On Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of April 2008, we call for two days of
demonstration, direct action, public information, street-party, squatting… in
defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular culture.
Through these two days, we want to help create more visibility of autonomous
spaces and squats as a european/global political movement. We want to develop
interconnections and solidarity between squats and autonomous spaces. We want to
keep linking our spaces with new people and new struggles, and support the
creation of autonomous spaces in places where there has not been a history of
this kind of action. We want to build, step by step, our ability to overcome the
wave of repression falling on us.
We call for decentralised and autonomous actions of all kinds, depending on
what people feel to be the most appropriate to their local context. You’ll find
below the political content we wish to give to these two days.
We are everywhere…
For centuries, people have used squats and autonomous spaces, either urban or
rural, to take control of their own lives. They are a tool, a tactic, a
practice, and a way for people to live out their struggles. For decades, squat
movements across Europe and beyond have fought capitalist development,
contributing to local struggles against destruction; providing alternatives to
profit-making and consumer culture; running social centres and participatory
activities outside of the mainstream economy. Demonstrating the possibilities
for self-organising without hierarchy; creating international networks of
exchange and solidarity. These networks have changed many lives, breaking out of
social control and providing free spaces where people can live outside the
Among other things, these places provide bases for meetings and projects, for
the creation and distribution of subversive culture, for the non-monetary based
exchange of goods, resources and knowledge, for experimentating with new ways of
living, for collective debates, for recycling and construction, for agricultural
activities, for the production of independant media.
Whether we speak of urban squats or of purchased land, of negotiated or
re-appropriated rural land, of restored factories or self-built buildings, these
spaces are refuges for rebels and outlaws, poor and homeless people, radical
activists, illegal immigrants. Social centres are crucial to us as part of a
movement for social change.
All over Europe,
repressive agendas are being pushed by governments
They are attacking long-standing autonomous spaces such as the Ungdomshuset
in Copenhagen, Koepi and Rigaer Straße in Berlin, EKH in Vienna and Les
Tanneries in Dijon, squatted social centres in London and Amsterdam, Ifanet in
Thessaloniki, etc. In France, squats have become a priority target for the
police after the anti-CPE movement and the wave of actions and riots that
happened during the presidential elections period. In Germany, many autonomous
spaces have been searched and attacked before the G8 summit. In Geneva and
Barcelona, two old and big squatting “fortresses”, the authorities have decided
to try to put an end to the movement. Whereas it is still possible to occupy
empty buildings in some countries, it has already become a crime in some others.
In the countryside, access to land is becoming harder and communes face
increasing problems from legislation on hygiene, security and gentrification by
the bourgeoisie and tourists. All over Europe, independent cultures are being
Several months ago we saw running battles in the streets of Copenhagen and
actions everywhere in Europe in an explosion of anger at the eviction of the
Ungdomshuset social centre. Since then, and with a few other big resistance
stories that happened over the last months, we’ve managed to renew the meaning
of international solidarity.
We are motivated by the same passions, we feel the same determination, face a
common enemy in repression, and are united across borders by our desire to build
a world of equality and self-determination. As unaligned and ungovernable
islands of uncontrolled freedom we want to continue to act in solidarity, and
strengthen our international links, no matter how many kilometres there are
Issues beyond the actions
We also would like these days of actions to enable and inspire discussion, to
demonstrate various possibilities & strategies, to be an occasion to share
skills. These are some of the issues we would like to push:
- what do we expect from and understand by autonomous spaces? What is their
rôle in the pursuit of radical social change? Where do they lie on the scale
of’alternative’ to ‘confrontational’?
- share information on the range of activities that take place in autonomous
social spaces along with ideas for how to make them work; question the
production of goods and services; and encourage the exchange of knowledge
particularly between the town and the countryside.
- share experiences, inspire each other, find out how others live
collectively, and their activities, alternative economic exchange
- share various ways of getting spaces all over europe: illegal occupations,
Do It Yourself constructions, wagenburgs, buying collectively, free
- share practical resources and a feeling of solidarity between:
- different users of autonomous spaces (either current or potential):
co-operatives, people without papers,
activists, travellers, immigrants, urbanites, rural dwellers, small
- different ways of using spaces; activities for the community, meeting
area for groups, living spaces;
- different users of autonomous spaces (either current or potential):
- enable the forming of common strategies when faced with state
repression or eviction;
Who are we,
how can we collaborate on this project,
and make it happen?
At the moment, we are a group of people involved with various autonomous
spaces around Europe, who decided to start discussing this call. We’ll meet
various collectives in the coming months and see how people feel about this
proposal for european days of action, and how they want to get involved. Its
success depends a lot on our capacity to create a bigger international working
group. This would mean everybody who wanted to take part into it would try to
start discssing the idea in various spaces, creating and distributing some
propaganda materials and networking information about what’s going on near them
during those days. We would also like to organize a physical meeting about all
this in the upcoming months. Get in touch!
Here is the call, laid-out as an A4 flyer. Please download the PDF file,
print it and spread it around squats and autonomous spaces in your area.
The success of this call now depends upon our capacity to create a bigger
international working group. The whole event will happen without any “central
commitee”, and will be made of a various autonomous decentralised actions.
Still, we think it is important to have a physical meeting, in order to
exchange ideas and strategies, discuss the contents of the call, see how to
create common information tools around that project, how to connect and help
the various local initiatives.
Thus, we’re calling for an international preparation &
coordination meeting on November 24th & 25th 2007, in the autonomous space
“Les Tanneries”, located in Dijon,
France. It is a squatted social centre in a post-industrial
environment, occupied since 1998. Thanks to years of struggle against the city
council owning the buildings, the project has reached a certain degree of
stability. It hosts a collective house, a gig room, a hacklab, a free shop, an
infoshop, a collective garden, a library…
We hope that many of you will be able to join. Please tell us a bit in advance if you’re
planning to come, so that we get an idea of the number of people we have to
accomodate and plan food for. You’re very welcome to pass this invitation to
squats and autonomous spaces that you know.
Getting in touch & helping out
Please get in touch, by writing to april2008 at squat dot net.
Any help with translations in whatever languages is greatly appreciated.