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helsinki: social centre opening and other things of interest

As we were travelling around the baltic sea through scandinavia, we were not only hosted in a beautiful new opened small living-squat in kauniainen close to helsinki, but also participated in the opening of a public squat close to central helsinki.

The squat syrjä was started in march 2011, but had its public opening just when we were there at the 4th of august with a photo exhibition about the quarter exarchia in athens, greece, made by one photo artist from finnland. Syrjä is located close to a garden area and was abandoned for years befor the activists reclaimed it this spring. It was a lot of garbage to take out and construction work for weeks to make it the nice and comfortable place it is now. The wooden house consists of some living rooms and one space dedicated to the neighbourhood and interested public for smaller activities like meetings, library, exhibitions, …

The situation since march went quite nice, as neighbours knows about the new users. People reacted very positive and supportive to the fact, that the house was rescued from rotting down and is now meaningful used again.

The house is owned by the city, but untill now there wasn´t any harrassment from the city or the police, so the situation is calm and the squatters expect to keep the place for longer.

Anyhow the suatters wrote a statement in the very beginning that could be released in case of eviction to make shure, that the political message behind the action was recognized in public.

but they told us that they also released in the very beginning allready a statement for the media to explain about their ideas and why they started this initiative.  So they expect to keep this place for longer.

In finnland, there is only the social centre satama in helsinki and now the much smaller place syrjä. Other initiatives in cities like turku were closed and squats from the 8Oies were legalised in a founded organisation, which is now working together with the city. This formal organisation gets offers by the city to rent empty buildings and renovate them, but to apply for a place to live there is hard and the activists from syrjä decided to do it themselves instead of working with such organisation.

The social centre satama is more in the centre of the city and used for bigger activities. Unfortunantly there had been some conflicts with the city recently.

For 2.5 years the centre was legal, but now the city puts pressure, the official reason is the supply of electricity to an unwanted roma camp that is situated next to the centre. (see: http://actforfreedomnow.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/call-for-solidarity-social-center-satama-under-threat-of-eviction-helsinki-finland/ and mainstream media at: http://yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/06/helsinki_breaks_up_roma_camps_2662983.html)
So since the beginning of this year, satama is without electricity but keeps on existing as well as the roma camp.

More recent news in the mainstream media about the anit-roma politics in finland and racist campaigning of the state against people especially from bulgaria and romania you can find here: http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/11/28/35804055.html and http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Roma+camp+at+Satama+social+centre+to+stay+for+now/1135266924122
and http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/general/10909-roma-people-turned-away-from-finland-faster-paper-.html

We also met people who are working on anti-nuclear issues at the moment; At the 20th of august, a longer planned and regular organised antinuclear protest will take place:

“Crowd of anti-nuclear citizens will gather this year on 20th of August on front of Olkiluoto nuclear power station to demonstrate for safer and more sustainable future. Few big companies share the profits made of nuclear power, but the consequences of the radioactive pollution are burdened on ordinary people all around the globe. When the decision-makers do not respect the good of people, people must take action. Join us!” (see: http://olkiluotoblockade2011.wordpress.com/english/)

We also visited the infoshop “mustan kanin kolo” (hole of the black rabbit) in the centre of helsinki, where you can find lots of paper, old and new, political and very non-political and some of the local anarchist and left newspapers and zines.

Some anarchist / left news from finnland, you can find at the newsportal takku.net

Posted in english language, General.

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