Dear Mr Weatherley,
We, the occupiers of the previously unused property at 29 Western Road, would like to invite you to the social centre we have created for a cup of tea and a friendly chat. We have free hot drinks and cake for anyone who wants it, comfy seats and meeting space for groups who need it. We have established a safe space with a free shop and library, with clothes, books and DVDs for people to take or borrow. If you were to visit, I’m sure we could find you a fetching hat or perhaps a much needed book on the class divisions of our society.
For a large part of your political career, you have held the criminalization of squatting to be a cause that you passionately believe in. Parliament is currently putting through legislation that will act as the first steps towards the criminalization of squatting. This will essentially result in the criminalization of people who are homeless in the midst of a housing and financial crisis, and who must resort to occupying empty and unused buildings simply in order to have a roof over their heads. It will also criminalise people like us, who have chosen to create a free cultural and community resource in a previously unused building, showing that you and the current government prioritises the financial interests of wealthy property owners before those of the homeless and disadvantaged. Official statistics state that, outside of London, Brighton has the highest number of rough sleepers, and yet according to a BBC article published in 27th February 2011 there are 3655 empty homes in Brighton and Hove. This ridiculous situation is only going to get worse if your unjust anti-squatting legislation is passed.
Your party’s “Big Society” was an idea flawed from the outset, and as the ruthless Conservative cuts are ravaging public services, this vision has completely failed to emerge. We are a group of people attempting to create community involvement from the bottom up, in a way which counters the short sighted views of the Conservative party. We would like to invite you to visit the social centre and see the efforts we have made, so that we may prove to you that our society is bigger than yours.
We are being taken to Brighton County Court on Friday, July 29th at 12.30pm in an attempt to evict us from this property, but until then – and hopefully for a long time after – we will be open to the public Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm. Why not pop in some time and we can discuss this matter further?
The Occupiers of the Wildkatz Social Centre
wildkatzsocialcentre AT hotmail.co.uk