Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Autonomous Spaces

Extracts from a call for transnational days of action for squats and autonomous spaces:

'On Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of April 2008, we call for two days of demonstration, direct action, public information, street-party, squatting... in defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular culture.

Through these two days, we want to help create more visibility of autonomous spaces and squats as a european/global political movement. We want to develop interconnections and solidarity between squats and autonomous spaces. We want to keep linking our spaces with new people and new struggles, and support the creation of autonomous spaces in places where there has not been a history of this kind of action. We want to build, step by step, our ability to overcome the wave of repression falling on us....

For centuries, people have used squats and autonomous spaces, either urban or rural, to take control of their own lives. They are a tool, a tactic, a practice, and a way for people to live out their struggles. For decades, squat movements across Europe and beyond have fought capitalist development, contributing to local struggles against destruction; providing alternatives to profit-making and consumer culture; running social centres and participatory activities outside of the mainstream economy. Demonstrating the possibilities for self-organising without hierarchy; creating international networks of exchange and solidarity. These networks have changed many lives, breaking out of social control and providing free spaces where people can live outside the norm...


All over Europe, repressive agendas are being pushed by governments. They are attacking long-standing autonomous spaces such as the Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen, Koepi and Rigaer Stra├če in Berlin, EKH in Vienna and Les Tanneries in Dijon, squatted social centres in London and Amsterdam, Ifanet in Thessaloniki, etc. In France, squats have become a priority target for the police after the anti-CPE movement and the wave of actions and riots that happened during the presidential elections period. In Germany, many autonomous spaces have been searched and attacked before the G8 summit. In Geneva and Barcelona, two old and big squatting "fortresses", the authorities have decided to try to put an end to the movement. Whereas it is still possible to occupy empty buildings in some countries, it has already become a crime in some others. In the countryside, access to land is becoming harder and communes face increasing problems from legislation on hygiene, security and gentrification by the bourgeoisie and tourists. All over Europe, independent cultures are being threatened.

Several months ago we saw running battles in the streets of Copenhagen and actions everywhere in Europe in an explosion of anger at the eviction of the Ungdomshuset social centre. Since then, and with a few other big resistance stories that happened over the last months, we've managed to renew the meaning of international solidarity...

We're calling for an international preparation & coordination meeting on November 24th & 25th 2007, in the autonomous space "Les Tanneries", located in Dijon, France. It is a squatted social centre in a post-industrial environment, occupied since 1998. Thanks to years of struggle against the city council owning the buildings, the project has reached a certain degree of stability. It hosts a collective house, a gig room, a hacklab, a free shop, an infoshop, a collective garden, a library... We hope that many of you will be able to join.

Full call here, contact april2008 at squat dot net for further information.

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