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(en) France, Organisation Communiste Libertarie (OCL) - Barcelona -- Can Vies as developer Squat in the city (fr, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 07 Jun 2014 18:13:43 +0300

The expulsion and the beginning of the destruction of the Autonomous Social Center Can Vies Monday, May 26, squatted for 17 years in the district of Sants in Barcelona has angered and immediate mobilization of thousands of people continued unabated several days in a row and forced the municipality to suspend the destruction of buildings. This battle is both a defense Okupé place and much more than that. ---- The municipality owns the site (in fact property of TMB, the municipal public transport company) has indeed committed an error of assessment: the first night and for 4 consecutive nights and evenings, thousands of people came out in the streets of the Catalan capital (3,000 the first night, the 7000 fourth ...), organized by neighborhood rallies then converged towards Sants. Demonstrations, blocking streets, mini-barricades and burning of container and construction equipment (including digger used in the destruction of part of the squat), some broken windows of banks, but also concerts pans in the neighborhood, mobilization of neighbors, which should be added fifty solidarity rallies in Catalonia and in many cities of the Spanish State.

Immediately there was talk of an "effect Can Vies" (this is also the name of the hashtag: # EfectoCanvies) as there had been a "Gamonal effect" at the beginning of the year when the people of this district worker Burgos had imposed physically in the street and daily confrontation with political power and its repressive forces, the withdrawal of a proposed boulevard , to attack the social composition of the neighborhood privatizing public spaces (pay parking) and reshaping the area according to the imperatives of commodification and exploitation of land built.

After four days of rallies, demonstrations of "incidents" and despite dozens of arrests and a massive deployment of security forces, despite the attempts of the media and political power to make the squatters and protesters as "antisystèmes" professional followers of kale Borroka (street fighting practiced by youth abertzale close to ETA in the Basque Country South in the 1990s and Spain means "terrorism"), the municipality of Barcelona (between hands of CiU, the Catalan sovereignty right) is forced to "make a gesture of appeasement" she decided Friday, May 30 to suspend the demolition of the building to "foster dialogue" with the former occupants.

This is clearly a first victory for the movement in defense of the place and solidarity that once proclaimed "the only solution is reconstruction" (in fact, only part of the squat was demolished). The next day, Saturday, around 20,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona, which is a record for the defense of a squat, which at least shows that it is more than that. A level of engagement that is not reminiscent of Hamburg last December to January, following the expulsion of another historical Busy Social Centre, the Rote Flora.

In the process, hundreds of people equipped with hardhats undertake to clear the rubble ... prelude to any work, while supporters architects perform after inspection of the main building that is not threatened and it is therefore possible rebuild ... A project of physical reconstruction of the place - which is in fact a (new) project autonomously Social Centre - is being developed and should be submitted to a meeting of residents in the coming days. For its part, the municipality remains in its starting position: the ability to negotiate the relocation of the group and also gradually ... without further specification or warranty. Then, this Wednesday, June 4, further decline, she claims to be willing to surrender the premises for a period ... 2 years, when he will be permanently deleted, provided that the occupants have a "viable project" Reconstruction and bear the costs. Some acceptable position for the occupants: it is out of the question to commit to rebuild a building in such precarious conditions.

Once again, a "small" neighborhood fight turns into a big thorn in the side of developers and acts as a powerful indicative of much deeper issues on at least two planes which obviously meet the one hand , on who decides and how decisions are made, and secondly, what is decided, based on what necessities? in which territorial space (urban in this case) do people want to live and live? Can Vies is a thorn in the urban development projects because it introduces a third term in the management activities of social reproduction: no delegation to private companies against juicy expected revenues from the sale of the proposed activities, nor " citizen management "by municipal institutions that control activities, hire who they want, impose their will without subsidies (down it is true) and regulations, make these places bureaucratic administrative structures infantilizing, sad and lifeless, and do not hesitate to bring the work performed by underpaid employees and without means to their own clientelist politician and credit ...

Can Vies belongs to the area of self-directed and autonomous spaces, where the municipality can not condition the activities, where they are defined by the occupants who decide how they organize themselves. And this is where the authorities lose control of power and discourse. And this is what bothers. Can Vies, and other places appropriated the same type, is a "public" open space, a common space which in no way corresponds to the political ideal of contemporary urban capitalism, deceptively composed of citizens of the middle class, free and equal rights and have a substantial capacity consumption in a hyper-regulated and controlled territory. It is quite the opposite. And there comes a time when the opposite is conflict, where small grains of sand blocking mechanics, causing chain reactions.

