Oost ontruim je niet in een dag!

Hier kun je discussieren over Oost ontruim je niet in een dag!.
What made this level of passive and active resistance possible, were not only the brave and dedicated people who spent many hours in lock-ons, the people who spent hours building barricades or the people confronting the police with paint and smokebombs. Behind all this also stands the effort of years of campaigning, research, neighbourhood outreach, beautiful creativity and free spirit.
The result of all this work is not only that some young people with low income have a place to live, or that some squatter subculture has it's hangouts. The result is also continuous resonance in the echo chamber of society: Media coverage of the housing problem in the city and the activities of white-collar criminals in the real-estate sector as well as placing those issues repeatedly on the agenda of the local councils. What those campaigns try to create, is a saturation of the public domain with a knowledge about those issues that can breed understanding. This understanding forms the basis of a mutual engagement with the community. The most explicit example of this was the neighbourhood march two days prior to the evictions. The speakers and participants at this march were not only squatters celebrating themselves and preaching to their own crowd, but to a large part renters who have been wronged by their landlords, neighbours who have become strangers in their own neighbourhood because of the plans of real-estate developers and politicians, and even antisquatters who have realized that they are used and abused by illegitimate businesses and their degrading practices.
The squatters themselves had major active support within the neighbourhoods during the eviction wave itself, and this was exactly because of their ability to build bridges on the basis of their continuous and inspiring campaigns. Such ties with the neighbourhood are not only achieved by propaganda, though. Presenting an open atmosphere and friendly face to the community is the important second component of the successes booked there. Groups like the people behind the Blijvertje, the Valreep and Schijnheilig are often maligned as “soft hippies” or “conformist students” by detractors from within other squatting groups. However, it has been proven time and again by those people, that they can also fight and resist, organise demonstations and earn their keep in the “traditional squatter's way” The opposite can not be said of many other continuously working squatter collectives. Many are mostly busy with playing for their own crowd, maintaining a closed subcultural niche where only “their kind” is really welcome. Interaction with the community is very limited and hardly goes beyond the necessary minimum.
This last eviction wave had a list much longer than the two handful of houses in Oost. Very few of the places nominated for eviction elsewhere had a story to tell about themselves or why and how they were evicted or given up. This is not the way how a group of housing activists should be represented in the media: Without real mention, without a cause, without message.
If all the squatting groups in this city would act like the people putting their efforts behind Blijvertje, Valreep, Schijheilig and related houses, then the next eviction wave will fail to meet it's goals, and a larger activist movement can one day grow from the fertile environment created by real community work. I would wish, that the next eviction wave will be accompanied by the slogan “Amsterdam ontruim je niet, nog niet eens in een week” and that it will really be the case too.


Read this good article with the song of David Rovics.

i don't drive a car
'cause they run on gas
but if i did
it'd run on biomass
i ride a bike
or sometimes a skateboard
so fuck off all you drivers
and your yuppie hordes
sitting all day
in the traffic queues
i'm a better anarchist than you

i don't eat meat
i just live on moldy chives
or the donuts that i found
in last week's dumpster dives
look at you people in that restaurant
i think you are so sad
when you coulda been eating bagels
like the ones that i just had
i think it is a shame
all the bourgeois things you do
i'm a better anarchist than you

i don't wear leather
and i like my clothes in black
and i made a really cool hammock
from a moldy coffee sack
i like to hop on freight trains
i think that is so cool
it's so much funner doing this
than being stuck in school
i can't believe you're wearing
those brand new shiny shoes
i'm a better anarchist than you

i don't have sex
and there will be no sequel
because heterosexual relationships
are inherently unequal
i'll just keep moshing
to rancid and the clash
until there are no differences
in gender, race or class
all you brainwashed breeders
you just haven't got a clue
i'm a better anarchist than you

i am not a pacifist
i like throwing bricks
and when the cops have caught me
and i've taken a few licks
i always feel lucky
if i get a bloody nose
'cause i feel so militant
and everybody knows
by the time
the riot is all through
i'm a better anarchist than you

i don't believe in leaders
i think consensus is the key
i don't believe is stupid notions
like representative democracy
whether or not it works
i know it is the case
that only direct action
can save the human race
so when i see you in your voting booths
then i know it's true
i'm a better anarchist than you

Even though i liked what i

Even though i liked what i saw the last days in the east, lots of people going for what they want, there is some important questions to put, especially to an article like this....

The text refers to campaigning and media coverage with, besides others, the beautiful result that the housing question is on the agenda of the local politicians. So, you take things in your own hands, to finally have it 'on the agenda', and let the politicians decide on our lives once again?

Media coverage is a political game, with vertical structures on all sides, in contrary to for example handing out leaflets, which is so much more direct and honoust- and the 'people of the east' are also very good at. And then... white collar criminals, isnt it obvious that all of us are criminals, aint there better arguments? I wouldnt want to draw a line between criminals and none criminals, and if so, in this society of repression and control i prefer a lot more to be on the side of the criminals... And squatting is already for years in a bigger conflict with the housing corporations and the cityhall than with anyone else, i almost feel whitecollarcriminals is just a populist slogan to easily convince people.

What a pity, because exactly being on the streets, ready to talk to the neighbors or anyone who shows up, feeling strong about what you have to say and want to do, is beautiful and very necessary... So dont ruin it with campaigning at the cityhall and the defenders of their system, the mainstream media...

