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(en) Canada, Collectif Emma Goldman - Eviction of squatters from the Chicoutimi bus station (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 3 Apr 2022 08:05:25 +0300

In Chicoutimi, the wave of consternation among the merchants of rue Racine caused by the murder of a homeless person (Éric Gaudreault) who slept on a public bench last October was very short-lived. The poor remain undesirables in the gentrified public space. This week, the wave of complaints from downtown merchants prompted a police intervention to drive out a squat established since January in a heated stairwell of the Racine Street bus station. About fifteen people lived in this squat and about thirty frequented it according to the press.
City councilor Mireille Jean and the Saguenay police welcome this intervention as if it would bring "security" and "friendliness" back to the area. Listening to them, one would almost believe that it was for the good of homeless people that the police chased them out of their squat. Maybe in fact this squat made the city's contempt for the poor a little too visible for their taste...

For years, the scarcity of affordable housing in downtown Chicoutimi has been denounced and nothing has changed. We have seen what tolerance the city has towards the most crooked owners of rooming houses (slum version). Through their negligence, people have even died. We remember, for example, Michael Labbé. The problem is systemic. Private property and the profits of traders and building owners take precedence over the right to a standard of living sufficient to ensure the well-being and health of people.

To think that it is enough to "place" homeless people in specialized homes is to demonstrate willful ignorance as to the various roots of this situation, starting with the affordable housing crisis and a situation of unfavorable socioeconomic factors. Let's face it, rather than offering a decent standard of living to everyone, our system of capitalist inequalities stigmatizes the poor and seeks to attribute responsibility for their socio-economic situation to them. Under these conditions, the so-called "fight against homelessness" by elected officials and the police only serves to reassure the bourgeois.

The conditions of the squat in the stairwell of the bus station were certainly not ideal, but they nevertheless met the needs of many of its inhabitants better than many services or rooming houses. The squat was also close to the soup kitchen and downtown community groups. This is significant at a time when more and more less affluent people have to seek housing in other neighborhoods (with fewer community groups) due to the scarcity of affordable housing. Rather than the police and their supposed "benevolence" chasing them away (kudos to the media for this imbecile image!), the squatters need the solidarity of a neighborhood where people come before dollar bills. This does

Solidarity with squatters and squatters!

Pete Kropo

by Collectif Emma Goldman

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