- Give us space trailer
- GIVE US SPACE is a documentary and a bit more. We focus on creative documentation, research and action around housing issues. The project came about from our direct experience dealing with many difficult housing situations in London, which affected all aspects of our lives; we learned a lot from it, researched it more deeply and we decided to share it!
A feature documentary was the chosen medium, as we believe video is a powerful tool to spread the word and generate awareness. So far the film is the main focus of the project, however we plan to extend it to other creative areas and actions.
- Lambeth resident facing eviction by Council
- Maritza Tschepp is due to be evicted by Lambeth council from her family home of 33 years. Tschepp is among the few dozen people left in Lambeth’s so-called short-life properties, handed over to housing co-operatives in the late 1970s. Now Lambeth wants to sell the homes, arguing it would raise £50m to spend on other housing priorities
- The muesli-maker who began in a squat mp4 3mins 30mb
- Behind the scenes: Alara Cereals started in a squat with two pound notes. But an inauspiscious start has blossomed in to an unlikely success story …
- I got involved in the squatting movement in the early 1970s. I’d moved to London to study architecture and was living in a building on Tolmers Square, just off Tottenham Court Road. I opposed the philosophy of destroying existing Victorian properties and replacing them with modern blocks solely in the name of making money, so I decided I had to live without it. I didn’t spend money for a year until, in 1975, I found two £1 notes in the street and decided to start a business with it.
We began what’s now Alara by selling fruit and veg that would otherwise have been thrown out. We bought a sack of flour from a wholefoods wholesaler near the squat and started baking bread. Eventually we squatted in a retail premises and turned it into a wholefoods shop.
We got evicted from that shop and another, second premises within two years, so, in 1978, we leased a small shop just off the Euston Road. The shop continued to do very well, but the area was being redeveloped and Camden Council allocated our shop as the site office, so we struck a good deal with them to move to a bigger place on Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury.
We wanted to produce really healthy food, and there were no cereals on the market that had no added sugar, salts or fats at that time, so we started making muesli. With more space in Bloomsbury, we were able to get a muesli mixing machine. It all expanded from that point on, until we had our own factory in Camley Street, King’s Cross. We’ve been embedded in the community for years now – we’ve planted lots of trees near the factory, we have an orchard, and the people who work here live close by, too. Our next mission is to sequester more carbon than the carbon we create in making our products.
Our focus is on creating a healthy product with high nutritional value. As well as keeping our muesli free from sugar, salt and fat, we use superfoods such as goji berries and linseeds, and we’ve developed a complex database that we use to develop blends with specific requirements – such as high selenium, or vitamin C – that will still taste great.
Alara was the first cereal company in the world to be certified organic, and now our factory produces about half of all the organic muesli sold in the UK. We are also the first company to be licensed by the Coeliac Society. We’ve come a long way since squatting, but being accessible to everyone remains central to what we do.
- St. Agnes Place 6mins 20mb mp4
- Short film about the a squatted community in south London that survived for over 30 years before being knocked down by Lambeth council
Date: 2013, Country: UK, City:Birmingham, Language: Eng, Length: 2.5mins, Size: 11mb Type: flv
On the 8th of November 2011, we left the Whitmarley, which has been the first home of “the Birmingham social centre”. The social centre is much more than the building; it is the concept, community and people that have formed around it.
In easter, months before we started the project we set out these as the reasons “we”, then a bunch of students who had been organising on campus should create a squatted social space.
Date: 2013, Country: UK, Language: Eng, Length: 30mins
Voices in the Community tells the story of occupied social centres in the UK and considers their significance in the recent discourse surrounding the criminalisation of squatting.
Date: 2013, Country: UK, City:London, Language: Eng, Length: 20mins
Bonnington Square is right in the heart of London, just two minutes walk from the river and just ten minutes from the Houses of Parliament. In the early eighties the one hundred houses of the Square were all squatted, forming a bohemian community from all around the world.The squat had two community gardens, a cafe, a wholefood shop, a nightclub, a newsletter and even a milkbar. Although it is no longer squatted, there are still many low rent housing cooperatives, and the cafe and the gardens are still collectively run, and the Square is now a model of a modern sustainable urban community.
The End of Squatting in the UK? A Real News production.
“Calls from within government to fully criminalise squatting gather momentum. It could have serious implications for political occupations, and will it backfire on the government’s plans to reduce its welfare budget?”
Date: 2012, Country: UK, City:London Language: ENG Length: 21mins, Size: 8mb Type: FLV
This documentary takes a contemporary look at squatting in England. Mostly filmed in South London, it is set against the backdrop of the approaching olympics and the new law (passed today) which makes the practice of living in unused properties illegal. It explores the kinds of people who live in squats and why, and addresses how these places contribute to society. The film takes the view that squatting in itself is an artform.
