Monthly Archives: November 2011

BBC goes squatting…

As the government plans to make squatting illegal in residential premises in England and Wales, former squatter Robert Elms considers the practice’s long history, and the issues it raises about the need for shelter versus the rights of property owners…

Time Out: Should Squatting be Made Illegal?

The media has been full of scare stories of people’s homes being stolen. These tales seek to deliberately misrepresent and mislead. It’s already illegal to squat in the home that someone lives in. This has absolutely nothing to do with protecting homeowners; it is about extending the protections to cover property speculators who keep houses empty simply to up their profits, and it will be open to abuse by landlords who want a fast means to evict precarious tenants…

Shift: the spatial politics of squatting in the UK…

This document addresses the following questions: Firstly, why bother at all? Why is it important that squatting isn’t criminalized? And secondly, why bother meeting the government on its own terms? Is engagement not contradictory when we’re aiming to build real alternatives to the current system?

NUS Student Activism 2011 Conference: why is squatting relevant to students?

On Saturday Squash will be representing at the NUS Student Activism 2011 conference, at Goldsmiths. Come down and say hello. We’ll be giving a talk at 2pm entitled ‘Trespass! Why criminalizing squatting could affect students…?’ Here’s why we think students should be concerned about the government’s plan’s to criminalise trespass…

Your gauntlet, Mr. Weatherley?

“What really gets my goat is when Weatherley says “show me a squat which has been made better by the squatters” on his website or, most recently, on the BBC Politics Show. Mike said he was laying down the gauntlet to squatter groups: here is one response…”

This pernicious choreography hints at a more sinister logic…

This pernicious choreography – from summer consultation to rushed last-minute amendment – also hints at a more sinister logic. On Tuesday morning, the housing minister, Grant Shapps, tweeted the following: “St Paul’s: Right to protest NOT a right to squat. Looking at law to see if change needed to deal w/ camps like St Paul’s & Dale Farm faster.” Shapps’ casual and lazy equation of protest and collective assembly with the rich and varied history of squatting reveals, it seems to me, the ultimate target of the government’s legal revanchism…

‘Out of the squats, onto the streets’ Photos

         

John McDonnell’s speech from Tuesday

It was a nail-biting debate on Tuesday night, and despite the fact that the vote was lost, some Members spoke extremely eloquently in opposition to the criminalisation of squatting. Reproduced below is John McDonell’s speech – you can read the full transcript from the debate here. We would like to thank those MPs who were brave enough to stand up for the vulnerable, and we hope that the Lords will pay attention to the words of those like McDonnell who clearly showed why these laws are deeply wrong. Making new laws, especially ones that can put people in prison for […]

It’s a choice between homelessness and a criminal record

Most squatters do not pose a threat to ordinary homeowners, but they are a potential embarrassment to a government whose best response to the housing crisis is to make homelessness illegal, which is rather like solving a food shortage by making hunger illegal. Laurie Pennie criticises the governments recent ammendment to criminalise squatting over on the New Statesmen.  

Squash Parliament

They say ’7 days is a long time in politics’. A week ago today we found out that the government was introducing a sneaky last minute clause to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill that would criminalise squatting in residential buildings. Yesterday the clause was voted through in Parliament by 283 to 13 against. The amendment to the clause brought by John Mcdonnell and Crisis was defeated by 23 to 300 against. The clause will now move to the House of Lords where it will face its first proper scrutiny. On Monday night hundreds came for a […]

#StopClause26

We didn’t all get arrested last night! This is what you can do today to stop clause 26 to prevent the criminalisation of the homeless. 9am – Gather outside Westminster Housing Options Service, 101 Orchardson Street NW8 for a workshop on how to register homeless by The Simon Community 12noon – Gather outside Parliament – Rally to show opposition and workshop on how to lobby your MP by Squash Campaign on the law concerning squatting as it stands, and of the impacts New Clause 26 would involve by a Housing Lawyer 3pm – Squash has booked a room in Parliament […]

Mass arrests at Squatters Homelessness Protest ‘undermine democracy’

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release Mass arrests at Squatters Homelessness Protest ‘undermine democracy’ Late last night police arrested homelessness protesters for attempting to sleep outside Parliament against government plans to criminalise squatting. Hundreds of police were deployed to kettle a ‘mass sleep out’ against a proposed late amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill to be voted on today, that would criminalise squatting in residential buildings. After a critical mass bike ride protesters attempted to sleep out on Parliament Green but were surrounded and ordered to disperse under SOCPA. The controversial act – currently being repealed […]