Jaap (by way of MauzZ <mauzz@dds.nl>) on Wed, 22 Aug 2001 15:47:38 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] [Ascii-announce] 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.


    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.


    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

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.


    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:

    (subscribe at https://squat.net/mailman/listinfo/sjakoo-announce)
    (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
                 Woningbedrijf Amsterdam
                 Muntendamstraat 1
                 1091DR AmsterdamPostbus 94278
                 1090GG Amsterdam
                 Fax 020-6630829

                 Jodenbreestraat 24 sous
                 1011NK Amsterdam
                 e-mail: ascii@squat.net

                 International Bookshop Het Fort van Sjakoo
                 Jodenbreestraat 24
                 1011NK Amsterdam
                 Telefoon: 020-6258979
                 Fax: 020-6203570
                 e-mail: sjakoo@xs4all.nl
Ascii-announce mailing list

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

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