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We are thousands : Somos 1000´s

category international | housing | news report author Thursday May 03, 2007 11:40author by dunk - one of the many...author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address BCN Report this post to the editors

Barcelona and the ongoing attack against its squatted social centres

One of the strongest squats in Barcelona is facing eviction and using creativity as a tool of resistance. Miles de Viviendas resists and hopefully wider support can come....
Miles resists
Miles resists

Barcelona has had a long history of self organisation, anarchism in action, bloody battles and for nearly a year from july 19th 1936 to this week 70 years ago it was a model of a city living a successful active anarchist revolution. For many still around the world it is a model, both in those days during the spanish civil war and also today due to the fact that it still is an amazing space of creativity, organisation, and positive direct action. Fascism existed here from the bloody end of the civil war in 1939 to the death of Franco in 1975 and in the last 2 decades it has beensomehwere with a huge number of squats opening up, many of which became social centres, places that offer as spaces for organisation, socializing, organisation, experimentation, for the growing body of the social movements, both locally in Barcelona and further afield in the wider world.

In the last few years there has been a huge and ever increasing rise in the evictions of squats in the city, especially the vibrant social centres that act as open spaces to demonstrate alternatives to the current economic model that is being pushed here, and elsewhere around the world. Last week one of the most active, Miles de Viviendas (thousands of homes) got word that they were facing eviction and a quick call out went around. What followed has been an explosion of activity outside the front door of this 6 story squatted ex police barracks in the heart of Barcelonetta, the village like seaside part of Barcelona.

Included here is a 25 minute interview with one of the pirates here in BCN, it looks at both the local situation and history and the wider picture

On first attempt at publishing this little gem popped up:
Your summary is too long. The maximum number of characters allowed is:
Max: 1024 characters
is that from imc-org or imc-ie ?
so it will be broken into 2 parts now

4th attempt:
Audio: Barceloneta, the eviction of Miles, the pirate university, the wider social scene in BCN
to follow soon, as imc-ie unable to take wav files and imc-radio down, which could.....getting there, slowly

Somos 1000´s
Somos 1000´s

hanging out the washing to make the point
hanging out the washing to make the point

Miles de Viviendas : thousands of homes : a positivie creative outside space
Miles de Viviendas : thousands of homes : a positivie creative outside space

a new urban garden created as an act of resistance against upcoming eviction
a new urban garden created as an act of resistance against upcoming eviction

author by @publication date Thu May 03, 2007 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That's why they're so special Dunk & everyone else.
The site at number 11 Bourbon passage, Barceloneta (a former Gaurdia civil garrison house) was opened by Miles as their "hq" when they left their previous address as the previous followed the one before. Miles was a group who emerged from the protest occupations against the war on Iraq have in the last years become the main spokespeople & activists on the housing crises. It was they who inspired the condemenation of a UN commissioner of housing and urban speculation in the Spanish state. Their cohesion as a group astounded many and explains a little of why they are a focus of activism. The alert went out in the early morning over a week ago, and since Barcelona is about to elect a new mayor and local government it wasn't really a surprise that the great and good of Miles de V get threatened with eviction. Their present house overlooks the yacht moorings and is found on the way to the artificial beach. As such it is a frontier neighbourhood for speculation. The area Barceloneta was built on reclaimed land replacing hovels and shacks in the last 300 years ago. Apart from the facade on the small church no pretension of Barcelona's burgher class were to be found as the flats were halved and then quartered. At present the area is a dense grid of houses suffering interior urban neglect with average floorspace of thirty metres squared. These are the last thousand homes to have survived the transformation the Olympic games brought. The warehouses and worst slums were demolished or converted into museums, the beaches were laid (they are all artificial) and a yacht harbour, 3d cinema, aquarium, shopping mall, and the latest jewel : free bikes.
The hordes of Tourists who wish to convert the area into cheap let holiday apartments are delighted. Soon their "local neighbours" won't be able to afford the rents or service charges. They're already over 60% of average income.

As such the area is not typical of the slum conditions many live in elsewhere in the city, and as a location for "Miles" had its disadvantages as well as advantages. It proved a brilliant location for the "pirate university" (the shield of which you may see proudly hanging over the door). But I'm not sure the free shop clothing thing was best located there. Miles has housed many other people over the years & they will continue to do so. They teach. They inspire. They create. They lead. Really - they do.
That's why the UN and not just the TV talk to them.

