There are new squatters in town! A house in the Pompenburg flat has been squatted by the anarchist collective RATS. It’s squatted in solidarity with the inhabitants of the Pompenburg Flat who are fighting against the demolition of the building.
The building which is home to hundreds of residents in 226 social housing homes was announced to be demolished in 2019 (and residents only found out by the newspaper!) for a 250 meter high tower developed by RED Company in collaboration with social housing corporation Havensteder and gemeente Rotterdam. The building, which was originally not in the redevelopment plans for the Pompenburg area, was campaigned to be demolished by the municipality themselves despite over 80% of the residents against demolition. These plans also call for the eviction and destruction of communal gardens in Park Pompenburg and the various community projects based in Schieblock whom are dear friends of ours, for high rise towers of mostly luxury apartments.
We stand in solidarity with the residents organizing and fighting for the last three years against backroom deals to demolish their homes. Sloop ons niet!
We can see first hand that the demolition of this building is entirely absurd, even for Rotterdam standards. The empty homes, which are a result of Havestender actively encouraging residents to move out, are entirely liveable and in perfect working condition. And we demonstrate this by living in them directly.
As squatters we resist the strategy of Havensteder to slowly empty the building and demoralize the residents still campaigning to stay. They want the building to lose its community and homely feeling. Empty houses should be lived in, not used for intimidation. Our intention is to make a home here, to join the community, and make friends with our new neighbors, which in this context is both friendly and rebellious.
The other 15 empty apartments in the building have since been made available as anti-kraak immediately after our squat was opened. These are 15 more units that are now places that people can live that were formerly empty, because of the actions of squatters. Housing is a right. Empty homes should be lived in, and social housing should not be demolished. When we are in the midst of an intense housing and ecological crisis, the last thing we need is needless destruction of dense, beautiful and energy efficient housing.
We resist the escalating profit maximization real estate development that is running rampant in Rotterdam which is completely opposed to basic living, community and social spaces. Social housing belongs in the city center! We need to stand together: social housing residents, squatters, community centers, art spaces, DIY spaces, parks and gardens. We are all being evicted for high rise towers and disgusting chain stores full of shit food. Eat our yummy anti-waste salvaged food instead and be a RAT!
This Wednesday come visit our new home and the RATS Anti-Waste Kitchen. We will be sharing a free meal and introducing ourselves and getting to know the neighbors. Doelstraat 107, on the 6th floor, overlooking the Rotterdam Police Headquarters.
Hugs, love and solidarity,
This article originally appeared in squat.net