Archive for the autonomous active space Category

Altenative Maniax #45: The new Anti-Squat Law in the UK is enacted

Posted in Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, Autonomous local communities, Independent music, Self-production, Squatting//Occupy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by Alternative Maniax

So here it is folks! Down there you’ll find some information we could gathered about this new law.

Are you from those who going to rent?

Are you from those who going to create new strategy?

Are you from those who are going to keep it the same way? :

“The date the new anti-squatting law comes into force in English and Welsh law has been set for September 1st. The Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS) have issued a warning and a call to arms: “We are going to need to be more organised and look after each other better. We will need legal back-up available on the street, and people will need help moving quickly and storing their possessions. We need networks, linked up with others resisting evictions and attacks on housing rights.””

“The Eviction Resistance Network (ER) have emerged to counter to the new law and new enforcement techniques. They have already mobilised big numbers to resist several evictions, and their phone line is open 24/7.”

“Gung-ho policing means that the legal stuff is worth getting to grips with, as you’ll need the info on why your place is legal to shout at incoming police. The ambiguity of the law (e.g. residential squatting is illegal, non-residential legal) suggests that application of the law will be muddled, and cops are easily confused. Also worthwhile reading is the Code of Practice of High Court Enforcement Officers, which, amongst other stipulations, states they must act in a “professional, calm and dignified manner… with discretion and fairness” and not allow debtors to threaten violence.” :

A few days ago we reported that 5 individuals were, to our knowledge, the first to be arrested under the new law. Coincidently, it has also been revealed that proposals to make more emergency accommodation for homeless young people in Somerset have twice been turned down by planners. We understand the Squatters Legal Network are keen to support those arrested. Here’s more information  from the local press in Somerset:

Last Saturday, Police visited a squat in Chichester after the owner asked them to get the squatters out. It is reported that the squatters left of their own accord and no arrests were made. Local homeless charity Stonepillow was critical of the new legislation.” :

“London squatter first to be jailed

Man, 21, sentenced under new law to tackle crisis of invaded homes

Lost property: housing association flat in Pimlico where Alex Haigh (inset) was arrested by police for squatting (picture: Nigel Howard)

A London man aged 21 has become the first person to be jailed for squatting under a new law.

Alex Haigh pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 weeks after police found him at a property in Pimlico. He is now in Wormwood Scrubs”

“Housing charities and other campaigners claim that the reform — introduced after a spate of London cases in which squatters occupied and damaged homes — is unnecessary and will unfairly criminalise the homeless.”

“Squatting was not a criminal offence then so no complaint was made to police. The association added: “The police informed us of the arrest of these individuals at this property. Prior to these arrests, we had already begun taking action to seek their removal.”


On the 1st September the act of squatting in a residential building became a criminal offence under Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). This unprecedented piece of legislation was enacted to a flurry of government statements claiming ‘justice’ and ‘protection’ for “hard-working homeowners” against the “misery of squatting”. At once both mimicking and feeding vitriolic media campaigns, Justice Minister Crispin Blunt claimed that “by making this change, we can slam shut the door on squatters once and for all”.

By Monday the 3rd September we saw police with battering rams in Brighton enforcing the law for the first time: forcibly evicting and arresting three people for the new crime of squatting. Since then the Squatters Legal Network (SLN) and Squatter’s Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) have received news of 14 such arrests, whilst countless ‘known unknowns’ slip under the radar. The end result of a bankrupt parliamentary process and a biased media campaign, the criminalisation of squatting in residential properties epitomises the Coalition government’s privileging of private property rights over the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society.

The government’s repeated rhetorical focus on ‘homeowners’ is disingenuous to the point of being total rubbish. It has been a criminal offence to displace residential occupiers and intending occupiers from their homes through squatting since the Criminal Law Act of 1977 (Section 7). As the Law Society argued: “The current law is sufficient to protect homeowners, but is not understood by the public, the police, nor, it seems, politicians.” Misrepresentations of the facts by both ministers and the media provoked 160 legal experts to write an open letter debunking the myths driving forward the push to criminalise squatting, arguing that “inaccurate reporting of this issue has created fear for homeowners, confusion for the police and ill informed debate among both the public and politicians on reforming the law.”

