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Saturday upate: The Square

The SQ | 25.06.2006 10:01 | Free Spaces | Repression | London

Saturday Update at The Square

Around 300 - 400 people attended the concert in support of The Square. After starting 3 hours late, there was a main stage for live bands in the main hall, a Drum n' Bass Soundsystem in the basement and a system in the bar. The Garden was jam packed with people and another live stage was set-up for acoustic bands.

Sunday (Today) there is a BBQ scheduled for 3pm and a general meeting of the social centre to decide and exit strategy. there will also be live sets from the SUNDAY SOUNDZ - REBEL ACOUSTICA crew all in the garden.

Below is a text produced by some people involved in The Square and distributed on Saturday night



On the morning of Friday 23rd June, around 80-100 people assembled outside 21 Russell Square to show solidarity and to resist the planned eviction. The building was festooned with an array of flags and banners, and the mood was light but determined. We had support from other social centres in London and beyond (LARC in Whitechapel, Dalston Theatre – Dalston, Ramparts – Whitechapel, Basement – Manchester, Matilda – Sheffield, Common Place – Leeds), another development of a movement based around occupied and self-organised political spaces.
The Square opened its doors on February 4th, 2006, with the aim of developing the potential of a radical public space, encouraging a connection with its locality (mainly students and lecturers), as well as being a visible part of the movement developing alternatives to capitalism and supporting local and global struggles.
Over the past 5 months of occupation, The Square has hosted several key events and initiatives and has tried to move beyond existing just as an activist infrastructure and radical venue to become a political entity. This has been done by initiating and supporting such political actions as the Stop the War march, the No Borders demo on April 8th, and the Mayday Autonomous Bloc as part of the Euro May Day parades. Along with over a 100 meetings, films showings, info-nights, cafes, discussions, benefit gigs and exhibitions, it has brought a lot of people together, forming relations, projects, friendships and conspiratorial plans!
The Square is also home to the No Borders detainee support office. The No Borders Network in London was based at The Square. It functions as a political group working within the environment of the social centre. The Social centre to No Borders meant an office where people in detention centres around the UK phone for help and support. It is a place where anti-deportation work is done on a daily basis, it is a point of convergence for people within that particular struggle – the struggle of people to live whether they want, without control, fear or restriction - it has been vital to their activity. The social centre to No Borders means that funds are raised to finance this activity, it means using the mobilising and convergence effects of a social centre to organise benefit nights where in this period 800-1,000 have attended - film showings on the situation for migrants in the UK and further a field are shown to people young and old, it has meant new people becoming involved in No Borders. The Square was also used to organise a demonstration at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook immigrant detention centres. Three coaches were organised from The Square to the demonstration with over 400 people in attendance. Subsequently a hunger strike was started by around 150 detainees in solidarity with our protest and against their conditions and imprisonment. The Square was then used to support and publicise the hunger strike, co-ordinating the visiting of dozens of detainees.
Having facilities like a kitchen meant that we can offer a living to ex-detainees, in this case Ugandan women who have no access to benefits and are not allowed to work being able to regain some dignity and autonomy by cooking for events. This is just one example of why places like The Square are vital in aiding struggles against capitalism and its institutions.

But we don’t see The Square as just a political organising space, it has also played a part in challenging the dominance of commercial venues by creating a public open space where we are able to develop our own self-organised cultures. This is a direct challenge to a social context where most of our cultural experiences are modified by the market and dependent on commercial viability; over the past months, dozens of bands have played for free, bringing in thousands of people and making the square an exciting place to see new bands and performers – many of which will play over the FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE. Without them and their efforts The Square would have been a much quieter space!

THE SQUARE has been an attempt to construct a radical common space, where ideas and alternatives to the present rule of commercial interests and authoritarianism can be developed. Over the past 5 months we have created a network consisting of many who feel and share the need for social change. We hoped that during our time at THE SQUARE we have made this more possible and have laid the ground for new initiatives of self-organisation, co-operation and communication. For some of us THE SQUARE has been a step forward from previous social centres (Grand Banks - Tufnell Park, Institute For Autonomy - Gower Street), the relationships formed have been solidified and consolidated, we have made connections with many groups and people we thought we never could.

We have made the choice to change the world because the world dominated by economic and commercial interests, armies, racism and environmental destruction can never offer us the world we want.

Some participants of THE SQUARE Occupied Social Centre


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Display the following 2 comments

  1. Unpaid servants? — Itsme
  2. got it wrong — ak