Part 1 explores an underground punk gig at a squat, and we meet some of the people who help the night happen. We also learn a bit about squatting in the 1970s.
In Part 2 we talk to a band big on the southern squat scene. We visit the oldest squat in England and see how they open their arms to the public. We are introduced to a campaign group opposed to the law criminalising squatting, and we hear from the council and a housing association. We also visit an art exhibition with work from people who have been living homeless.
Date: 2011, Country: UK, City:London, Language: EN & FR Length: 6mins, Size: 30mb Type: FLV Film-maker: Dasa Raimanova.
Short film about squat in London by Dasa Raimanova
Thousands of squatters in England and Wales face possible eviction after a change in the law. As of midnight on Saturday, it is a criminal offence to squat in a residential property, meaning that homeowners will no longer need to go to court in order to secure an eviction. The change has prompted protests, as lawyers representing the homeless say the new law will criminalise the most vulnerable in British society. Al Jazeera’s Peter Sharp reports from London.
We are against the criminalisation of squatting. Last chance to respond to proposed criminalisation of squatting at http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/dealing-with-squatters.htm. See www.squashcampaign.org for help and guidelines on how to respond
Watch police take an amusing TEN MINUTES to break the door on the first squat to raided since the law changed on September 1, criminalising those who live as squatters in residential buildings. No-one was living in this place but unfortunately three visitors were arrested. We love them and all squatters. Squatters Network of Brighton.
Channel4 – In 2012, squatting would become a criminal offence – police will be allowed to force entry and arrest anyone who has occupied a property. There could even be prison sentences for squatters if they are prosecuted. http://www.channel4.com/news/housing-crisis-solution-or-home-owner-harassment
Date: 2012, Country: UK, City:Brighton, Language: Eng, Length: 6mins, Size: 38mb Type: flv Filmaker: SchMovies.
The day after the Queen’s Jubilee the Autonomous Homeless Shelter (AHS) – a squatted building in Brighton for the homeless – received its court papers. The ongoing squat had been housing 15 vulnerable homeless and non-substance dependent people for six months.
Faced with imminent eviction the AHS staged an all-night sleep over outside Brighton town hall in protest…
[The building has now been evicted but they’ve moved to another one!]
Date: 2012 Country: UK, City: various, Language: EN, Length:45mins x 2 Maker: Channel4
In The Great British Property Scandal, George Clarke campaigns to bring Britains empty homes back into use and stop the scandalous waste. Laugh as he squats for the night, shudder as you see the number of empty properties in the UK.
Date: 2011, Country: UK, City:Brighton, Language: Eng, Length: 7mins, Size: 58mb Type: flv Filmaker: SchMovies.
On November 5 2011, Brighton squatters took to the streets in protest against the forthcoming criminalisation of squatting. A move which will only make things worth for the homeless and indeed anyone taking direct action to house themselves. This film includes the last footage of activist Mark Rivers, who died tragically that night.
Date: 2011, Country: UK, City:Brighton/London/Southend, Language: Eng, Length: 9.5mins, Size: 40mb Type: mp4 Film-maker: Shergroup
Shergroup wankers talk about a few evictions in the UK (Raven’s Ait island, the church in Brighton, Camp Bling in Southend-on-Sea). This film was apparently shown at the 2011 ACPO conference (ACPO = Association of Chief Police Officers). See you next time suckers!!
Date: 2010, Country: UK, City: London, Language: ENG, Length: 2 mins, Size: 10mb Type:
Squatters and their supporters were determined to stop the eviction of an occupied social centre in Hackney, East London. They constructed barricades and declared that they would peacefully resist any attempt to remove them. On the morning of the 17th August High Court bailiffs tried unsuccessfully to remove the squatters.
17-08-10, Hackney, London, UK (the place was later evicted).
Date: 2007, Country: UK, City:Manchester, Language: Eng, Length: 3mins, Size: 18mb Type: mp4
Underground art event that took place in Manchester. Forbidden Arts / TAA.
Date: 2005, Country: UK, City:Brighton, Language: EN, Length:
39mins, Size: 163mb Type: mp4 Film-maker: BBC
Underground Britain profiles notorious landlord Nicholas van Hoogstraten
Date: 2004, Country: UK, City:Brighton, Language: EN, Length:
23mins, Size: 71mb Type: mp4 Film-maker: BBC
BBC HARD talk from BBC News 24. Notorious landlord Nicholas van Hoogstraten interviewed by Tim Sebastian. Broadcast 9th January 2004.
Date: 2002, Country: UK, City:Bristol, Language: Eng, Length: 9.5mins, Size: 40mb Type: mp4 Film-maker: BBC/BHAM
Mary Seacole Court in St Werburghs and Easton’s Kebele Cafe are the subject of this 2002 film about Bristol squatters. Featuring Martin Maxto and Lizzie from Kebele and Satyana and Jason from Mary Seacole Court. A Bristol Housing Action Movement (BHAM) co-production. Catweazle, Jason, Cecil Axford and several more also get a look in.
