In the early summer of 2021, Higueras (the fig trees), a squat in the Madrid neighbourhood of Tetuán, underwent the siege of a company that specializes in squat evictions. In the Spanish state many security companies sell their eviction services in a not exactly legal way but with the State’s complicity. Higueras managed to overcome this first siege, but a legal procedure is in progress. In the Spanish territory, evictions of housing, whether by cops or security guards, are often met with some resistance, which involves a gathering in front of the house with more or less tension, which attracts the media. Indeed, squatting is a favorite subject of the media and politicians there, much more than in France. Other forms of resistance exist: demonstrations in response, sabotage or symbolic occupations.
A few people have written a text giving their vision and some ideas on the forms that solidarity could take. Despite the difference in context, this text could enrich reflection and action as the police, thugs, landlords and media attack our homes and our spaces.
Toulouse, October 2021
Resistance to squat and rental evictions tends to be a struggle in which those resisting and those in solidarity don’t have the initiative. First of all, for many evictions we don’t even know on what day the repressive forces will appear. If you are dealing with thugs, the vagueness can be even greater. In any case, wearing down can weaken the resistance, and the state as well as the owners know this. In the first few days, when the eviction alert is issued, the solidarity response is powerful in numbers, but unsurprisingly forces diminish after a few days. Moreover, most evictions take place in the morning, when many people are at work or in class. This is also why there are fewer comrades available.
The balance of power is quite unequal. The repressive forces, and often the thugs as well, have a legal machine and technique that supports them, which means these mercenaries are physically and mentally prepared to put people out on the street or put an end to political projects in squatted spaces. Establishing a direct confrontation, even if desirable when you have the strength, is complicated. Also, it must be taken into account that the defence of the space often attracts vultures and journalists who will film everything that happens, which is a risk for those resisting. Sabotage of vehicles and machinery, attacks on eviction companies and many other ideas are desirable and applicable, but they cannot always be carried out. Often we run the risk of “ritualizing” evictions, using the script of the cops, making the struggle spectacular for TV shows, and becoming a mere circus for the journalists. We don’t believe that the aim of struggle is “theatrical representation” in order to obtain a balance of power in negotiation with landlords: we believe that struggles against evictions are a point to open up a breach in the face of the State and capitalism, starting from daily resistance to their functioning. The struggle against Property and capitalism is not the “eviction management”.
In view of this, it seems relevant to us to suggest other methods of direct action and pressure on those who evict. Direct action is that which comes from those involved or are in solidarity, without delegation, without expecting anything from judges and politicians. We have got used to fighting when the State and landlords desire it. They, the speculators of capital and their minions, are comfortable in their offices and put all the care in the world into protecting their properties. This must change. We must bring the war home to them so that they are not left tranquilly in their offices, homes and properties. It’s sufficient to look on the internet to find out about the developers, builders and companies that are evicting squatters. Squatting their other properties, tagging their storefronts, reducing them to ashes, symbolically squatting their offices… every form of attack is welcome and puts pressure on the speculators. Let’s be creative so that the attack takes various forms. We don’t need to know the occupiers in order to respond in solidarity. Making the speculators lose money, making them afraid, is a form of pressure to pull through in eviction processes. Our exploiters have names and addresses. Let’s find them.
Anonymous, in solidarity with the Higueras house, July 2021