Related Link: http://www.sindominio.net/miles
author by dunkpublication date Thu May 03, 2007 18:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Along with the pirate university (1) which they have set up and are trying to spread further afield, this group of self proclaimed pirates recently set up a pirate TV station in the neighbourhood. Before this they had been busy recording material and having it played in local bars and the like. They have also been a very important point of meeting, organisation, media creation, action from for the local neighbourhood who are resisting the councils plans at gentrification by banging pots and holding their own discussions about what type of Barri they want: Barceloneta Es Rebela (2)

By calling to people to come, make and do, or simply to be, both outside the front door of the house or inside in the front room, they have demonstrated just how vibrant a space can be. Each night there have been parties, film screenings, theatre and circus shows, music gigs and by day there has been on street workshops : kids art zone on the street, clothes making, free shop, new urban garden. These activities have been participated in or attended by both people from both the "activist" community and the local community: a fine example of how a central activist space is not purely a "political ghetto". On that note I watched an excellent film in there on Mayday recently made by some of the group who are connected with Brazil's Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) À Margem do Concreto (at the margins of the concrete) (3) : 5 busloads of men, women and children storming and taking derelict 13 floor hotels, being fought by bomb throwing cops and a legend aul lad who when sent to prison had succeeded in having the whole prison boycotting coca cola within 3 days....

Some people here claim that in the first few months of 2007 there were more evictions of squats in Barcelona than in the previous 2 years together, with many targeted spaces being highly active and organised social centres which serves as nucleuii for local organisation and action as well as being spaces that simply demonstrate alternatives to an ever increasing crazy world of consumption, no freetime, spending, unhappiness. Here in Miles, as stated by @ above, they demonstrate by doing. Whether or not the above figure is accurate it is clear here from speaking with people that there is a clearing of these hubs of resistance, the social centres, as well as the okupas that are simply used as living spaces, which is a political act in itself. But the thing that I have found with this ever growing "war against okupas" if you like, is that the attitude to evictions is "uno deselojo, otre occupacion" (one eviction, another occupation) but it is becoming increasingly difficult to simply open more spaces and recently the authorities have changed their mechanism of working the law without changing the laws themselves whereby a newly opened squat can be evicted within a week by the "deselojo express", whereas in the past once the legal process was begun it could take weeks, months, years to get resolved during which time the occupied space grows and becomes active and for a short while is yet another node in the network here. But with the new mechanisms there does not seem to be an equal response from the okupa movement. When I reported last about the Makabra eviction (4) I included in the title, as noticed and commented on by Iosaf : ¿what reaction will follow? I expected that there would be some a lot of actions on the streets both here and boyond by those who support the squats and try to make it increasingly difficult for these evictions to happen without some form of reaction. I say this having talked with many people in Ireland who did "stuff" to offer support and solidarity to their friends in the Danish squat of Ungdomshuset (5) and also having been at the PGA (peoples global action) assembly in Toulouse, one of the 5 decentralised meetings which focused on "urbanism, squatting and access to the land", which disapointingly had no representatives from Barcelona. (6) In the case of Makabra they successfully played a media game and then organised a great occupation of Can Ricart, which got UN housing directors backing, only to be evicted by Mr Ricart and now that collective has, it seems, fallen to pieces, some here, some there, but no more circus, clowning, actions, occupations....perhaps they have another trick up their sleeve? I dont think so though, I think they are tired. But should there be, or could there be a more active, confrontational,
more hassle for the authorities, type of response... RTS´s, road blocks... who knows?

And just a last word or 2 about the social centres and all that, having been part of the Dublin collective for a year or 2 just before they moved into the river facing site: The social centre scene here is amazing, there is so much on, always a choice of activity: music gig, film, cheap food, workshop, library, free bike workshop, gym, climbing walls, free net, free shop..... the list is endless. Some social centres are not squatted but rented spaces, but many are squatted. Some squats are ghettos, non spanish speaking people with little or no wish or real connection to their local community, but others strive for that interaction and from that become supported and fought for by the community due to the projects that have grown from the squat or centre. In terms of organisation, there is the INFO USURPA (7), which is a 3 a3 page vertical weekly callender which lists all the present social centres of the city and its environs, currently about 40, and lists the activities of the week. Most centres print this or pick it up from a centre of distribution in the city along with the weeks other flyers, posters etc and they paste them to the wall of their centre. An easy way to find out whats on. Along with this there are about 4 radio stations and a whole load of papers and zines that keep people up to date about things. There is also a okupa office that offers practical support to people looking to squat, caught up in legal difficulties, seeking advice or info etc, this happens in Ruinamelia okupa. Theres still much to learn from these centres and much more boundries to be pushed or erased. But for the time being thoughts and energies are with the Miles pirates, on this rainy day.

