The Bolt

Thoughts on Squatting & Social Centers

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Over the previous year myself and a small number of comrades have been involved in housing activism in Dublin, specifically in relation using squatting or using occupation as a tactic. This is meant to be a short piece on some of the lessons learnt to inform activists who wish to get involved in this sort activity.

At the start of our career as squatter/housing activists over a year ago occupying buildings seemed like the primary logical option available to us. Not only was it an available and sensible form of direct action, which informed by our Social Anarchist politics was invariable the best and most effective tactic to use, it was also an easy way to alleviate the housing crisis.

Video tour of previous Dublin eviction by injunction sites on the morning of Apollo House hearing

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This video was shot on the morning of the Apollo House injunction hearing at the High Court, 21st December.  As well as footage from outside the courts on our way there we had earlier visited the sites of other occupied buildings evicted in the last 20 months. We discovered all of them were still vacant and in most cases no visible work at all had been done on them.

The reality of homelessness, the fight for decent housing and lessons from The Bolt hostel

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Over the Last 12 months, particularly since Christmas the housing and homeless problem has deepened significantly. From last summer the amounts of families’ registering as homeless went from 264 to now, which are 531. The number of families that are registered as being in need of emergency accommodation is 792 adults with 1,112 dependent children. These statics were issued by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.

Before and After renovation at the Bolt Squatted Hostel

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The Bolt Hostel is a building occupied by community & housing activists in order to provide emergency accommodation for homeless families. The video shows progress from when the occupation first happened to the kitting out of individual rooms for use.

The Bolt Interview - a squatted emergency accommodation hostel in Dublin - video interview

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The Bolt is an abandoned hostel for the homeless that has been occupied and brought back into use by an alliance of 6 housing groups in Dublin.

In this video Solidarity Times interview one of the organisers in some detail about the building, support from local residents and what has been going on with the council.

Mutual Aid in action at the Bolt occupied hostel in Dublin

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“Mutual aid is arguably as ancient as human culture; an intrinsic part of the small, communal societies universal to humanity's ancient past. From the dawn of humanity, until far beyond the Invention of agriculture, humans were foragers, exchanging labor and resources for the benefit of groups and individuals alike.” – Wikipedia

Since the establishment of the Bolt Hostel just over a week ago, there have been many people that have arrived at the door to donate furniture, cloths, bed linin, volunteering their time, labour and skills. There has been a communal kitchen area/ TV area created, all by the donations of fridges, microwave, washing machine, cooker, table and chairs, sofa, TV and DVD player by people.

Failed attempt to evict The Bolt squatted hostel July 3rd - video report

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Video report from the attempt to evict the new squatted emergency family accommodation center in Bolton street in Dublin on July 3rd.  The building is now being referred to as The Bolt.

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