FOR THE EVICTED VORTEX SOCIAL CENTRE
11am – 1pm SATURDAY 10th MARCH 2007
Starting at the Church Street Entrance of Abney Park Cemetery, London N16
Since January 6th, we started an occupation of the former jazz club the Vortex and the Romanian charity shop at 139-141 Stoke Newington Church Street. Massive opposition to the redevelopment of the site was ignored both by Hackney Council and the developer Richard Midda. The market logic dictates that whoever owns property controls its use even when such spaces have become integral parts of peoples well being. But why should this be the case? As the market has been given the free reign to run the economy, we are increasingly losing any involvement and participation in what happens and what goes in our communities. This means that community centres get closed down, mother and baby services get cut back, people are evicted from their homes, to mention a few but also it means that our ability to participate in areas of our life become undermined. We do not have a say what happens. Any discontent we may have is limited to lobbying the council or rely on the conscience of developers. And we know that rarely works!
We received over 1,400 signatures in support for the occupation and in rejection to the proposed use of the building which was in the process to be leased to Starbucks. Due to pressure organised by the Vortex social centre and the people of Stoke Newington Starbucks pulled out from opening a new business, not only of Church Street but in Stoke Newington. This was a success; not only does it mean a notorious multinational company has been kept out of Stokey but also there was a massive involvement in this issue. An issue which isn't neccesarily confined to Starbucks but on the whole nature over the use of space.
By occupying and opening up the Vortex, we managed to create a sense of what it could be like if we did have that control, on a daily level, not just for ourselves but for everyone. How different would our world look if we have the capabilities to solve our own problems whilst removing the barriers that are placed upon us through the domination of the profit-driven market and the state structures which maintain it.
We got a taster of this at the Vortex, and have become addicted! Whilst we were open the social centre hosted a wide range of political and cultural events from weekly film showings, cafes, live bands, exhibitions by local artists to a popular mother and baby group as well as political debates with thousands of pounds being raised for a multitude of political causes. All the events were organised for free or by a voluntary donation. We have realised that the Vortex was just the beginning of regaining back control and creating a new meaning to community - based on real notions of social solidarity and self-organisation.
With the Eviction of the Vortex by the anti-social profit-junkie Richard Midda, we take this opportunity as a springboard. We may not be at the Vortex anymore but plans are developing to re-locate somewhere new.
WATCH THIS SPACE
From the small group which occupied the Vortex we have grown in size and diversity. Over 50 people attended the last meeting to reflect and discuss what happened during the short time we were at the Vortex and how we can improve on what and how we do things. If you are interested in being involved, young or old, we welcome you the next meeting on Wednesday 14th March at 7.30pm downstairs at Ryan’s Bar, 181 Church Street N16.
We are not satisfied to be spectators in our own lives, we want to fully participate. Our lives are affected by situations out of our control we want to bring them in our control. By using direct methods and not limiting ourselves to appealing to those in power, we are setting ourselves the aim to completely re-shape the power balance in the places where we live, work and socialise.
Ex-Vortex Social Centre, March 10th 2007
Contact us at: www.londonsocialcentre.org.uk // 07590 781 893
ex-Vortex Occupied Social Centre