Angers. France. On Thursday, January 21, 2021, in the middle of winter, the forces of law and order and the prefecture proceeded to evict the Grande Ourse squat, a place of militancy and solidarity. It housed many homeless people, students, the working poor…
Originally published by Squat Net.
The issues of poverty, equality, solidarity, were at the center of the actions carried out by its activists, they regularly organized rounds to distribute food to people on the streets. People from outside the city could also get together, there were regular cultural events, film screenings, debates… But what is the problem, at a time when students in Angers are facing a housing shortage, at a time when the covid-19 crisis is plunging an increasingly large proportion of young workers into poverty? The problem is that these activists are holding a political discourse, that by occupying an unused building the holiness of private property has been called into question. That’s unacceptable, we don’t question that, especially when that questioning benefits people who don’t intend to use it for capitalist ends, especially when it benefits people who advocate values other than competition and individual financial enrichment. So here we are, the prefecture will return the furniture store to its legitimate owner. He will be able to put back beds where no one will ever sleep or make other projects allowing him to increase his capital a little more.
This month of January is a very dark month for the Angevin left. The Grande Ourse is evicted after the ransacking of a social center (the Étincelle) a few days ago by Nazi thugs, already well known and unpunished. The targets of the prefecture and of the extreme right are the same, it is those who advocate values other than those of the capitalist bourgeoisie and its elites, it is those who put forward solidarity, equality and the right to a dignified life who are the victims of this violence. The difference is that the former acts under the cover of legality, the latter like the militias of which Europe keeps a dark memory. The council did not even react, even though the ransacking of the premises it owns was indeed claimed by the extreme right, while at the same time highlighting the “totenkopf”, the symbol of the infamous SS during the Second World War. This is where we are at the moment, the city council does not react when Nazi fanatics ransack a municipal building lent to a collective. On the other hand, these fascists occupy another public building; the city hall of Angers does nothing. They ransacked the premises of a collective; the town hall said nothing. The traditional right is taking a very disturbing path, by letting the extreme right do their work, they are complicit in their actions.
In a period of health crisis, not only the city council, but also the State, have made a strong choice. To repress the militants who propose alternatives to their dogmatic, competitive methods, where the workers are considered a burden for the capitalist employers, where the workers deprived of employment by the bourgeoisie that organizes mass unemployment are pointed out as lazy. Our institutions and the right of pseudo-opposition take up the themes dear to the extreme right and some of its conspiracy theories such as “Islamo-leftism”, which was once “Judeo-Bolshevism”. Then they let it organize itself into a militia and attack a social space by closing its eyes. But it was the eviction of the Grande Ourse that was the priority, winter and the health crisis did not count. People on the streets don’t count…
HOUSING IS A RIGHT, NOT A COMMODITY!
Municipal pressure tactics: an odd timing
While our office has been the victim of an attack by neo-Nazis, while the Grande Ourse has been evicted and its inhabitants thrown into the street, the city council of Angers continues to put pressure on those who oppose the extreme right. Yesterday, Friday, January 22, in the late morning, the municipal police was sent to the Étincelle for so-called administrative reasons. In reality, the purpose of this imposing visit (as shown in the photo showing the number of municipal and national police officers mobilized) was none other than to put pressure on the activists of the Étincelle, in solidarity with the Grande Ourse. Yes, we lend part of our premises to our comrades of the Grande Ourse to store some of the things they had to move in a disaster Thursday morning.
Moreover, the attitude of the city council and the public authorities, with the prefecture in the lead, in the context of the attack that we have suffered is questionable. We have the feeling that not everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this attack, even though we have brought a certain number of concrete elements to the investigators.
Worse, the reaction of the council, which, in a laconic tweet, seems to set us back to back with the neo-Nazis and only condemns with the tip of its tongue using the term “burglary,” which is in reality a political attack against our space, revolts us.
Today, more than ever, we have the right to wonder what the council, the prefecture and the justice system are doing against the rise of the radical extreme right in our city. The complaisant silence of the institutions is deafening. It is high time for all this to stop.
In order to prepare the response, note already in your agenda that the Étincelle, the collectives and associations that are part of it, as well as many other structures, are calling for a gathering next Saturday January 30. The place and time will be communicated to you later.
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