UK Free Spaces Feature Archive
26 May - 1 June, Newport.
Organised by Anarchist Action Network, Stop NATO Cymru and South Wales Anarchists, the festival runs all week at 95-96 Commercial Street, Newport NP20 1LU. Sharing ideas and skills, celebrating resistance & organising to win. All welcome. Workshops and skill shares all week, free cafe all day and free meal every evening.
The NATO Summit comes to Newport at the beginning of September. Come along this week and prepare for the Stop NATO week of action 30 August - 5 September and take part in some of the many talks, sessions and workshops. Something for everyone! All welcome (except cops and mainstream journalists, who will be asked to stay outside). The venue is an alcohol & drug free space.
If you can only manage one day and want to get clued up on NATO and what's planned for August & September, come along on Sunday:
Sunday 1 June. 4pm: Talk - Resisting the NATO Summit. 6.30pm: Meeting to build resistance against the NATO Summit.
On the newswire: Protest & Street Theatre | Banner drops | Photos from Newport Rising | Anarchists Shut Cardiff Barclays | Anarchist Travelling Circus Presents Newport Rising | Protest the NATO Summit | Antimilitarists Block NATO Conference | NATO Uncut Call-out | Stop NATO Cymru Statement
On Saturday 2nd November 2013 a fundraising benefit gig for the family of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning, organised by WISE Up Action, at The Casa in Liverpool, a pub set up by sacked Liverpool Dockers, suffered multiple violent attacks.
The day before the physical and verbal attacks on the anti-war activist organisers and The Casa staff, a statement on Adam Ford's blog, "from a group of activists who will be supporting Chelsea Manning but opposing Ciaron O'Reilly at an event in Liverpool tomorrow" claimed that "Ciaron O'Reilly - a main organiser of tonight's event - does not support Chelsea Manning in the same way that we do" and said that they "intend to protest against that". Ten days before the attack an article opposing the event, published on the blog of a member of the Liverpool Solidarity Federation and reproduced the next day on Libcom, claimed that Ciaron O’Reilly was a "vile misogynist and transphobic shitbag" and that "O’Reilly’s fundraiser in Liverpool will be challenged on the basis of his behaviour towards women and on the basis of his support for Julian Assange." Ciaron O’Reilly refutes the allegations against him, in response to the accusation that he made some sexist remarks he has said "I am not sure I have" and in response to the charge that that he refers to Chelsea Manning using her previous name of Bradley, he has made it clear that he does "not refuse to use the name Chelsea".
On 19th October 2013, outside the Anarchist bookfair in London Ciaron O’Reilly was physically and verbally assaulted because of his ongoing support and solidarity work for Julian Assange of WikiLeaks who has been sheltering from persecution in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year.
Links: Catholic among the Pigeons | Solidarity gigs/events for US prisoner of conscience Private Manning | Drunk Attack on Chelsea Manning's Family Fundraiser in Liverpool | Weekend of Solidarity with Chelsea Manning's Family - the good news! | Photos and audio from Chelsea Manning's Family Fundraiser in Liverpool
StopG8 have organised a week of action in London from 8th to 15th June, ahead of the UK G8 summit. Tuesday June 11th will be the big day, The #J11 Carnival Against Capitalism mass action will start at 12 noon on Tuesday June 11th, the meet-up points will be:
- North: Oxford Circus.
- South: Piccadilly Circus.
The action will finish with a ‘street party’ at 5:30pm, the location will be announced on the day.
Self-Organised London Social Space has now been opened in a squatted office building near Elephant and Castle.
Eileen House on 80-94 Newington Causeway, a 1960s office building, has now been empty for years. Its redevelopment has been subject to a protracted and contested debate between Southwark Council, Oakmayne developers, local residents, the famous nightclub “Ministry of Sound” (located opposite Eileen House) and – the mayor of London (see PDF). After numerous months of haggling and bureaucratic warfare, it’s time to reclaim Eileen house for the public and the interests of the Elephant’s residents!
