Wednesday, July 26, 2006


A reader dropped this big question in a comment on a prior post and I figured I'd open it up here. So, blog readers, have at it. Yea or nay? Why, why not? Let's get a discussion going.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shack Fire as Excuse for Eviction

Three hundred squatters in the Quarry Road settlement in Durban were burned out of their homes Friday night. Now the government is exploiting the situation, pushing squatters to relocate to the edge of town and even attempting to extort money for old shipping pallets that were delivered to help in recreating the lost shelters. South Africa Indymedia has the story.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bahamas squatters hold firm against the government

Squatters in the Bahamas, who have occupied government-owned land for several decades, are fighting to keep their homes, The Bahama Journal reports.

Monday, July 17, 2006

In Iraq, a failed housing market

Not squatters, but on their way, perhaps. This story on the housing crisis in Iraq from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting shows that market forces are conspiring against ordinary Iraqis in Sulaimaniyah.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Squatters in the Solomon Islands

The number of squatters in the major city of the Solomon Islands, a South Pacific archipelago of 1,000 small islands and coral atolls, is growing by an astounding 26 percent a year, the government admits. Honiara, the capital city, is now 1/3 squatters. Wow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Kazakh squatters clash with police

Squatters in Almaty, Kazakhstan's commercial (though not political) capital, are fighting government forces seeking to demolish their homes, Reuters reports.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Putting people above politicians

S'bu Zikode, president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, a movement that arose in Foreman Road and other squatter communities in Durban, South Africa, writes eloquently of his country's discrimination against the poor. From The Mercury newspaper.

His critique: 'the government, other organisations and academics speak about the poor all the time but so few want to speak to the poor.'

His solution: 'Poverty and neglect by the state have thrown us together in our shack settlements and from that togetherness we have become strong. The politics of the strong poor is anti-party politics. Our politics is not to put someone in an office. Our politics is to put our people above that office.'

His hope: 'I am optimistic that the "will" of the poor will soon be done because the poor are the majority of this country and the majority is beginning to speak for itself.'

Thursday, July 06, 2006

International Poverty Pimps

Here's an absolute scandal: One-quarter of the world's development aid to poor countries is going to consultants and close to another 25 percent is "swallowed in administration costs, double counting of debt relief, tied aid, donor aid that is allocated to geopolitical and commercial priorities and domestic refugee spending in donor countries," according to a new report by ActionAid International. The bottom line: half of all development aid doesn't reach the poor. InterPress News Service has the details.

The report, called RealAid 2, can be found here.

No freedom for the poor

The mjondolo settlement in Durban's Foreman Road, as visited by a reporter from the Mail & Guardian newspaper, illustrates the growing inequities of the new new South Africa. Forced relocation is not the answer. Squatter empowerment is.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rhino charges on

A victory for Rhino, Geneva's oldest squat, as reported by swissinfo. Essentially, Switzerland's top court voided an eviction order pushed by Geneva prosecutor Daniel Zappelli, asserting that the squatters were no danger, either to themselves or to public order. As Swiss journalist Philippe de Rougemont writes, "The court's decision is a strong message to the over-zealous Daniel Zappelli, the Geneva state prosecutor. He has been criticised even by people from his own conservative group for being too agressive about sympathetic and arty squatters, instead of fully cooperating with foreign justice departments to help squeeze the big fish: money launderers, tax evaders, etc, that flock towards Switzerland and Geneva." Thanks to Philippe for passing on the good news.