Revived in 1984, Bristol Housing Action (BHAM) is a non-heirarchical collective of sqatters and their supporters. We help provide housing and other support for homeless people.
We are committed to the opening of community spaces and to solidarity with existing social centres. We campaign against the privatisation of public land and housing and for the defence of public space.
The land is a free gift to all mankind and not ‘private property’ in the ordinary sense. The right to shelter is enshrined in article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 1996, a group called Justice? squatted a shop in Brighton and set up a squatters estate agency, which ended up getting a lot of publicity. This is a local TV report.
Date: 199?, Country: UK, City:Luton, Language: EN, Length:2mins, Size: 25mb Type: mp4 Film-maker: BBC
The Exodus Collective rave on the 130,000 acre estate claimed by the Marquis of Tavistock & meet with his son Lord Howland to resolve conflict at their squatted mansion.
- Liverpool Mutual Aid Centre 10mins mp4 28mb
- The Mutual Aid Centre (Liverpool)
This is a brief history of the Mutual Aid Centre. Its a shortened version of a piece written, in March 1996, for anarcho-syndicalists in Sheffield Solidarity Federation. A list of abbreviations has been added at the end:
The first MAC was squatted in 1987 and lasted for 3 months of 24 hours high profile occupation (coverage in the local papers and radio). At the end of that the MAC was evicted and the deputy Council leader’s office was occupied in protest (the council was the landlord). A few months later the second MAC was squatted. This lasted until early 1995, when it was finally evicted. The second MAC was fairly low profile, with negotiations with the Council for the first few years (then the landlord changed and we were left alone mostly). The second MAC wasn’t occupied 24 hours a day but it was a centre of fairly intense activity for years, until it all fizzled out a couple of years ago.
Activities included (in no particular order): strike support, discussion meetings/ videos, anti-fascism (effectively smashing Liverpool BNP), anti-poll tax, women’s group, anti-sexism, visits to Northern Ireland and support for Troops Out, anti-poll tax, anti-militarism, street stalls, support for Sri Lankan refugee Viraj Mendis until after he was deported, animal rights work, Anarchist Black Cross and prisoner support, food co-op, etc., etc…. Most of this activity was generated by activists in the then Liverpool Anarchist Group. Whether the MAC was an Anarchist Centre run by the LAG or a libertarian centre run by all participating groups never really got sorted (partly because of negotiations with landlords). All the work was done by anarchists. From 1988 to 1992 LAG produced 32 issues of the Merseyside Anarchist Newsletter, which gave a good idea of what Liverpool Anarchists were into (back copies available on request). Other groups that used the centre included Clause 28 and other lesbian and gay groups, a women’s sexual abuse group, Namibia support group, unemployed activist group, unemployed rambling group, Earth First!, writers’ workshop, squatting advice, etc. Some of these groups/ campaigns were short lived (eg writers’ workshops), some lasted throughout the MAC’s existence (eg anti-fascism). The MAC also had silkscreen equipment, a duplicator, a weights bench, etc., as well as having an office (the building had three floors). One of the rooms was originally for woman only, though the women’s group didn’t last so this changed. The MAC was used for regional DAM and AFA meetings, national unemployed meetings, a national anarchist ‘Propaganda’ weekend, a Class War national women’s meeting, an international ABC meeting (delegates from USA, Greece..) etc.. LAG eventually folded at the end of 1991 as people joined Class War or DAM.
MAC business was originally dealt with at LAG meetings, though later a committee (accountable to LAG) was set up to deal with MAC business separately. When the LAG ended the committee was re-organised to ensure equal CW, DAM, and non-aligned representation. All other user groups were encouraged to send an observer. A constitution was drawn up when it seemed the centre might get a lease (based on various constitutions, including Bradford’s 1 in 12 Club), but the negotiations with landlords (they changed three times) went nowhere. The Charity Commission also didn’t buy the application for charitable status. Money was raised to pay for electricity bills and repairs and to fund various groups (DIWU, DAM, CW, TOM, AFA, etc..) by regular parties. These had bands downstairs, beer and veggie food was sold, with half the money for the MAC and half to the group concerned. Towards the end people were also charged 50p in. Hundreds of people came to these. Quite a lot of young people who didn’t come to meetings, but would come out against the fascists or come to parties, were politicised during all this, though not in the sense that they all want to pay subs… The MAC had a lot more support than the LAG itself. Towards the end the MAC was also used by various bands as rehearsal rooms, and occasionally outside groups – such as Red Rope or various Greens – hired the premises for parties.
