Squatters riot in Amsterdam

By Ian Young

Oct 02

Saturday 2nd October 2010

Squatting:

So this morning we hear on the news that due to changes in the Dutch legislation, Squatting rights in Holland will become more restrictive. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39463891/ns/world_news-europe/

Speaking as someone who Squatted for necessity and out of lifestyle choice from the age of 16 through to 29 (when I underwent life changes in all areas of my life) I certainly have sympathies for those demonstrating.

I squatted houses, large buildings for communal living, peculiar and unique empty plots for parties, enormous warehouses to host raves, Yards for Vehicles to park in (when we lived in the vehicles), fields to reside in during Festivals, Road sides during transit (hitch-hiking included) and other peoples’ sofas as and when necessary.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Squatting was a life-style choice for me, but it was also borne out of necessity. I see absolutely no point in sleeping rough on the streets when I can kick in a door to an empty and normally neglected building, seeking shelter for a night or two. And if no one seems to be bothered by our presence, then why should I live there and stay out of trouble?

It is a crying shame to see vacant buildings when people are rough living. If no one has the authority to offer the empty building to the homeless, how can it be considered immoral if they then seek to improve their lives by making use of this unwanted shelter. Please do consider that 4 out of 5 – 80% of anywhere I ever squatted never had any gas or electricity connected. A luxury to us was having running water from a tap. Squatting isn’t a way of living a life of riley for free. It’s still a tough life.

But there is a certain cense of Fellowship and camaraderie that evolves and grows out of a shared discomfort and under-privileged life-style. And so it’s no surprise to see the unity displayed by the Dutch Squatters preparing to fight for their right to reside in abandoned residences and buildings.

I have nothing but respect for these folks prepared to defend what little they have.

Is it an alternative culture?

Yes.

But it isn’t a negative and criminally led one.

It’s led by principles of freedom and autonomy.

You are very unlikely to ever find a serious criminal squatting – it doesn’t provide any security. Sure, there may be petty criminals and small time drug dealers, but nothing particularly anti-social. That’s because most of anything this culture knocks out remains within the culture. These are people who choose not to mix with regular society. Can you blame them? After all, they are often treated like scum and in a repressive and discriminatory way.

I’d like to show my support to the Squatters and all those who stand up for personal freedom (so long as it doesn’t infringe upon the quality of lives of others).

Rioting may not be the best way to win friends and influence people.

But it certainly makes the front page news and brings the issues and plights to the forefront.

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About the Author

Ian Young is a man who wears many hats but no masks, who uses his experiences to see how he can benefit others, be that through business or in a personal capacity. He’s always happy to help.