Squatting in the bay area (1 Viewer)

40oz in a rut

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Dec 21, 2015
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Apple Valley California
I plan on selling my car and moving to the SF/Oakland area in spring i know money doesnt go as far there as most places and other than couch hopping ill be doing i want some advice on sqauting up there. If anyone has tips or experiance its greatly appreciated
 
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Mankini

I'm a d-bag and got banned.
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Dec 4, 2014
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1,515
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en route
I plan on selling my car and moving to the SF/Oakland area in spring i know money doesnt go as far there as most places and other than couch hopping ill be doing i want some advice on sqauting up there. If anyone has tips or experiance its greatly appreciated
SF is wonderful to squat!!! I live there part of the year. Money goes far, You just gotta know how to swinggit in SF. For instance, many jobs there pay at least 15.
 

Stiv Rhodes

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Dec 14, 2013
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35
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Seattle, WA
SF has gotten incredibly hard to squat houses in. I did it 4 years ago but now the whole scene has left and there's hardly any vacancies. Plus, buildings are hard to break into in SF cuz they're built right up against each other. Oakland is where the squatting scene is but even there it's on the decline and not that welcoming to newcomers now.
 

camoverride

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Oakland, CA
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camtsmith.com
Camping is pretty easy because the entire Bay is ringed by hills/forests/natural places. But does anyone have any specifics about urban locations to squat? Oakland near the highway seems decent, but it's a bit crowded.
 
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camoverride

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Oakland, CA
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I found some potential SF squats on 'Homes Not Jails.'

Most places aren't really squat-able, so I've compiled a list in a text doc that I can share.

Is anyone interested in checking out places with me? Also, does anyone know anything about HNJ?
 
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Greenbrae, CA
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I am writing a short story based on my first squatting experience in the Bay Area. Here is the first half:


The Firehouse


By Tony Nightwalker LeTigre


_________________________________________


1.


It was the first squat I ever stayed in, and opened a door to a new world, like a taste of anarchist utopia I hadn’t known before was possible.


We called it The Firehouse, because it had had a fire. The fire had burned the top floor but left the ground floor mostly intact. We didn't go upstairs, and we didn't think anyone was living up there, at least no one human. The back staircase leading up to the top floor was only half a flight of stairs, burnt to ashes halfway up, like a partially burnt log protruding from an old fire pit.


We lived in the ground floor flat. It was filled with charred debris, but mostly undamaged, save a large gaping hole in the kitchen ceiling and another in the bathroom that exposed the plumbing. We spent days clearing away the mounds of rubble. The wall of the back bedroom had also been destroyed by the fire and we put up boards as a makeshift wall.


Renaldo, a Puerto Rican guy, was the first to move in and start squatting there. I met him at my first meeting of RATH: Radical Alternatives to Homelessness. They were a squatter group I hooked up with at the end of the six month stint where I was living on the street in San Francisco. First I found Occupy San Francisco, which was happening at that time---late 2011. One day during General Assembly in the Occupy SF camp in Justin Herman Plaza---which we renamed Chelsea Manning Plaza over the incarcerated whistle-blower who we considered a hero---this guy stood up and announced that RATH held a public meeting every Tuesday evening. He said their objective was to house people who needed shelter in vacant buildings in the city. He said they'd been around for twenty years, long before Occupy Wall Street. He said this without rancor necessarily, but with a bit of a combative attitude. I liked his attitude. I needed housing. The Occupy SF camp was an exciting place, but not good for sleeping.


I had spent the previous six months wandering the city of San Francisco in a drug-enhanced haze. It was an adventure, but an uncomfortable one. I ended up in Golden Gate Park, where some weird things happen after dark that the tourists sure don't know about. I slept for a month or so in a spot by Stowe Lake. I learned later that some people call it Stowe the Bodies Lake.


I guess I was lucky that nothing too freaky ever happened, considering my clueless and isolated wanderings in all parts of the City.


Shortly before that announcement about RATH in the Occupy SF camp, I had spent a very uncomfortable night in my unprotected spot by Stowe Lake with no tent, just a sleeping bag. It rained hard that night, and the next morning I woke up literally lying in a puddle of water.


“This isn't working,” I said.


So it didn't take much arm-twisting to get me to that first meeting of those scruffy anarchists who would transform my life so profoundly.


An opportunity to live rent-free in a house after what I'd been through for six months? It sounded like dying and going to squatter heaven.


2.