So what can you do?
Currently they have hung washing lines outside the building, you can see the knickers that Emily has hung with the freshly sprayed "somos 1000´s". Part of the reason for this is that it recently became illegal to hang your washing outside the windows, under the new law Civilsme, or Cynicisme, as its commonly referred to here. They are making knickers type banners and giving them out to their friends in the community. Perhaps Dublins social centre, Seomra Spraoi (room of play) which too has got its marching orders, (8) might hang a knickers banner in solidarity with its brothers and sisters in Barcelona.

Perhaps also people might send postcards in solidarity to the pirates of Miles, we could make a nice postcard line to accompany the knickers, and I bet they´d appreciate the thought and little action.

Miles De Viviendas
Av Joan de Borbo 11

Allez les pirates

(1) pirate university

(2) Barceloneta Es Rebela

(3) À Margem do Concreto (at the margins of the concrete)

(4) Makabra eviction: Barcelona: 3 early morning raids on 3 squats, including MAKABRA, ¿what reaction will follow?
A little piece of magic; toward a truly participative architecture (the art of occupation)

(5) Ungdomshuset
Police Evict Danish Youth Social Center, Sparking International Protests
Women's Day and Ungdomshuset.
Has Ungdomshuset Reached The End Of Its Road? (IMC-IE feature)

(6) PGA (peoples global action) "urbanism, squatting and access to the land"
also on IMC-RADIO, currently down
Cities, radical urbanism, sqatting, social centres
PGA at toulouse - http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/pga.wav


(8) Seomra Spraoi (room of play)
Desperately seeking space: Seomra Spraoi needs a new home
Seomra Spraoi public meeting, slideshow, free homemade popcorn...
and recent event / exhibition / action they were in: "out of the ghetto"
Hotel Ballymun - Uplifting Art or Poverty Tourism?

(9) anarchist revolution of 1936 in Barcelona
Images from the Spanish Revolution (1936)
Anarchist Film Screening : Ethel Macdonald: An Anarchist's Story (upcoming in ireland)

this is where the knickers are being hung out, and maybe where postcards might start arriving
this is where the knickers are being hung out, and maybe where postcards might start arriving

the washing out on the line, today an act of resistance and dissetn
the washing out on the line, today an act of resistance and dissetn

INFOUSURPA : the weekly calender of events found on most squats walls beside front door
INFOUSURPA : the weekly calender of events found on most squats walls beside front door

Miles de viviendas resists : the days activities
Miles de viviendas resists : the days activities

local kids from Barceloneta get their hands dirty to help resist the eviction of THEIR social centre
local kids from Barceloneta get their hands dirty to help resist the eviction of THEIR social centre

author by dunkpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Miles evicted this morning about 6am. There will be a gatherning and manifestation at 6 this evening in the local market square of the barrio. No other news yet

Miles latest news:

Miles website


feature up on IMC-ORG:
We are thousands : Barcelona and the ongoing attack against its squatted social centres

author by dunkpublication date Tue May 29, 2007 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

film is found on http://www.dvactivisme.org/

A cherry picker lifted to top of okupa house, riot cops enter, 1 person injured. Interviews with people after eviction. Cant hear whats being said and the film quality is not too good on this computer. In it there is footage of much pushing and shoving, and possibly arrests, of protestors as they resist the eviction and cause road blocks on the street. The cops are quite heavy handed.

Recently the Mossos, Catalan police and not "Spanish" police who have been in Barcelona for 2 years, copped a lot of flak, and rightly so, for being excessivly violent after they used a new weapon for crowd/ riot control: kuboten, which is a small hand held pen sized weapon which has a sharp point, it is used to hit or stab protestors. Some kubotans have spikes, "ninja kubotan" and can be used as a knuckle duster. It also turns out that Catalonia has the highest amount of complaints against police brutality, both on the streets, and torture in prisons, in all of Spain. The recent media attention happened due to the cop reaction to the "illegal" demostration by the okupa movement which was the "reaction" to the new laws.

