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<nettime> ASCII in trouble: 900% rent increase
Jaap on Wed, 29 Aug 2001 09:14:12 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> ASCII in trouble: 900% rent increase


Jodenbreestraat 24 on the street

900% rent increase

   The internet werkplaats, ASCII, has received, along with their
   bookshop neighbours, notice of a rent increase of more than 900%. Our
   landlords, the Woningbedrijf Amsterdam (Housing Corporation
   Amsterdam), find this to be a "reasonable proposal". A letter received
   from them began, "The Housing Corporation Amsterdam wants the rent
   from their commercial spaces adjusted to the market price level". This
   startling rent increase is to start on Sept. 1 and go from f 580. to f
   5100. per month.
   
Reasonable?

   Though The Housing Corporation finds this to be a reasonable proposal,
   ASCII members, the volunteers of the bookshop Fort Van Sjakoo, and the
   volunteer-run Window to Europe, with whom we share our space, cannot
   come up with this kind of money. Once this money is demanded, the
   volunteer-run non-profit organisations sharing this space will be
   forced to find new premises, and face the loss of these initiatives.
   Not only can we not pay, we also find the thrust of the Housing
   Corporation to be unconscionable and excessive, pushing, as they are,
   more and more non-commercial, idealistic initiatives out of the city
   centre and towards extinction.
   
We need support

   We beseech you now to support us in our struggle. ASCII started life
   in a squat on the Herengracht, and moved into the basement of
   Jodenbreestraat 24 in January 2000, to become the neighbours of the
   Fort van Sjakoo, and the Window To Europe. We are run entirely by
   volunteers, and survive in an entirely autonomous way. We supply the
   people who could not otherwise afford it with free internet access,
   and we support the activist community with computer access and a space
   to communicate. We have an online radio news hour once a week, with
   live streaming and incisive interviews, and every Sunday we have
   experimental jazz. We also run courses, including the popular
   Genderchanger Academy, teaching women computer hardware basics. We run
   popular courses in Linux and basic HTML. We have regular workshops
   that explain a range of technology related subjects, from PHP
   programming to monitor hacking. ASCII is also a meeting point for
   programmers and IT workers with a social conscience, who get together
   in the spirit of open source and share ideas, start new initiatives to
   support projects such as indy media, and give support to open source
   software such as Linux. The internet werkplaats is run entirely on
   Linux, with one computer running Free BSD, and the chance for
   volunteers to delve into other open source operating systems. Most of
   the hardware is recycled and donated. ASCII strives to prove that
   outdated, no longer fashionable computer hardware is perfect for
   low-end computer tasks such as internet surfing, and things thrown
   away by some can be used by others.
   
History

   The Fort van Sjakoo has been at Jodenbreestraat 24 since 1977. The
   building was squatted 2 years earlier as a protest against its planned
   demolition to make way for an office building. The squatters made the
   building liveable and on the ground floor a successful bookshop was
   started. Thus the squatters' resistance was successful and the
   building was saved. In 1989 the city bought the building for next to
   nothing; the residents and the bookshop became renters. The Housing
   Corporation was then still a part of the municipality, and they got
   possession of the building. Since then the company has become
   privatised. The bookshop supplies people with all sorts of information
   that they can't easily find elsewhere. The collection consists of a
   wide range of left-wing political, social criticism, avant-garde,
   artistic, rebellious, odd and environmentally friendly books and
   magazines, often impossible to find else where.
   
   Also housed in Jodenbreestraat 24 is the foundation Window To Europe,
   created in 1989 with the goal of promoting the cultural consciousness
   and mutual understanding between people who were for a long time
   separated by the Iron Curtain. They have through the years
   concentrated on the traditional musical cultures from the different
   ethnic groups who live in the former Soviet Union. Lately they've
   added a form of electronic music. In the bookshop is the office from
   the foundation European Juggling Association, who organizes, among
   other things, a yearly festival which attracts more than 3000
   jugglers.
   
Alternative Amsterdam?

   These four initiatives are all non-commercial, non-profit and
   vibrantly contribute to the life that makes Amsterdam the unique city
   that it is. If the Housing Corporation is successful in its push to
   make more and more money, they will be responsible for the
   sterilisation of a famously artistic city, a *dumbing down* of a city
   that prides itself on its creativity and social inclination. The
   Housing Corporation is not allowed to raise its rent for living space
   but is legally within its rights to raise the rent for buisnesses to
   the market level. This thinking comes from the assumption that
   businesses by default turn a profit. And The Housing Corporation
   Amsterdam isn't legally bound to differentiate between rent increases
   for different types of businesses and organizations. But there are
   many non-commercial idealistic organisations which are purely
   altruistic in nature that are being turned out on the street with the
   gentrification of the city centre.
   
   The commercial space in Jodenbreestraat has recently increased to
   absurd levels as its level of popularity has increased. For decades
   the street was full of unpopular ugly buildings, which were falling
   apart, and construction sites. The last few years the city has been
   busy with fixing up the street. First they took away the terrible
   buildings. Then came new buildings and the pavement was redone with
   fancy stones. The junkies were kicked out of the area, and since
   recently there is an alcohol ban. The policy of the city hall was
   successful: tourist attractions like the Holland Experience, big chain
   stores like Blokker and Albert Heijn wanted to be on the now upscale
   street. And the price per square metre increased in record time to 10
   times higher. As these non-commercial and social organisations are
   under pressure because of the enormously inflated rent increases, the
   only way to stop the trend is to have a non-profit rent catagory for
   social and non-commercial initiatives.
   
Demand

   We, along with our neighbours Het Fort van Sjakoo, the Window To
   Europe, and the European Juggeling Association, want the Housing
   Corporation Amsterdam to withdraw their rent increase. Support from
   the people who believe in what we all do is warmly welcome. We would
   really appreciate it if our supporters began their own actions in
   support of us. If you want to know what's going on you can put
   yourself on a couple of mailing lists:
   
   sjakoo-announce {AT} squat.net
   (subscribe at https://squat.net/mailman/listinfo/sjakoo-announce)
   ascii-announce {AT} squat.net
   (subscribe at https://squat.net/mailman/listinfo/ascii-announce)
   
   Please send your opinion about the rent increase to the directors of
   the Woningbedrijf Amsterdam (Housing Corporation) and send us a copy
   too.
                Woningbedrijf Amsterdam
                Muntendamstraat 1
                1091DR AmsterdamPostbus 94278
                1090GG Amsterdam
                Fax 020-6630829
                e-mail:
                binnenstad {AT} woningbedrijf-amsterdam.nl

                ASCII
                Jodenbreestraat 24 sous
                1011NK Amsterdam
                e-mail: ascii {AT} squat.net
                http://www.squat.net/ascii

                International Bookshop Het Fort van Sjakoo
                Jodenbreestraat 24
                1011NK Amsterdam
                Telefoon: 020-6258979
                Fax: 020-6203570
                e-mail: sjakoo {AT} xs4all.nl
                http://www.xs4all.nl/~sjakoo
_______________________________________________
Ascii-announce mailing list

     See http://squat.net/ascii for more info
     about ASCII Internetworkplace, Amsterdam

     To unsubscribe from this list, go to:
     https://squat.net/mailman/listinfo/ascii-announce

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