Category Archives: Space Raiders

Contesting space, public vs private

M26. 26 March. March 26. See you on the streets!

Via Deterritorial Support Group.

Useful links:

Key messages*:

    1. NO COMMENT to all police questions
    2. GIVE NO DETAILS IN A STOP & SEARCH and only give them if arrested and in a police station
    3. USE A GOOD SOLICITOR eg Bindman’s, Birnberg Pierce, Hodge Jones & Allen

      * Per GBC.

      The youth are revolting! #dayx2 – DON’T CHAT TO FEDS!

      Banner at Trafalgar Square from today’s London end of the #dayx2 anti-cuts protest, screencapped from excellent vid by The Gabber:

      Plenty of great, inspiring, take-no-shit-from-cops action across the country.

      Here in Bristol around 2,000 people played cat-and-mouse with police, streaking across town from College Green, through the University precinct, into Broadmead and Cabot Circus, taking over roads and streets… I hear there was something of a kettle towards the end, but for the most part it was a highly mobile and militant mob which one step ahead of attempts to contain it. Well done people!

      UWE occupied – momentum builds for Wednesday’s nationwide student walkout protest against fees & cuts

      No, this isn't UWE, it's the Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol. Nice image, though - from isnotnecessary.wordpress.com

       

      A group of students has occupied part of the University of the West of England (UWE) campus at Frenchay in Bristol.

      The occupation has taken place in protest at rising fees and cuts at the University. Spokespersons for the protest say that it is in solidarity with staff and students across the country as well as for future generations who will be squeezed by the cuts.

      On Wednesday 24 November there will be protests led by students – at universities, colleges and schools – across the country.

      In Bristol the action timetable for Wednesday looks like this:

      11am – University of the West of England Walkout begins across all campuses
      12am – University of Bristol Walkout begins
      12:30pm – All students (school, college, university) from across the city to assemble opposite Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
      1:15pm – March to Wills Memorial Building

      Links & contacts:

      See you on the streets!

      G20 Climate Camp witnesses wanted for complaint against police

      Does anyone have any footage or photos of the evening attacks by police at the north end of the Climate Camp – a number of us were beaten by police at the corner of Bishopsgate and Camomile Street in the evening maybe around 9 /10ish. Particulary looking for footage of a woman wearing a red jacket sitting on the road who was beaten and had her head crushed between 2 riot shields – needed for evidence to make a complaint.

      No contact details given, so if you can help perhaps drop a comment to the end of this message on IndyMedia with a contact email.

      Guardian: Were YOU injured by G20 police?

      "IAN TOMLINSON R.I.P."

      The Guardian want to interview people who were actually assaulted (not just threatened) by the police. You’ll need to use your real name.

      Via What I Saw (blog devoted to eyewitness accounts from G20 protests) [Edit: It seems they have had a large response to this, and so don’t need any more! See comments for more on this.]

      PS The pic comes from a demonstration outside Bristol Magistrates’ Court this morning in support of Paul Saville, the ‘Bristol Chalkist‘ who was arrested and charged with criminal damage for writing on the pavement in chalk. The Crown Prosecution Service finally saw sense and dropped the charges.

      ‘National Squat Meet’ to take place in Bristol in March

      National Squat Meet 09 flyer

      NOW IS A PERFECT TIME TO SQUAT
      Now is a perfect time to come together to share our collective creativity, rage, and pride in our cultural identity; to come together for ourselves and look to our future with solidarity and passion. Let’s meet and empower ourselves in our common struggle!

      CRACKS ARE APPEARING…
      We feel it necessary to meet at a time when those at the top are losing their grip to discuss ways we can work together to change our world from the bottom up. New spaces and opportunities are opening all around us and there is a growing potential for more widespread recognition of the need for autonomous housing action. The threat of eviction and homelessness hangs over more people every day. There are over a billion squatters in the world. Now is the time to build a stronger network of resistance.

      THIS IS A CALLOUT
      This is a callout for all those involved in securing and maintaining squats and autonomous spaces across the UK, and beyond, to meet and discuss issues that affect us all as a community. Following on from the hugely successful national meeting in Leeds last year, and many smaller local gatherings, that have happened throughout the year, this year’s meet up will be in the Bristol area. Please bring your positive energy, enthusiasm and thoughts to share skills and engage in open dialogue.

