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(en) European PGA* Conference Newspaper - conntents 1. Announcements - The end of squatting in Holland? A call for action

Date Wed, 04 Oct 2006 10:24:56 +0200

Squatting in the Netherlands is to be banned. According to the
minister of Housing (amongst others), squatting is ‘an old
ideology that does not fit in the present reality’. If mutual help
and resistance do not fit, then maybe the present reality needs to be
bent? There are eight million square metres of empty office buildings
in the Netherlands, and in Amsterdam alone, some two hundred
thousand people are looking for a place. In the inner cities, it is
becoming impossible to find a house that most people can afford.
* Our representative political parties want to make more use of
temporary housing contracts to combat emptiness of buildings.
These contracts are a vehicle for stripping renters of the modest
housing rights that they did have until now. They explicitly exclude
people from bare essentials such as a legal house peace and include
the possibility of being dumped on the streets, sometimes within a
day, without any reasons given. These temporary contracts are a
direct result of the governments struggle against squatting. People
placed in empty places with hardly any rights are also called
‘squat guards’ or ‘antisquat’. When we are
speaking of squatting, it is useful to keep an eye on the rights of
renters. Squatting, for many, is not a goal but a means, the goal
being to live and have a roof. But clearly not in the rightless position
of someone on a temporary housing contract. Because they are
denied the rights of an owner, a regular renter and even of a squatter,
antisquat does not just place a negative pressure on squatters, but
also on the rights of renters. Antisquat could also be called antirent.
The Dutch political parties want to see an end to squatting. The
‘right wing’ wants to end it right now, the ‘left
wing’ sees squatting as a transitory situation, to come to an end
in the bright future that will come naturally when market and
government have been allowed to do their good work. If they
succeed, squatting will in hindsight have been used as a crowbar to
break open the lower regions of the housing market. In the current
parliamentary bill that was adopted as a basis for subduing squatting,
the practise of squatting is considered ‘a grave incursion on
ownership rights’. Let’s agree with the minister on that
point. The damaging of ownership rights and the current economic
division might, at least in a political sense, be seen as our core

International solidarity actions can support the fight to maintain our
right for a radical protest against housing injustice.

Please keep us informed on krakengaatdoor@squat.net
* PGA is an antiauthoritarian anticapitalist direct action network
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