I don't know what the eighties were like in the rest of the world, (well, I do sort of off course) but here in The Netherlands it was the era of The Squatters. I was about 6/7 years old and all I knew back then was that Squatters were the same as punks. They were scary, anarchistic, smelly and lazy people who did not want to work and could only think of disrupting society and fighting with the police.
Is it wrong to say that these days my opinion has not changed much? Two blocks away from me, the Militairy Police are clearing the oldest Squatted building of the country. For years local council has battled with these people and the squatters lost all their court cases. So, after a record 23 years, the squatters will have to leave.
Of course most of the people who moved into the building in 1980 have gone. And in their place are now anarchists (what's new) and a small group of people who are waiting for the police with stones in their hands. They have already set a small building ablaze to prevent the police from entering the building. I will admit to being slightly right-wing in this but I wonder how many of these people actually have a paid job and how many of them are on social benefits? Or are they 'placing themselves outside this capitalist society', surviving on a government hand-out?
I don't understand why the clearing of squatted buildings always has to come with violence and fighting? Why don't they just leave? Why throw washingmachines from the roof? Why set things on fire? What right do they have to do that?
I might have to point out that the local council here has completely refurbished another building in town where the squaters can move in to FOR FREE!!!!!