Possibly called ‘Luca’?

*Tall, slim build, medium length brown dreadlocks, tanned skin. Tattoos on both left and right arms. The one on his left fore arm is the outline of a star. On his right upper arm some sort of machine style tat, quite small. He’s also got large tribal tattoos on both of his upper thighs.
*Our guess would be that he’s Italian/Brazilian/Spanish? 

Please ask around to see if anyone knows who this person is and get in touch asap if you can help. 


To read more, see the link below. 


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19140350


**UPDATE: 07/08 The squatter has now been identified and his family informed. Many thanks to those who showed support   **

HOUSING BENEFIT CUTS = HOMELESSNESS



Hunger strikers
Benefit cuts demonstrators on hunger strike

Yet another story of people being made homeless due to the coalitions housing benefit caps.

http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2012/jul/exclusive-benefits-cut-demonstrators-set-hunger-strike-protest-outside-town-hall

Housing benefit caps were introduced nationally in January 2012. They set a limit for the amount of money people can recieve from the government to help them pay their rent, restricting the maximum payment to between £250 and £400 a week depending on the number of bedrooms. Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Housing for the Guardian newspaper has analysed the impact of caps to the local housing allowance on homes across the UK.It found 720,000 homes will become unaffordable to those on low incomes in England, 60,000 in Scotland, and 30,000 in Wales. London and the south east will be hit hardest, where a quarter of a million homes will become unaffordable.

Those who are struggling to pay their rent will inevitably find themselves and their families served with eviction notices. More and more landlords are refusing to let properties to those recieving benefit while average rents in the private housing sector continue to rise. These factors make finding a new home extremely difficult and thus homelessness is increasingly becoming a reality for many cash strapped families.

The Eviction Resistance Network strongly condemn evictions of those who are struggling to pay rent in times of austerity. We urge communities to network, be open about financial struggles and injustices and, most importantly, get out on the streets and support eachother. See our useful contacts page to find more information about local support groups.