Agora Brussels Day 1
Yesterday some of us had themselves arrested for defending the public space. Today, the public space lay abbandoned, and no-one seems to care. No way we are going to camp, we have an entire building now!
The comrades who got arrested were dropped off at the Basilique this morning, next to police vehicles with horses and water cannons on standby. They didn’t receive anything to eat during the night, they were forced to suffer the cold without blankets. They were exhausted when they entered the building of the Flemish University this morning, and they found people occupying spaces in a state of infantile happiness.
For the first time, our movement has a roof. The evening before, we could only use the central hall and connected corridors, but this morning, keys were found, and one by one all the spaces of this enormous building were conquered.
It lay frozen in time in the year 2010, when the university moved elsewhere. The library looked like an Egyptian tomb that was recently raided by grave robbers. Only small piles of books and chronicles were left on the otherwise empty shelves of the b ookcases.
The building has a curious structure. And not everywhere the light was working, especially on the stairs. In this situation, exploring the five levels of the building, and the various levels hidden in between was like playing a Doom-style video game. You enter the dark in a hexangular space. The stairs are on the side. When you descend them, there are various directions to choose from. One of them leads to the light. It’s the underground level, the cafeteria, where the kitchen is installed. If you take another direction, you might find the entrance to the Aula Magna, which hosts our General Assembly, the first one with real seats.
In between the two there is an intermediate level with a small reunion room and two offices that overlook the Assembly hall from behind glass. There’s a table, a chair and electricity. For now, I have put up my camp there.
This evening I have been exploring the building. The class rooms and the offices on the third and fourth floors have been occupied by groups of people from the marches mainly. Some of us have claimed a private space, resulting in the consequent animosity.
On the higher floors, the first commissions and working groups have claimed their spaces. The Media Center is on the fifth floor. Their major problem for the moment is to set up a stable broadband internet connection. We have another Media Center completely operational elsewhere in Brussels. The video upload works from there.
Up to eightteen commissions have popped up for the moment, but their whereabouts and have not yet been clearly defined. One of the few commissions that has already been well-installed is the Mycology commission. They treat mushrooms. Their goal is to gather and index them on the basis of their hallucinogenic potential and organise ‘psycho activation’ classes. Fortunately, we have someone with relevant knowledge on mushrooms. “Any shroom that grows from shit is hallucinogenous, and it’s strong!”
Another adventure has started. Out of primordial chaos the first faint glimmers of order are taking shape. During the first day we have suffered already an inundation of the kitchen and foreclosure of the bathrooms. For now we have been able to feed the approximately three hundred persons present. But it’s highly likely that this situation will attract people from outside the movement. It will be interesting to see how we can deal with this and all the relevant social and revolutionary issues.
As for the General Assembly tonight, the first one indoor, it was a full blown trilingual disaster. When I left, we hadn’t yet reached an agreement on the day’s agenda. So for now, the only thing that moves our organisation is personal initiative.
Having a space, of this size, all for us, is almost too much to grasp. Many people are already decided to occupy this building indefinitely. With winter coming, it would be ideal to have our own physical space. But some of us are worried that it might be a shrewd move by the authorities. Conceding us this space, they probably hope we will not be too visible in public. Furthermore they might hope that our bunch of anarchist vagabonds will be unable to manage ourselves and that our society will soon collapse.
It’s not impossible. We will have to see in the coming days what we will be able to get of the ground. Today was a day of excitement, a day of exploring our new playground and dreaming about all the possibilities.
On the Fifth Floor there has been installed the office of the Communication commission of Sol, without internet. I pop in and I meet some of the comrades that I met during the first few weeks of the acampada in Madrid. Reminiscing about the early days I look around. “Imagine. It all started with party tents and canvases under the equestrian statue of a public square. And look at us now. We have our own embassy of Puerta del Sol, in our own Revolutionary Headquarters in Brussels.”