It is - and mobilizations in defense are the developer - the refusal in deed and word the urban model of the city as it is drawn in recent years, after two decades of service sector of a city marked historically its composition and its working harbor and industrial activities. A metropolitan area of 5 million today where, since the large-scale refurbishments carried out for the 1992 Olympics, the strategic alliance forged between local and regional institutions of political power and private capital has defined axes and the terms of an "urban policy" expropriation and remodeling / redistricting / facilities public spaces, streets, squares, buildings, neighborhoods "rehabilitated" (evictions, rents, gentrification ...) for greatest benefit of the construction industry, according to the new capitalists of the city uses force and the requirements of the current competition: attract the rich, the "investors" by selling them at a good price the city as a "mark" a " multi-city "," polycentric ", made up of international trade fairs hyper-connectivity, high-tech and conferences, knowledge and creativity, department stores, luxury, architecture and design of Modern Art (Gaudí, Picasso, Dalí, Miró ...) and cultural tourism and educated ... A young metropolis open to the Mediterranean, the center of a future coastal mega-region should extend to Montpellier Valencia, future-oriented ...
The legend of a metropolis constantly pushing its limits - reproducing in all respects, and by magnifying the paradigm of progress, endless development of the economy, the unchecked expansion capitalist productivism - and why has all the necessary infrastructure for transportation and logistics (ports, airports, highways, TAV, interconnections and transit zones for cargo, including logistic center of the Zona Franca ...). A large modern city with its functional divisions, with its business districts and tertiary, those dedicated to "big events" recreational and sports and hospitality industries for businessmen and executives sup '(over 25 5 star hotels "business tourism" are in a relatively small area), with its headquarters showcases the high-end consumer, tourism and tours of cultural and architectural heritage become overpriced and is forbidden to the vast majority of inhabitants, and its new bourgeois neighborhoods, protected from possible threats always overflows plebeians and perfectly separated areas impoverished ghettos and enclaves abandoned to their fate ...

In two words: urban remodeling designed as an opportunity on a platter and the promise of a new source of accumulation, recovery and enrichment. Recall that Barcelona has been, at least since the 1992 Olympics, a laboratory for urban planners around the world, an international model for urban planners, Rio de Janeiro to Marseille via Buenos Aires, cities also various who share the common trait of existence still poor and working-class neighborhoods and / or brownfield in the heart of the city and close to the hyper-center (Barcelona, Barceloneta, Raval, Poblenou ...) and the sea, where the price of land explodes between land and property speculation, concrete business, social cleansing and gentrification planned.

This is the mirage of the "ideal city" that burst effect Can Vies came dissipate. This boomerang effect also provides another indication: the current growth of urban struggles and resistance against the logic of gentrification and metropolisation. Taksim Gamonal, Hamburg, hundreds of occupations housing in Rome, Can Vies ... Struggles to redraw the map of territories and objects in dispute, recompose social camps, reactivate the conflict needs in the broadest sense and map anew the incompatibility line between those needs and the imperatives of accumulation . To those who think that social antagonism and class has disappeared (in major categories dissolving or alternatively, in the chattering rantings of post-capitalist society liquid, citizenship, "individuals", universality the human race ... or "capital PLC"), the current struggles simply answer them that only gets reformulate move, seeking new lands and support points, new definitions for its executives, its references, its issues with languages that are reinventing themselves, modes of activation and organization that experiment between fluidity and efficiency in reports of concrete strength on the sidelines of regulatory mechanisms and mediations become established increasingly ineffective. Shifting power relations by definition, not fixed, and now particularly likely to crystallize and socialize anger, trigger contagion as streaks of powders and produce effects well beyond the original purpose of the conflict .

Francesco, June 4, 2014

On a recent experience of struggle neighborhood, we read with profit interview with V. Catalan communard crossing mountain limousine during the summer of 2013, "WHEN THE QUARTERS ORGANIZE (Barcelona, 2013)"


"Barcelona is a huge city, between the various neighborhood committees, there was a moment of" then what do we do? ".

In fact, what does it mean a "neighborhood meeting"? How do you build strength in a neighborhood? This is the question that some of us have begun to meet during the last year, especially in three areas, at least we tried. I speak three initiatives that are closest to me; there are others, but this is not exactly the same spirit.

These three initiatives is in three neighborhoods of Barcelona: Sants in Poblenou, and we in Poble Sec. Us is "The Base", the cooperative Poble Sec Athenaeum.

Develop a self-managed economic infrastructure to cope with all the necessities of life
Make the community where we live. Develop practical support so that trust can return locally. Produce the story of what happens, what happens to us, to try to launch a revolutionary perspective starting material realities,
The third objective is what we might call "the warrior force," our ability to fight together. "
Downloadable here: http://gimenologues.org/IMG/pdf_Barcelone2013.pdf

Related articles already published on the website

On combating the neighborhood Gamonal Burgos

"The street is ours! "

The expulsion Can Lives

Can Lives: The reason for the police force in Barcelona
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