Malene – Brett – Eviction of Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen

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Dear Friends,
I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to share with you my personal reflections on the recent evictions of an incredible occupied building in Copenhagen called Ungdomshuset (The Youth House). My emotions about this are still very raw and the rhetoric is in overabundance…
My partner and I went to several demonstrations in support of Ungdomshuset while we were in Denmark for a residency for four months. The giant building had been occupied for over 24 years. (For those of you in Chicago, just imagine that The Metro had been squatted and run by youth!) It had historical significance beyond the contemporary moment in Denmark. Both Lenin and Rosa Luxemborg had spoken in the building long before it was occupied. This building was huge and hosted a range of activities from concerts to organizing workshops and family gatherings. I had a great time visiting this building and basking in its presence in an otherwise stale, dull, overly controlled city.
There is a particularly vile government in Denmark at the moment – one that is racist, xenophobic, nationalist, and worst of all, neoliberal. It is seeking to role back years of gains in the wonderful balance Danes had found between capitalism and socialism. It has actually functioned well there. But, greed and self-importance have taken over the minds of the majority of people. There is too much wealth in the tiny country and it is rotting peoples’ decency.
The symbolic battle over Ungdomshuset is a case in point that the assholes governing Denmark want nothing short of total normalization and complete control of how people live their lives. This is disgusting. There should be room for one building in a city of over 1 million people for a different way of doing things. This situation sucks and has outraged a lot of people outside of Denmark, myself included. This eviction and what it represents for free people around the world has deeply saddened me. The thing is, this all could have been avoided. A foundation offered to buy the building at nearly twice the rate it had been sold for out from underneath the Ungdomshuset. The city refused, putting a clearly symbolic stamp on this struggle. It is not about “obeying rules”, but more about obeying their limited and narrow definitions of society. What adds insult to all of this is that the city sold the building to a reprehensible fundamentalist Christian organization. How is that for a giant “fuck you”?!
The motherfuckers who made this eviction happen should lose their homes and their power. They have abused it. This is clear in the illegal activities of trying to knock the building down as fast as possible. In complete disregard for their own laws, the city started knocking down the building. Police guarded the cranes of a company that had hidden its name so as not to be held accountable for their complicity. The demolition violated Denmark’s strict environmental regulations and was eventually stopped, but not before a huge part of the building had been knocked down. This is not a coincidence.
The letter below was sent to me yesterday from a friend in Denmark. The last time I saw her was at the Ungdomshuset. She inspired me to finally write something and express my own profound sense of loss.
For freedom from the state and those who want to control,
Dear friends around the world,
I write to tell you a story about a fight for Freedom,
Love and Presence. About Integrity and Honesty.
Fear and Power.
The streets no longer look like a Nepalese funeral.
Copenhagen has seen herself explode.
Despite the chill of cold march winther days hundreds
of people are outside, acting on it – doing it. Acting
on frustration and political powerlessness. Some do it
with colorful, creative power, some with violence and
anger, others with words as their only weapons. It is
a beautifull feeling. An awakening. WE are a
rainforest of subcultures. WE grow wild.
OUR house. Here, WE build a playground for art and
politics together. Heart to heart, creating space for
the Other. Giving and taking. Sharing time and magical
moments. Exsperiences. This is a way of LIFE.
Who has such a destructive mind as to take away life
from other human beings with force, gas, clubs and
Our house is a way of humans to be together lifting
each other. This is now ripped apart. I feel it to the
very bone of my body.
This is the time. Days of neo-liberalism,
privatisation, consumerism feasting on society, nature
and the minds and bodies of people. OUR fight is a
symptom of the time.
Politicians are politicians. They are attached to
invisible strings of interest of their voters and
Journalists are journalist. They hunger for news,
drowning reality.
Christian sects are christian sects. They have seen
the light and found a mission. They sneak up on us
with an arrogant face.
They forget to love. We are caught in the middle,
BEING DATERAPED. Who will take responsibillity?
This is a cultural and social uprising. A struggle for
free spaces. Sitting in the middle of this the
creativity and energy of the people standing together
travel distances over continents like a chainreaction
changing the course of the spinning globe.
This is not only our story about fighting for love,
independent mind and freedom. Freedom from religious
fanatism, empty lives, passivity, claustrofobic
feelings and squared, constructed thoughts. It is a
universal fight that dissolve history. We talk over
time to the past and the future.
WE decide the time to come. How will we shape society
for the next generations?
Last night, when the moon was black, I heard a
nightinggale on the rooftop of my apartment. It was
singing about peace. I listened to it in silence and
saved the melodies in my heart to bring every human I
meet on my way in life.
OUR house is dead. The newspapers have it’s obituary
on their frontpages these days. But the enormouse
network and power of US is here, PRESENT.
Please feel free to pass the letter on to other
friends and family.
With love, Malene