Thursday, 16 October 2008

The fourth housemate

USgal has identified a potentially awkward situation festering quietly in the squat.


As the only housemate involved in the opening of the squat, she feels that unfortunately this may be giving her leverage over the rest of us in the flat. Already, that is the external perception from neighbouring squatters, who defer everything to USgal, in spite of Hello, I live here too. She has already used her 'position' to decide who should live with her and feels she is becoming the main decision-maker.

Disturbing, eh. And I, as the sole other housemate at the moment until the new one joins tomorrow (a Norwegian-sounding girl), am hardly doing cartwheels on our balcony and setting off fireworks with this issue to hand. Hierarchy. Quite simply, our fourth housemate. The equivalent joy to living with your landlord (aka, no joy at all).

If we really wanted to, we could also invite other hierarchies to join in:

Atom Tom as the oldest of the housemates
SoundsNorwegian as our veteran squatter (three years and counting)
USgal as the newcomer to the city
Atom Tom, the only guy in the house
SoundsNorwegian, the only housemate with light-coloured hair (yes, I'm reaching)
USgal as the housemate whose been in the squat longest
Atom Tom whose ethnic origins come from the oldest civilisation on the planet (aka China)

Except, opening a squat has a value attached to it, and unless we devalue that and find an opposition that we can assign an equal or greater weight to, the squat is doomed. USgal is disturbed by this. Get in line.

So, forget about anticipating what grotesque substances may shoot out of the toilet waste pipe when we begin working on it. Forget about our inevitable pending eviction and our day in court to defend our stay. We have possible household politics to contend with and it's only Thursday. Adjusting to a housemate dynamic will be hardwork enough, without a hierarchy also being in there. Isn't that why you squat, to move away from systems like that?