This myth-peddling collided with the Coalition’s tendency to dismiss the mechanisms of representative democracy to create a thoroughly bankrupt parliamentary process. The government introduced the clause to criminalise squatting into the LASPO bill just three days before its final reading in the House of Commons, leaving no time for parliamentary scrutiny. This followed a consultation in which 96 percent of respondents were opposed to such action. All hearings in the House of Lords happened after 11pm at night. Up to 50,000 people were criminalised in a matter of months.

Once again, rather than acting on their professed commitment to a small state, the Coalition has enlarged the repressive arm of the state to protect private property rights. Acting under cover of protecting ‘homeowners’, the government have bolstered state sanction of one of the most anti-social manifestations of  property rights – the ‘right’ to keep properties empty. Such is the Coalition’s dedication to privatisation that they are extending it to empty space and abandoned buildings.

This is no small phenomenon: there are 930,000 empty properties in the UK. And their owners, most of whom do not intend to use these properties as their own housing but as a profitableinvestment, now possess what amounts to a state subsidy to ensure their buildings remain unused. By criminalising those using empty properties as shelter in times of need, the new law allows property owners to rely on the police to evict squatters, rather than bearing the costs themselves. Indeed, SQUASH’s research shows that the costs to the taxpayer of criminalising squatting could reach up to £790 million over the next five years, (including an increased housing benefit bill, policing and criminal justice system costs), wiping out expected savings made by all other aspects of the LASPO bill.

To extend this protection, the state has placed squatting directly under the police’s remit. By transferring squatting from civil to criminal law, the government have removed pre-emptive judicial scrutiny from the eviction process, empowering the police to make complex legal judgements beyond their capacity on the doorstep. This further exposes vulnerable tenants, people with license from owners to occupy a property, and those squatting in commercial rather than residential properties, to the risks of illegal eviction. Not to mention enhancing the toolkit of repressive legislation at the disposal of police targeting political activists, such as the pre-emptive raids during the royal wedding.

So who is affected by this change? Outside of government rhetoric, it is difficult to identify ‘squatters’ as a uniform (anti-)social group abstracted from the context of economic crisis. Research undertaken by homelessness charity Crisis found that 40 percent of single homeless people have relied on squatting as an alternative to street sleeping. This is not surprising once one undertakes even a cursory examination of the present housing crisis: private rental costs spiralling ever upwards, five million people already on social housing waiting lists, a 14 percent rise in official homelessness rates in the last year, and homelessness provision diminishing with each cut to local authorities and homelessness charities. Squatting is not simply a ‘lifestyle choice’, or an issue of squatters’ ‘personal morality’. As Crisis reported in September 2011: “The evidence suggests that the majority of squatters were sleeping rough immediately prior to squatting. Squatting, then, typically reflects a lack of other options, a scarcity of provision, and inadequate support and assistance to single homeless people.” Criminalising squatting is, therefore, nothing short of criminalising homelessness.

For example, the 14 people arrested under the new law so far include 5 young people, one aged 16, arrested for squatting a residential property in Somerset. These teenagers turned to squatting following the refusal of planning permission for a new YMCA providing beds for homeless youth in their town. Local residents had complained the YMCA would bring ‘anti-social behaviour’. In the early stages of this new law being enacted, these arrests represent exactly how blame is displaced onto the young homeless and away from the governments and communities who have abandoned them.

The government has criminalised these young people for attempting to house themselves in an abandoned building, whilst at the same time systematically dismantling the welfare and other safety nets, for example housing benefit for the under-25s, which might prevent them from living on the streets. The criminalisation of squatting in residential properties thus sits neatly within the Coalition’s broader attack on the survival mechanisms which attempt to guarantee some standard of living in a society shaped by rapidly narrowing access to the private accumulation of wealth.

