UK Free Spaces Feature Archive
24-04-2005 23:00There will be a full three days of events around Mayday in Liverpool this year. Let's make it a bigg'un!
A delegation of 30 workers traveled some 1,200 kilometers to manifest their determination to defend the factory at all costs. Inside the courthouse a small delegation of workers presented a petition with thousands of signatures from all over the world in support of the workers of Zanon who have set an example that workers can produce and manage even better without a boss or owner.Read more...
Over 90% of the people arrested have since be found to have commited no crime. Police video 'evidence' presented in court by the prosecution was proved to have been doctored in at least one case. You can read the transcripts of the Democracy Now! interviews about this story that aired last week or check out the whole show as audio or video.
While the availability of cheap video technology has led to an increase in the amount of video being presented as powerful evidence in court. Police in this country are clearly targetting 'unsympathetic journalists' in an attempt to both stifle any publicity given to protests and avoid public scrutiny of their own actions. In a recent example, a freelance journalist was arrested just minutes after filming an arrest that occured during a protest outside a meeting of G8 environment ministers taking place in London. It was reported afterwards that the police kept the footage and the camera but typically, the charges have since been dropped.
This historic boatyard in the heart of Jericho is about to be closed if the planning enquiry (8th March ongoing) finds in favour of British Waterways and Bellway Homes, (yes you guessed it - more luxury apartments are being planned).
This site has been a boatyard for over 150 years, and continues to provide an essential service for residential and pleasure craft. If this closes, it will force boatowners to travel a day each way to get their MOT equivalent (can you imagine the furore if car drivers were made to do a similar thing?). It is even more essential for emergency repairs as it is the only boatyard in the region which has a crane lift to clean and repair hulls.
[ Reports: 1 | 2 ] [ Video | Boatyard pics ]
[ Campaign Website | Proposed Development | Online Petition ]
The Institute for Autonomy is a newly occupied social centre in central London. Created in a disused university building in a city where house & rent prices continue to climb far out of the reach of the majority, it has lain empty and forgotten for over 5 years.
The Institute for Autonomy aims to be an open space for daily development towards autonomy. It is organised by open assemblies, and it is formed by a collective of people of different backgrounds and experiences. They state that "it’s vital for us to create a space where a different reality can be experienced, where new paths can be walked, along which can emerge common action, interest and identity amongst people".
The Centre is at 76-78 Gower Street, London WC1, and opened to the public on Saturday 19th March with a party that included films, music, cafe zapatista, info-shop and kids space.
Other ongoing projects and activities in the centre include: a library, a printing workshop and banner making, fortnightly Precarity Info/Sharing, regular film nights, a solidarity kitchen that opens three lunch-times a week, and a Cafeteria Rebelde.
After resisting three eviction attempts [video] [pics] the Collective have agreed to move on to pastures new on the condition that the building be returned to social use by the council. The Collective felt, along with local people, that the building should not be left empty again. Birmingham City Council has finally arranged for the RITE Project (which works with young people excluded from the education system) to use the building until 2006. The building is then due to be demolished, pending a public enquiry, as part of the controversial Bristol Road expansion. The Collective are keen to point out that the social use of the building would not be on the council agenda if they had not taken Direct Action, highlighting the misuse of public buildings by local authorities.
Meanwhile the fight in London to return St. George's Theatre in Tuffnel Park to community use contines [see Latest Updates].
See also Indymedia Free Spaces Section
Sick of a world that revolves round money not people? Tired of a politics which preaches freedom and choice but offers only bigger cages and longer chains? Fed up with a city that boasts a 24 hour lifestyle – 24 hours dominated by money and power?
You're not alone! Leeds Social Centre just got keys to a new 3 storey building in the city centre. There will be lots happening in the coming days and weeks. Come down and lend a hand and get involved - we hope to have a veggie cafe, radical bookshop, meeting space, health space, members bar/club - its up to us. If you want to put on a gig, event come down and talk to us. Our open weekly organising meetings are THURSDAYS AT 7 PM. We are at 23-25 Wharf Street (2 mins from the Corn Exchange - down Kirkgate and turn right, opposite the Duck and Drake pub).
Residents of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire have opened a temporary "Pitt Street Social Centre", offering tea, cake, videos, workshops, a Free Shop, and a chance for residents to discuss how to stop council sell-offs and the "gentrification" of the former mill-town.
When the Pitt St building became the most recent of public buildings to be put on the market, frustrated locals asked Calderdale Council for time to put forward an alternative plan to keep it as a community resource. However, in their rush to make a quick buck, the Council steam-rollered opposition, and went ahead with the sale.
