DON'T KNOW (HOW TO) SQUAT?
by Tom Boland( Boston. Mass. U.S.A.)
SQUAT FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
People kept down by prejudice sometimes use the tactic of "non-violent civil disobedience". Such tactics are familiar to many because those who marched with Martin Luther King used them to win voting and other rights for people of colour. Native peoples, poor people and homeless people are using such tactics to seek justice today.
Tips for squatting as a political act;
Record the events with cameras etc
This will help deter police harassment and, if it occurs, provide you with a record of it. It's amazing how humanely officials can act when they know that others are watching.
Stay in touch with like minded people
Nowadays, the Internet is an excellent link to other people in a world where over a billion people are homeless--even in wealthy nations.
It builds morale, especially when authorities are trying to discredit you.
REQUIRE NON-VIOLENT CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TRAINING OF ALL WHO MIGHT RISK ARREST
To help assure public support, you'll need to make sure there are no threats, screaming or fights. Officials or the media may well use such incidents to deflect attention from the validity of your issues.
There are fine non-violence trainers, especially among the Quakers
Make your spokespeople those most effected i.e. the homeless people
I think it's a form of "domestic colonialism" when non-poor people speak for the poor, even when "progressives" do it. When actions show signs of success, politicians and services providers often try to take control, take credit and take any resources you win (such as housing and cash).
Homeless peoples' aims get lost in such shuffles--as well as the materials to survive and thrive that homeless people deserve. Choose your allies carefully, and let homeless people speak for ourselves.
WIDELY PUBLICIZE AND ENFORCE A BAN ON ALL ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ON SITE
People who are high or agitated at your actions will undercut your credibility with the publics who can help win your demands. If you see someone with drugs or alcohol, ask them to take it off the site--first time, every time. Fighting drunks will discredit your actions quickly.
GET ADVICE AND SUPPORT FROM CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS
Seeking peaceful means to homeless peoples' aims,
Anarchy for Anybody Tom Boland
|This is a short extract from http://www.radio4all.org/aia/
More relevant to USA
31st July 1998