Joe’s is a squatted political social center that exists on a basis of mutual-aid and solidarity. Everyone involved in Joe’s is a volunteer. We have been active for over 11 years and are open 6 days a week. We run a vegan kitchen, a give away shop, info and movie nights. The members of our collective come from diverse backgrounds, we have different nationalities as well as genders/non-genders.
Because we are a squatted social center we are drawn to the struggle for housing and the right to the city, ideally achieved by direct action. We hope to provide a platform that supports social, environmental, spatial and economic justice. We also see bringing people together in a non-commercial space as a political act. This is why we try to be an inclusive and empowering space to all individuals, affinity groups and collectives interested in and involved in addressing these issues.
We believe unequal power relations are everywhere in this society, and since everyone is, (willingly or not) a part of society, these unequal relations will also exist within Joe’s. By making existing power relations more explicit, and addressing what is problematic about them, we try and find ways to make our collective structure more equal and inclusive. We know that there are no easy solutions for overcoming deeply ingrained patterns or social constructs within society or Joe’s. It requires endless hard work, trying to work together with people from different backgrounds, dealing with mishaps and failures, trying to resolve disagreements, and slowly, incrementally changing the world a little bit at a time. With the victories and all the fun, but also the despair and sometimes loneliness.
We try and reach consensus about our shared values and goals, and the ways to achieve these. We do that in more formal ways, through email lists and (sometimes) meetings, but also in more informal ways, in talks and discussions one-on-one or with several people.
We do not always agree, on methods nor on aims, but we always try to find mutual ground and work together to find solutions to the problems that arise, as allies, if not friends. If the problem doesn’t get solved this way, we try to implement a mediation trajectory, inviting people uninvolved in a conflict to help resolve it. We would like to encourage people that visit Joe’s to deal with problems inside Joe’s in a likewise manner. If however this does not work, it is always possible to ask the help of a volunteer. If you do not feel comfortable with this you can also mail the entire volunteer list (joe [at] squat [dot] net) and we can figure out a solution together.
Anyone who wants to help out or organize an event at Joe’s is more than welcome. We are always looking for people to run their own events and initiatives from Joe’s. We invite you to take responsibility with us. We ask you to help us keep the space open literally and figuratively. Joe’s stays open by working together and by finding ways to make that possible.