1) Write to your MP and raise your concerns about the further criminalisation of squatting (ie in commercial premises). MPs are being asked to tell Minister of Justice Grayling what they think about further criminalisation, so it’s worth trying to get your one to respond. There’s a sample email here. You can find out who your MP is at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/.
2) Endorse this Letter: If you are a member of a student union, trade union, anti-cuts group or any other body, talk to your group about endorsing this letter which sets out why the government should not even consider extending criminalisation to commercial premises and occupations.
3) Sign this petition calling for the repeal of section 144 LASPO, the law which makes it a criminal offense to enter an empty, derelict “residential” premises (“residential” here includes many institutional buildings like vacant care homes, hostels, etc); we only need 100,000 signatures to be taken seriously.
4) Help out at SQUASH: Get in touch with Squash if you’d like to help with our work – write to us at info[at]squashcampaign.org; jobs include working on research, cataloging original consultation responses, keeping track of parliamentary debates and media articles, doing media interviews, writing blog pieces, etc. Please contact us and let us know what you would like to do to help, and we can help direct you; most work can be done remotely and in your own time.
5) Destroy Weatherley’s Reputation as well as those of his cronies: MP Mike Weatherley has been the main force pushing further criminalisation of squatting, possibly using money from property developers for this purpose. We need to tarnish his reputation by uncovering his chequered past and current activites; all research and information regarding his immoral activities would be most welcome. Also, there are many other ways to put Weatherley on the spot, including calling in to his regular radio show, asking awkward questions at public appearances, getting acts to boycott his invitations (unlike Fatboy Slim) and generally making him persona non grata. This also applies to other anti-squatting politicians like MP Tracey Crouch, Minister of Justice Grayling, as well as hateful mainstream media publications like the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard.
6) Organise a Publicity Stunt for Squatting: whether resisting an illegal eviction, squatting a building with a certain significance, or challenging a politician/ the media, keep us in the loop. We are happy to publish communiqués, publicise upcoming events and generally support stunts which promote squatting. Please ensure that you have had some media training before dealing with the mainstream media, as they are well-known to twist stories to their own agenda.
7) Keep Track of Squatting in the Media: if you spot an article related to squatting in the mainstream media or on alternative news sites, send us the link at SQUASH with/ without a brief description of the article. It is important that we keep track of what the media is saying about squatting in order to ascertain the mood regarding further criminalisation and challenge stereotypes and outright lies.
8] Tell Us Your Story: If you have had a positive experience of squatting, whether in the past or recently, or negative experiences of police/ security brutality, illegal evictions, harassment or exploitation by property guardian companies, etc, SQUASH would like to hear about it. These real stories help to combat the negative stereotypes of politicians and the media alike. We are likely to post the story on our blog and are happy to maintain anonymity.
9) Blog Pieces: The SQUASH blog is now a resource that tracks the story of how squatting was criminalised over the past two years; the blog also deals with housing-related issues such as homelessness, property guardianship, private tenant struggles, and others. If you have a well-researched piece that you would like to publish on the blog regarding current trends in housing in England and Wales, then please send it on to us.
10) Donate: SQUASH encourage you to donate money and resources to active and useful squatting organisations – such as ASS, SLN -, as well as independent and non-aligned homelessness groups. Instead of donating money to large housing charities like Shelter, which are pretty much quangos and severely compromised, your money will go a lot further to doing good if gets to localised groups and those that have not been professionalised.
Let’s get cracking….