Statement by Kamagasaki Center Freedom Struggle. Kamagasaki is an old place name for a part of Nishinari-ku in Osaka, Japanese territory. Airin-chiku became the area’s official name in May 1966.
Note: Enough 14 is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
You hardly ever see the blue tarps that used to cram the parks and streets anymore, even if you walk the entire town.
It’s because people who think the streets were occupied by a bunch of poor people used money and power to drive out the tarps.
Over fifteen years ago, we entered the tent villages that had sprung up around Osaka city and met many homeless workers. At the time, in post-Bubble Kamagasaki, the amount of day labor work had dropped, and workers put up tents around parks, streets, alongside rivers and started recycling aluminum cans and junk on their own to survive. We spent all our time in the tent villages, overwhelmed by the workers’ vitality. They were rich in the will to survive, in knowledge, skills, and ideas, and were spaces for independent coexistence. Eventually, the tent villages were demolished, the spaces of coexistence became empty lots, and were sold off dirt-cheap by capitalists. People have become scattered, and now there is no place to live independently.
But as we kept meeting in the corners of the town, we began making relationships again, one by one. And today, we connect with theyoseba(*1) and the center.
Let’s try thinking about ourselves. Who are we living for? We work furiously for politicians and capitalists, and spend the money we made. Is there no other choice but to live this way? The day laborers of Kamagasaki set their bodies to work and make their daily cash, and spend it until they’re stone broke. What is the difference between us and the workers of Kamagasaki?
Have we become rich from the wages we made cutting off parts of ourselves to sell?
Aren’t we basically being squeezed dry,
living with just our bodies?
We grovel around on the ground and work, and then we can’t even claim the ground to rest our bodies on.
We are just paying rent and borrowing it.
You can’t buy much with money. We have to use our bodies to take back our livelihoods, our lives, our friends, our learning, our joy.
In that case, let’s shed the anti-eviction struggle and occupy! Let’s have a fight we realize through the place we live, how we live.
It is okay for us to meet, talk, eat, and watch films in this occupied space. We can grow some vegetables. We can roast coffee and drink it. We can read manga and sleep. We can laugh, we can get angry. Because any way you cut it, there is no “lawful” (legally legitimate) place for us to exist. Take the streets. The parks. The empty lots. The yoseba.
Put away rights and obligations and fight a struggle about existence.
Of course trash and shit will appear where people live.
Spread the beacon from Kamagasaki center’s freedom struggle across the country. To the world. And to people’s lives.
(*1) yoseba – the place where day laborers gather to live and find work.
Three-parks meeting(Osaka Castle Park Yorozu-Soudan(Free Consultation), Kamagasaki Patrol-no-Kai, Nagai Park Nakama-no-kai )
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