On Tuesday night, 19th February, a number of social centre collectives squatted Eileen House as a direct action against gentrification. As a selforganised London Social Space, we want to propose & exchange ideas for radical alternatives, serving the needs of the many vibrant and organic communities around E&C!
For this reason we will put on a number of events, talks, discussions, film screenings, music nights and much more for the first week (see below). All residents and Londoners are more than welcome to pop in for a cuppa, discuss matters, attend our events or just have a good chat! During this first week we are really happy for people to come mby, have a look around the building and maybe give us a hand with setting up the space, while on the long run, the opening times will be from Wednesdays till Sundays, 2-10 pm.
From the newswire:
Fight gentrification! Reclaim regeneration! For self-organised spaces... | Siege of The Elephant | first protest on london shard viewing platform | News from the Library Street Social Centre | Southwark Council leaks it's own Confidential Regeneration Agreement
Update 19/8/12: Police arresting homeless in Birmingham
On the Newswire: Brum FnB at the Birmingham Social Centre | First eviction protest for B.E.R.N | BERN BABY BERN fundraiser for Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network | Birmingham Eviction Resistance Network meeting | Food is a right not a privilege – statement of solidarity | Food not Bombs every Sunday at Holloway Circus | Birmingham Food Not Bombs is back
The Pebble Mill social centre is the latest squatted social centre project by the Birmingham Social Centre collective. Last year the group made up of local squatters and activists took over the Whit Marley, an unused factory in Stirchley and reclaimed it for the local community.
The Pebble Mill Social Club was part of the BBC Pebble Mill studios site in Edgbaston, Birmingham and has been left empty for 8 years. The building has now been reclaimed and hosts regular events.
Update 14/07/12: Pebble Mill Social Centre Evicted
Newswire: Birmingham Social Centre is back | Brum FnB at the Birmingham Social Centre | Garden day @ Brum Social Centre – This Saturday 12pm onwards | Pebble Mill Social Centre survives flash flooding | Support The Spanish Miners Benefit - Fri 13th July
Links: Brum Social Centre
Update (20/05/12): After a month, Occupy Brookes decided to pack up. The camp's demands were almost entirely ignored by management but many people nevertheless felt it was a valuable experience, building links, raising awareness, and establishing a precedent for action that can be taken further in the future.
Since Wednesday 18th April, a group of Oxford Brookes students and supporters have been camping in front of Gipsy Lane campus to demand free education for all, and more specifically and immediately, that the University switch from fee waivers to bursaries.
The camp has now survived over two weeks of extremely wet weather, hosted various workshops and discussions, and received lots of verbal support and sympathy. A letter containing 3 basic demands was sent to the authorities early on, but there has been no substantial response from them, and the group's next steps have yet to be decided.
Anyone supportive or curious is very welcome to come visit or stay, and upcoming workshops and meetings are listed on the blog.
The Black Rose Centre is a new social centre project (PDF Flyer) at 268 Verdon Street, established by the Sheffield Social Centre Collective. This is the first time that the Social Centre Collective has had a permanent space, previously there have been weekend events held by the collective such as the Free Schools in 2011 and 2010 and there were two, short lived, squatted buildings in 2009.
On Wednesday 22nd of February at 7:30pm there will be a discussion on setting up a Sheffield Wide Class Struggle Anarchist Group following a screening of An Anarchist's Story. On Friday 24th February at 6pm there will be the opening of QUEER: an exhibition of local artists' work in response to "LGBT History Month", the deadline for submissions for the show is Wednesday 22nd February.
As UK occupations squat more buildings the police, many of whom have criminal records, are flouting the law to harass protesters, the Lords are debating making squatting residential buildings illegal, the government plans to make hundreds of thousands homeless and Occupy LSX is threatened with eviction.
On 8th January 2012 40-50 police officers raided the Railton Hotel, next to the train station in Lancaster, which had been squatted by Occupy Lancaster the day before. At approximately 8.15 pm, the police used a battering ram to break through the front door. Once they had gained entry, the police arrested the four occupants who were inside at the time. The Occupiers secured the building legally, and displayed notices of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 on the exterior of the building, but the police paid no heed to the law and Occupy Lancaster are now seeking legal advice.