This survival mechanism extends to those engaging in directly political activity, in arts and culture, in social work. Squatting provides a low-cost way to house oneself whilst undertaking non-profit making, and thus often not remunerated, activities fundamentally important for the rest of society. This is especially the case now, when economic crisis and youth unemployment has rendered those in their 20s the ‘lost generation’. Liberation from rent can open the way for liberation from having to sell one’s labour to capital – reclaiming control over one’s time and the ability to deploy it for good. Furthermore, trespass and occupation – the seizing of both physical and discursive space – are foundational tactics within political action. In occupying an empty building, overtly politicised squatters are often taking decisive action to oppose an unwanted development: from the demolition of council housing to the building of luxury accommodation that prices out a local community. The criminalisation of squatting in residential buildings thus threatens those undertaking political resistance in both these senses: as a means of taking action and as a means of reproducing our lives.

Further to this, squatting as an abstract idea contributes something incredibly important to wider society. Squatting keeps alive the idea that space and property is not simply the reserve of the wealthy, but preconditions of a dignified human life which we all deserve access to. When squatters occupy, look after and improve dilapidated properties in their local community they challenge the ideology that market forces will best direct the use of resources for the good of all. Squatting reveals that all too often, we are better are doing it ourselves. With criminalisation, the government have undertaken an ideological attempt to silence this contribution.
However, squatters will not be so easily silenced and many are already resisting. One line of defence is being taken by Irene Gardiner, mother of four who has squatted with her children in an abandoned cottage in Wales for 11 years. Gardiner is taking legal action to challenge the new legislation. Facing homelessness and criminalisation, Gardiner and her lawyers are arguing that by enacting the new law the police and CPS would breach Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, right to a personal and family life. Rosa Curling, part of Ms Gardiner’s legal team at Leigh Day & Co commented: “Many thousands of people choose to squat in unoccupied residential properties, they pay council tax and are members of their communities. They should not have to face the choice of criminal prosecution or losing their home.”

Owen from the Squatter’s Legal Network argues that resistance to the new law is playing itself out in multiple arenas: “There will be resistance through the courts, and we are organising to ensure that those evicted and arrested have good legal defences. But squatters aren’t going to take this lying down. We foresee that there will be an increase in people resisting eviction or defending themselves from raids by the police because for many their only choice is defending their homes or ending up on the streets.” Indeed, when most of those who squat are without an alternative but to continue squatting, and when the UK has almost 1 million empty properties, this is not the ‘end of squatting’. This is not merely because squatting in commercial properties is not yet a criminal offence. Far from having ‘slammed shut the door on squatting’, the government have opened up the potential for a resistance which will play itself out on the doorsteps of squatted properties up and down the country. Whilst the right to keep properties empty has been asserted as legislation, and as the eviction wave begins, we will see how far it becomes a reality on the streets.

Hannah Wilcox is a member of SQUASH and Squatter’s Legal Network.

So what about the different alternative and strategy that exist to fight this new situation in a constructive way?

In the next shows we hope to have some guests to testimony about their feelings or their personal live squatting experience under this new law.


Leave your comment!

Let’s now change subject, what about the music tonight, uh?

Acid Reign

Sarah Bear

Beans on Toast


Et voila!





Alternative Maniax Show #43: About Possible Alternative Solutions to the Anti-Squat Law that are coming in the UK and for the general housing crisis hapening everywhere in the world

Posted in Alternative, Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, autonomous green spaces, Autonomous local communities, Independent music, Music, Radio, Self-production, Self-publishing, Squatting//Occupy, Street with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2012 by Alternative Maniax

Our special reporter is somehow part of the alternative scene and underground contemporary culture herself. So she obviously can meet a big diversity of people involved in what is our interest here 😀

She is been to an open music night called “Sunday Sound”. It is a nomad open mic and this night it was settled between the abandoned huge Heygate estates buildings. She said this night was wonderful and the place very original.

This picture shows exactly the place where the night was performed:

Check this link out if you like to know more about the story of this abandoned estate which has been sold now to developers:

There is an autonomous garden there with loads of place, and the stage was placed between the four big trees outside. Very magical!
That night, our reporter met Dory.

Dory is a former mortgage broker turned stand up comedian. She’s passionate about property development, design and architecture. On her third visit to London she met some squatters who hosted her for three weeks. It was there she wrote The Alternative to Squatting; A Property Development Proposal.