"Where has the money gone and who are the new owners? We’ve been asking questions but no-one seems willing to tell us anything. How dare our representatives continue to completely ignore our needs and views? It’s just more council corruption." said Katrina, a local involved in the occupation.
This is the second occupation of a public building that has been sold off by the council, in the last year. For five days in April 2004, hundreds of local people were involved in the occupation of the old Hebden Bridge Tourist Information Centre, turning it into the People’s Information Centre. And residents are well aware that other buildings are in line for possible sell-off, including the library and the council offices.
The Silver Squat, which was located in an old silversmiths building near Sheffield train station, was finally evicted on Monday 24th January. The court case for the eviction took place the previous week. To mark the ending of the squat, a farewell gig was hosted there the night before. By One O'clock on the Monday the gates were open and the baliffs were in. It is not clear what the land will be used for, but there is a high probability that it will be redeveloped in to more 'lifestyle' flats.
Sunday included workshops on permaculture,subvertising and practical experience in low impact dwellings over at the Nursery secret garden, plus real progress was made on setting up a Birmingham Indymedia website - contact Indy Brum to find out how to get involved.
Full schedule of events
Reports: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ Photos ]
Videos: [ DIY Chip-fat Vehicle Conversion ] [ Urban Explorations ]
Links: [ The Nursery ] [ Stuffit.org ] [ InjusticeFilm.co.uk ] [ United Families & Friends Campaign ]
17-01-2005 00:00The local social forum movement, which has flourished throughout mainland Europe and parts of the UK, has finally reached Merseyside in the form of the Liverpool Social Forum.
Indymedia cinema and the RampART Creative Centre have been hosting a week long festival of documentary films from India. From Monday 10th to Saturday 16th January, each day focused on a particular social or political issue. This festival brings to London’s East End some documentaries that are rarely seen, inside or outside India, with the intention of creating spaces for debate. Some disturbing, some impassioned, others humorous, all inspiring and controversial, these films provide a glimpse into some of the most difficult challenges facing Indian society.
During film festivals in India attempts have been made to censor films covering these events. Now the same is happening in London. Last week, the ramparts social centre started to receive threatening emails, and anonymous comments posted on the ramparts web pages  from people trying to force the venue to cancel the film festival. They claim that the films present Hinduism in a bad light and that the organisers have an anti-Hindu agenda. The threats began after an email posted on nationalist Hindu mailing list alerted members of right wing Hindu groups such as the BJP and the VHP (both part of the Sangh Parivar, the family of Hindu fundamentalist organizations spawned and led by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh). However, of course, the organizers refused to bow to the threats and the festival went on as other venues came forward to offer alternative places to show the film should disruption take place. In the end, there was no disruption, and attendance was very good. 
This last year has been a pretty active and productive year for the social centres movement in the UK...
At the begining of the year, the Wombles occupied 93 Fortess Rd for several months before moving into the ex-Grand Banks in Tufnell Park. Both occupations saw successfully resistance against eviction and were highly successful and popular. After eviction in August the wombles took a break to concentrate on the 'Beyond ESF event' but they'll be back in 2005.
Perhaps also to return in 2005, Use Your Loaf, an ex-bakery in Deptford which had been occupied as a centre for social solidarity since summer 2002, but was finally evicted in September. Currently without a building, the collective has remained active and are having a xmas party this coming Friday.
Also having a party on the Friday 17th AND Saturday 18th Dec, the 'rampART' in East London [details] . The building opened around six months ago and has been host to a wide variety of political and cultural events. To celebrate and raise funds to cover bills, there is a two day festival with bands, workshops, DJs, fashion show, VJs, films etc. Full details on www.rampart.co.nr
Oxford enjoyed a series of three short lived squatted social centres using the name OCSET. All were quickly evicted but there will certainly be another openned in 2005.
[photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | latest]
[ stencils tutorial | OSI | Wooster collective | war graffiti ]
Court proceedings are underway once more in Barcelona to evict some thirty residents from their home, and over one hundred neighbours from their gardens and collective autonomous land, in order to sell the land to property developers. When the building was first occupied it was in a state of imminent collapse, it has taken three years of hard work and money to save the building.
Previous attempts to prosecute the residents of Can Masdeu for occupying, utilising and renovating the building have failed. In May 2002 Can Masdeu squatters and their supporters resisted for a full week an eviction attempt. [See photos 1 | 2]
(read this article)for more details
Maelstrom is Leeds' squatted infoshop, located at the old Post Office in Hyde Park Corner. After three succesful weeks of events (read the story so far) a weekly schedule has been set. Regular events will include
Tuesdays: Reading Group from 7.30pm
Wednesdays: Cafe + Discussion and/or film
Thursdays: Subvertising Workshop from 6pm
For info on irregular events or if you are interested in holding an event @ maelstrom just keep checking indymedia or the front door.
