[NetBehaviour] Squatting Europe 2010 Gathering June 24-28 London.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Jun 16 12:09:42 CEST 2010

Squatting Europe 2010 Gathering June 24-28 London.

June 24 – June 28, 2010
London Action Resource Centre
62 Fieldgate St. Whitechapel, London E1 1ES

Squatting Europe is a research network focusing on the squatters’ 
movement. Our aim is to produce reliable and fine-grained knowledge 
about this movement not only as an end in itself, but also as a public 
resource, especially for squatters and activists. Critical engagement, 
transdisciplinarity and comparative approaches are the bases of our 
project. The group is an open transnational collective (Squatting Europe 
Kollective, SQEK) whose members represent a diversity of disciplines and 
fields of interest seeking to understand the issues associated with 
squats and social centres across the European Union.

Thursday June 24th
4-7pm: SQUATTING, CITIES & MEDIA. Lynn Owens (Spatial politics) Galvao 
Santos (Mass Media) Alan W. Moore (Artivism)

Friday June 25th
(Reformists/Libertarian) Hans Pruijt (Social Movements’ Theories) César 
Guzmán (European Urban Movement) Miguel Martínez (Institutionalisation) 
Ely Lorenzi (Critical Mass and Squatting)

Saturday June 26th
9am-12pm: Pierpaolo Mudu (On Self-funded research principles) SQUATTING, 
CITIES & MEDIA Peter Birke (Gentrification and economic crisis) Discussion
4-7pm: Public talk

Sunday June 27th

Monday June 28th
9am-12pm: SQEK & ACTION-RESEARCH AGENDA Discussion

Contact: email to squattingeurope at listas.nodo50.org or email Miguel 
Angel Martinez Lopez (miguelam at cps.ucm.es)

Why squatting?
While homelessness is escalating worldwide, the production of empty 
spaces is becoming a regular feature of contemporary society. As states 
and markets failed to fulfil their allocated function, buildings sit 
empty while homelessness has been increasing across Europe and the 
world. In this time of crisis, people who have decided to take matters 
into their own hands are squatting a diversity of spaces: office blocks, 
factories, abandoned theatres, public houses (UK) and bars, as well as 
houses. In the process, the concept of urban development and renewal, 
i.e. urban and housing politics and spatial adjustment is re-interpreted 
and detourned. Indeed, squatting is not just a way to satisfy the need 
for housing and to express the rarity of spaces of sociability, but it 
is also an attempt to practice non-hierarchical and participatory 
organization models. Squats often offer an alternative mode of 
envisioning social relationships and political practices and developing 
collective activities such as critical and radical political meetings 
and countercultural events outside of, and in antagonism with, 
commercial circuits. Claiming their political dimension, social centre 
activists and squatters are thus often engaged in broader protest 
campaigns and social movements, fighting against precariousness, urban 
speculation, racism, neo-fascism, state repression, militarization, war, 
locally unwanted land use, private-oriented education/university reforms.

The existence of vacant buildings once designed to house the production 
of multinational capital in the metropolis not only belies the 
neutrality of market forces but also stands as an accusation to 
neo-liberal home ownership ideology. Yet, in spite of the evidence of 
its social contributions to the urban global crisis, many scholars and 
politicians still consider the squatters’ movement marginal.

The rhetoric of economic recovery reflects the vacancy of current 
political debate. Politicians call for social cohesion and 
self-responsibility. However, when people actually take these values 
seriously, they are often treated as criminals who undermine social 
integration. Academic responses to the current crisis have been just as 
vacant. While many researchers are struggling with the neo-liberal 
attack on public universities and seem only interested in getting 
funding from private companies and in the production of market-oriented 
information, others seem more interested in theorizing the problem than 
addressing it. Yet, social movements and urban problems are demanding a 
much more socially committed production and distribution of knowledge. 
Accordingly, SQEK will seek to critically analyse the squatters’ 
movement in its relevant contexts (historical, cultural, spatial, 
political, and economic), trying to involve the activists in the 
research practices, and sharing the knowledge thus produced with them 
and society.

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