Open Collective
Open Collective
Near North Encampment Destroyed Again But We Live On
Published on April 12, 2023 by Benjamin Melançon

We formed two camps after the October 6 destruction, tucked away under bridges on the unused land of two different railroad companies— and today the city, at its own initiative, destroyed both camps.  (Pictures below.)

From the start, the people of Near North camp requested negotiation with the City of Minneapolis. The mayor has chosen ultimatums, threats, and destruction over and over and over again.

Well we may be moved—when entire government apparatuses apply themselves to destroying our homes rather than producing truly affordable housing—we will not give up on our goals of justice and dignity for all.

Without saying so explicitly, because the ridiculousness of the claim would destroy the illusion of their propaganda, the City of Minneapolis claims about, and de facto policy toward, unhoused people is based on the insinuation that homelessness is a choice.

It is not. Indeed we choose not to be homeless. We choose to build homes. We choose to, and do, build ourselves houses— even though we do not have the money to establish a legal claim to land, title, licenses, permits, and the like.

For less money than the $265,212 the City of Minneapolis alone* spent on evicting our one camp that one time, we could have established a fully legal home for all of us.

And we still plan to do that.

Already while we were calling on the city to forswear violence and give us some authorized means to take care of one another together, Freedom from the Streets and allies had gotten a solution into Minneapolis' zoning laws:  Intentional Community Cluster Developments.

The severe hostility from Mayor Jacob Frey to the existence of people without wealth within the borders of Minneapolis has caused every unhoused person here to suffer.  The hostility has permeated every agency, such that the city never mentioned the possibility of an intentional community cluster development much less suggested applying for land that the city is selling at only $20,000 for the minimum 10,000 square feet.  But we intend to apply, or buy land on the private market.

Please support our land fund and even more importantly offer what help you can in accounting, finance, construction, media, and more to turn this desperate dream for a place to live in peace into an inspiring reality.

* Not counting the Parks Board's campaign of terror with their own police department against previously sanctioned camps that drove the founders of our camp from BF Nelson Park, the harassment and attempted evictions of Near North camps, or any other money wasted on trying to drive us and hundrededs of other unhoused people from view rather than guaranteeing the human right of housing to all.