With the rapid deepening of structural inequalities, lack of solutions, and the economic crisis amplified by Corona, a void has entered many of our minds, bodies, future plans, social interactions, relationships, and wallets.
Stay at home and do nothing? We have a different idea of solidarity! Let’s denounce grievances together! Point out where the problems of the crisis are buried! Question the principles of our society! Share experiences! Time for unconventional solutions! Civil disobedience is more than appropriate! Solidarity with hand and foot can be lived! Together against emptiness!
This morning, april 21 2021, Florastrasse 23 was occupied. The house has been empty for a year and should have been used again. The owner, however, was not happy about this news and called in the police without further notice. A constructive conversation or other negotiation between the squatters and the owner was unfortunately not possible. The house was thus evicted by the police after a few hours. There were no arrests.
Who owns the space? What are the reasons for emptiness?
There are many empty houses, apartments and office spaces in Basel and throughout Switzerland. The reasons are (in short) real estate speculation, total renovations or upgrading processes, family disputes after an inheritance, pending construction projects due to regulations or the laziness of the ownership. The list of reasons is long and everyone knows about the ongoing struggle for housing, the struggle for the city, the struggle for space – but serious changes can probably not be expected in a system where capital determines. The struggle for housing remains with the tenants and their supporters. Property (thus ownership) is protected as the highest good.
More information on the sobering situation “Who owns the space?”, as well as facts on the real estate situation and its owners in Basel can be found here.
Space as a privilege
While some people can afford to leave houses empty for years, others have very limited access to housing. The people affected are those who have no roof over their heads, who cannot afford housing on the market, who are denied space through bureaucratic processes and discriminatory standards. – All those who have few opportunities for a dignified, self-determined home!
People living in camps have no place of retreat, no access to good health care, had to live together in bunkers (detention centers) in cramped spaces during Corona (see 3rgg)
People in the emergency aid structure are not provided with housing, but vouchers are distributed for the overcrowded emergency sleeping facilities. Such facilities are tied to several racist hurdles and deportation for people without a Swiss passport, as the example in February 2021 shows. A group of Romas was exempted from the costs of staying overnight in the shelter for a fortnight, with the condition that they had to take care of their “journey home” within two weeks or report to the migration office and risk probable deportation. So after a short time, the shelter was empty again.
In the Basel area, the emergency shelter offers space for 25 women and 75 men. In the city of Basel alone, 175 people live in the emergency aid structure, plus people without shelter – these figures alone in comparison show how the system of the emergency sleeping facility does not work. In addition, the emergency sleeping facility – both for people in the emergency structure and for other people without shelter – does not serve as a place to stay but is closed from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Where are the people without a home supposed to spend their days? Where should people without a home spend their days during the Corona crisis and in general? (see 3 Rosen Gegen Grenzen)
“A Home for All”
For us, a home is a space that everyone needs and that no one should be denied. A space that is meant to be empowering, a personal (small) free space, a protective space. To stay healthy, now more than ever, we need this space, the possibility for hygiene, the possibility for retreat, for rest, the possibility to take care of ourselves physically and psychologically.
During Corona, the situation became more precarious for many precarious people. People with no budget are forced to live together in a small space. FINT persons are even more exposed to domestic violence, parallel childcare and home office. The list of grievances is long, which are related to the problem of “Who owns the space?”. A home is more important now than ever before!
The April 2020 campaign from Zurich, “A Home for All”, has a solid idea of solidarity as a measure against the crisis. People without homes should be able to use empty houses as shelters.
Squatting as a way to fill the many unused spaces.
We join the proposals from Zurich “A Home for All” and demand:
– Are you a homeowner and your properties are empty? Open them up to those who don’t have a home! Open them up to people who are locked up in camps!
– Open hotel rooms as living space! Abolish Airbnb’s
– For everyone else: If big corporations and others don’t want to share their properties: squat a house. Share it with those who don’t have one. Demand justice.”
With this occupation we offer a direct solution to the situation in Basel. We occupy a house that has been empty for a long time and ask the owners to give it to us at the cost of water and electricity.
Solidarity is more than soap and distance.
The same demands count for Basel as for Zurich and everywhere:
– A home for all. (Together with their home against the crisis).
– For all, the possibility to protect themselves.
– For all, a secure existence.
– All camps and prisons close immediately.
Some squats in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/CH/squated/squat
Groups (social center, collective, squat) in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/CH
Events in Switzerland: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/CH