Also on 8th January undercover police arrested 3 occupiers at Occupy Liverpool on suspicion of possession; none were found to be in possession of "controlled substances". Twenty or so police then surrounded the occupied building stating that it was a crime scene and laid siege to it for 3 hours. Like Occupy Lancaster a Section 6 notice was displayed but the police acted as as if squatting was already illegal.
Newswire: Eviction - Press Release: 9/1/12 from Occupy Lancaster! | Legal help required | Police Harass Occupy Liverpool at Legal Squat | Police raid on Occupy Lancaster | Occupy Sheffield Statement on the occupation of the Citadel Of Hope | Salvation Army Citadel Occupied and renamed Citadel Of Hope
Last night student activists reoccupied the University of Birmingham by squatting a disused former gatehouse at the north gate. This is the second time the university has been occupied this month and was part of a day of action called by NCAFC after the N9 demo. Occupations have become a regular occurrence at the university so this time the occupation has been escalated by actually squatting a disused building.
The day of action was well publicised and the University were keen to avoid the further embarrassment of another occupation so sent out letters to all departments which included the following paragraph “The planned student protest for 23rd November is targeting University administrative hubs. Whilst the Aston Webb and other locations will be subject to the usual security measures, please consider the security of your College hub as these might also be prone to occupation.”
Despite these measures students easily managed to outwit security by beginning the occupation at around 12:40am in the morning in an unused building on the north gate. A statement on the Defend Birmingham websites states: “We have done this because despite the university and government taking increasingly regressive measures to make universities inaccessible, we are determined to keep the gates open. Our aim is to advance a set of demands centred on justice in education and educational institutions. We want people to be treated as human beings and the university to be run for public good, not as a business.”
At around 11:15 The University security started refusing entry in and out of the occupation denying the students access to food and water in an effort to drive them out. At 1:40 a crowd formed to show their support outside the building and at 1:49 managed to get past security and deliver some food.
Previous features: "You Can Shove Your Rubber Bullets Up Your Arse!": 'Total Policing' of N9 Demos |Birmingham University Students Occupy Corporate Conference Centre | Political policing in Birmingham | Council House & universities occupied: students reject cuts and fees hike
Links: Defend Birmingham
The occupy movements around the world are reaching crunch time this week as it kicks off in New York and London is served with an eviction notice from The City of London Corporation.
On November 4th, representatives from the Occupy LSX camp met with their opposite numbers from The City of London Corporation, at the corporation's request (See SchNEWS 795). During this meeting it was proposed that as long as the camp was able to clear some space for Fire Brigade access they would be allowed to remain without legal persecution until after Christmas. The next day, as this proposal was going through consensus at the camp, the corporation added no less than 12 added extras, ranging from demanding that the camp recognised itself as unlawful, that it was trespassing and preventing freedom of movement for the public, and that the corporation had the right to sue for possession of the area -- to name but a few. These extras were not announced to the press and kept as quiet as possible. Occupy LSX rejected the terms, and responded with a few demands of their own. Demands that any other Local Authority in the country would be legally obliged to fulfil, but which The City of London Corporation remain scarily exempt from. Simply, the camp asked that the corporation: 1) Publish full, year-by-year breakdowns of the City Cash account, future and historic; 2) Make the entirety of its activities subject to the Freedom of Information Act; and 3) Detail all advocacy undertaken on behalf of the banking and finance industries, since the 2008 financial crash. The Corporation doesn't have to do any of this because it is in fact a medieval hangover (officially entitled The M*ay*or and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London)which has gone unreformed for centuries -- it's a local authority whose electorate is composed almost entirely of businesses- as such it is a powerful advocate for the financial capital. [More + list of local Occupy camps]
Latest from the Newswires:
Occupy Notts Camp | Bank Buildings occupied in London | Bristol: Occupy starts hitting its stride? | Occupy Movement: where next? | Occupy Manchester Returns | Occupy The Library | Occupy Everywhere Topic
Several empty buildings in Oxford have recently been opened as squatted social centres. In August an empty industrial workshop on Randolph Street was squatted. After several "Free Uni" events (sharing skills and ideas), community meals, film and info-nights the court process provided only a short delay and then eviction. The building now remains unused.
