Tuesday, 2 December 2008

That's what friends are fourth

Squatting is the last place you'd expect hierarchy. After all, the philosophies of squatting, activism et al advocate one of living in a non-hierarchy. Living in a derelict building is only one small part of the squatting ethos.

In just a few months and we already have hierarchy in this squat. To be told from the off "I have invited you to live here" bodes well for no squatter. The 'fourth housemate' is basically this: I live in a squat opened by someone else. "Like living with a landlord then?" I replied, to silence.

Not that USgal opened the squat entirely on her own -- as a newcomer, she was accompanied by far more advanced squat-openers -- but the mere fact that she arrived here before anyone else and has stated there is a hierarchy problem is a problem. Since non-hierarchy is a key component in this way of life, not realising that from the off may spell trouble for all. And it already has.

Case in point: last Friday's movie night.

Originally conceived as a cosy bonding night for the current new household over DVDs and pizza, somewhere between conception and execution it was changed into a movie party with the neighbours -- at USgal's whim. No one else got to decide, hell, no one in the flat was even informed about it. To learn about it from the 'invited' neighbours about "tonight's party, what shall I bring" is really NOT the way to go about things.

Her response to my objection: deal with it. Yes, in spite of you living here. Yes, I went unheard, left with plenty of "it's my decision" as opposed to the entire squat's decision. Yes, I did find alternative plans that night, but not before almost painting a giant black X in my mind on living in this particular squat.

It's worth noting at this point too that:

With all the focus coming off of the DIY of the squat in recent days, no one has actually given any thought as to whether we can live together. And whether we can live in accordance with the philosophies of squatting, or even if those philosophies work.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out from now on, now that "Project Squat" is stabilising. We'll have no nails, angle grinders or low supply of tea lights to hide behind from now on.

No excuses to work on the plumbing instead of squatwide fairness.