LET’S TRY AND KEEP OUR FREE SPACES OPEN
On the 6th of January this year, after 6 months of neglect, 93 Fortess Road was occupied. The aim of the people involved was to set up a social centre, a free space for people in the local community to use as a resource and to create a place where people can come together and get creative. A place which is free, fun and accessible to everyone.
Occupying empty and derelict spaces and cultivating them as community spaces is important for us in having a direct say in our lives outside commercial business and the local authorities. No one is making a profit at our expense, and no one is gonna pull the rug when the cutbacks are required. What we directly put in is what we directly get out.
We think that the Social Centre project has been a success with over 250 people a week attending the various political, social and cultural events. So far we have had a cafe running almost every day, free cinema on Fridays, information nights on a diversity of issues from migrant struggles to the Zapatistas and palestine as well as free parties, live music, supervised kids space, and most importantly a place for teenages to hangout with their mates in a safe environment. None of us get paid, we do it because we want to and we think that places like these are needed for the development of community action, that can solve more of the problems in our lives - crime, exploitation, evictions[!], boredom, than the thousands of new “community policeman” that will be roaming our streets [at our expense].
We will demand only one thing from the owners, for us to stay in 93 Fortess Road until the 31st March to finish our pre-publicised events and to allow us to hold public meetings with the locals who have been using the building to find another venue for our project. We also say that we will not tolerate any harassment and violence from the owner, bailiffs or police and that we intend, on the 31st March to leave PEACEFULLY. We think this is a reasonable demand as the remaining ‘legal’ tenant has been told that she can stay until this date, therefore we do not want to see the building disused again.
Finally, we call on all those of you that have spoken to us, attended events, sympathise with our ideas and those of you who have really enjoyed our presence on Fortess Road to join us and stay over on Monday night so that we can stand together on Tuesday morning and give this list of demands to the owner, the bailiffs and the police. We feel that we can win this and create a real sense of solidarity and community, the absence of which has led to the increase of social problems, umemployment, crime and drug abuse.
We hope to see you there!
OCCUPIED SOCIAL CENTRE