Undeterred, the social centre, known as "Plebs' College" due to the focus on free education, has re-opened on Union Street, with a multitude of weekly events. Again they are under threat of eviction from a landlord keen to demolish the place and build student flats. This space where people can gather, meet, organise and learn, as equals, free of the usual commercial or bureaucratic pressures, may be a glimpse of another society.
For hints of a more brutal future, we can look at the recent eviction of Dale Farm: an entire community made homeless, while those who resist are kicked, tasered, batoned, pressured-pointed, or beaten, and the media continue their lies.
Which path we take could depend on the actions we all take in the next few years.
UPDATE: Audio recordings of 3 workshops and the plenary are available.
All welcome to this year's Sheffield Free School event, on Saturday 15th October 2011, from 10am till 8pm, at CADS (Creative Arts Development Space) Snow Lane Entrance, Shalesmoor, S3 7AL (5 mins from city centre, next to "Kit Locker").
This is a Free School NOT of the type created under the present government, but in the long tradition of autonomous self-organised activities. It's being run by the Sheffield Social Centre project, which aims to establish a permanent space for non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist and non-discriminatory activity in Sheffield.
People in Sheffield are coming together to resist the tide of consumer capitalism, exploitation and crisis, creating a space for the free sharing of skills, ideas and knowledge. Come along to the Sheffield Free School ? maybe even to share a skill of your own.
The day's line up includes a whole list of workshops, practical activities, food, film, stalls, fun and friendly stuff.
Following that, everyone's welcome to the evening benefit gig (£4, £3 concessions) at the nearby Redhouse Pub, 168 Solly Street S1 4BB.
The weekend 19th to the 21st May 2011 saw the second Sheffield Temporary Autonomous Arts event take place in a disused industrial unit on Bowdon Street. The event was organised by the Art and Soul Kollective and followed on from their event last year.
With future May Days under threat, policing in the build up to this May Day has been particularly pernicious. Operations were mounted against social centres, projects and activists as the MET and other forces engaged in a series of pre-emptive arrests. In London raids took place at the Rat Star Social Centre, Offmarket Social Centre, nearby Petrosiege and The Community Project in Sipson (Grow Heathrow). The Met were also involved in raids on squats in Brighton, and Telepathic Heights in Bristol - where a police raid caused last week’s Battle of Stokes Croft - was evicted, causing further disturbances. Indymedia reported that an arrest was made in Cambridge and one in Edinburgh after groups and individuals were raided in Scotland in relation to March 26.
On the newswires:
Police Raids on social centres and projects: London 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Brighton 1 | 2 | Bristol 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | Fitwatch analysis |
May Day: Event Announcements Glasgow | Brighton 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Bristol | London 1 | 2 | 3 |
May Day Reports and Repression: Birmingham | Birmingham photos | Birmingham action against banks | Newcastle | Brighton | Leeds | London | Nottingham 1 | 2 | Cambridge | Oxford | Roundup of northern Mayday events | Reports from around the world: Spain photos | Ukraine | Russia photos | Berlin photos |
Royal Wedding: Repression 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | Identify these thugs | Announcements London | Newcastle | Bristol and Bath | Reports London | Oxford | Manchester | Sheffield | Newcastle | Analysis 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
A squatted social centre on The Moor, next door to Debenhams, has opened opened as the 0742 Club following the squatting of the building as a convergence space for the Liberal Democrat Conference protests.
The Collective invites a broad variety of artists, collectives, and political groups to come and make use of the space (which is huge) as well as opening it's doors to those wanting to show independant films (A projector is avaliable), hold poetry sessions, or generally hang out. Spaces can be booked or aquired by inpromtue informal discussion with the residents as and when they are needed, and doors will open on monday to the wider public for the display of an art exhibition, a poetry session (to which any poets are invited to take part in), and the provission of hot beverages.
The Collective also puts out a request for Residential Artists and persons who can help to maintain the security of the space (this does not have to mean every night and day, but it would also be useful to have volunteers willing to stay a night or two).