Be on your guard, the kubotan, could be an instrument coming to a demonstration near you...

Related infos:
Joan Saura defends repression again
http://barcelona.indymedia.org : see second feature
in spanish with links and photos:


author by .:.publication date Tue May 29, 2007 19:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The decision to evict number 11 Barceloneta and the Miles de Viviendas assembly came immediately after Jordi Herreu the new mayor won a council election at Sunday's vote on only 48% participation. [c/f http://indymedia.ie/article/82766 ]
Throughout the election campaign both Herreu of the Spanish state socialists and his smaller allies were under attack for their hypocrisy, image based politics and visions of the city, complete disregard of the housing crises & for just being a fat prick no-one voted for. At end each of the three member parties of the "tripartite" lost one seat each on the council but still saw off a right wing opposition which had campaigned on an "ending immunity of okupes" ticket. In fact the most sincere smiles on the faces of the mayoral candidates as they talked bollox and had their meetings consistently crashed by "super Vivienda" (a new superhero in spandex who soon enough split his genes and spandex and then had a sort of mrs superhero Vivienda - who in real life is a lawyer and talks tought). So far neither superheros have revealed their identities to the wider public or had super incredible kids. You need a home for that.

And so the other "incredibles" the national police force whose deployment throughout all Barcelona and Catalonia was a key demand of nationalists during the "estatut" reform came to the centre of public attention - for very good reasons
*yet another double beating to death in police cells added to a list of over 900 formal complaints of torture or physical abuse.
* questionable use of a martial arts weapon in a demonstration (referred to by Dunk above),
*the running over a gypsy and killing him last week & hten pretending he broke open his van doors himself and just flew under the chasis. (coz gypsies can do that - think of gypsies as a sort of super hero without the spandex ).
And all that occured in one fortnight. For their part the "mossos d'esquadra" (Catalan police) are now going to take to the street for a public march in their favour & stop an onslaught which in the last 5 days saw Amnesty International include the Bcn police on their dogs' list and demand yet further action to be taken. Action which would follow the last "improvement" just about the time of Dunk's last comment when the minstry of interior decided to put CCTV in all copshops and disallow masked up cops behind the desk. Sounded great to the journalists - but I remember thinking there's no CCTV in a cop-van.

Members of the okupe community have offered to police the forthcoming police demonstration to keep order.

Miles de Vivienda will have a new address soon and continue to work at house, street, community and every level to fight that complete disregard for the housing crises. That's doesn't make it any better & I'm sure Dunk will have more to report to us as he's going through the okupe eviction "mossos" thing a fair bit. To campaign for an address you don't need to be a superhero or feminist superheroine. But a bit of cop-on and sensitivity helps.

Related Link: http://barcelona.indymedia.org
author by neighbourpublication date Wed May 30, 2007 11:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ironically just as the call to solidarity and support for "miles de viviendas" (thousands of homes) reached the feature page of indymedia global http://www.indymedia.org/es/2007/05/886474.shtml ( a piece written by our own Irish Dunk ) the newly elected council finally evicted the collective who had occupied former guardia civil garrison at number 11, Juan Bourbon passage in Barceloneta the marine neighbourhood of Barcelona for the last three years.

& then almost to prove the point of the "name" of the squat (which in fact moves from address to address) the council announced this morning its plans to clear over 1,000 households from the highly speculated area to a new block of purpose built flats. The ostensible reason being offered is that their current homes (which they've hung on to tooth and nail) do not have lifts (elevators). Elderly people need lifts by law in any home over 15 metres height. Of course clearing the elderly remainders from the seafront neighbourhood will help turn a quicker profit and complete the image based tourist economy plans which are to be seen throughout Europe.

The former house of "Miles de Viviendas" and hub of the housing movement in the Spanish state as well as home to the "Pirate University" is scheduled for demolition this evening.


author by dunkpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

great news miles have re-occupied, this morning about 11am word went out of the action, infos below

audio: Barcelona and the ongoing attack against its squatted social centres.



a 24 minute interview with one of the squatter pirates about all things great, positive and creative about their space and actions.

