‘Upmarket squatters’ occupy posh Mayfair offices to feed homeless
The Autonomous Nation of Anarchist Libertarians (ANAL) and Squatters and Homeless Autonomy (SHA) have occupied 123 Pall Mall, the former HQ of the Institute of Directors (IOD).
A black and red flag has been lifted on a pole outside the front of the newly-named ‘Institute of Dissidents’.
Nearly 40 activists have commandeered the luxurious office building where they are running workshops, film screenings and soup kitchens for the homeless.
The activists, planning to occupy Pall Mall for “as long as [they] can,” have launched an attack against the IOD, claiming the institute “does all it can” to benefit the wealthy.
The IOD lobbies for the interests of UK businesses and CEOs.
“It is well known that behind the face of a politician lies the logo of a corporation,” the activist group said on Facebook, when justifying their reasons for occupying the former IOD HQ.
The IOD promotes “zero-hour contracts, lower taxes in such a way that inevitably benefits the wealthy.”
Attacking workers’ rights lies at the heart of the institute’s monetarist ideology, they claim.
In a city where people are “desperate for housing” the group aims to make a statement about the need to fill empty buildings with those who need them most.
“In our age of mass exploitation and state violence, dissidents are those who resist hierarchy summarized so crudely by the building’s previous owners,” the group posted on Facebook.
However, an IOD spokesman mocked the movement, telling the Spectator, “We vacated this building six months ago, but there’s a chance there are some old Hayek or Adam Smith books left behind,” sarcastically adding: “Who knows, perhaps they’ll learn something.”
The activists fired back at the Spectator, which assumed the group had occupied “the wrong building.”
“Our latest building has made the Spectator. Right wing propaganda at its finest,” the activist group shared on Facebook.
A photo posted by Wieteke Teppema (@wieteket) on Feb 18, 2015 at 1:30am PST
A member of ANAL told the Evening Standard they enjoy living in “luxurious, five star conditions.”
“We are not just lefties and hippies, we are very much upmarket squatters now too,” adding “the building was empty so why can’t we use it?”
— One out, all out! (@AhmedTheCat) March 16, 2015
The activists however claim they are “respecting the interior” as there will be no drug use or graffiti on the premises.
Anarchist squatters have taken over a building in Mayfair. I bet the Duke of Westminster is quaking in his brogues pic.twitter.com/u4R4v7RM5S
— Josh Spero (@joshspero) February 23, 2015
On March 14, the group said they were “harassed by undercover police” at their newly-occupied “radical space.”
“They appear to be taking a lot of interest in our ACAB [All Coppers Are Bastards] sign. This is a sovereign nation’s territory, any show of force will be taken as such,” they said on Facebook.