She feels the housing crisis can be solved and that there are enough empty buildings in London to house everyone.

She’s been in three documentary films on the subject of squatting. The most recent one will air on iTV in mid September

Our reporter and her exchanged ideas, thoughts, good feelings and agreed on sharing those ideas on a radio show right here with you guys 😀

Here is more link and quotes about this Anti Squat Law in the UK:

The amendment states that making squatting in residential building a criminal offence will “end the misery of home-owners whose properties have been preyed on by squatters”. However strong legislation already exists to protect residents from having their home squatted. Last month 160 leading legal figures wrote an open letter which was published in The Guardian explaining that under Section 7 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 it is already a criminal offence to squat someone’s home. 2

SQUASH spokesperson Paul Reynolds, said:

“ The governent is ignoring the results of its own consultation which shows that the criminalisation of squatting in empty residential properties will do nothing to protect residents who are already protected by strong legislation. This amendment will criminalise the homeless in the middle of a housing crisis who use squatting as the last remaining option to keep a roof over their heads.”

John Mcdonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington said:

“By trying to sneak this amendment through the back door the government are attempting to bypass democracy. There were over 2,200 responses to the consultation on squatting so there is no way the government could have acknowledged all the evidence”.

  2. SQUASH were founded in the early 90′s; the last time the Tories tried to criminalise squatting. SQUASH re-formed in the face of the latest threat to squatting. There are 700,000 empty properties across the UK: From 2009 Empty Homes Figures: A new report done by Crisis highlights the link between squatting and homelessness: Photos can be used from the SQUASH Flickr page:

Click later on the link at the bottom of this post to download the show.If the link is not working, just leave us a quick email we will forward it to you!

The usual independent wicked music will be heard.

Here is a taste:


Savannah Pryor

Acid Reign



Alternative Maniax Show # 38: Underground contemporary culture vocabulary

Posted in Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, Independent music, Music, non-proft social centre, Squatting//Occupy, Street with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by Alternative Maniax

Tonight we’ll review some definition taken from the underground world lifestyle culture: what is a Squat? An autonomous active space//Radical centre? A freegan person? Dumpster Diving?

Let’s refresh the old memories and introduce it to the virgin ears.

Here is a taste of the music of tonight:


Easily embarrassed



*UK TIME, check what time it’ll be in your country


Listen the Show on Myspace :D

Posted in Alternative, Alternative Community Garden in London, Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, autonomous green spaces, Independent music, Music, non-proft social centre, permaculture, Punk, Radio, routard, Self-production, Self-publishing, Street, Testimony, traveler, Uncategorized, zonards with tags , , , on February 8, 2012 by Alternative Maniax


Alternative Maniax Radio Show #25: To Squat, to occupy

Posted in Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, Independent music, Music, non-proft social centre, Testimony with tags , , , , , , on January 26, 2012 by Alternative Maniax

Hi everyone!

We have a testimony for you tonight: Peg use to squat and he’s also actually living in the ZAD, an autonomous active space in Nantes, France.

It’s been 40 years that the old and new residents are fighting against the airport project which is supposed to take place where so many people are living for so many years. They plan to evict people from their houses and lands. The resistance is still on. They call out for help by occupying and defend the place: the more people it will be the best it is! Just click on the link to their website for more information!

“The resistance is growing. Since Plane Stupid last visited the ZAD (Zone a Defendre – the proposed site of the airport), the number of occupied spaces has rocketed from one to about 16. In fact, no one seems entirely sure how many people are now living here, preparing for battle: all that is certain is that it is growing constantly and people are prepared to put up a big fight. Together with those set to lose their homes and land, activists from across France and the world have been taking over sites bought up by the council to make way for the airport, and transforming them into living examples of the world they want to live in. There’s a bakery, which turns out enough bread twice a week to feed the whole ZAD, a bicycle workshop, a skipped supermarket which seems never to run out, a kitchens collective, an internet cafe, loads of chickens, herb gardens, treehouses, and, of course, vegetables.”


The usual wicked underground music will be on also with:



Plug your ear to that dude!


