Housing Solidarity meeting, Friday 24th June, Pogo Cafe, Hackney

Following successful housing action nearby, four of us met at Pogo Cafe, Hackney, at 12.30 pm, with a challenging agenda!

  • Feedback on recent housing actions (including a very successful eviction resistance)
  • Brainstorming actions each of us can take as individuals and collectively
  • Our housing situations and how to improve them
  • Planning events

…and so much more.

Interested in contributing to our challenging agenda and tackling housing issues with effective, radical action? Join us!

When: Friday, 1 July 2011, 12.30 pm
Where: Hand in Hand pub, Meadow Road, off New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle (first left off the roundabout).

(We’re open to having meetings at other times; if you would attend the meeting if it was, for example, outside of 9-5 working hours, let us know!)

What are these meetings about?

  • Lots of people are talking about housing problems at the moment.
  • ACTION is what we’re contributing to the debate, including contributing resources for a culture of resistance.
  • We talked about having a variety of processes, so that in addition to weekly meetings in different locations, there are also practical workshops etc. Separation of activities so people can participate piecemeal.

Existing footage

  • Property is Theft (BBC documentary recently shown at Pogo Cafe)
  • Documentary: Youth House in Copenhagen, largest civil unrest there in ages
  • Nottingham

73 Bethune Road

  • Success!
  • ACTION: Let’s tweet and blog about it today
  • Best example of barricading and resisting going on at the moment – we should take that seriously
  • We expect no warning next time, so – longer term – further resistance might not be guaranteed
  • Discussed: How can we organise effective resistance? What could we do to contribute and support? Documentation.
  • ACTION: Talk to residents – ask about specifics of support they’d like from us, amongst other things
  • ACTION: Talk to other people in our networks who might be interested in getting involved

Squattastic – feedback

  • HouSolidarity session: Basic concept presented, not really absorbed / connected with by attendees
  • Squattastic: No clear aim of what we’re trying to achieve; projection for the next one too

Squattastic – lessons for the next one

  • More preparation & distribution of responsibility from everyone there next time would be good
  • Breaking down defences for externalising things – this is stuff that you might do – removing our own detachment; we’re talking about ourselves and issues that affect us!
  • Comparable commitment from everyone involved

Resistance, locally

  • Briefly mentioned (the possibility of) resistance at local eviction attempts
  • ACTION: Talk to relevant people

Shortage of people who want to live under resistance conditions

  • Big problem due to possible criminalisation of squatting… What are we going to do if/when squatting’s illegal?

Dale Farm

  • Call out from Dale Farm Solidarity in response to Basildon Council which is meeting Thurs 30th June 2011, 7.30pm, to discuss ‘TRAVELLER CLEARANCE’: The council is all set to agree to proceed with the £18Million eviction at Dale Farm.
  • ACTION: Demonstrate: Thurs, 30th June: 6.30pm arrival: The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, SS14 1DL
  • ACTION: Publicise on Twitter, blog and Indymedia

Housing actions – “what can I do?”

  • We brainstormed ideas for housing actions
  • List ways to resist
  • Document ways our meetings have gone
  • Barricading workshop
  • Resist evictions
  • Live in occupation
  • Ask people about their housing situations
  • Let people know about existing groups – publicising
  • Research archives
  • Show films about housing action
  • Demonstrate
  • Talk to people at demonstrations
  • Tool co-operative
  • Skill sharings
  • Learn more about the law and share info
  • Think about what I can do
  • Recruit for Advisory Service for Squatters (ASS)
  • ACTION: List on blog and keep adding to it

Housing situations of attendees

  • We talked about our individual housing situations and actions to improve these, as well as offering support and sharing facilities.
  • Assumption that landlords are the enemy; we have other enemies too – e.g. housemates, neighbours… Assumption that things aren’t going to get bad; but they’re already bad and will probably get a lot worse…
  • ACTION: 6 July: Trip to court in response to papers received (and taking the papers to ASS beforehand), for support & meeting other squatters. Publicise on Twitter. Communicating with owners and maybe neighbours.
  • ACTION: Get involved with / help / support Pogo Cafe

Crisis management workshop
Recent workshop: If you have a leak in your house, obviously you respond to that, either fixing it yourself or asking someone else to. Same principle with resisting eviction when someone’s trying to break into your home.

Further agenda points we didn’t get to!

  • Amsterdam – 5 July
  • Bristol Housing Action Movement
  • General process of contacting existing politial groups
  • LCAP e.g. Hackney Housing Group
  • London Boaters
  • New Cross and community council
  • Idea of housing collectives
  • Twitter – strategy – tactical retweets
  • Blog skillshare
  • Flyers/ output – e.g. running a housing action meeting
  • Next meeting – how to run, how we make it effective
  • Communication methods – phone, crabgrass, email…

Next meeting: Friday, 1 July 2011, 12.30 pm, at the Hand in Hand pub, Meadow Road, off New Kent Road, Elephant and Castle (first left off the roundabout).

In the meantime, here’s a quotation from the last meeting: “I’m too tired to speak; I will not let that stop me. I refuse to be bound by the limits of my physical capacity.”


About housolidarity

We call for a radical housing movement as part of broader solidarity against austerity and an end to all evictions. housolidarity@gmail.com
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