Social Center 4all. This is a good name and a good project and we hope the eviction of the occupation at Englische Straße 20 today doesn’t discourage people to continue trying to find alternative spaces for the thousands of refugees arriving in Germany. It is not only a question of sleeping places, which are absolutely necessary. It is also a question of finding a places where people can self-organize spaces, where projects can be developed, where new communities can be built.
We welcome and support initiatives which take in to consideration that people need more than charity. Today we stood by the occupation for the time it lasted imagining how a women space could function there. How many refugee women we would be able to invite, what kind of activities would we be able to do together. Since the eviction of the Ohlauer School, not to have our own space has been a huge obstacle to our work. And there we were, in front of a house, whose owner doesn’t use, but refuses to let us use. This logic only makes sense in a completely bizarre system, such as capitalism, where greed substitutes reason.
We have been observing the acts of solidarity emerging throughout the country and we welcome such initiatives. At the same time we’ve been asking ourselves many questions. Is this solidarity extendable to refugees who have been long living in the Lagers, isolated, with no perspective to continue with their lives? What is the logic of accepting many refugees and reinstalling the Residenzpflicht, food packets, vouchers? Are the newcomers going to accept such restrictions and humiliations? We don’t think so. Everybody knows Germany desperately needs migrants to keep their economy going. People who can join the work force now, pay the taxes and guarantee the pensionaries of the next decades. We just don’t find it fair to use asylum seekers for that purpose. Because asylum seekers will pay a high price for Germany to profit from them in the future. Refugees will waste their lives in lagers for the sake of the enrichment of an already rich country. As we said during the press conference: Bring back squatting!
Below the statement of the Social Center 4all action of today:
For many weeks we followed how this state harasses those fleeing from war, poverty and distress. In front of the Reception Center in Berlin people suffer of under supplement and often are left homeless in the evening. Mass accommodations in which people are crammed up without any relief or care, people having to sleep in parks or under bridges have become grim reality.
This is why we squatted a vacant house, formerly owned by the Technische Universität and now property of a private investor. In this house we want to create a self-governed emergency shelter for refugees, as well as a space to organize such a project responsibly. In the following days we want to create a liveable space for refugees, together with everybody who is willing to help. We don’t only want to offer places to sleep, but a room for self-organization processes and the necessary exchange among everybody involved. We call for solidarity of people and initiatives to join this project.
Who followed the media coverage of the last days and weeks will hardly be able to deny the immediate necessity of what we are doing: Refugees sleep in parks even though they get hostel-coupons worth thousands of euros. Why? Because the coupons aren’t accepted by the hostels, because the city pays them only several month later. Meantime the refugees are send into camps, so far away from the Reception Center that they are unable to be there on time in the morning. The most recent idea is to accommodate refugees in old barracks and tent-villages. We can provide something better. Didn’t the state ask us to show some initiative in “welcoming culture”: here you go, this is our initiative. It is now in the hands of the authorities and the owner to not get into the way of a reasonable and peaceful negotiated settlement. If the negotiations with the owner fail, we expect the Senate to expropriate the house and give it to us to provide a self-governed
emergency shelter. “Knowing there are houses standing empty, while you leave us homeless on
the street. We’ve decided that we’re going to move in now, we’re tired of having
nowhere dry to sleep.” (B.Brecht)