Alternative Mania #17: The ZAD in France

Posted in Alternative Maniax Show, autonomous active space, non-proft social centre with tags , , , on November 9, 2011 by Alternative Maniax


France oh! Douce Franceeuuu lalalla, we are travelling there tonight folks. Our guest is involved in an autonomous community space in the north-west of France, in a area called now the ZAD. This rural area had abandoned farms, houses and forest now being occupied by people. How do they live? What is the story of the place? Now they are actually organising resistance to defend their homes against a construction plan part of the massive expansion of the so-called «ecometropole» of the grand-ouest by the government. All the residents of this area are threatened to be evicted: locals, farmers, forests..

Here is an extract from INDYMEDIA:

“A community fights on against the invasion of the bulldozer empire…

And as the empire grows, the community must also grow, and look for those to join the fight…

For a rural area of farms, fields, houses, marshlands and forests, 25 km north of the city of Nantes, France, a storm cloud has been gathering for over 40 years. As an integral part of the massive expansion of the so-called «ecometropole» of the grand-ouest, the local government has been buying up an area of over 1000 hectares to make way for the construction of a so-called «high quality environmental project» – a new airport, highway bypass and tgv train line. This zone is officially known as the ZAD, «Zone d’Amenegment Differè» and by us who resist as the «Zone A Defendre».

Since the announcement of the plans, local residents and farmers have organised their resistence through petitions, demonstrations, tractor occupations and blockades. In spring and autumn ’09, the area was in a state of military guard, as 150 military cops were sent out to protect machines involved in the early works of core drilling and soil sampling. This is not a normal course of action; rather it was the response of the local government to acts of sabotage that occurred earlier on during the works.

In September 2009, after a climate camp, a call was made to occupy the abandoned houses and threatened areas of the ZAD, with support of local people in resistance to the airport.

This call has been answered. Already there are some 13 occupied areas in the ZAD, including empty farmhouses, caravans on abandoned land, forests and collective gardens. On July 15th 2010, authorities delivered papers to 5 occupied areas, warning the occupiers that they should vacate these places by the 30th july or face legal proceedings and evictions. Earlier that day, an agreement was signed by 5 unimportant bureaucrats to finance the construction of the airport. On 29th july, about 40 people occupied the council offices in Nantes. The next day it was made public that the multinational construction company vinci had been awarded the contract to build the airport.

Already the first works have begun on the Barreau Routier, a highway bypass being built to serve the airport. In August the city of Nantes made public their search for a security company to be on constant guard on the construction sites and areas around the ZAD.

But we won’t be moved so easily. Busily growing food to support us over the next few years, looking for further areas that are to be occupied and defended when the time comes. If you have your own project to contribute, like setting up a new space, garden, ideas for taking action, or any other useful resources or unusual talents, even better. We are encouraging people to try and be as self sufficient as possible within this space, as well as wanting to be inspired to become part of this ever growing struggle against the machine of progress.

If you can’t come to visit us, maybe you feel the need to visit some sites or offices of vinci in your area…

Wishlist/ ideas of stuff to bring along…bicycles and trailers, tarps, tools, building and barricading materials, climbing materials, computer and technical skills, wheelbarrows, rope of all kinds, books, vans/trucks, media ressources, ideas, inspiration, fighting energy, dentists, donkeys and dragons… ”

Get to know about it On-Air tonight or on Sunday for the rerun at 5pm.


DOWNLOAD THE SHOW (up to 3 month, just send an email if you want a particular one)

Alternative Mania #15

Posted in Alternative, autonomous active space, non-proft social centre, Radio with tags on October 26, 2011 by Alternative Maniax

Hi everyone,

Tonight the light is on an autonomous active space in Xania, Creta: “The Rosa Nera”.

I discovered the place at one of the Cafe that take place every Thursday in Old Harbour, port in Xania. Then I went to one of the open meeting the next week to ask them if they would like to talk about the story of “The Rosa Nera” and explain the aim and activities of the space. They agreed and so AM is proud and happy to bring this little report to you!

P.S to The Rosa Nera: I apologize if anything is wrong in this report while the show. Let me know and I will rectify here and On Air at the next show.




*You can download it for up to 3month from the date of the show. Available on request.

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