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31 August 2009

Squat Investors

I had a dream last night about applying for a place in a squat. I've been thinking a lot about possible future homes lately. In my dream the place I was looking at was somewhere I'd wandered around before, but some people had since moved in. It was a great old printing factory over three levels which the squatkids had done up real nice.

We talked about my background and stuff. They said I'd have to take the room that the dog currently lived in, but that it would be alright. I didn't interview very well, but I felt like I had a chance. However, after some time my dad abruptly walked into the dream (and the house). I thought that was a nice surprise and I asked him why he was checking the place out. I thought he was just having a nosy-beak as he often does with old buildings. Except that he said "I'm thinking about buying the place and doing it up." I said "What? These guys already live here." And dad replied "No. They just want to make children here. I want to fix it up and live here." I doubt my dad would really say that, but the general sentiment could be a bit accurate.

I was rather disheartened. Not to mention massively embarrassed in front of all my cool friends. My politics and my parents' propensity for buying new properties had finally collided. And in the most publicly humiliating fashion (which is obviously the worst way possible). For an anarchist, this is about the equivalent of one of those nude public speaking dreams. Even though it was in a dream, it was only a matter of time. The laws of probability, which apply more forcefully to real life, might suggest this is unlikely to happen outside my dream, but I certainly don't feel safe.


  1. I think your Dad would be more likely to say, “I’ll buy it, and if it needs a few things done, we’ll do it up a bit and move into one of the rooms and rent the rest out cheap to the others.”…thus providing them some security of accommodation but asking them to take some small and reasonable responsibility for the cost of having somewhere to live … which is kind of what we actually do here.

    stella / 8:16pm / 1 September 2009

  2. Yep. And probably my cool friends would think that was awesome, because no one is really a purist.

    Ryan / 8:20pm / 1 September 2009

  3. …. but most of us psychologists believe that every aspect of a dream represents a part of ourselves. As such, I reckon the dream is really more about your discomfort with your privileged background, which in the end you can’t really shake no matter what you do. I am realising we can’t really shake those backgrounds, even if we rebel and put ourselves in some kind of enforced poverty. I htink we have to acknowledge and own our background and do our best to use it for good.

    stella / 8:30pm / 1 September 2009

  4. You’re right on both counts. I do have a lot of discomfort, but I you can’t unprivilege yourself once it’s happened. I just haven’t worked out how to use the privilege well for anything except my own gratification.

    Ryan / 8:37pm / 1 September 2009

  5. Yeah. It’s hard but that’s the question life asks of us. I reckon you’ll figure something out.

    stella / 9:47pm / 1 September 2009

  6. I’m not actually sure I believe that. I still think it might be possible to use privilege for good, but I reckon that is taken on faith way too much.

    Ryan / 6:26am / 2 September 2009

  7. What a nice interesting conversation was being had on my birthday! I also don’t have a lot of hope about how I will ever use my priviledge for good. I think that squatting can be a priviledge, or that some people are able to squat because of certain priviledges and also that we bring our priviledges to the way we squat. (I mean that I would bring them if I were actually squatting at the moment.) I think it is a good thing to do with our priviledge, though not really a way to use it for good. It is certainly a good way of gratifying ourselves though…

    Libby / 11:19am / 3 September 2009

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