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Kasa de la Muntanya squat: 14 years of resistance

Kasa de la Muntanya | 19.09.2003 12:38 | Free Spaces | Globalisation | Repression | World

Eviction for the coming 2nd of October..
Since last July 11 when we were notified of the eviction date for the coming 2 october, it's been all go at the Kasa de la Muntanya. It's been a hard summer. The heat got us down as much as the threat or more, but the need to get the defence of the house off the ground was stronger than the summer torpor.


Since last July 11 when we were notified of the eviction date for the coming 2 october, it's been all go at the Kasa de la Muntanya. It's been a hard summer. The heat got us down as much as the threat or more, but the need to get the defence of the house off the ground was stronger than the summer torpor.

In thinking about the eviction from the Kasa de la Muntanya one sometimes has to forget that it's actually your home. No-one's begun to gather their belongings or prepare a move. No-one knows what they'll be doing afterwards. If the house is to win, we can't think about afterwards. The house is today, now. It's alive and it wants to carry on that way.

It started life at the beginning of the last century, in the Rose of Fire, the paradigm of workers' struggle and an unmistakable warning to the employers. Eusebi Güell was planning to build a bourgeois housing estate in what we now know as the Park Güell, the work of Antoni Gaudi. To guarantee the safety of the area he had a barracks built for the Guardia Civil, and handed it over for use by the State, with the express condition that it would be returned to the family's heirs.
Catalan industrialists didn't go for the plans and of the more than fifty houses foreseen only two were ever built. The Park Güell gradually sank into oblivion. For decades it was left practically wild and no-one would have said that years later its twisted columns and the mosaic of broken plates would become a Mecca for tourists to Barcelona.

Anyway, the barracks never had much to do and after the odd attempt to turn it into a radio broadcasting centre it gradually decayed until it was eventually abandoned without pain or glory sometime between 1979 and 1981.
For years it was a hideout for junkies and a haunted house for the local kids. Until 11 November 1989, as the wall fell in Berlin and Pink Floyd stumbled on the goose that laid golden eggs, in Barcelona the squatters moved into the Kasa de la Muntanya.

The State never returned the property to the count's heirs (the industrialist's title honoured the presumptuousness of his bourgeois eccentricities) and, what's more, in 1992 the building was alienated in favour of the Treasury, since when it has figured illegally as State heritage. And as it seems that everything to do with this house has to be plagued by 'anecdotes', it just so happens that Doña Julia Garcia Valdecasas, who at that time was the Delegate for the Treasury in Barcelona, was the person pulling all the strings.

But it wasn't until five years later that the Treasury brought a suit against Goska and Maria, who were squatting in the Kasa de la Muntanya. Goska and Maria were the pseudonyms that had appeared some months earlier in an article on squatters in the Sunday edition of El Mundo. This was the start of our 'affair' with the press. Since then, we've been approached by all sorts of well-meaning student researchers, hip journalists, smart-arses in search of thrills and mediocre headlines, etc.

But what this charge really set in motion was a long and complex court case that even today, with eviction in sight, is far from being settled.
It's still not clear who owns the building, the case brought by the Güell family against the Treasury is still in the Supreme Court and there are still no plans for this land, which is classified as land for public facilities in the Plan General Municipal.

In the course of all this we've resisted an illegal assault by the police in July 2001 and just a month and half later a vicious incriminating campaign on the occasion of the arrest of so-called members of the Comando Barcelona.
We dropped out of the news drastically that 11 September when the whole world 'held onto their balls' as they waited for the Empire to react. A new enemy emerged, ethereal and ubiquitous, carefully nurtured by the CIA. And here, the sons of the regime, who had studied at Harvard while Daddy signed death sentences for those who fought against the dictatorship, and who thanks to democracy had now become the champions of freedom and the fight against terrorism, took their place in the kingdoms of Spain once again and licked the White House arses.

With so much on their hands they left us alone a while. But this house of ours injures the 'patriotic pride' of the Fascists. Someone somewhere remembered us and decided that was it. They say they'll be coming on 2 October God willing and weather permitting.

Let them come; we won't go. Right is on our side and so is group strength.

Over the past fourteen years the Kasa has gradually changed. The rooms have been done up and there's so much life, so many stories, so many good and bad times inside its walls that it can't come to an end just like that. This house is more than the sum of its members. From its lookout post over Barcelona it clamours against the cranes that crowd our city and remind us that the Rose of Fire today is a haven of speculation. This house is a living memory, it has survived the ups and downs of the twentieth century, the decline of the squatters' movement in Europe, the rise of the Barcelona showcase of 1992, crises of cohabitation, prejudices...

It's seen a lot of people, a lot of plans and a lot of struggling. And a lot of feelings. We've celebrated the birth of new lives, we've wept for those who have left us. All of us at some time have thought of leaving, and a lot of those who have over these fourteen years have never left completely.
Because of all this, it's up to those of us who are here to defend it, in the awareness that it's not just our home that's at stake.

They say they're coming. But we say we're staying.

The Kasa de la Muntanya will Resist


Barcelona, on September 17, 2003

Kasa de la Muntanya
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