A barefoot trans girl made me late to that first RATH meeting. I met her in the Occupy camp. She looked like a wild girl, raised by wolves, bedraggled. We hopped the gate of the BART station together, took it to the Mission, and walked the rest of the way to the address. Twice along the way we came upon a pile of clothes and stuff on the sidewalk. She paused to look through them.


“I kinda wanna be on time to this meeting,” I said, balancing the desire for punctuality with the nearly irresistible urge to examine free gifts. “I might be able to find a house there and get off the street.”


The Mission was always really great for that: finding free stuff. When I was a normie, before I hit the street for the first time, I never used to look at stuff on the sidewalk. I usually passed it by as if just looking at it might give me scabies. Since those years I spent on the street and in and out of squats in San Francisco, I always look at stuff on the sidewalk. It's one of those ways the experience of homelessness changes you. You lose your unconscious class conditioning and become more open to the generosity of the universe and other people. Each walk through a funky barrio like the Mission becomes a treasure hunt.


We walked in fifteen minutes late to a small group of ten or so people. Mixed race, mixed gender. Myself, a tall lanky white dude dressed in hipster wear that clashed with my indigent lifestyle, left over from the skin I'd recently shed as a mainstream housie transplanted from the pacific northwest; and a dark-haired, dark eyed, transgender loba with no shoes. I recognized James, the guy who'd spoken in the Occupy camp.


The meeting was held in the Tenants Building, a historic site of activism around tenants rights in SF going back to the 1970s. The Tenants Building quickly became just “the TB” for me, for all of us. The TB's dungeonlike basement functioned as the RATH and meeting place for RATH. Upstairs, TB staff counseled rent-paying residents on how to stave off no-cause evictions and wrote first drafts of legislation to expand tenant protections; while downstairs, in the dungeon, renegade squatters planned public housing takeovers to highlight wasted civic space as well as private takeover of vacant, abandoned and unused buildings as a direct-action solution to homelessness.


These people smoked, in a small closed space, in defiance of the new trend toward smokelessness. Though I didn't smoke cigarettes, I didn't mind. The group was a mix of libertarian / anarchist-leaning hip young people, grizzled white hippies and oldsters, people of color representing various racial subgroups that made up the spicy cultural melting pot of the Mission District. White supremacists who want to keep the races separate are not only crazy, they're missing out. They don't realize the magic that happens when races and cultures blend and mix, when people of all different sorts come together to make common cause. It's the most exciting thing ever. And it was pretty new to me, coming from Portland, Oregon, one of the whitest cities in the U.S.


We made introductions, and it was asked if anyone had an urgent need for housing. I raised my hand, said a few words. Renaldo said, “I have a house, a new squat I'm starting. There's plenty of room, I'm the only one there right now. You can stay with me.”


And just like that, my six months on the street ended, and a doorway to something entirely different opened.


We were joined by a redhaired gentleman, in his 50s or 60s, named Marcel, who turned out to have a talent for electrical wiring as well as a hoarding problem. The one was a blessing, the other a curse, for the alternative household that the three of us now started.


I didn't expect it to last as long as it did. I figured it might get me off the street for a month or so at best. I learned at the first RATH meeting that “the average squat in San Francisco lasts three weeks.”


In today's rapidly gentrifying San Francisco, which vies with Manhattan as the most expensive real estate market in the nation.


All the oldtimers talk about the San Francisco of the past as a sort of lost paradise. But with the Firehouse, we got to experience our own rickety slice of rent-free paradise, in a not-yet-gentrified slice of the Mission district, for what turned out to be ten months.


The house was owned by a bank. By several banks simultaneously, it appeared, when we looked up the title deed on the city records site. (Something RATH showed us how to do.) It had been sold at auction after the fire. Bear in mind this was in the nadir of the 2008 housing recession, which, as we now know, was actually engineered by big banks and the moguls between them such as J. P. Morgan.


A bank-owned, foreclosed house was the perfect target for RATH's politicized squatting. To sweeten the deal, the Firehouse was located on the other end of the same block as the TB, that stalwart bastion of resistance and tenant support.


We toyed with a more unique name for it, like The House of Pink Fire, since we were all queer guys of one stripe or another. Bisexuality, or pansexuality, was de rigueur in RATH. We were living in a post-Gay/Straight Divide reality. But the longer name never took. It stayed, simply, the Firehouse.


