On the 20th May 2018, 10 houses were occupied in Berlin and the neighbour city Potsdam. Despite positive feedback by neighbours and the public (aka media), all houses were violently evicted that same day. Despite promises concerning housing, the „left“ government had the police evict houses and beat up people. The protection of private property was yet again put above the right to housing and the right to physical integrity. Nonetheless, the occupations were not just legitimate but necessary. More than half of Berlin‘s population finds occupations legitimate. The need for space to housing and living however, remains.
That is why we take space!
Just like the countless people in Spain, Italy and Greece, who, due to the so called „crisis“ have no legal access to housing and have occupied thousands of flats and houses that were empty. Just like refugees, who no longer want to accept to live in the fenced-in camps they are forced to live in. Just like all those homeless people who no longer accept their homelessness and take empty houses instead. Just like those people in the cities of Halle, Aachen, Stuttgart and elsewhere, who have occupied houses that are empty for speculative reasons, no longer accepting the lack of self-governed space and housing. Just like all those homeless people, who, out of necessary occupy on a daily bases with their tents and mattresses public space.
Down with rent!
Instead of understanding housing as a basic need like water and food, housing is a commodity. Rent makes poor people poorer and rich people richer. The smallest amount of rent is put into the preservation of houses, the largest part of rent is profit at the hands of owners and investors. When housing and living space is handled like investments, tenants are reduced to a number in the book-keeping. Blind to the reality of our lives, all that counts is whether we bring owners and investors profit. Do we no longer produce profit, a simple scrap from their papers can mean for us the loss of our entire existence. But we are humans with needs, friends and a life, not a commodity one can play around with according to whether the book writes black or red numbers.
All houses in self-organisation
But the problem is not just houses that are empty for speculative reasons. The entire capitalist property market is the problem, in which profit rules over people‘s needs. Deutsche Wohnen, Akelius, ADO, Immeo, BWO, Padovicz, Mähren, CG, GMRE, Citec & Co ought to be expropriated without compensation. Communal housing companies such as Stadt & Land are far from being „social“ housing companys, instead acting under the same logic of profit and “economic feasibility“. Intstead, all houses should be under cooperative and common control in the hands of those who house and uses them. Let us begin with that in those spaces in the city, that are empty. We need and alternative to the city of the rich.
Occupying for us, is equal to opening. We open spaces and possibilities, that were taken from us though capital, the market, the state or more concretely through landlords, property management and the police. Occupations are not a form of entertainment or amusement. We occupy because we are in need of uncommercial housing and living space. We occupy out of dismay and necessity. We occupy as to open spaces for all of us. We occupy in the hope, that this direct form of action will be taken up by more and more people.
#occupations are not an event, they are necessity.
This fall and always. In Berlin and everywhere. Until we no longer have to.
For a life free of landlords.
For a life in solidarity and freedom!