It has been a while since occupations were part of daily life in Berlin – following the ‘Berlin line’ (Berliner Linie), every new occupation is evicted within 24 hours. The consequences of this governmental guideline is that new occupations are mostly deemed utopian in Berlin and are rarely put into practice. Yet the occupation of space is not a utopia, but the precondition for daily life, political organisation & practice, and therefore a necessity in times in which many struggles over houses, shops and public areas are lost.
Therefore: squat the city – for a spring of occupations!
Berlin – whomever you ask, people agree about the condition and development of Berlin. The changes that are taking place in this city impact on the life of all. Rising rents, closing stores, displacement, homelessness and increasing prices are those changes that hit us the most. The transformation of the city into one of glamour and glory has led to a rising number of malls, hotels and commercial offers, while spaces which are free of charge and regulations are becoming less. Countless newspapers, talks, election campaigns and protests have brought up these issues. We have nothing to add to this – neither do we offer a new analysis, nor a worked-out concept for an ‘alternative Berlin’.
One thing we are sure of, however – a radical refusal of the current condition requires neither a perfect analysis, nor a worked out alternative. The condition alone justify the necessity to act.
Of course are we afraid of repression – afraid of police violence and criminal charges. But shouldn’t we rather be afraid to become tolerant of the status quo? Of course are we afraid to be naive. But shouldn't we rather be afraid to not even carry out this struggle? In the last decades, projects and spaces were fought for again and again. In trials, chewy negotiations and of course on the street. Now and then spaces could be saved, but too many times spaces were evicted, displaced or have out of necessity integrated into the system. Many times we have heard or experienced that new occupations are impossible in Berlin, as they are evicted within 24 hours. We do not claim to possess any panacea to defy the current policies of Berlin’s government and police forces.
Nonetheless we say: in the long term we do not have a choice but to move from a defensive stance to an offensive one. Streets, schools, working spaces, apartments – no matter which space we talk about: that the use of space lies in our hands is not a utopia which we hold on to, but the precondition for such a utopia. The organisation of political resistance is dependent on spaces in which people can live, meet, organise, discuss and stay free of daily constraints. And so it is no political ideal but a political necessity that we occupy spaces again!
The campaign ‘squat the city’ wants to encourage us and others to (re)take the city. By occupying houses, universities, schools, work spaces, parks and street we want to take small steps into the direction of the city that we imagine and away from the city that is forced upon us. ‘Squat the city’ wants to bring together projects that aim to occupy and re/take space.
Whether it is the temporary occupation of a park, the silent occupation of an empty building or the mobile occupation of different spaces such as working spaces, university and schools – let’s make this spring the spring of occupations!
#squatthecity - Vive la commune! - Frühling der Besetzung - wir bleiben alle !