The 0742 can be contact via its SQAUTLINE on 07806414837 or via the contact number that has already been given out in other articles written in reference to the Centre.
Links: 0742 on Tumblr
Welcome to the latest round up of grassroots news from Oxford. It's proven to be another busy month for activists and campaigners in Oxford. Local, national, and international attention has focused on our little city somewhere between London and the Midlands.
Last week (see SchNEWS 753) we covered the protests against the sell-off of the Forest of Dean. But the implications of the Public Bodies Bill for the Forestry Commission go a lot further than that. Essentially the Tory’s are planning (in time-honoured fashion) to flog off the family silver and privatise forests up and down the country. The sale is intended to raise £2bn - less than half of one years tax avoidance by Vodafone.
In SchNEWS:SchNEWS 753
31-12-2010 18:36It's been a busy year for activists and grassroots campaigners in Oxford. Peace campaigners have kept up the pressure on the war-mongers, including those at AWE Aldermaston and BAe systems. Campsfield Detention Centre has remained a target for people opposed to the inhumane treatment of migrants. And, of course, the anti-cuts movement has grown from strength to strength closing down shops, occupying buildings, and bringing angry people out on the streets.
The Bristo Place property is currently for sale and in a planning dispute.
Now the Forest Art and Event Space collective is running a fundraising campaign [ info pdf] to buy the building [ Ryan's report]. The Forest Art and Event Space started in 1999 in a small shop at the Grassmarket primarily as a collective of artists, but quickly became much more. It hosted a street party and the Independent Media Access Centre during the G8 protests in 2005 as well as supported grassroot political film screenings [Dan's account] and events such as the Argentina Autonomista Tour, activities around the "Smash Nato" protests, Painting with the Zapatistas, The Lost Film Festival, Food Not Bombs and much more such as punk gigs, feminist, video activism and climate change weekends.
Main Reason for the bankrupcy of the EUS seems to be the financial advice of David Duff, former Hibs chairman, who nearly brought the football club into administration, too, and who had been jailed for property investment fraud before [ analysis ].
One of Oxford University's most emblematic buildings, the Radcliffe Camera library, was occupied for around 30 hours last week by students and residents campaigning against education cuts.
The occupation followed a mass demo and was part of a national day of action. The occupiers demanded the University oppose the cuts, and commit not to raise fees, privatise or punish those involved. They called for free and public education for all, and put this into practice by holding teach-ins, mass meetings and dancing in the newly liberated space, while the upstairs room was reserved for quiet study.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the authorities stopped this 'Free University' from thriving by doing their best to prevent people coming in, and, after the occupiers refused to compromise on their demands, by smashing their way in and aggressively evicting everyone.
Meanwhile an anti-cuts demo on Saturday led to an impromptu bank occupation and a second day of action on Tuesday saw the County Council offices briefly occupied, Castle Hill reclaimed and shopping centres invaded!
There has been a callout on the newswire to defend the Huntington Lane protest camp. The coal protest camp based at the foot of the Wrekin near Telford in Shropshire is resisting attempts by UK Coal to destroy an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. UK Coal plans to extract 900,000 tonnes of poor quality coal, in a huge open cast operation over the next few years. The plans include destroying parts of an ancient woodland and will be responsible for a minimum of 1,500,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.
Previous feature: Don't Wreck The Wrekin
The UK's Con-Dem government is promoting 'Free Schools' without realising that there is a long and proud history of counter-cultural, libertarian free schools across the world.
The weekend was well attended and included, urban scrumping, the UK premiere of Psywar (watch online | download | bittorrent | audio version), discussions about what is a social centre? and how can we bring about radical change in our society? and much more.
No Borders Camp 2010 in Brussels kicks off this Saturday (25th) til the 3rd October, so get yourself to the continent to make a start on creating a world where no one is illegal. Among the objectives of the camp are the denouncing of European migration policy; showing the links between this policy and the structures of capitalism and repression; the blocking of Brussels' deportation system and the organisation of an autonomous safe space for the voices of migrants and activists to be heard.1