      WE CAN CONSTRUCT A POSITIVE VISION OF THE WORLD
      We hope to discuss ways of strengthening our network in defence of autonomous spaces, share success stories from last year’s day of action and formulate future plans and schemes for creative chaos! The agenda will be decided between us all on Friday evening. Please arrive early if possible to help us create the space. Any comments/ suggestions/ mad ideas please contact squatmeetup@googlemail.com

      Squat Meet 09 blog

      Sustainable gravy transport

      Ooh Mr Grimshaw!

      Josh Hart has written an interesting critique of Sustrans over at his On The Level blog:

      There are an increasing number of concerns…but they centre around this: should a private charity with no accountability to the public or its membership (Sustrans calls them supporters) be given millions of taxpayer pounds every year without adequate consultation or oversight?

      …It also turns out that very few Sustrans employees are personally involved in the Bristol Cycling Campaign-something I find very odd considering many of them live and cycle in Bristol. In fact, it sometimes seems that Sustrans goes out of its way to ignore Bristol, as if to prove to other areas of the country that the City that hosts their headquarters curries no special favour. When plans for a bus rapid transit route threatened the Bristol-Bath Railway Path (Sustrans’ flagship facility) they were sluggish in responding to the threat, terrified of offending the local council, actually going on record in the Evening Post saying essentially that they had “no comment” about the plans.

      Though the beast finally woke from its bloated lottery-money induced slumber and opposed the plan with some force, the damage had been done. Thankfully, local activists stepped into the vacuum and formed Save the Railway Path, organised a 1000 strong march to the Council house that succeeded in getting the City Council to shelve the ill-conceived plans. We know that Sustrans knew about the BRT plan as early as July 2007 if not earlier, yet they did nothing to alert others and provoke opposition. They only jumped on the bandwagon when it was clear that their credibility was on the line if they did nothing…

      Chris Hutt at Green Bristol Blog has provided some much needed (judging by some of the catty remarks already deposited on Josh’s comments section by College Green lycra-clad loyalists) back-covering; this one should run and run!

      Mapping resistance: Greek solidarity

      Greek solidarity map

      A new blog has been set up to track solidarity actions across the world in support of the Greek insurrection.

      We are in Civil War: With the fascists, the bankers, the state, the media wishing to see an obedient society

      STATEMENT

      On Saturday night, the Greek police assassinated a 15 year old student.

      His assassination was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

      It was the continuation of a coordinated action, by state terrorism and the Golden Dawn, which aimed at university and high school students (with the private universities first), at migrants that continue to be persecuted for being born with the wrong colour, at the employees that must work to death without compensation.

      The government of cover-ups with its praetors, having burnt the forests last summer, is responsible for all major cities burning now, too. It protected financial criminals, all those involved in the mobile phone interceptions scandal, those looting the employees’ insurance funds, those kidnapping migrants, those who protected the banks and the monasteries that steal from the ordinary people.

      We are in Civil War: With the fascists, the bankers, the state, the media wishing to see an obedient society.

      There are no excuses, yet they once again try to use conspiracy theories to calm spirits down.

      The rage that had accumulated had to be expressed and should not, by any means, end.

      Throughout the world we are making headlines, it was about time that people uprise everywhere.

      The generation of the poor, the unemployed, the partially employed, the homeless, the migrants, the youth, is the generation that will smash every display window and will wake up the obedient citizens from their sleep of the ephemeral American dream.

      DON’T WATCH THE NEWS, CONSCIOUSNESS IS BORN IN THE STREETS

      WHEN THE YOUTH IS MURDERED, THE OLD PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SLEEP

      GOODBYE ALEXANDROS, MAY YOUR BLOOD BE THE LAST OF AN INNOCENT TO RUN

      A “statement issued by the association of employees of the suburb of Agios Dimitrios in Athens,” via On The Greek Riots

      Greece: “This is civil war”

      Friends call from abroad. “Is it over?” we can only laugh at that idea – What do you mean, is it over? It’s just about to start. Some comrades come back to the Athens School of Economics (our base), carrying incredible stories from the occupation of the town hall of the suburb of Agios Dimitrios in Athens. In a previous post we reported that the town hall was occupied by anarchists. Wrong: The town hall was occupied by the locals, whose statements so far easily overcome the “toughest” of anarchist speech. “This is civil war”, they write. “Alexis, we hope that your blood is the last OF AN INNOCENT to run”. We’ve got a copy of the entire statement published by the area’s employees committee, and will be translating it tomorrow. It is, quite simply, a historical document.

