We received this report and plea for support from a member of Sota Terra…
The night of May 16th I went to Can Vies to experience one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Siega, Las Otras and Hysterics were playing. Fucking wild. This gig was organized by the womyn’s self-defense collective. Positive energy, friendly people and brutal hardcore. That happened to be the last show at the squat before it got evicted and partially demolished on Monday, the 26th of May.
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The space has been going on in the Sants neighborhood in Barcelona for 17 years. This is probably the last neighborhood in town that still keeps a strong associative network and has an obvious social movements presence on street. It has a long tradition of struggle and resistance that luckily enough has not faded away. That, of course, helped Can Vies stay alive for so long and that may also explain how the protests after the eviction were able to last for a week. Right now, when those arrogant people in power feel so secure, they have just being forced to step back and leave space for people’s self-management.
Can Vies’ building is owned by the public transport corporation of Barcelona and by the city council. It didn’t have an official public use because it was included in a plan to build an unnecessary square. The squat however does have quite a lot of support. It is well rooted in the area and it has been putting lots of public activities, from shows to workshops, meetings, lectures and on, besides having a living space. The day of the eviction one could see people there from a wide rank of ages. Lots of them grew up with Can Vies and now they were confronting the police brutality.
The fact is that if the mass media blamed the riots on an isolated violent group during the first day, on the following they had to shut up in the face of the outpouring of public support. They desperately searched for grumpy neighbors willing to make some goofy statements (“They go to the bakery and don’t pay for the bread…” — really?). But even then the balance was heavier on the squatters side. The protests that began on Monday ended on Saturday after a massive demonstration that gathered thousands of people.
At this point the council had stopped the demolition and was already begging for a negotiation that the squat collective obviously rejected. They instead called for a cleaning of the area and brought some solidary architects to evaluate the state of the building. A plan of reconstruction was brewing with no intervention of any government institution. This is a manifest demonstration of direct action and people’s autonomy — fuck yeah!
Now the Can Vies collective has begun a micro-patronage campaign with the objective of collecting up to 70,000€ (donate at reconstruim.canvies.org). Part of this money will be used for all the needed construction material and the rest will cover the expenses of all the people arrested during the protests. Many professionals have already offered to volunteer on the works.
These events only show one more time the side of Barcelona that the council wants to hide. The one that is fed up with taking shit and suffering the politicians’ selfish decisions. They don’t give a shit about us and we don’t need them for anything. While the protests were going on the council was lamenting the poor image we were showing to the world the same week that the disgusting Primavera Sound festival was happening. Yes, while thousands of hipsters and tourists were dancing and drinking and, of course, wasting lots of money at the other end of town, the machine that started demolishing Can Vies was being set on fire in the Sants neighborhood. Hopefully this light will keep illuminating the city.
Just to finish: tourist (be it punk or not), fuck off. This is serious, it’s real. 67 persons arrested, two of which are still in custody. Countless people injured, police assaults on private buildings, tortures inside the police truck, people being forced to wear clothes and balaclavas to be taken pictures for future use… If you care, do something. If you don’t, get out of here. Thanks.