22 Feb 2011
I heart squatters!
Superb article by Laurie Penny, a billion right wing trolls are commenting on it, kick'em out companeros.
Excellent, please reblog and spread the word, I used to be a bit of a weekend squatter (lol!).
Squatting is such an ugly word. It implies that young, skint and precariously housed people who set up homes in the vacant properties of the landed elite are somehow crouching there to defecate, rather than building communities in dead investment space abandoned by the rich.
The education activists who were evicted last weekend from Guy Ritchie's £6m Fitzrovia mansion have been portrayed by the tabloids as a "gang" of criminal yobs. They are nothing of the kind: not least because they have done nothing illegal by creating a Free School, designed to "cultivate equality through collaboration" in an empty mansion belonging to a millionaire film director who already owns several more.
Squatting empty buildings is not a criminal offence. It is, in fact, an ancient right, a tradition that can be traced back over centuries of popular dissent and pragmatism. After World War II, thousands of ex-servicemen and families with nowhere else to go began to squat in London, and their stoicism and ingenuity was vindicated by public opinion.
The social history of Britain, from the Kett rebellion to the True Levellers to Peterloo, from the Suffragettes to the environment activists who just prevented this government from selling the forests to timber companies, is largely the history of working people trying to stop the rich from hoarding space, assets and rights that were once held in common. It is a history of the struggle of ordinary people to build lives for themselves in a world whose physical boundaries are set by the interests of property and of profit, and the Really Free School, along with other similar groups that are being set up as I write, represent, in their own words, "the latest chapter in a long history of resistance".
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