      As for what to expect tomorrow (12.12). There is a callout for yet another mass demonstration in Athens, at noon. A “revolutionary alleycat race” is called for 21:30. Its tag: “Come contribute to the chaos!”. Most university students will be holding department assemblies to decide whether they will proceed with occupations (surely enough, most of them will do so); we expect high school students to keep rocking, as they have all these days (and if information received so far is confirmed, regarding their plans, they might have some awesome surprises for us tomorrow).

      “Is this over?” How, exactly, could it be? The murderer if Alexandros shows no remorse and is about to get away with it. The pigs keep provoking. Their political leaders remain unpunished. What single argument, what single reason is there for us to return to normalcy, to forget, to retreat from the streets? None. There is no way back now.

      From On The Greek Riots

      Ashley Road roof protest enters third week

      Protesters have been camped out on the roof of 87 Ashley Road for two weeks today.

      An open public meeting about the situation has been called for this Thursday, at 6.30pm at the St. Paul’s Learning Centre (or, erm, library).

      Here’s the text of a leaflet as posted on Bristol IndyMedia:

      On Thursday 27th of November an open public meeting is being held in The St Pauls Learning Centre at 6.30pm to discuss this situation. Supporters of the rooftop protesters will be in attendance to answer questions, respond to local concerns and open a dialogue with PfP.

      Places for People are publicly invited to state and openly discuss what their intentions for 87 Ashley Road are. This will help assure everyone that they are in fact going to rehouse people on the housing waiting list.

      We hope you can attend.
      For further information contact:
      Email: 87AshleyRoad@gmail.com
      Phone:07722 786 379

      Background:

      On November 12th 2008 Places for People (PfP) executed an eviction order on 87 Ashley Road, a squatted building occupied by 20 people who have been made homeless by this action. This building was unused by PfP for four years and left empty until May 2008 when squatters working to house as many people as possible moved in.
      PfP have refused all attempts to negotiate a mutually benifical agreement, repeatedly submitted incorrect possession claims to Bristol Magistrates courts and threatened illegal eviction. At one stage the sitting magistrate called PfPs representation “a right dog’s breakfast.”

      As bailiff’s and builders working on behalf of Places for People entered the property several squatters moved onto the roof to resist eviction and have been there ever since.
      As far as the courts are concerned the eviction has been served despite protesters being on the roof.

      This press release is being written on the 14th day of continual rooftop occupation and is being sent to community groups and individuals in the St. Pauls area, and Places for People.

      Builders have boarded up all normal exit points from the roof, leaving the roof protesters no safe, immediate access. PfP have instructed builders to render the property uninhabitable by removing ALL fixtures and fittings.

      There are no planning applications currently under consideration by Bristol City Council for 87 Ashley Road. PfP have been vague about their intentions for the property, however they have mentioned plans that would not benefit anyone on the housing list.

      The protest is part of a continuing concern over Places for People’s treatment of empty properties and it’s selling off of rental stock on the open market. PfP are selling properties via the “shared ownership” scheme while not replacing rental properties for those most in need. This will lead to an eventual return to the unaffordable rental market and a worse deal for low-income families seeking decent accomodation.

      Postcode Wars

      'B$7 Gian 07' graffiti on back wall of Unitarians Meeting hall, Brunswick Square

      Gusset has started a Flickr group to document postcode tagging across Bristol.

      It’s inspired by a post on BLDNGBLOG which in turn was inspired by a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report [PDF] on young people’s perceptions of ‘microterritoriality’.

      Researchers at the University of Glasgow, sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have spent the past two years asking young residents of Bradford, Peterborough, London, Glasgow, Sunderland, and Bristol to draw maps of their own individual urban experience in order to explore micro-territoriality as both a cause and a symptom of social exclusion.

      …Their research uncovered Bristol’s “postcode wars,” where gangs spray-paint their postcode in rival areas as a form of aggression.

      If you spot any examples, add them to the pool!

      Resisting yuppification on Ashley Road

      Ashley Road resister fists 'Places For People'

      I popped up the road earlier to see how things were going at the 87 Ashley Road squat eviction resistance (hmmm, bit of a mouthful there, sorry).

      To rewind a little: until yesterday, there was a squat on 87 Ashley Road, but it was evicted in the morning. Former squatters of the Places For People-owned building (and possibly others) then managed to evade security, bailiffs and police, and gained access to the roof. They have been there ever since.

      According to people on the ground supporting them, they have ample wet- and warm-weather gear, food, supplies and other such useful materials up there.

      The reasons for the resistance are outlined in a leaflet:

      Dear Neighbours

      At 10.am this morning (12/11/08) police and bailiffs smashed their way into 87 Ashley Road evicting some of the occupants. Several people are on the roof, while contractors and bailiffs rip up the inside to make the house uninhabitable.