RE-occupatin infos:

especulación y okupación (es)
desalojan miles de viviendas!y...se ha reokupado!!! Acércate a miles para compar...
speculation and occupation ( a subtopic on imc-bcn)
the eviction of miles de viviendas!and... they have reoccupied!!! come to miles to help...

reokupació de miles, vine a compartir aquest moment! (31 mai 2007 12:50:24 )

Miles REOKUPADA [ara mateix]
31 mai 2007 11:01:03

speculation section of IMC-BCN

Which includes many many links to past stories of the ongoing game of eviction, occupation, eviction, occupation, eviction, demo on streets, occupation.....

click link for photo

Related Link: http://barcelona.indymedia.org/usermedia/image/1/large/1_00003.jpg
author by :-) baa baa black sheep down the roadpublication date Thu May 31, 2007 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were only ten full time residents from the assembly for their little eviction thing the other day when the mayor still had a freshly elected majority. But lots more of the assembly doing the usual and one got injured by a cop. Each one of the very valued and admired collective members got their bits of fame with face shots in all the local telly stations. Then an interesting thing happened - the Spanish state went and clamped down on pirates. Not our sort of pirates or you know the pirates of the pirates university which was at and I presume will continue to be @ CSOA Miles - 11 paseig de bourbon, barceloneta - but the pirate people who try to watch and supply sattelite tv for free.
Over 50 of such ruffians were arrested yesterday by the Gaurdia Civil to send a message to those hedonistic telly watching scum that there's no such thing as as free kidney quiz show or football match. You're not watching telly for free an hacking respectable companies encrypted signals or even craftier bouncing off weather satelites anymore. The law acts. & so it should for shame's sake.

Miles de Viviendas return to their HQ and now their whole neighbourhood has learnt that their name and presence really did make full and civilised and politically desirable sense all along. coz if you read the comments above you learn how they were informed yesterday they've to install a lift / elevator or fuck off.
20% of the neighbourhood have to move without debate so the elevators can be spliced between current flats. Those others who can't afford to share the cost of installing an elevator with their "community" (which is how houses here work there is a collective for the staircase and even a president) will also have to move along. Of course their new flats will have more floor space and lifts which is what elderly people who just don't know how profitable an artificial beachside neighbourhood could be. But already the poor dears have moved from complaining about the squatters who don't pay rent to complaining that they know they're being cleared and the new houses are on the other side of the dual carriageway highspeed circular road. You'd have thought with all those years shuffling up and down stairs they'd have developed the leg muscles neccesary to return and see their old neighbourhood in the future - complete with elevators, that yacht park and tourists.
I don't mind tourists - I don't go out in daylight much and am bad round people so if they speak some foreign language and are not kicking me out of my home or messing with my dishies I can rip off tourists like the next chap. But that yacht park and its comings and goings give me the creepies.

This is how you the reader could come in. Be a tourist and buy a flat in Barceloneta!
as an Irish worker you'll get the mortgage you're on six times a decent pension. Or just copy what Miles de Viviendas do and how they do it & act local think global. Figure out how to explain it all properly to your neighbours.

a reminder of one of the logos used by Miles De Viviendas over 3 years ago. "Assembly - Neighbours Resistance" - practise makes perfect!
a reminder of one of the logos used by Miles De Viviendas over 3 years ago. "Assembly - Neighbours Resistance" - practise makes perfect!

author by dunkpublication date Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

about 20 minutes

audio re-occupation of miles, audi 2 18.48 Mb

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.org/en/2007/05/886474.shtml
author by dunkpublication date Thu Jun 07, 2007 23:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

okupas pamplona barcelona mossos d'esquadra kubotan
3.30 MIN

Agresión okupa a Mosso d'Esquadra (BRIGADA MOBIL)
shows the punch which broke the mossos's nose
30 secs

kubotan mossos d'esquadra okupas barcelona taser x26c gun (and the taser)

kubotan : a wearpon coming your way???
kubotan : a wearpon coming your way???

author by iosafpublication date Thu Jun 07, 2007 23:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They called for the resignation of the green post marxist minister of the interior of the government and when a group of counter protesters tried to be vocal from the street adjoining (the cop demonstration was guarded by cops - the first time I've seen riot cops looking the other way of marchers) the mossos started chanting "kubotan kubotan ei! per ells!" the last bit is catalan for let 'em have it. We have nationalists and lefties and the "estatut" to thank for a massive deployment in the last two years of a new police force that speaks the same pig lingo. - I just thought I'd add that little colour - Dunk's doing well reporting & linking. Oh yep the 5,000 cops were upset at being blamed for deaths in custody & the torture incident index going above the "ever so notorious" Basque country this last year. put it all in perspective

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