The next day after the RATH meeting, I showed up on the porch with a backpack and duffel bag, containing everything I owned. Renaldo showed me inside. He had taken a room in the back, and Marcel wanted the middle room. That left me with the front room, facing the street, with a bay window. It was the nicest room in the house, by my way of thinking. It needed to be cleaned. The refuse of former tenants needed to be rearranged or removed, and new stuff brought in to make it a home. Still, I wrote no check. There was no deposit or screening process or application to fill out. I laid my bags down, unfurled my sleeping bag on the dusty sofa, and that was that. It was by far the easiest move-in of all the many moves made in my peripatetic life so far.


3.


“We should have mail sent to us here as soon as possible,” Marcel counseled. “That's one of the first steps in establishing residency.”


We were having a three-man huddle in the Firehouse kitchen, Marcel Renaldo and myself, after spending the better part of three days divesting the kitchen of fire debris and cleaning it up.


I was a total newbie when it came to squatting; other than one vaguely remembered night spent in a squat in Seattle called the Animal House, this was my very first dance. Marcel and Renaldo, being part of RATH, on the other hand, were well acquainted with the convolutions of San Francisco's housing protections and the ways that one goes about defending a tenancy against eviction.


“In San Francisco, you get rights as a tenant after 31 days regardless of where you're living, or even whether you were ever a legitimate tenant in the first place,” Marcel went on explaining for my benefit. “Getting mail at this address with our names on it, having an ID card with this address, having a utility bill in our names, all of these things will help us establish residency.”


As with most newcomers to squatting, there was the concern of legal repercussions. Weren't we doing something illegal? How serious a crime was it? What was the worst case scenario?


Marcel and Renaldo, along with the rest of RATH, largely laid these fears to rest, however.


“Squatting is usually treated as a civil matter, which means that even if the police are called, as long as we can present a reasonable case that we are residents here and have been for at least a month, the police are supposed to stay out of it. The bank will then have to evict us through the courts, which can take months. And there are ways to fight it and draw it out even longer.”


Another group of our RATH comrades, in fact, was already more than a year into a squat they'd opened up in another part of town, which we dubbed The Labyrinth.


Of course, what the police were supposed to do and what they actually did were two different things, in many cases; at any rate, having just come off six months on the streets and sleeping in sketchy public spaces, I was more than ready to take a bit of risk in return for a rent-free roof over my head in a fabulous part of town.


First off, we changed the locks. Now we could come and go like normal people with our house secure, which was another relief for me after street life: for the first time in a while, I could leave my stuff in my own space and not have to worry about it being stolen by the time I returned. Not that the house was ever left completely empty. A month or two into our tenancy, another friend of Marcel's, a dour gentleman named Greg, moved into a closet in the hallway. It was just big enough for him and the twin sized mattress stuffed inside, but it looked a cozy enough space.


Marcel put his electrical expertise to work and managed to get us wired for electricity. We had cold running water, as well. That was the extent of our utilities during the run of the Firehouse. But again, this was luxury from where I came from.


“This room is as nice as the one I was renting for 800 dollars a month before I became homeless!” I marveled, after the first of the month rolled around and we drank a toast of tea to celebrate No Rent Day.


We started the squat in late September or early October. San Francisco around Halloween time is lovely. I remember going to a play in SoMa, a Theater Rhinoceros production, and coming home in the evening light to the sight of Bernal Heights looming in the distance, like something out of James and the Giant Peach.


“This City is like storybook,” I said, shaking my head.


One night the adapter on my laptop blew out.


“There's a hackerspace nearby where you can probably get that fixed,” Marcel advised me. “It's called Scatterplot.”


“Well, I'll have to wait til tomorrow, I guess,” I said, looking at the clock, seeing that it was after midnight.


“Actually, you don't,” Marcel answered. “Scatterplot is always open, twenty four seven. It's an anarchist hackerspace. And it's just a few blocks away from here.”


So I met the hackerspace that would change my life and consciousness forever. Marcel and Greg walked me over there well after midnight that night down Mission Street, which even at that hour was humming with dynamic iniquity. We passed through a gate that had been left propped open, walked up a flight of creaky stairs, and stood on the threshold of a whole new world.


4.



Scatterplot hit me like a brick wall of awesomeness: 5000 square feet of hypercreative autonomous freedom. Like a slumber party in a big fun house with your parents never coming home to make the party stop. Like a combination art studio, computer fix-it warehouse, library, experimental kitchen, free classroom, and mad scientist lab all rolled into one. All the tools necessary to create just about anything were at your disposal.


