Tuesday, 11 November 2008

House legs / leg to stand on

If the estate is on its last legs, how can we repel an eviction, we ask SoundsNorwegian tonight. With Diagram Drawing Electrician's housemates due in court this week, the inevitable seems to be moving in, although admittedly with only hearsay speculating the speed of its approach.

SoundsNorwegian's eviction experience is limited to large freestanding buildings, she admits, for example her stay at Dalston Theatre, that was about to be demolished to make way for the East London line extension. Here, she and her housemates devised a resistance that allowed each of them to be chained up to the building, thereby prolonging the action since the police needed to cut them free to make arrests. Not a tactic, she feels, can translate to tiny apartments. With some of Diagram Drawing Electrician's housemates suggesting it may be easier to move on than defend, we're left to wonder if these flats are worth fighting for.

And should we end up in court, we wonder too if our defence will be stronger by selecting a more "naive" housemate to speak for us, one who knows little about the legal system or doesn't possess the spit and acid of personal feelings towards it. Perhaps we can win the judge over in this way, via sheer innocence.

This certainly seemed to be the outcome of my own (admittedly not intentional in any way) tactic, when I attended court for my previous squat in Walthamstow (a squat which I had yet to move into at that point). I was the sole housemate in court (everyone else had forgotten) and my own discomfort about squatting in the first place somehow enabled the squat to stay open for another three months.

Anyway, doubts aside, we come up with some possible actions to pursue, including the organising of a network with neighbouring squats, speaking with other networks outside of our area, legal counsel, barricade-building and looking beyond towards newer houses/flats to open. Our house, which barely has legs anyway, may just have a future yet.