Verfasst von: ah | Juli 28, 2016

Berlin: How the Rigaer 94 turned me into a „Kraak-Professor“

The conflict around the former squatted house Rigaer 94 was not only discussed in Berlin’s Media. The Netherland’s news portal NOS published some articles on the conflict and the riots in Berlin (1 | 2 | 3). For his article „Krakersvrede in Berlijn slaat na ontruiming om in grimmigheid“ the NOS-correpondent in Berlin Jeroen Wolaars conducted an elaborated interview with me on the history of squatting in Berlin and the background of the current conflict around the Rigaer 94.

To spent the time for the interview was quit useful, because heKraak-Professor understood much more on the political dimension of the conflict than most German journalists. The only mistake in the article is a  funny designation of my profession. At the beginning of the interview I introduced myself as a „researcher working since many years on squatting“. In the article I became a „kraakprofessor“ („Squat Professor“).

At least it would be a good idea to have a Bachelor of Squatting or a Master of Occupation as regular degree program at universities….

 

 

A friend from the SqEK – Squatting Europe Kollective translated the article into English (Thanks Edward!)

 

Squatters peace in Berlin changed after eviction order in fury

Burnt out cars, defaced bank buildings and police officers attacked. In Berlin for the last two weeks almost every evening it goes grim. After the eviction of a squatted building two weeks ago, protesters intend to „plunge the city into chaos.“

Tonight a huge demonstration is announced, and everyone expects more violence. Berlin politicians talk of terror. The squatters find it legitimate violence. Anne: „Those who do not want to listen must feel it“. The squatter riots of the 1990s are back in Berlin. Since that time Berlin squatters are almost all legalised. They pay a relatively low rent. They see the eviction of the Rigaer 94 squat as a sign that this situation is ending.

The squatters have a rental contract but it is not watertight. Now the housing market is picking up in Berlin and housing prices rise, the owners are looking for a plan that gives more money and they want to get rid of the squatters.

The advantageous contracts came about at the end of the last century, says SquatProfessor Andrej Holm of the Humboldt University to correspondent Jeroen Wollaars. „The squatters promised not to use violence any more if they were not evicted. But those were agreements between the city council and squatters. In the meantime, the properties have been sold to investors.“

The current owners do not feel bound by the agreement, according to Holm. The investors have decided that the contracts sit badly together and try to end them. The squatters do not want to let that happen. They see this as a violation of the agreements and, in turn, they find that they therefore no longer need to remain nonviolent. Previously, it did not matter for the landlords if you had ex-squatters or regular tenants, says Holm. „That is not the case anymore, because the rents in Berlin are now going through the roof.“

He warns that the city is changing. „Berlin was always a city of subcultures. Not only homes are disappearing, but also everything around them, including shops, bars, theatres and cinemas. Many other Berliners see that also and so the squatters get a lot of sympathy. And their [ie the other Berliners‘] housing costs are also rising.“

Wollaars also sees the city changing. „Maybe this is the beginning of the end of a scene. A scene that in ever more places is displaced by coffee shops and wine bars. But this scene will not go down without a fight.“

(orginal: NOS, 09.07.2016: „Krakersvrede in Berlijn slaat na ontruiming om in grimmigheid

 


Responses

  1. I did some research on this myself; did you know that the RAF actually threatened Hamburg city council with a renewed terror campaign if it did not stop sending police to attack squatters (as they were won’t to do back in the early 1990s)? Apparently this gave Hamburg the inventive to start offering squatters contracts in the first place. Berlin soon followed suit. Its shameful that it took that sort of intervention for German authorities to stop abusing their power over squatters… and after seeing what has happened in Rigaer, I can only conclude that old habits die hard. The senate doesn’t seem willing to enter into rational discussion and uses brute force in every situation, it sets a terrible precedent and I’m happy that rigaer has generally taken the high road, using civil disobedience and humor to fight back. Berlins public is right to support them in continuing to do so.


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