That first night I entered at 2 in the morning, the space was mostly empty. Just a few hackers quietly working in the café or library part of the space, and a couple fellows in the main “hackitorium,” which was a large rectangular table surrounded by shelves of technology reminiscent of the droid junkyard in Star Wars. One was an older Japanese guy, with the blandly nonJapanese name of Dave, whose conversational style could be described as “oblique.” The other was a tall white guy named Scott. The two of them were immersed in an abstruse conversation when I showed up that night with my broken adapter, hoping they would help me fix it.


Instead of fixing it for me, as I had naively hoped, Scott and Dave showed me how to fix it myself. But not right away. My expectations of instant gratification were frustrated. Scatterplot was a timeless place, where one might spend all day, or all night, engaged in philosophical conversation, and those who came rushing in with a pressing need were likely to find themselves quagmired in a kind of vortex that would either repel them or cajole them to another mode of living. It was the hacker way of life, in which work and play were one. The mainstream news, terrified of anything outside the control of the establishment, have done a good job of instilling a sinister image of hackers in the minds of the public; but at Scatterplot, by way of reading The Jargon File and befriending people who self-identified as hackers, I got to know a far less scary truth behind the stereotypical bogeyman. On their own turf, by their own definition, hackers weren’t (usually) malevolent renegades devoted to cracking computer security, disseminating computer viruses, etc; but rather, they were zen-minded technology wizards who engineered their own creative solutions to the problems they encountered, somewhat “beyond good and evil,” to borrow a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche.


I believe that Dave and Scott were simultaneously vexed and amused to witness my fumbling, neophyte attempts to unglove the wire, cut, snip, re-tube, and re-solder the cord of my power adapter. This was totally unfamiliar territory for me. I had never so much as looked at a voltage meter before. But when I left, several hours later, to return to the squat (just as some people’s alarms were going off to wake them up for work), I left with a working adapter, able to power up my computer again.


Being a radical open space, Scatterplot had its problems with freeloaders, space invaders, and parasites. You could become a member, by finding a current member to sponsor you, attending a weekly general meeting, and paying a membership fee. (There was a low-income rate of twenty dollars a month.) But you didn’t have to be a member at all. There was an interesting divide between the more serious hacker-members, who sat in the hackitorium ensconced in their arcane technological quandaries, and the so-called muppets, or oogles, who made the space their all-hours hangout and used it as an internet café, much to the mingled chagrin and entertainment of the dues-paying members. Since no one was in charge, there were people who took advantage of the space. And since there were, at the time when I discovered it, essentially no rules, and it never closed, there was nothing to prevent people from making it their home. The more obvious layabouts were usually ejected eventually, by community stewards who voluntarily guarded the space to keep it safe and free of the more sinister kling-ons. It was preferable, in this anarchistic scene, to act as our own security rather than calling in the pigs. Police were regarded more as anathema than as our servants or protectors. When someone was ejected from Scatterplot, it sometimes happened peacefully: several members would confront someone and ask them to leave the space, and if they desired to challenge their ouster, they were instructed to return at the next weekly general meeting to make a case for their right to remain, which would be decided by consensus of all those present. Other times the ejection was less gentle: a couple friends of mine once chased some disruptors out of the space by swatting them with bamboo sticks.


There was one young fellow, known to all as Rackit, who became another of our housemates. He was a super-user of the space, memorably described as “the Quasimodo of Scatterplot” by another hacker, since he was always there, always running to and fro with manic energy, immersed in quirky projects. It was impossible to be a regular visitor to the space and not have a relationship with Rackit. He was an improbable blend of South Korean and Czech blood, and rumor had it he’d suffered a head injury during a skateboarding accident. He was also rumored to be bipolar. These two things together helped explain his madcap antics and relentless energy. He seemed never to sleep. He was perpetually reorganizing the space, inviting himself into other people’s projects. I was rather fond of him. He knew how to charm.


So we were receptive when he came to us asking if we had a space he might crash. It was only a five-block walk from Scatterplot to the Firehouse: ideal location.


“I’m getting heat for sleeping in the space,” Rackit confided to me and Marcel. “Do you guys have any more place at your squat?”


“Well,” Marcel said, considering, “No one’s taken the back room yet.”


“It’s in pretty rough shape,” I said. “The back wall was burned out, we had to patch it up with boards. There’s some fire damage in there still, and it smells pretty bad.”


