France. Since February 2020, we are about fifty people – precarious, undocumented, students – to occupy a plot of land with three buildings in Vitry-sur-Seine. This place, empty for less than a year, owned by the Val-de-Marne, was a home and the headquarters of a company of land shareholders in the department. We chose to call it La Kunda (the community in Soninké).
Originally published by Squat net.
Why squatting it? The squatter responds first of all to the need, for some of us, to have decent housing and for others, quite simply, to have a home. We refuse precarious work in order to pay a rent that is too expensive, just as we refuse the blackmail of the real estate market and social institutions.
Some of us are undocumented, and follow long procedures that leave them on the street, without housing and without the possibility of working. Without the squat, it is the street, and everyone knows the difficulties of the street. Thanks to these places, some of us can go to school, move forward and have a place to live.
In a historical moment when cities and neighborhoods are gentrifying at a high speed (Greater Paris, Olympic Games) -, in a moment when even services and transportation are not designed for a better quality of life but for speculation and rising rents, squatting is also a form of survival and collective resistance. If squatting is therefore for us a means of responding collectively to the precariousness of our lives, it is also a practical affirmation of our opposition to real estate ownership and the current social order that we want to abolish. And finally, we squat because we want to anchor our networks of solidarity in the long term, and this cannot be done without a place, and because we need space to organize and struggle.
Having opened just before the confinement and the crisis of Covid-19, although it blocked us in opening this place to the outside, the fact of having a space like the one we occupy has allowed us to act directly, doing recuperation, food sharing and mask distributions, and thus expand the network of mutual aid that has already existed for some years in 94.
Since then, we continue to expand these dynamics of solidarity: by continuing our food distributions in Ivry and Vitry, by holding a solidarity market every Sunday in front of one of our buildings, by offering a free space (clothing, hygiene products, household appliances), language courses and food. We also want this space to be a place to share knowledge and practices: we have a library and an infokiosk, a space with a selected mix, a cinema and a sports hall. There are also organization spaces open to groups that need it.
This place is meant to be benevolent: we do not accept any oppressive behavior: sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, …!
This space is open to everyone (every other Wednesday there are open meetings), don’t hesitate to contact us to invest in it, to participate in the activities or to propose some.
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