Who are you?
Radical Bank – a product of the global squatting and occupy movements – made up of workers, unemployed, students and migrants. We seize space to then host political communities to share skills and reshape ideas around gender, equality, self-sufficiency, ecology and direct action. On the 6th of June, after an anti-austerity march, we took the old Barclays bank in Preston Circus. A group of squatters had been there before us but had been violently evicted. We took this space to use as a social centre.
What happened next?
On Tuesday 16th of June, The Brighton County Court granted Barclays a possession order for the Barclays branch squatted by Radical Bank. A fast track for high court bailiffs was also awarded. Two days later, on the morning of Friday the 19th of June at 07:20 am, the Radical Bank Squat was evicted. Bailiffs immediately removed the people staying there, then cut down all the banners and smashed furniture. Everyone tried to get as many of our essential possessions out of the building as fast as possible, and then we had to try and find places to stay for those among us with nowhere else to go.
As we were leaving a PR guy from Barclays was handing out business cards. He informed us a project had been undertaken in conjunction with ‘3space’. Afterwards a small poster was left by Barclays, which read: ‘if you’re a social enterprise, non-profit, or local Start-up business you’ll shortly be able to apply to use space here free of charge!’.
Hold up! What is 3space?
3space defines itself as a ‘charity’ and as a ‘community asset’ which utilizes empty spaces for businesses and community groups to use for free until property owners want them back. It claims to be a catalyst for ‘regeneration’, a decieving term often associated with pushing poor populations from deprived areas by stimulating rising rent and local service costs.
Why is Barclays in association with 3space?
There are 3 main benefits in cooperating with 3space for Barclays:
1 It protects the building from squatting
2 It allows Barclays to sit on the building as its value rises and local rents are driven up;
3 It helps Barclays public image, distracting people from its actual activities, whilst directly responding to, appropriating and subverting the critique of the Radical Bank;
‘3Space acts as a buffer between the users and government, limiting any negative impact when the property is required back’ (3space)
What are the effects of 3space?
1 Gentrification – redevelopment of deprived areas accompanied by an influx of affluent people who often displace poorer residents with soaring rents and local service costs.
2 The cultural appropriation of politics – Radical Bank’s critique was appropriated and subverted by Barclays and 3space; similar terms are used (such as ‘social’ ‘community’) but mask a watering down of those elements which challenge business as usual, turning them instead to the service of profit. 3space claim this has been planned for months, however their initial press release was launched immediately after our court case – the choice of building is a public relations remedy.
Why should we oppose it?
3space depicts itself as a valuable asset for the community but waters down real political challenges to business as usual and aids the gentrification of communities. Simultaneously 3space whitewashes Barclays, depicting it as a benevolent community presence. However Barclays is complicit in all sorts of dirty crimes, and decimates communities globally, 3space should not be supporting it
BUT HOW CAN WE OPPOSE IT??
– Share this message!
– Boycott Barclays and 3space, all their hands are dirty!
– Squat the lot! Keep up the fight for our spaces! Fight back against corporate power and gentrification!
– Get involved! Join the Radical Bank!
Barclays is Implicit in all kinds of crimes,
Here’s our Top Ten. Pick your favourite!
- Barclays is the largest global investor in the arms trade and is the market maker for arms company ITT Exelis.
- Barclays used customers’ money to finance the weapons industry, including the sale of cluster bombs which kill and maim innocent civilians.
- Barclays is the British bank with the most substantial investments in Israeli companies, including companies based in Israeli settlements. They even traded in shares of drones that killed over1000 Palestinians
- Barclays bank had been promoting the use of tax havens to companies investing in Africa.
- Barclays’ tax avoidance division generated £1bn a year -Salz reviw
- Barclays was complicit in supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa in the 80s, only pulling out when a student boycott lead to a significant loss of Barclays’ market share amongst students
- Barclays is financing a company involved in land grabs in Uganda
- Barclays Financed Mugabe and land grabs in Zimbabwe
- Barclays Speculated on food prices only reduced involvement under heavy pressure
- Barclays is the named shareholder in several major arms firms including Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin’, so war is in their financial interest!