“There may be some black mold in there, too…” Greg chimed in.


“I’ll clean it up,” Rackit said eagerly.


A free room in the Mission district, regardless of its condition, is not to be turned down lightly.


Eventually another fellow from Scatterplot began staying with us, too: an older gentleman from Belgium named Lorain who opted for the (to me disgusting) basement garage, where he lived in a space constructed of cardboard partitions with just one flickering lamp in the darkness. I almost never went down there; it grossed me out. Later, I found out there were rats living down there, too. That was some Triplets of Belleville shit that I was not ready for.


Lorain made six, and that rounded out our gritty, bespoke household.


The Firehouse was in full blaze.



5.


Christmas came and went without much fanfare for us, save for a warm and congenial gathering at Scatterplot. The big banks had many self-given presents to open in the form of the many houses being foreclosed upon as families who couldn’t make mortgage payments were forced out of their homes, so that the banks could do the whole scam over and reap a fresh mound of obscene profit off the very same properties; meanwhile, the families who had lived in the houses that now sat vacant were forced to scramble for shelter---forced, in some cases, onto the streets. In some cases, even people who had made all their mortgage payments still had their houses repossessed. When we heard that a black family in Bayview had refused to leave their home, that they were supported by dozens of neighbors who stood with them on the day the sheriff was supposed to evict them, and that the bank backed down and let them stay at least for the time being, we cheered in solidarity.


At the Firehouse, we were left in peace through the holidays. Not until January did we run into the first tremors of trouble. We came home one day to find a notice on the door informing us that we were trespassing on private property and had 24 hours to vacate. But Marcel and Renaldo were not new to this rodeo. When a couple guys claiming to represent the property owner showed up at the front door a day or two later in the company of a lawyer, Marcel, who was home with Greg at the time, stood his ground, refusing to let them in, stating that we were the rightful tenants of the property and that if they wanted to evict us, they would have to go through the rightful channels. He knew how to phrase it in proper legalese, so that the attorney was forced to concede our point and urge the bank guys to withdraw for the time being.


“That was a bluff,” Marcel said when I returned home to hear the story. “A lot of people don’t realize they have any rights and will just cave, which is what they’re hoping for. They don’t want to have to spend all the time and money to get us out the legal way.”


Another day I was the one home alone when the goons came knocking. Not completely alone: Greg was hiding in his closet, holding the door shut for dear life, sweating like a queer in church; he was pathologically averse to discovery for whatever reason (I didn’t pry). This time it was a bunch of construction type guys who entered forcibly through the basement and came up into our flat through the side door, which didn’t have a lock at that point. I could tell right away that their goal was to intimidate---one of them was even carrying a sledgehammer!---and I’d been warned against such an eventuality. There was a tense standoff in the hallway, with me holding my ground in the doorway of my bedroom, answering or deflecting their questions tersely, and insisting that they leave and not enter the house again without permission. Despite our squatter status, I acted just like a regular tenant if someone had broken into the house, defiant rather than cowering or shameful.


“How many people live here?” the leader of the goons demanded.


“Four or five of us,” I said, trying to think carefully on my feet, since I knew every word I uttered might be used against me later. On a sudden inspiration, I added, “Including one or two people who were tenants before the fire.”


This remark would later earn me accolades from Marcel and Greg. It was a good thing to say: creating doubt in their minds, strengthening the impression that we might have legal standing as tenants.


I called their bluff successfully, and they left, promising not to barge in unannounced again. But they made no secret of the fact they were reconnoitering the premises to assess it for damage, and it was clear in their minds that it was only a matter of time until they evicted us rugrats and got to work reconstructing the place to put it back on the market.


That night at the RATH public meeting I described my encounter, to the approval of my fellow squatters. I was using my “white privilege” to good purpose, something that even the politically correct feminists in the group could grudgingly acknowledge.


After the meeting that night, four of us went out to crack a new squat. There were others in the group who needed housing, new people were coming in all the time, and it was up to us to find lodging for them. We’d identified a potential spot during a previous scouting mission, or “Away Team,” as we called them, in homage to Star Trek.


So that night I joined the action team for my first “breach” mission. The target building was a tiny one-bedroom house with one boarded up window and a lockbox on the front door. While three of us stood guard in the vicinity, pretending to play with our cellphones but actually keeping an eye out for cops, the leader of our team went in with a pair of bolt cutters. He cut the lock box from the door. It made sparks when he cut it. Then we ran off at a mad dash, in three separate discussions in case anyone watching tried to pursue. A half hour later we regrouped at the RATH office in the basement of the TB. Then we took a sledgehammer, smashed the lockbox open and got the key.


We waited a day or two for any heat to die down, then returned to the little house late one night, and used the key to enter.


And so RATH had another open squat. We called that one LemonGrass, after the overgrown garden in its little back yard.


When I told a guy at Scatterplot about our breaching mission, he shook his head and laughed, saying, “You guys are crazy.”


“You know what else is crazy?” I said. “That there are at least ten thousand homeless people in the city that everyone complains about, and yet, according to the 2010 Census, there are thirty thousand vacant housing units.”


That convenient fact went into a stencil we sprayed onto city sidewalks in the coming days:



30,000 VACANT HOUSING UNITS

MINUS 10,000 UNHOUSED PEOPLE

EQUALS: PROBLEM SOLVED



I was getting bolder at this new life as a renegade housing pirate. One night, I decided to attempt on my own to breach the building adjoining the back of the Firehouse, which appeared to be dark and vacant. I crawled across a narrow ledge and in through an unlocked bathroom window. It seemed the building was vacant for remodeling which was not happening, or happening very slowly: it was almost entirely empty, and I found a note from the previous occupants asking the landlord when they could move back in. To my delight, I found that unit had hot running water, so I took my first shower in a long time.


As I was toweling off, I heard sounds coming from an inner stairwell of the building that was open to the sky. I opened the door to the stairwell and saw raccoons scurrying about in the shadows. I watched them for a while, feeling a sense of affection.


“I like you better than the yuppies,” I said out loud. “Fuck gentrification.”


“But think about it,” said one of the raccoons, stopping and looking up at me with his little bandit mask eyes and clever paws. “A hip young white kid living in the Mission district: you are part of gentrification.”


Ouch.


He had a point; nonetheless, I related more to that raccoon than to the yuppies taking over Valencia Street.



6.


Rain, rain, rain. For days it poured down, and the poor beat-up Firehouse was not up to that challenge. Water leaked in from the damaged upper flat, through the damaged ceiling of our lower flat. We had buckets to collect the droplets in the bathroom and kitchen, where gaping holes exposed the pipes above. The back room, where Rackit the hackerspace muppet now lived, was hit especially hard. I saw the poor kid back there in the dark, surrounded by flickering candles, frantically racing about attempting to install rain barriers to protect his stuff from the deluge, since the walls and ceiling back there were in worse shape than anywhere else.

For a week, the city was swamped. We even got a thunderstorm one night, although as usual on the west coast, it turned out to be less than predicted. When the rain receded, it left our cluttered house damp and mildewy, with a powerful moldy stench that wafted to your nostrils when you walked in the front door. It took at least another week for that to die away.

Marcel’s room was the worst, given what we politely called his collecting problem, or cluttering habit. There was no room in his bedroom, and it was hard to find the bed beneath all the stuff that buried it. Junk that he found on his perpetual wanderings through the city’s streets, dumpsters, recycling bins, and other nooks and crannies jam-packed his room from wall to wall, and nearly from floor to ceiling. It was hard to imagine how he could sleep, since his bed was completely snowed under with boxes and bags and bundles of junk as well.

Luckily---if that’s the right word---Marcel didn’t seem to sleep much.

Then again, neither did I. It’s time to come clean and admit something I’ve danced around so far in this story: I was addicted to crystal meth throughout this whole stretch of time and beyond. I’d gotten into it when I hit the street the previous year. I was getting unemployment, from the temp agency that had stopped finding me work assignments. Not a lot---about 600 dollars a month altogether---but enough to maintain a drug habit, given that I was paying no rent and most of my food money was covered by food stamps. That enabled me to live a fabulous work-free lifestyle as a squatter and hackerspace dweller. I kept myself busy, nonetheless; I’ve never been a sedentary, layabout type person. I went to meetings in SF, in the East Bay. Meetings of RATH, of Occupy Wall Street, of radical anarchist collectives in Berkeley, of bookclubs and workshops and self-defense classes and qi gong and tai chi classes that were free at the libraries and elsewhere. I went to Quaker meetings and marxist lectures at the Redstone Building and later I began attending a meditation group called “urban dharma,” which was like buddhism for hip young urbanites. I volunteered at the Occupy camp, at the soup kitchens where I also sometimes ate, at the local animal shelter, at the TB, at Project Open Hand, at the LGBT Center, the SF AIDS Foundation, etc. I wrote occasionally for the local newspapers, but phased that out in favor of starting up my own zine at Scatterplot, with the help of collaborators corraled from the hackerspace.


