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Squatting Europe Collective, New York City, February 23-27, 2012

Squatting Europe Collective
New York City, February 23-27, 2012

Squatting Europe Kollective Convenes in New York City

For the first time ever, a group of activist researchers from the European squatting movement are gathering in New York City. They will make public appearances to speak about the decades-old movement of squatting and building occupations in their respective countries.
The tradition of political squatting is moving from the shadows into the light. With the world-wide rise of the Occupy movement, the deep reservoir of experience within the movements of political squatting have become suddenly significant.

Generations of activists have participated in occupations of vacant buildings in Europe, beginning in the 1970s. The best known early success was the famous “free city” of Christiania in Copenhagen. But every major city in Europe has experienced some version of politicized squatting, most recently in the form of social centers.

The members of SQEK – Squatting Europe Collective – have gathered for special sessions at the Association of Amerian Geographers' annual convention February 24. A public discussion, meetings, film and graphic arts exhibition are among the other activities planned for the meeting.

Scheduled activities for SQEK 2012 New York City:

2. Reception, Thursday 2/23 at ABC No Rio, 7-10pm

Thursday, February 23rd 7-10 pm – Reception for visiting researchers and activists
poster show of “House Magic” zine about squats and social centers
ABC No Rio cultural center
156 Rivington Street
Loisaida, NYC // abcnorio.org

3. AAG sessions, Friday 2/24 at Hilton Hotel

Squatting and Social Centers: Resistance and Production of Critical Spaces I
(5 sessions, 8am-6:20pm) in Nassau A, Second Floor, Hilton NY
Note: Single session costs a lot of money, but you can probably sneak into this room which we have all day. Look like you belong there; it will be a radical egghead party...

8:00 AM - 9:40 AM – Participants: Miguel A. Martinez (University Complutense of Madrid/CSOA Casablanca) and Lucy Finchett-Maddock (University of Exeter), Pierpaolo Mudu (University of Rome/Forte Prenestino), Hans Pruijt (Erasmus Universiteit, Rotterdam), Loredana Guerrieri (Osservatorio Di Genere, Istituto Storico Della Resistenza, Macerata, Italy), Matthias Bernt (Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning, Leipzig)

10:00 AM - 11:40 AM – Participants: Linus Owens (Middlebury College, Vermont), Nathan Eisenstadt (Bristol University), Giovanni Piazza with Valentina Genovese (University of Catania), Alessia Marini (University of Rome, La Sapienza), Matthias Bernt

2:40 PM - 2:20 PM – Participants:Elisabeth Lorenzi (UNED Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), Amy Starecheski (CUNY City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York), Thomas Aguilera (Sciences Po, Paris), Andrea Aureli (St. John's University, Rome), Matthias Bernt

2:40 PM - 4:20 PM Panel session; Participants: Justus Uitermark (Erasmus University, Rotterdam); Maria Rodó de Zárate (UAB Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona); Giovanni Piazza; Miguel A. Martinez; Thomas Aguilera; Amy Starecheski; Hans Pruijt; Andrea Aureli; Eliot Tretter (University of Texas, Austin)

4:40 PM - 6:20 – Mark Purcell (University of Washington, Seattle); Eli Meyerhoff (University of Minnesota); Pierpaolo Mudu; Lucy Finchett-Maddock; Nathan Eisenstadt; Alessia Marini; Loredana Guerrieri; Elisabeth Lorenzi; Salvatore Engel-DiMauro (SUNY State University of New York, New Paltz)

4. Saturday, February 25th – SQEK internal meeting 9am-12pm – City University of New York, Graduate Center student lounge, 34th St. & 5th Ave., 5th floor (tentatively confirmed)

5. Saturday, February 25th, afternoon/evening – Public presentation:
“Squatting in Europe: Prospects and Perspectives” (Living Theatre, 21 Clinton St half a block below Houston Street, 5-7pm; ends on the dot of 7pm); drinks afterwards at The Suffolk, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, southwest corner Suffolk and Rivington

Public presentation by members of the Squatting Europe Collective (SQEK)
“Squatting in Europe: Prospects and Perspectives”
A roundtable with the members of SQEK

Generations of activists have participated in occupations of vacant buildings in Europe, beginning in the 1970s. The best known early success was the famous “free city” of Christiania in an abandoned military base in Copenhagen. By now nearly every major city in Europe has experienced some version of politicized squatting. Often this takes the form of the social center, occupations of large buildings which are organized to provide cultural, political and social services, usually for free.

For the first time ever, a group of activist researchers from the European squatting movement are gathering in New York City. They will make public appearances to speak about the decades-old movement of squatting and building occupations in their respective countries.
The tradition of political squatting is moving from the shadows into the light. With the world-wide rise of the Occupy movement, the deep reservoir of experience within the movements of political squatting have become suddenly significant.

Confirmed participants in a roundtable public presentation are: Miguel Martinez, Elisabeth Lorenzi (Madrid, Spain), Hans Pruijt (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Gianni Piazza (Sicily), Eliseo Fucolti (Rome, Italy), Thomas Aguilera (Paris, France), Lucy Finchett-Maddock (United Kingdom), Lynn Owens, Tina Steiger (Copenhagen/USA), Alan W. Moore (Madrid/USA)

6. Sunday, February 26th – Public meetings with activists
noon-4pm – brunch and afternoon session at 16 Beaver Group, 16 Beaver St., Wall St. area (tentatively confirmed)
7pm – Catholic Worker auditorium (55 East Third St.) – a round table, “talking turkey” with activists of O4O (Organizing for Occupation)

7. Monday, February 27th – meetings with activists (to be scheduled)
6:30pm-8:30p – Public discussion at CUNY Graduate Center, northeast corner 34th St. & 5th Ave. – Room C201 (“concourse” level, i.e. basement; capacity 40)

8. SQEK “Living Library” at Interference Archive, Brooklyn, continuing throughout the weekend
131 8th St. #4. Brooklyn, NY 11215 (Gowanus) 2 blocks from the F/G/R trains (4th ave. and 9th st.)

AAG session description
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2012 // Friday, 24 February, 2012
“Squatting and Social Centers: Resistance and Production of Critical Spaces” (5 sessions, 8am-6:20pm)

The aim of this session is to bring together different perspectives concerned with the experience of squatting as practice of resistance and space of political engagement. Specifically, the session will focus upon, and solicit papers on five main themes:
1) Long and medium term structural factors that make squatting possible (or constrain it)
2) Analysis of “conflicts” and “dynamics.”
3) Social Centers/Squats’ networks, politics and culture
4) Empirical case-studies and comparative perspectives to squatting
5) Novel theoretical, cross-disciplinary and empirical approaches for the study of squatting

Several questions are relevant and worth discussing:
- what different kinds of experiences of “political” squatting exist?
- what kind of political, or post-political, labels meaningfully describe coalitions and solidarity between social networks resisting various forms of neoliberalism?
- how can academics facilitating such spaces?
- what kind of alliance can be built between squatters and political parties, trade unions, environmental activists, peasant movements?
- how is the LGBT movement involved with squatting?
- how do legalization and institutionalization affect squatting?
- are social centers utopic? heterotopic? or...
- how do modalities like Critical Mass, music and art events and demonstrations function in social centers?
- what is the relation between the physical space of the social center, and the cyberspace of the hacklab?
- what are the relations between squatting, community gardens and alternative systems of food production?

Anticipated Attendance: 50 // Sponsorships: Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group
Political Geography Specialty Group