Friday, 21 November 2008

The new reality

And the new reality is, that we needed the police causing trouble and accelerating pulses in order to expose a major vulnerability in our squat -- the shared responsibility of staying in.

Of having at least one person indoors, and that person alternating with the rest of the housemates to ensure the protection of the squat and our belongings.

That person has mostly been me; how else have I been able to get live squat reportage otherwise? Someone had to care, when no one else could be bothered. There really is disbelief amongst all in the way this detail is received, an almost "I didn't know about that" style revelation! Come on, it's in the squatters advice literature!

The police have almost certainly kicked it into our heads that squatting is a responsibility, not a game, not some fantasy world of DIY achievements and thrills about not paying rent to surprise people with. Silent protests towards landlords and personal stands against the local government mean nothing if you can't get real.

We decide between us that all the responsibilities on the list of house duties are equal to each other and where one person can't stay in and housesit, they can instead compensate by taking a greater load elsewhere. Loads such as skipping vegetables, purchasing other food, DIY, reinforcing the new door, painting, replacing broken window panes. All equal tasks and the number of man hours spent keeping watch as equal to the value of money spent on sustenance. I could have quite easily asserted my rights at this point and offered not to lift a finger forever, having done my bit for the last century, if not for group acknowledgement finally of these efforts.

With Christmas coming and everyone away for it, we realise that nobody is going to be here to keep watch. So what then? Rhoderocker is aware from experience that the police & co. can terminate squats even during these times of goodwill, maybe not on Christmas day but all days either side. T'is the season to be bully (which, admittedly, is all the time on the police calendar).

Do we make plans to evacuate our belongings and abandon the squat on the date the last housemate is physically in the city? Do we bring in squat sitters? Do we just risk locking the place up and returning in the new year to see if home still exists? Shall we just call it a day, and look towards new premises from this moment on? Questions all and around and around they go.

And all thanks to the police.

(But police, don't get a swelled head about it.)