What lessons can be learnt from all this? First, the original LAG in 1987 was full of mostly young people already active in other areas – CND, NVDA, animal rights, DAM, etc. A lot were vegans, influenced by lifestyle anarchism, though everyone (just about) was prepared to get stuck in. By the time the LAG folded in 1991 those left supported class struggle anarchism, though some had gone back to single issue campaigns with no connection to the MAC (eg hunt sabs).
The centre wasn’t a ‘local’ as the Solidarity Federation would envisage. In the first MAC it was a fight to stop pagan posters going up, and even then there was a list of what wasn’t to happen in the Centre (‘no sexism… no meat eating’ etc.). Most of the moral puritanism vanished as time went on. DAM campaigns – eg for Arbride strikers (Boycott Laura Ashley), or over Tricia Jennings’ sacking – did get support. DAM involvement meant the MAC sign was black and red, and DAM activity and the emerging DAM strategy of building industrial networks were all put forward at LAG meetings. Mostly the LAG was activities based. Theory/ ideas tended to be put in the Newsletter, or be discussed at specific meetings (eg on the State, Syndicalism, Ecology, etc.). Much activity happened outside the MAC, with the MAC operating as a base. In a lot of activities – anti-fascism, anti-poll tax – which organisation you were in (DAM, Class War, or non-aligned) was pretty much irrelevant.
Some things to note:
• The MAC had run its course before the final eviction, mainly because the activist core declined as people went on to do other things, became less committed, became burnt out, or got jobs. Campaigns like the poll tax also took a lot out of people. Enthusiasm for running the place dried up (though the parties were as popular as ever). Activism continued in other areas.
• Because the MAC was a squat, some necessary work was done, but no-one would or could raise the £!,000’s needed to do the place up properly. As a squat – run by committed activists living on fresh air – the MAC went as far as it could go.
• The MAC was eventually evicted but it lasted a long time – over 7 years. Everyone involved got a lot out of it, and lot of people are still around. There’s now a much bigger anarchist base in Liverpool than there was in the early 1980’s. Its something that can be built on.
• Things to avoid in a Centre? The main one is to not be inward-looking, and not to get bogged down with trying to live up to impossible standards of behaviour. Lifestyle anarchism isn’t what you wear its how you think. Trying to create a pure ‘island of Anarchy’ leads to all sorts of problems, people falling out, accusations over nothing etc… Its totally irrelevant to the real world. Anarchism isn’t about being ‘pure’, its about solidarity in the class struggle, direct action, self-management. Its about being effective in the fight for social change and social revolution. Local centres can be an important part of this – as a focus for organising, and to link together struggles in the same area. They’re tools, not ends in themselves.
ABC: Anarchist Black Cross (class struggle prisoner support – anarchist prisoner support in particular).
AFA: Anti-Fascist Action (militant wing of anti-fascist movement).
CW: Class War (anarchist organisation. High media profile, especially during poll tax 1990/91).
CND: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (there was a big upsurge in anti-militarism, including CND, in the early to mid-1980’s).
DAM: Direct Action Movement (anarcho-syndicalist. Evolved into Solidarity Federation in 1994).
DIWU: Dispatch Industry Workers Union (anarcho-syndicalist union set up by DAM members in London in late 1980’s).
LAG: Liverpool Anarchist Group.
MAC: Mutual Aid Centre.
NVDA: Non-Violent Direct Action (anti-militarist affinity groups, active inside and outside of CND).
TOM: Troops Out Movement (troops out of Northern Ireland).
Bradford’s 1 in 12 Club is a club run on anarchist principles. It was set up by Bradford Claimants’ Union in 1981, acquired premises some years later, and is still going from strength to strength.
The Solidarity Federation is an anarcho-syndicalist organisation affiliated to the International Workers’ Association. It was formed in 1994 from the merging of the DAM with industrial networks in the public sector, education, and the transport industry. SF activity is aimed at building a libertarian workers’ movement, based in both industry and the community.
Date: 1975, Country: UK, City:London Language: ENG Length: 3 & 5mins, Size: 18mb & 30mb Type: FLV
In the early 1970s, one of the most beautiful Georgian Squares in London, Tolmers Square, was destined for the wrecker’s ball. A small group of squatters of an intellectual bent moved into the empty building in order to save it. Nick Wates, now of Nick Wates Associates, was the catalyst and major force behind its preservation. At the time, I was working for David Judd Associates, which was just down the street from Tolmers. Our tea lady – the most important job in England – told me about the planned demise. “Shouldn’t you be doing something more useful than marketing cigarettes, beer and Chunky Dog Meat?” I took her challenge to heart and introduced myself to Nick.
Together, we created a 30 minute documentary “Tolmers Square: Beginning or End?” which ultimately became a BBC production. 72 hours after the showing of the documentary on the BEEB, the destruction was cancelled!