What are the challenges and possibilities of popular self-organisation to reclaim our lives, our homes and our cities.
At this years Dublin anarchist bookfair Jenny and Zoe looked at recent occupations in Dublin, including the Grangegorman Squat in Smithfield where resistance to eviction is ongoing
“Ours is a society in which, in every field, one group of people makes decisions, exercise control, limits choices, while the great majority have to accept these decisions, submit to this control and act within the limits of these externally imposed choices. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of housing: one of those basic human needs which throughout history and all over the world people have satisfied as well as they could for themselves, using the materials what were at hand and their own, and their neighbors labor. The marvelously resourceful anonymous vernacular architecture of every part of the globe is a testimony to their skill, using timber, straw, grass, leaves, hides, stone, clay, bone, earth, mud sand even snow. Consider the igloo: maximum enclosure of space with minimum of labor. Cost of materials and transportation, nil. And all made of water. Nowadays, of course, the Eskimos live on welfare handouts in little northern slums. Man, as Habraken says “no longer houses himself: he is housed” – Colin Ward
The text that follows was published by the residents of the squatted complex at Grangegorman on 24 March to describe the day long eviction attempt they succesfully resisted on the previous day. It was initally published on their Facebook page and handed out in leaflet form to people walking by the complex. The words are there own.
On Monday 23rd March, the squatted buildings at Grangegorman, where a community has been living for a year-and-a-half, was the subject of a violent attempted eviction by a large force of contractors and Gardaí. Here is a summary of the situation.
We covered the attempted eviction of the squatted complex at Grangegorman during the week of via our new Facebook page, youtube and Twitter.
For those not familar with Dublin the attempted eviction is happening just 100m north of Smithfield Square. The complex consists of a mix of residentical, industrial & commercial premises that had been left derlict for up to 15 years. There had been a couple of eviction scares previously but at 6.30am on the morning of Monday 23rd March the residents were suddenly worken by the sound of a gang of over 30 men smashing their way into the compound and in at least one case into their houses.
One of our reporters was awoke shortly afterwards to a text message sayiong this was happening and they made their way down, the coverage that follows is a result of their work and the work of other WSM reporters. We've edited the updates together and improved their readibility.
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 massive complex of squatted buildings at Grangegorman was evicted for a second time in early August, this time its likely to be permanent at the plan is to build a huge number of expensive to rent student apartments on the site.
The eviction was anticipated and a lot of material was moved over the days around August 11th when 'heavies' broke through the gates but were told to back off and allow time for material to be moved out when the Garda arrived. The squatters were quietly moving to another large abandoned building nearby that had been squatted recently, the Debtors Prison on Halston street. Central Dublin is full of such abandoned buildings despite the worst housing crisis in the history of the state. Welcome to Ireland 2016 where protecting the rights of vulture funds to make millions come far, far ahead of needs of those without secure accommodation.
We are excited by the news that a new radical social centre opened 6th June in Squat City, Grangegorman named the Violet Autonomous Space (after Violet Gibson, the Irish woman who once shot at Mussolini!).
Over the last week the massive abandoned Grangegorman complex has been reoccupied by squatters including many of those who were eviced last year. As our video shows after the High Court injunction last year the owners who took posession did nothing to bring this huge area back into use for housing. The sole interest seems to have been in selling it, recently it was sold and when the new owners didn't bother with the 24 hour security on site it was reoccupied.
Some 30 people had been living in the various buildings that make up the Grangegorman complex prior to the High Court injunction. The injunction ment that those 30 all had to try and find alternative accommodation as a time when the housing crisis in Dublin has deepened and rents have soared above levels affordable even to someone earning two times the minimum wage.
In a disgraceful if not unexpected scene the High Court has again taken the side of property speculators and ordered the arrest of the remaining squatters at Grangegorman - 19th May. The judge also imposed a 14-day prison sentence on one of the occupiers who said he had not yet vacated the premises because he wanted time to bring an appeal to the Supreme Court
We've caught sight (24 March) of the documents for the High Court hearing against the Grangegorman residents tomorrow and we're surprized to see we (ie our new page Solidarity Times) get a prominent mention. It appears the lawyers concerned are so used to a completly compliant media reproducing ruling class ideology that they imagine our stance of solidarity with those they want to evict from their homes must make us the organisers of the resistance!