A house is to be taken, a rent not to be paid!
On the ongoing rise of the (new) squatter movement in Torino, Italy
Translated from Squat.net
Torino: evictions/sfratti defeated last January
In December 2012, a zine was released on the subject of the struggle against the sfratti in Torino.
Lutte contre les sfratti à Turin (English translation in the works).
At large, this booklet was a compilation of texts, consisting as much subjective stories (allowing to understand the practices put at play) than more theorical reflexions on the perspectives of this ongoing struggle.
What is a sfratti?
A sfratto (sfratti in the plural form) is the legal eviction from an apartment, following an unpaid rent or lease.
This last January 19th, a demonstration took place in the streets of Torino, against the sfratti. The following text, translated from italian, initially published on the Macerie web site, reviews this day of action.
Saturday afternoon, a procession of 300 persons has crossed Barriera di Milano, Aurora, Borgo Dora and Porta Palazzo for protesting against the sfratti. Fronted by two dumpsters, a symbol of the barricades that defend the pickets against the cops, and a large banner with the clear message: “basta sfratti”. A slogan that, for this demo, is more a statement of fact than an actual demand.
Behind a 3-wheeler truck, a merry and colorful march, composed of occupiers of houses, resisting sfrattandi, comrades, supporters, and some persons who joined the march along the way. Between flyers in italian and arab, the speeches on microphones and the slogans, such as “sfratto after sfratto, rage is rising, the house is to be taken, the rent not to be paid”, “house landlords and bosses of the energy industry, the irritated poor will kick you out”, “locksmiths and bailiffs: stooges of the banks, cops and landlords!”, “for every sfratto a barricade, for every eviction an occupied house”, the demonstration has aptly communicate the reasons behind the resistance to the sfratti, its strength, as well as designating its enemies.
The protest ended with a vast amout of satisfaction and the certainty that the struggle against the sfratti has yet again grown stronger than before. And between smiles, hugs, jokes and kisses, we heard saying that we had to take some rest for a few days onward to waking up at dawn, next Tuesday, be ready and carry some coffee while listening to Radio Blackout to know at which picket to go!
For those familiar with the italian language, here’s some audio taken during the protest:
Tuesday January 22nd
At least 12 sfratti in the same day, nine pickets with barricades, nine postponements conquered through struggle.
First “3rd Tuesday of the year” (even if today was the fourth, that doesn’t change much) where the strategy of the to concentrate the sfratti on a same date seems to actually be accumulating… postponements. But a beautiful and authentic saga of barricades spreading through the city, with blockades of dumpsters from San Donato to Borgo Vittoria (via BOngiovanni), from Aurora to Barriera (via Palestine, via Palestrina, via Feletto, via Elvo, via Soana and via Sesia) all the way to the Municipio (Piazza Palazzo di Cita). In none of these places, the police intervenes. In most cases, they even are nowhere to be seen. Everywhere, postponements from one to five months -all, as you may guess, postponed to a third Tuesday of the month- and we heard that in Barriera, in at least two sfratto where there weren’t even pickets, the police escorted the bailiff to the gate of the building only to… give the notice of postponement.
It seems so that the order of the prefecture was only: “do not evict, I repeat, do not evict”. Certainly not for the democratic ambitions of an hysterical president of circonscription who wishes to see the prefecture act with an iron hand in white gloves. The prefecture concedes the postponements not out of charity but fear. But it may not be the fear of a minority of “anarcho-insurrectionals” or their comrades, but rather that of a “latent violence” that the leaders reunited at a summit on security will obviously take into account; this fear that the first opportunity may explode a social rage that’s been burrowed under decades of blows dealt by the mighty, with rigor and austerity, upon the heads of the exploited. So it seems to be a question of balance of power, but not really of mere muscular strenght. Means and men, the prefecture has a lot to spare, and today at the antisfratto pickets we’ve seen several armored vehicles packed with carabinieri. They could at least have tried to execute the sfratti left undefended by pickets as they have do over the past, but now they had chose to simply not attack. They have prefered distributing the postponement notices to everybody, by taking the precaution to schedule them to a new “3rd Tuesday of the month”.
And now that we’re recovering our breath as we already are preparing towars the next pickets and the upcoming great days of struggle, there may be some time left to ask some questions to ourselves. How are the landlords reacting to this, since their “unions” are staying silent, although most probably working in the shadows? And what will the prefecture do, since it cannot keep on postponing so many sfratti one after the other? They probably are making study the field, waiting that the first hot days of the spring, frees up some places in the homeless shelters, since over the past they’ve offered this solution to some to those who were evicted.
Maybe are they waiting for new social housing to be attributed, and hoping to gather a few pennies to invest out of the already negatively-balanced public funds. Just to have a charity basket to pass around as the cop batons are really gonna fall down on people’s heads.
But for the moment, resistance to the sfratti has gained yet another small victory, and can merrily reassert that for the landlords in Torino -or at least in some neighborhoods- it has now become difficult to evict people.
Making the walls speak
Communique for an attack
In the night, about thirty hooded people have strolled through a few streets of Barriera di Milano. The small crowd has let behind several tags against the banks, the landlords, the State and their cops. At least two bank branches (…) have seen their CCTV cameras and their ATMs smashed, and the future police station of via banfo has been covered with tags.
To be continued…
Original texts posted on Macerie