      We are resisting this eviction because…

      1. We need somewhere to live.
      2. Taking your housing needs into your own hands is a positive thing, especially when social housing has such long waiting lists.
      3. This building has been left empty for at least 4 years, during this time both Places for People (P4P) and Bristol Churches (previous owners) have made no attempt to renovate or convert it into social housing. That’s 8 potential flats that have been left to rot. And for the past 6 months no.87 has housed more than 30 people.
      4. P4P have no planning permission to use or renovate this building. This morning a P4P representative said that the only active planning application they have is for April 2009, where 87 will contain a ‘site office’ for the ‘development’ of 16 other ‘shared ownership’ properties in the St. Pauls Area.
      5. St. Pauls UnLtd have opposed P4P’s plans because they did not provide enough social housing or affordable housing.
      6. Existing P4P tenants complain about the standard of service of maintenance in their existing properties.
      7. Everyone has a right to a home: Squatting is legal, necessary, and provides an alternative to the stranglehold of debt that underpins the current financial crisis.
      8. Tying people into 30+years of mortgage debt is an illusion of housing security, in the light recent repossessions.
      9. We are part of this community and against all privatizations, repossessions and evictions.

      P4P are more concerned with money than housing those in need they are the biggest UK housing association and have the highest paid chief executives in the housing sector (Director salary: £258k in 2007). Housing associations were set up to fill the gap left by Thatcher’s destruction of social housing provision. They cannot legally make profits, but make up for this with fat bonus checks for the fat cats. That’s taxpayer’s money going to fund extravagant lifestyles

      For more information and sources about P4P please check indymedia

      http://bristol.indymedia.org

      ‘Direct action is better than any waiting list’ Squatters handbook. (Or mortgage!)

      87 Ashley Road eviction resistanceI used to squat, because I was too poor (despite a full-time – but minimum wage – job) to rent privately, and locked out of the housing list. The property I squatted had long been emptied by its owner, a housing association. Despite assurances to its previous tenants that it would be repaired to an acceptable standard and that they would be permitted to return to it, it was not, and they weren’t. I and my fellow squatters were able to quietly live there for nearly six months before the housing association even realised we were there. We negotiated a situation with the housing association whereby they would not institute eviction proceedings against us, and in return we would vacate the premises (with fair notice) when they were ready to make good the building for the return of its tenants. In its life as a squat, this building helped house around twenty people, and helped seven or eight get onto the housing list, where they might secure decent long-term accommodation.

      After I left, there was some kind of breakdown in relations between the squat and the housing association (I’m not sure of the details), and I believe an eviction was carried out. The building was then left to rot until the housing association was able to discharge its obligations under law, and then to sell it on the open market to a private developer. The tenants did not return. The building is now in the private sector, another piece of prime inner city real estate lost from the social housing sector.

      Therein lies the rub – just because an empty property’s owner is a ‘social landlord’, it does not necessarily follow that the landlord wishes to use the property to house poorer people who want to rent. Often the landlord will look to the market, and decide that ‘shared ownership’ or open market sales would be more desirable – desirable to the landlord, not to those it is meant to be housing.

      From what I understand of the situation at 87 Ashley Road, the building was not cleared of squatters so tenants from the housing list might be rented a home there, but instead to sell off. This is not about ‘places for people’, this is about profits.

      The roof resisters seem like they might be there for a while. I’m sure they would welcome support on the ground, even if only for a few minutes.

      Picnic ‘n’ mix

      Tomorrow is the inaugural International People’s Picnic of Ashton Court! It strikes me as a jolly good idea. I’ve baked some bread and I shall ransack the cupboards for chutney and jam and cheese and the flatmate’s holiday chorizo and wend my way over for the afternoon (well, via the moggies), and hopefully meet some friends and perhaps make new ones 🙂

      Certainly last year’s jamboree on the Downs was more fun than ACF itself seems to have been…

      Shirley not!

      This past weekend saw the Jamaica Street Studios open up their doors for an open day, celebrating the living art and culture of Stokes Croft and its people. Chris Chalkley of PRSC very kindly has sent round a round robin email complete with pictures from the weekend, and lumme if in one of them it looks like not just one but both Ashley ward councillors! See what you think…

      Can it be true? Has the wanderer not only returned, but actually spent time in sunny Saint Paul’s? Or are these actually agency doppelgangers, hired in for the day? Answers on the back of a council expenses claim as soon as possible, please…

      (Picture courtesy of People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, which is in no way responsible for this blog!)