LETTER TO THE OWNERS from the @School.of.trespass, (the owners still summoned us in court which will happen Monday 15th of November 2021):
We are the occupiers of the former Central School of Ballet, at 10, Herbal Hill. We understand that, as owners of the property, you have legitimate concerns about this unusual situation, and we hope this letter can at least clarify our intentions.
The occupation started as a protest against the PCSC bill. We are active against police brutality and the criminalisation of GRT communities, homeless people, migrants and squatters.
We are a group of diverse people. Among us are artists, musicians and creatives, political activists, as well as people struggling with homelessness. We are all affected by the housing crisis. Squatting is borne out of the need for a home, when many of us would simply be on the streets, or oppressed because of who we are and what we stand for.
Here are reasons why you may want to consider letting us stay here until the building has a new use.
We are creating the Autonomous Social Art Collective, as we believe such a beautiful, historic building should be more than just a living space for people in need. We have begun to offer a space for creatives, artists and performers to rehearse, practice and create, as well as a social space that provides access to culture and education in a non-profit way.
We are sharing whatever resources we can get with fellow marginalised people. We are donating clothing and food whenever possible, in the spirit of mutual aid. We believe our different worldviews can at least align in the idea that no-one deserves to starve and that any surplus resource should be shared with less fortunate people.
Our presence here has already been beneficial to the building, which already had severe water damage before the occupation. Empty buildings go derelict very fast. Some of us have the skills to fix, clean up and take care of the building. Similarly to « live-in guardians », we will protect the building from other intrusions. We will also save you the cost of an expensive, ineffective security company.
Lastly, as a harsh winter is approaching, evicting us would mean putting a significant number of people back on the streets. It comes at no extra cost to you to let us stay at least until winter is over, and it would mean a lot to us to have some form of safety.
We are rational, approachable, and open to discussion. Regardless of your response, we are going to keep taking care of the place and make it a home to arts and communal living for as long as possible. We simply hope that this letter helps you understand us better, and that you will consider discussing an agreement with us.
The Autonomous Social Art Collective
PRESS AND PODCASTS about WofR event, @resisting.anti.trespass and @School.of.trespass: