Cracking Under Pressure: Narrating the Decline of the by Lynn Owens

By Lynn Owens

So much educational reviews have centred virtually solely at the emergence of social hobbies, paying much less awareness to their declines. yet as each activist is aware, decline is a crucial and very important interval for any mobilization. This quantity broadens and enriches social circulate thought via a detailed research of the destiny of the squatters’ circulation in Amsterdam, which emerged within the overdue Nineteen Seventies as a reaction to the housing scarcity of the Nineteen Sixties, finally peaking within the early Eighties prior to falling right into a interval of lengthy decline. writer Lynn Owens explores this decline, concentrating on the subjective event of the squatters and the tradition of decline at huge.

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Additional resources for Cracking Under Pressure: Narrating the Decline of the Amsterdam Squatters' Movement (Solidarity and Identity)

Example text

By this time, squat43 ting had become a common feature of the city’s landscape. Many of those involved at the Vondelstraat squat had been active squatters for some time. Although squatting and squatters were nothing new, something new was born from this conflict. As Willem put it, “It was at the Vondelstraat that I became a real squatter” (Wietsma et al. 1982, 100). But more than squatters were born here, the squatters’ movement sprang forth from the rubble of the barricades. The Vondelstraat brought together and solidified many different squatters, the ultimate transformation of disparate individual activists into a collective that saw itself as a movement.

Few movements, after all, have been this small and concentrated. Fewer still have the tight integration between political activism and home life, even before factoring in the further differentiating effects of its radicalization. Yes, not many other social movements resemble the Amsterdam squatters’ movement. Still, the squatters confront and tackle virtually all of the same issues other investigators of decline have designated as significant, such as factionalism, co-optation, changing political environments, strategic debates, isolation, shifting goals, and despair.

The competing sides have evolved to this point where neither is interested in “saving” the movement, greeting the movement’s death positively. The political hard-liners take this quite seriously – at one point, the PVK threatens to kill the movement in order to reform it in its own image. Lastly, I analyze the way the public/private split gets recast as politics versus culture as the main explanatory cause of the movement’s decline. That is, I show how these new terms of culture and politics are more “global” in their use, moving far beyond the realm of immediate strategic choices into defining the attributes of the activists and the movement.

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