» ACTUALLY AFFORDABLE CALIFORNIA COASTAL LIVING

Long-term encampment at the Albany Bulb in the California Bay Area in 2014. - (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Photo EssayThe Albany Bulb, just north of Berkeley, California, is a peninsula-shaped landfill created by rubble from an earthquake in San Francisco (background of the photo above) that’s existed for a long time as a kind of park, outsider art gallery and, until recently, semi-continuous community of squatters.

Three-eyed lavender Medusa painting-on-rubble at the Albany Bulb, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Three-eyed lavender Medusa painting-on-rubble at the Albany Bulb – (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Now that the landfill’s grown less toxic and the terrain’s become nicely overgrown, the city of Albany would very much like to evict the squatters and figure out ways to beautify and monetize the area for its more upstanding, legible subjects.

The Birdman of Albany Bulb, feeding gulls in the parking lot of the adjacent horse-racing track. (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

The Birdman of Albany Bulb, feeding gulls in the parking lot of the adjacent horse-racing track. (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Like most bureaucratic functionaries in the U.S., Albany’s would like to eliminate the presence of people who aren’t legible to the modern U.S. surveillance state.

Side view of improv housing at the Albany Bulb, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Side view of improv housing at the Albany Bulb, (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

But for now at least, a very small bit of actually affordable, still somewhat off-grid California coastal living still exists.

Land’s end! Just south of the Albany Bulb, at the Berkeley Marina. (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

Land’s end! Just south of the Albany Bulb, at the Berkeley Marina. (c) 2016 Brian Awehali

» TRESPASS AT WILL: Squatting as Direct Action, Human Right, and Justified Theft

“Approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans.  It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country.” – Tanuka Loha, Amnesty International, December 2011

by Erin Wiegand

IT’S A COLD, WINDY NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO, and three men are about to take shelter in a vacant apartment building. One of them digs a crowbar and bolt cutters out of his backpack; another keeps a careful eye out for police or passersby. In a matter of seconds they’ve snipped off the lock and opened the door. They survey the house, looking for any signs of occupancy or renovation—newspapers or mail, paint buckets or ladders. Satisfied that the house has been empty for some time, they relax and settle down for the night. Tomorrow, they’ll put a new padlock on the door, and set about fixing up their new home.

Thousands of miles away in Amsterdam, 50 young people have set up a barricade outside the front of a large building. The police, in full riot gear, file out of their vans and form a line opposite them. Inside the house, the doors have been reinforced with sheets of scrap plywood. The last remaining people in the building pour bottles of vegetable oil down the stairs in order to slow the cops down. Outside, the police raise their batons and charge the house.

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