[EN] Article: Learning from the divide between ‘artistic’ and ‘anarchist’ squats in Paris

‘I’ve painted myself into a corner’ – Learning from the divide between ‘artistic’ and ‘anarchist’ squats in Paris

This comes from the zine using space 8, where it contains lots of pictures of cats.

After an intense week in Paris for the Squatting Europe Kollective‘s annual conference I wanted to set down some thoughts about a rift which seems to go very deep in the squat scene there. I was already aware to some degree of this rupture through discussions with anarchist friends from France and would not by any means claim to have a complete grasp on the situation (if that is even possible); my aim here is to contribute some thoughts from an outsider perspective which would hopefully help to break down this divide, one which ultimately would seem rather destructive for the Paris squat scene (although having said that there is also a real point to be made about who is actually squatting and who is actually in the scene). Places still occupied will not be referred to by name to respect their privacy and what I am saying is intended as constructive criticism, I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong to this, although I would own up to a definite sympathy with the anarchist position. I would hope that debate and introspection is valuable to the squatting scene. I will frame the debate then offer some thoughts on it, adding some experiences from places I have lived in or visited.

SqEK-Event in Berlin / 29th of August 2013

In times of crisis and rising urban conflicts, squatting as a strategy for housing but also for political self organisation seems to celebrate a revival all over Europe. At the same time, we observe accelerated gentrification and displacement, and a rising repression and criminalization of squatting in the last years.

Activists and researchers of Squatting in Europe Kollektive (sqek.squat.net) from Brighton/London, from Rotterdam, Paris and Geneva will talk about the situation of squatting under these contradicting conditions in their cities, in order to exchange experiences and to discuss possibilities of squatting and urban movements. The event will be held in English, translation into other languages are possible.