In solidarity,
freedom to the arrested and all
Środkowy wschód

ps- Sadly since this summer, Schijnheilig doesnt fit in the list of groups you put in the article.
Even though considering diversity, and a basic respect for that, is crucial.

@ reaction

It is of course clear, that the actions of politicians range from spineless to intentionally pro-capitalist. The important part of putting pressure on them is not so much the possible result of them eventually seeing the light, but the message that sends to many 'normal people' for whom it demonstrates how legitimate our demands are, and how the political representatives they have voted for deal with those demands. In the course of recent years I have noticed growing alienation and disgust among citizens when it comes to politics, due to such campaigns.

Also, I do not think it wrong to refer to white-collar criminals. Just because squatting has been criminalized does not bring squatters closer to those people. Not everything the state declares illegal is automatically a good thing, just like the opposite isn't true either.
Furthermore, it shows that state power does not even follow it's own rules of crime and punishment by selectively evicting squatters but hardly ever doing something against the people who play dirty games with basic necessities of people, like housing. (the big FIOD action last monday being a very welcome exception). All this is not aimed at legitimizing the state by petitioning them, but to expose them in the public perception as the self-serving powerplayers they really are.

If you can explain to me how all of that ruins the result of neighbourhood work, I would be very interested.

Personally I consider it a success if even Geenstijl is dragging the cops through the mud, and RTV Noord Holland can only find neighbours complaining about the police

As far as the named squatting groups go, they are examples, and luckily not the only ones. That things went bad at the last Schijnheilig eviction is of course true, but in terms of public perception it was a success. For once the issue of foreigner's detention has been broadly been reported on in mainstream media due to the sacrifice some people made for their ideals

This is how changing public opinion works.

In this eviction round, there

In this eviction round, there certainly was a conflict with white collar criminals, even if you for whatever reasons would want to call them differently (and, honestly, you’re at danger of engaging in futile word play here since it’s obvious that the writer doesn’t attack all those who the state labels as criminals). Just check the background stories of the various places where people resisted – most are classic speculation stories.

There is always something vulgar about rejoicing over media coverage since you’re quite right to suggest that it’s all power play. Nevertheless, media coverage doesn’t come out of thin air. It helps to have really strong networks in the neighborhood and to have a good and supported story. Of course you shouldn’t measure your success in terms of media coverage but it’s another thing to say that it’s something you should attempt to influence directly or indirectly.

Various squats that were evicted in the East yesterday spent years building networks and developing an understanding of how housing markets and communities work. It sucks that the buildings are gone but fortunately ideas can’t be evicted and they’ll live on elsewhere.

criminals and outlaws

The trouble that several people seem to have with the white collar criminals as targets of political campaigns mainly arise from the diffuse meaning the attribute to the the word 'criminal'. This term, like all many others, might be undone of its political connotations in public opinion, but activists should be able to distinguish he underlying notions.

Most importantly, breaking the law does not make anything criminal. Its all about the reasons why laws are broken. A criminal is someone exploiting a prohibition situation for the enormous profits it entails by breaking the law in quite a capitalist sense: for the individual profit, in money but also in any other advantage gained on an individual level, but does not challenge the social order us at all. In fact, criminals love the social order , especially if their lawbreaking enhances their individual position in it.

Others, in this case insurgents like the squatters, break the law independent from the personal benefits that they would get from such an act, mostly by ignoring the law on their way to achieving a social balance modeled on principles beyond the legality in the current social order. No prohibition is exploited and they would do the exact same things if it was legal, as long as they are in line with their political goals.

Such outlaws (not criminals) operate beyond legality and it is their moral motives they might form the base for future rules in a different society if ever achieved (by legal or illegal means).

The white collar bit in the media work here is in fact nothing more than the unmasking of the class inequalities is the current criminal (in)justice system. While 'blue collar criminals' (like shoplifters and other subsistence lawbreakers) get the full load, the upper class gets not only left alone, but even supported by the state in order to defend their class privilege. The are 'illegal capitalists' no better than the legal ones, but ensured of legal protection against those challenging the social order.

Depicting house owners as criminals eventually replaces the moral authority attributed to statuary law, by the one of the moral goals of the activists. This works especially well, if these principles are shared by the public opinion, and is a powerful means of pressure to force the hand of elected officials, that then again command the police. It also ultimately undermines the legitimacy of the state (for the fetishist who care ;)

@ "Even though I liked"...

Since apparently in this swomp we are so enstranged to ourself that we all engage in a discussion in a foreign language (just guessing that english isn't the native tongue of most posters here), I'll also use english.
I'm really interested in trying to understand why, exactly, the Schijnheilig collective doesn't fit in the same list as "Blijvertje, Valreep, and related houses". Could you elaborate? What does 'not fitting' mean anyway? 'Not fitting', like in 'queer as fuck'?

English is not my native language but...

I used English because of the same reason as OP - to involve as many people as possible in the discussion. Using a language that people can understand and speak is hardly a sign of alienation and may in fact lower the threshold for many to participate.

By the way, it's great that Indymedia created a space for discussion.


I could have written the whole piece in Dutch just as well, but that was not what I did. Just like the commenter before me says, my intention was to make it as broadly readable as possible. It is a fact that there are more Dutch people who can read and write English in the 'housing activist movement' than there are non-Dutch people who can read and write Dutch. Most of the latter group are able to read and write English, though. Because I wanted to address my opinion piece to as many housing activists as I possibly can within Amsterdam, I chose that language. Nothing more, nothing less.

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