It was a fun life, like a second childhood. Except I wasn’t high on crystal during my first childhood.

Renaldo had a stalker: his ex-girlfriend, Soledad. One day she woke me up at the Firehouse banging on my bedroom window. Rain coming down, and Sunshine pounding on my window. I told Renaldo, who said not to let her in and locked himself in his bedroom. Another time she barged into Scatterplot and found Renaldo there, cooking soup, and publicly confronted him. “She’s trying to poison me,” Renaldo confided in me.

I couldn’t help finding it all rather amusing.

I was a madman, high on drugs, laughing in the rain.

One night, after the rain abated, I came home to find Rackit sick with a cold, snuggled in his sleeping bag with Greg reading to him out loud from Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” like a kindly father to his ailing son.

That made me laugh some more. How I loved our demented household!

“We’re having our own Tale of the City, right now!” I exuberated.

That night, a rat ran into my bedroom late at night, when I was lying awake scribbling in my notebook, polishing off a bag of crystal.


The rat paused and stared at me. Rather than freak out, I stared back. I thought the little bugger was kinda cute, with big startled eyes. He ran in from Marcel’s room, and then into a crack in the wall next to the fireplace.

“My street cred is going way up,” I told a friend of mine proudly, the next day.
 

pureterror

Lurker
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
3
I found some potential SF squats on 'Homes Not Jails.'

Most places aren't really squat-able, so I've compiled a list in a text doc that I can share.

Is anyone interested in checking out places with me? Also, does anyone know anything about HNJ?
I'm hella late to the party... but MEEE!!

I'm desperately in need of a street buddy (or a few) to help me search out and potentially crack a good squat with me... I'm gonna be homeless in Oakland at the end of this month because I moved in with an idiot who wasn't supposed to rent to anyone not on the lease.

This setback is following 2+ months of being homeless after my partner decided to bail on our plans to travel the country in a teardrop trailer and moved in with his dad instead. Basically a huge waste of resources and the rug was pulled out from beneath me. Tragic, I know. *dramatic fainting gesture*

And before that, I spent 2+ years trying to build a "house" in Olympia (4+ bedrooms, a Black Haus of local legend of course) , with just me and my partner on the lease; of course it became a revolving door of shitty roommates who would bail on their share of the utilities their last month in the house, like clockwork. I'm basically tired of the rent struggle. I'm a self-employed Dominatrix; never have been and never will be a wage slave.

Anyone interested in building a small, tight-knit crew (affinity group?) of squatters in the Bay, lemme know. Prefer Oakland--West Oak seems fuckin RIPE! :) Preferably politically-minded folks (anarchists/anti-authoritarian/anti-state), creatives (writers of both pen and aerosol can especially!:p), skaters (dope skate park in West Oak that isn't totally abandoned, I dig it!), queer (femmes to the front!).... but really the only requirements for my dream crew would be ~aware of security culture, ~some level of street smarts, ~fucking genuine honest real fucking humans in this land of brainwashed zombies. I'm probably definitely going to post this as a separate thread, sorry I got carried away.... ::woot::

~Gala
 

Laundromatt

Lurker
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
93
Current Location
Nowhere
Did yall ever get a a squat going or know of any active squats in Oakland? I'm bouts to be there in the next few days
 
OP
40oz in a rut

40oz in a rut

Lurker
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
18
Current Location
Apple Valley California
Any insight is cool
If your gonna be camping stay in parks of hilly wilderness areas not the middle of market st or oakland i recommend golden gate park or buena Vista park in the haight area of SF find hills in the parks away from the trails not super visable from the road or bike trails cause you could get fined for sleeping in a park i hear i also had luck sleeping in low key spots in the oakland hills yuppie area off Skyline road type neighborhood theres a lot of ditches of the side of the road away from site and dont gotta worry about some one robbing you like you do in the city this is just my experience if you wanna go as far as Marin theres plenty of spots to pitch a tent to i hear with low risk but all the spots im telling you i did with a sleeping bag pack n knife only no tent or anything high key so good luck hmu when your up here i can show you around
 

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I got a fresh brick of buttwipes. Who's lookin' to party?
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Preacher wrote on Wolfs Paw's profile.
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