ASS will be supporting the Women’s Strike on March 8th
We will not be open and some of us will be helping with childcare and food
Good news: we’ve escaped the clutches of BT and so significantly reduced our second largest item of expenditure.
Not so good news: we’ve taken on responsibility for paying for the NELSN* phone, but will hopefully get contributions to cover that.
Bad news: we still managed to spend just over twice as much as we got in, excluding the cost of reprinting the Little Squatters Handbook (which we will get back over time).
Good news: we have resources, we’re not going bust any time soon.
For 2018 we can estimate the following:
“rent” ie contribution towards building’s rates and bills, £2,236
phone / internet, £654
other, about £450
Standing Orders, £924
Gap to be filled by sales on Squatters Handbook and Little Squatters Handbook, benefits and donations, £2,416
Standing orders ranging from £2 to £20 per month are received from individual housing activists, ASS collective members who’ve moved on to other things, a housing co-op that remembers its roots and a radical book distributer. It’s always nice to get new donors, but it’s also always possible existing donors might give up on us.
Happy to give more detail / answer any questions
* No Evictions London Squatters Network
Newly reprinted in 2017, the Little Squatters Handbook was first created in 2004. Copies have found their way into many a bookshelf in many a squat, and even in rented houses!
‘Tis a tale of desperation and despair, but also a thrilling story of friendship and triumph in the face of adversity.
It can be yours for £4, or £5.50 including postage, and can be picked up from A.S.S, Freedom Bookshop, and all ‘good’ bookstores.
Perfect of course for filling those stockings come December 25th. Get in quick
On Saturday 28th October we will be at the bookfair at
Park View School,
West Green Road,
We will have a stall selling the Squatters Handbook and the Little Squatters Handbook and giving out free leaflets and advice.
We will be having a meeting at 3pm to talk about Occupations these days, and what you can and can’t get away with, with other groups and individuals who know stuff.
There’s other interesting meetings about housing and loads of stalls, not all selling books. www.anarchistbookfair.org.uk
On Friday night some of us will be joining the tour of some places haunted by undercover police who infiltrated our movements and pretended to be friends and lovers and starting a project to put up memorial plaques. Meet us at the COCK TAVERN, Phoenix Rd, Euston, NW1 1HB for a drink and some reminiscing at 5.30pm.
We’ll be moving off at 6pm sharp and aim to reach Housmans bookshop for a plaque unveiling and launch event at 7.30pm. Please come dressed as ghost (bed-sheet style) if you can. Not just because Haloween is coming, but because these officers came into our lives making themselvesout to be someone they weren’t in order to gain our trust, then disappeared form our lives without a word – like ghosts…
Also on the 28th, United Friends and Families Campaign hold their annual march and rally commemorating deaths in custody. Starts at 12 noon at Trafalgar Square.
back by unpopular demand – Come see a slice of Central London squatting history;
• See the square where squatters and tenants half succeeded in fighting off the encroachment of office blocks,
• See the hotel which ex-soldiers and others occupied in 1946,
• See one of the Really Free School buildings from the recent struggles against cuts and the privatization of education and knowledge,
• See places that were homes to hundreds, alternative bookshops, women’s centres, the starting places for wholefood empires ……
meet Tolmers Square NW1 6pm for 6.30
The building where ASS, and many other cool groups, is based needs serious work to keep it standing. We’re in the attic so particularly want the roof working right, as well as everything between us and the ground.
Here’s the building’s exciting crowdfunder, with cool prizes: https://www.gofundme.com/thebigfreedomrebuild
Updated to inspire a new generation after LASPO 2012 (the criminalisation of squatting in residential property) and other changes. Packed with more information, glossary and index for easier use.
A bargain at £2 (arrangements for bulk purchase / squat type groups).
See Squatters Handbook page of this website for full info.
Squatting is sometimes still legal!
Official launch: Thursday 1st December @ Freedom Bookshop from 7pm. More info nearer the time.
A few days ago the former Camelot Europe HQ, in Westland Park London N1 was squatted in protest against guardian companies’ anti-social profiteering from empty properties and homelessness.
For those who don’t know, Camelot are the original “guardian” company, invented to counter the squatting movement in Holland by moving in people who act as security by living there. Guardians pay rent but have less protection than ordinary tenants, at least according to the wording of their contracts. Other guardian companies also exist, such as our least-favourite Dot Dot Dot ……
A couple of articles have appeared in the Guardian but with certain problems. Both of them seem to agree with Camelot that what the people acting as security guards by living in their properties are is merely licencees, when most legal advice shows that they clearly have tenancies. When challenged on this point most guardian companies back down and come to a deal, rather than allow the issue to go to court.
On Monday 26th Camelot security guards tried to besiege the building, agreeing to let people out but nobody and nothing in. Over a period of days the situation ebbed and flowed, with police from the station a couple of minutes away getting called out regularly to referee a stand-off between security and supporters of the occupiers. At one point the besiegers themselves got besieged. They were allowed to leave but not get back in.
A couple of times the police imposed exclusion orders but only for a while. The last straw for the cops was when security tried forcing entry during the night and they were finally told to leave and that had to get a possession order to get the occupiers out.
Advice from ASS is that if you squat somewhere with an entranceway between the door and the public highway you need to take control of this space.
Four years ago today, squatting in empty residential properties became a criminal offence in England and Wales, with the introduction of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012). Since then many young and homeless people have felt the effects of the new law, and squatting itself has become an ever more precarious housing option, with:
- Alex Haigh (21) becoming the first to be arrested and imprisonment for the new “crime” of squatting, and Daniel Gauntlett (35) the first known death caused by the new law. These are just two known victims of this unnecessary law;
- Over 700 people have been arrested, 300+ prosecuted, and at least 10 imprisoned for section 144, since it was introduced on 1st September 2012 [Squatting Statistics 2015 (May 2016)]
- With the new law, there has been a lawless persecution of squatters, from private security firms undertaking illegal evictions, to a general misrepresentation of squatters as “criminals”;
- England & Wales have lost many important squats in the period, including land-squats, Yorkley Court & Runnymede , and social centres and venues (too many to mention).
While squatting has become tougher, all is not doom and gloom. There have been many successful squats and occupations, including residential buildings, and squatting continues in commercial properties, albeit on a much smaller scale and less visibly than before. Just a few months ago squatters stopped the sale of a council house in Avonmouth by squatting the residential building for six weeks, and in Loughborough Junction, Mornington Crescent and Russell Square, squatters successfully resisted their evictions by High Court Bailiffs (no mean achievement). But the constant moving from one property to the next is wearing people thin.
The pressure on squatting, caused by the new law, means that many homeless people are no longer able to turn to 600,000+ empty houses in England & Wales for shelter. Instead, they have been forced onto the street, or into exploitative license agreements with property guardian companies.
And even though section 144 is exacerbating the housing crisis, back-bench politicians from both major political parties have been calling for an extension of criminalisation to commercial buildings; in July this year, Labour MP Dawn Butler (Brent, London) asked the Secretary of State when he was planning on bringing forward such legislation.
Therefore Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) is calling for a repeal of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012), and an extension of rights for people squatting empty buildings, through frameworks like the “Convention on the Use of Space”.
What You Can Do
> Start Squatting, and/or support your local squats
> Be Ready to Mobilise if new legislation is proposed – keep an eye out for announcements in the squat media