IMC Solidarity Missing From ESF Assembly of Social Movements Declaration!
Guardian Letter: Ken Livingstone's Special Advisor Accuses White Anarchists of Racial Violence!
Anti-Racist Groups Accuse Lee Jasper of Playing 'Race Card' re ESF
The repression at King’s Cross station.
The main ESF demo
Indymedia Banners on ESF demo
The storming of the ESF
The repression after the invasion
[picture report] Samba against war in london
O17 London: A protestor's eye view (report and pics)
Photos from the anti-war march at the end of the ESF
The European Social Forum has ended on Sunday, with a large demonstration and a number of autonomous actions (Clowns actions and Pro-capitalist block). The demonstration had a clear anti-war character and attracted a large number of people who did not attend the ESF. Reports and photos [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6].
A group of activists from the anti-capitalist block were detained at King's cross station in an attempt to prevent them from joining the march [1 | 2 | 3 | Global Project]. They were eventually allowed to leave and when they finally arrived at Trafalgar Square some tried to get to the stage in what some describe as storming the stage. The police possibly in cooperation with the organisers made several arrests including an Indymedia volunteer and member of the ESF organizing body.
Solidarity actions were called, and a number of Clowns invaded Charing Cross police station (Video). Those arrested including a Greek activist are due in court on Monday. The ESF organisation, and the events during the demonstration, have been the subject of a lot of controvesy [In depth: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Previous: 1 | 2 | 3]. Some also resented the lack of coverage of actual ESF events  on Indymedia and the mainstream media [1 | 2 | Don't hate the media - just publish on indymedia].
[More: Timeline | All UK ESF reports | ESF daily coverage: Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Other languages: German | Dutch | Dutch and French | Català | Castellano 2 3| Hungarian | Portugese | Russian]
The 4th Big Blether took place from 1st- 3rd October 2004 in an embryonic permaculture community in North Perthshire, named Culdees.
About 70 activists from Scotland and far beyond joined the gathering to exchange skills, enjoy themselves and forge links with old and new friends of a diverse range of groups engaged in the struggle for social justice.
[pictures | programm | feedback]
An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people are expected to come to London this month to attend the third European Social Forum taking place between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th (although many other ESF related events start earlier). Around 1,000 people have been registering per day and paying £20 or £30 to attend (nb the first 20,000 will recieve a free three day travelcard). The ESF will be a massive event that will see hundred of seminars, workshops, and cultural events taking place at Alexandra Palace and in the Bloosmbury area of London. However, with less than two weeks to go before the ESF begins, there is a potentially politically embarrassing severe accomodation crisis, with thousands wanting to come from europe unsure if they can afford London prices and requesting free accomodation. Recently several coordinations of the Babels volunteer interpreters threatened to quit over what they claim is a looming accommodation and reimbursement crisis [see response].
Over the last year the ESF organising process has repeatedly been accused of being untransparent and non-participatory. Accusations have centred around the actions of the Socialist Workers Party, Socialist Action and the political and financial control of Mayor Ken Livingstone's Greater London Authority (GLA). Much has been written about this, for a sample see: UK NGO Letter | esf2004.net | Radical Philosphy Critique | ESF technology, media centres, and politics | Enrager | Weekly Worker (extensive reports)
Partly in response to this there are now several Autonomous Spaces and initiatives with well over two hundred workshops and seminars and other events scheduled from Wednesday 13th - Sunday 17th (read more).
Indymedia is organising a four-day Indymedia centre to facilitate reporting and DIY media production. Themes will include Surveillance and the Security State, Biometric ID Cards, Migrants and Noborders, Gender, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Creative Commons, Corporate media and Alternative media etc. Thursday 14th sees the European Forum on Communication Rights, Friday 15th sees a full day programme including a workshop and launch presentation on the "Eyes on International Financial Institutions (IFIs)" film portal website [www.ifiwatch.tv]. Saturday also sees the 10th Birthday Conference of SchNEWS.
Other alt-media initiatives includes an ESF Breakfast Radio Show on Resonance FM and 24/7 streaming ESF coverage from rampART radio. Further sources of information will include info-points located at the Camden Centre, the rampART and LARC.
LISTEN NOW - STREAMING AUDIO FROM LONDON