Leipzig. Germany. The occupations on May 1st in Ludwigstraße and in Großzschocher were mock occupations. Due to the Corona crisis, police repression and bans on larger solidarity demonstrations were to be expected. Therefore, the activists decided to choose this symbolic form of action to draw attention to the start of their campaign and to release corresponding forces and energies. One thing is clear: symbolic forms of action will not remain, the goal of the campaign is the actual creation of self-managed, non-commercial spaces through occupation.
Originally published by Squat Net.
Occupation is necessary because people are so far excluded from urban co-determination that their needs are not heard in urban politics. Just as radically as the real estate industry is taking over the city, people will take back their lives in the city. In every occupation, the city’s decision-makers and police are open to take the interests of the people into account or to evict them directly, thus making themselves the executive organ of a city policy of repression.
The campaign Leipzig Besetzen sees itself as an actor of urban policy, who is not only concerned with occupying houses, but with real changes in the city. The activists of Leipzig Besetzen are therefore always ready to enter into negotiations with the city and landlords and hope to be treated as equals without violence. In times of a pandemic, it is essential to create free spaces in solidarity for defenseless people who cannot stay at home to protect themselves and others. Staying at home is easy when you have a home.
Article on mock occupations and campaign start on May 1st
1. the displacement of life from the city // gentrification is an attack on individual life
We experience modern urban policy as repression, as the seizure and sell-out of the beautiful and free life in the city. In capitalism, urban housing, like everything else, is a commodity with which profit is made. We see how real estate companies are getting richer and richer in implementing neoliberal urban policy, while the people who actually live in the city are suffering. The luxury renovations of the beautiful old houses in Leipzig have resulted in hip lofts, student flats and cafés in some cases, but at the same time have meant the expulsion of those who could no longer afford the flat or shop in the quarter after the rent was increased. The displacement also includes police operations, as can be seen, for example, in Eisenbahnstraße, namely, as a state measure to make and keep a quarter safe, i.e. economically viable.
All these phenomena of this repression are due to the increasingly glaring contradiction between the real needs of the people and the calculations and logics of capitalism and governments. The social order, the existing conditions are not only dysfunctional, but harmful. Social suffering is systematically generated under capitalism. The racist migration policy of the nation states has the direct consequence of the death of people, cold-blooded irrationality triumphs: the system, the state order, which is supposed to protect social life, has become its threat, its social and ecological negation.
2. free space struggle as a necessary form of resistance // Reconquering public space
In addition to progressive and good projects such as the Mietshaussyndikat and Wächterhäusern, which have been successfully accepted in recent years, squatting is indispensable as a radical form of individual yet collective self-empowerment. Just as the individual is commodified in the free market, the individual must fight for his or her personal freedom and reclaim his or her life in solidarity with others. With the campaign Leipzig Besetzen we want to ignite a fight for freedom in Leipzig. We don’t want people to found associations, collect signatures or beg with the city, we want direct action, we want occupations, we want to unfold the struggle to reclaim their own lives in the city.
Especially in the time of the Corona pandemic, it is important that we do not postpone or even give up our political struggles and their expression on the streets and in actions in favour of the state-imposed lockdown. Of course, as ALWAYS in the actions, we will make sure that the revolutionary goals are not put above the need for personal health. We will therefore disguise ourselves and keep the necessary distances! We find it highly problematic that the state decree completely bans the political and cultural practice in society to protect the population, while the capitalist normal operation is desperately tried to be maintained. Many people cannot work in their home office or retreat to their apartments. They are still forced to sell their labour, live on the streets anyway or are detained in reception camps on the external border of the EU. While the German state does its utmost to keep its citizens healthy, i.e. fit for work, people with a different origin or social status are simply left to die. For us, this is not humanism, but the absence of human solidarity, the inhuman logic of nationalism and capitalism, which knows the satisfaction of needs only insofar as it coincides with the interests of capital.
3. why self-managed open spaces?
When we occupy empty buildings in the city, we want to create spaces within which something like the beautiful and free life of people can already develop temporarily and niche by niche. We want to oppose the state logic of subjugation and control with the principles of a self-determined and solidary life. Nothing and nobody may decide about our life, except ourselves. The spaces of urban life that we are reclaiming should be places of refuge, of experiment and personal longing, the longing for a beautiful, i.e. not so damaged life.
We are convinced that social coexistence is best organized in a decentralized and non-hierarchical way. We do not imagine a reasonable social order as a state order, but as an organization and association of self-determined individuals. We do not want to be represented by the state, politicians or anyone else, but take our lives into our own hands. That’s why on May 1st we mockly occupied the houses in Ludwigstraße and the building complex in Großzschocher. The symbols will be followed by occupations!
We call on everyone to organize themselves and their friends into autonomous squatters groups. Under the campaign Leipzig Besetzen we can combine our local struggles for a self-determined life in the city and join our forces. For squatter groups, be loud, be determined! Together we will take back the houses and our life!
Fight for free spaces!
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