“Epicenter of a coming movement”
22 Okt 2011
Squatting in Vienna
In Vienna, one day before the global day of action 15th of October, people started occupying a huge building. It has been opened as a social center named Epizentrum, for the neighborhood and the whole city, and it is right now in a humming process of being built up.
We decided to occupy a building rather than a square or street for a number of reasons:
The first is a very practical one: It’s cold already in Vienna, and in the next weeks winter will get harsher. And since austria is not a place with any strong social movement right now, even in the middle of summer you couldn’t expect many people to camp out for days and weeks to change society. Not yet at least.
The second reason is connected to the first. Since there are no strong movements here these days, we have to ask ourselves why that is and how a growing culture of resistance and self organization could be facilitated. And we are convinced that a squat is a good means to serve that purpose. Especially in a city like vienna, where there is not much of a culture of assembling publicly in the streets, a self organized social center is desperately needed to overcome the singularization of everyone and the privatization and commercialization of everything.
The third reason is that a squat is a direct act of re- appropriation. What has been taken from the people in an endless and unjust accumulation of wealth by an economic structure that is based on wage-labor and capital, is being taken back by the people to serve a public use. It is this reclamation of the commons that we put our hope in, rather than in any state or NGO that do lobbying for saving the planet. We will take life back into our hands, step by step, house by house, factory by factory, square by square.
The place we are occupying is perfect for what we have in mind, for what we need: It’s a huge building complex with a partly roofed court, there’s an almost countless number of rooms of different sizes, many quite big, perfect for everything from exhibitions to theater, from workshops of all kinds to music and dancing. Also lots of pace to live and relax a bit from the realities of 21st century capitalism. Last but not least, there’s lot’s of meeting and office space for organizing ourselves politically, because the current realities we will not accept.
Sharing and learning from each other is one of our most important aims. We gather food together, most of it we get for free, from what supermarkets throw away or what people donate to us. We share the infrastructure that we build up, so each one of us needs to buy only much less. This can free ourselves from wage labor to some degree, so we have more time for living our lifes, which naturally includes for us the need to build up a movement to overcome the existing economic and political structures. We see the occupation of this building not only as an act to liberate ourselves, but as an attempt to facilitate the liberation of others, of everyone.
We are aware that our endeavor could be terminated sooner that we can breath twice, because unfortunately the company has the right to use the free services of the police to kick us out, even though the building is empty for a long time and would be for much longer, if it wasn’t for us flooding it with life right now. But even if we get evicted, already now there’s an emerging movement behind this social center that will not give up until we have a building permanently.
Squatting of houses is one of the most important acts towards building a new society. Rent is one of the inventions which strangle us the most. Even for a small flat we spend often half our total income, and it goes directly into the pockets of those who already have way enough, while even before we get our wage, someone else subtracts a big chunk of it as their profit. As long as that is the case, we will hardly be able to overcome this economic order. Of course squatting is just a part of what we need to do, but it’s a fundamental one.
We feel connected with all the other people around the world that struggle for a better, a different life, for a post-capitalist, post-patriarchal, post-authoritarian, post-racist society where we share in respect and dignity for the well-being of all.
Contact us at: email@example.com
Info Phone: +43 681 83 72 49 72
Address: Lindengasse 60-62, Wien/Vienna, austria
Our blog (mostly in german so far): http://epizentrum.noblogs.org
demand nothing. occupy everything.