Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Squatting victories are always temporary. It is a lesson which is learnt not without pain. Squatting is not about making something your own: it is about creating a challenge, however fragile, however temporary, however ridden with contradictions – a challenge to ways of thinking, and first of all to your own way of thinking.

Yesterday, at four o’clock, we were evicted from Vine Lodge. It was the most unpleasant eviction I had in London, and it involved drunken landlords trying to kick our front door down with a big hammer (they didn’t succeed). And then came the police. In a confrontation between landlords and occupiers, the system is decidedly tilted towards the landlords. This is no surprise. The cops themselves were actually nice and tried to be helpful. But their orders were to evict us. It is ironic that now – when I am about to take a break from squatting – I go through experiences which were saved from me in the last three years. I think it’s good for me. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

People have been amazingly generous with their help and support. Many friends have offered to put us up. The mutual support is the first thing that struck me about the squatting community, when I first moved to London. It’s in times of need that you really appreciate it. We stored all our stuff at V’s flat, across the road. It was the easiest house move in that respect. And we spent the night at Chris’s. Pudding didn’t approve. He didn’t like the sight of my sleeping bag. I threatened to evict him with a PIO; big mistake. He immediately started hissing and had a go at my feet.

Today I found myself in the 16th floor, in an empty flat, looking over south London. In front of me was a big housing estate in the process of demolition. It was a sunny, windy, August day. On the window sill I found a pamphlet about labour and capital in eastern Europe post –EU expansion. It was translated from the German, and it still had some ‘und’ instead of ‘and’.

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