Radical political analysis, commentary and discussion in Wales
Dadansoddiad a thrafodaeth radicalaidd o wleidyddiaeth yng Nghymru
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Evade? Avoid? Invade!

Last week a group of like-minded anti-capitalists from the Occupy movement walked through an open window into a massive, neglected space on Westgate Street in Cardiff. Originally built as the High Court and Inland Revenue, the occupation aptly became known as The Great Tax Invasion. Despite displaying Section 6s, we managed to keep a low profile until banners were dropped from the balconies on Saturday.

Our intentions? To protest against tax evasion and avoidance, to highlight the fact that so many buildings are unused and neglected and to transform the space into a much needed community and art project.

Well, it's hardly a secret that the big boys are dodging their tax bills to the tune of £billions, or that more and more folks are losing their homes while the chosen few build luxury hotels and apartment blocks, or even that the government's austerity measures are screwing much needed community and support groups into the ground. The main focus of The Great Tax Invasion collective is on the latter.

The potential for a space like this is incredible! We've already established firm plans and principals and are repeatedly making it clear that we are not here to destroy anything. On the contrary. The building has fallen into disrepair and we are giving it some much needed TLC. We will have 4 large public spaces for exhibitions, shows and workshops and several smaller meeting rooms for various community projects and groups to meet in.

We have a large, non-hierarchical core group residing here who are putting a lot of time and effort into getting the space ready, as well as people dropping in to help out. We've managed to share ideas and agree incredibly quickly and efficiently. We've made an initial statement and press release with more to come soon.

Cardiff is alive with activity at the moment. The Red and Black Umbrella Social Centre on Clifton Street (ex-Tredegar Arms) have already established a full agenda of workshops and film showings, and have still found time to offer us tons of support. The Occupy Cardiff camp finally settled on the Unite grounds on Cathedral Road after being heavily removed from their original camp by the castle. UK Uncut have had some very successful actions here over the summer, Busk Against the Cuts has attracted crowds by the Nye Bevan statue on Queen Street on a number of occasions now, and, of course, we have the second big national strike of the year on Wednesday 30th November. Similar things to these are going on all over the country, so I guess you could say that there are positives to relentless Tory hatchet jobs. Or, at least, that they encourage the fight in folks.

Some of the people involved in The Great Tax Invasion are old hands, while others are stepping into the realms of activism for the first time. The energy and enthusiasm to create such a positive, useful space is overwhelming, though not just because it's a finger up to the dictatorship of Cameron's "Big Society". Skill sharing is alive and well, and the understanding that this isn't a party space or dosshole is unanimously welcome.

The police have popped by now and again and there have been some vague attempts to gather intelligence, but you'd like to think that they'd have better things to do, especially as this is a civil matter. They accidently stumbled upon the occupation on their way to a football match when we did the banner drop. They threatened to arrest someone for sticking a Section 6 to the front door! Hardly anti-social behaviour. We've also had a very smiley bailiff drop by, though he made no attempt to gain entry. He told us that we'd probably have until somewhere between February and April. We shall see.

According to the local press, the landlord intends to evict us as soon as possible, although we have now opened up negotiations with him. We can only hope that he sees the benefits of having the building occupied and maintained, and how it will benefit the public, whatever his purpose for it in the future may be.