The Revolution Will be Televised represents an incredible TEN DAYS of consecutive films, talks, gigs and art exhibitions in The Common Place – an autonomous social centre that is reopening in the yuppified Calls district of Leeds centre. It has been organised by a network of Leeds-based anticapitalist activists committed to the expansion of autonomous social centres in the UK.
The fringe festival programme has two very distinct halves. From 4-8 November, The Common Place will be host to some twenty political films selected by the organisers of Leeds International Film Festival. Highlights include: Punk Attitude, which charts the origins of the anti-authoritarian music scene; The Beat of Distant Hearts, which examines the lives and works of the Saharawi refugee poets, singers and painters fighting for independence in south western Algeria; and films from the Middle East conflict, featuring the UK premiere of Refuseniks, which documents the testimony of several Israeli men and women who risk imprisonment by refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Then, from 9-13 November, The Common Place presents its own range of inspiring political documentaries, films, talks and gigs. Each day has a special theme: Czech surrealism, featuring Svankmaier’s Quiet Week in the House and David Jarab’s Vaterland – a hunting logbook; !America Latina Vive!, with films on the Zapatista uprising in Mexico, the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the history of the Argentinian military dictatorship seen through the life of Raymundo Gleyzer, the militant Argentine filmmaker kidnapped and murdered by the junta in 1976; Autonomia, revisiting the radical Italy of the seventies with Radio Alice, the story of the Italian free radio movement, and Antonio Negri – a revolt that never ends, profiling the controversial life and times of the autonomist Marxist philosopher and militant imprisoned for ten years for alleged links to the Red Brigades terrorist group; Precarity Planet, showcasing an incredible 13 films about the precarious state of our natural and social environment and a special live after-midnight concert by music industry-critic, musician and author Mat Callahan; and Fire in our hearts: Stories of anti capitalist resistance, which includes amazing footage from key moments in the recent uprising against globalcapitalism’s institutions of oppression, a talk & discussion ‘Making Poverty History or the New Scramble for Africa?’ with the exiled Pan-African freedom fighter, Kofi Mawuli Klu, and Naomi Klein’s film, The Take, exploring the phenomenal rise of occupied workers factories during the 2001 Argentinean uprising against neoliberalism.
The beauty of The Common Place’s film festival is that attendees get more than just great political films about revolution – they will be actively participating in that revolution as well. The Common Place aims to create an accessible, self-managed and non-hierarchical space in the city in which together people can recover those things being eroded by the market society: a sense of community and solidarity, affordable food and entertainment, a non-commercial place to relax, talk, meet people or find information on political campaigns, issues and actions.
This is why participating in Leeds International Film Festival is so important. Cultural experience in Britain is being priced out of our reach by the companies that increasingly control every aspect of social and economic life. But in contrast to the mega-expensive out of town corporate cinemas, entry to the Common Place film festival is by suggested donation of just £1, which includes a special free membership of the social centre. Instead of the corporate muck served in Virgin and the like, The Common Place’s licensed café – open daily throughout the film festival – will be serving organic, fair trade tea, coffee, beer, wine and vegan cakes & snacks. All monies raised will help keep this commercial free, non-profit social centre open to the local community, and prolong the political cinema experience – we plan to have film screenings every Sunday. Families and refugees are especially welcome, and it will be a great occasion to meet new people, find out what is really happening in Leeds and across the world, and get involved in an exciting new political movement for radical social change.
The Common Place is an independent, collectively-run social centre in the heart of Leeds city centre. Our address is 23-25 Wharf Street, Leeds LS2 7EQ. You can give us a call on 0845 345 7334 or visit our website at www.thecommonplace.org.uk to see our opening times.
The Common Place is run horizontally and voluntarily. By this we mean without leaders and hierarchies and by everyone for everyone. This reflects the kind of society we want to live in – it’s all about self-organisation and mutual aid. You see, for us running the world is too important to be left to politicians, experts or corporations. Instead, it’s up to common people like us to do it. Membership is just £2. The Common Place is open to all local groups and individuals to use, but is not a space that can be used to represent political parties, profit-focused or repressive organisations. So far, we have provided free meeting spaces, started a community garden, set up a cheap healthy vegan café, bookshop and library, offered Internet by donation, created a place for local bands, poets, musicians and independent film screenings, and gone collectively to the 2005 protests against the G8 in Scotland. We have also been a base for Leeds-Bradford Indymedia www.leedsbradford.indymedia.org.uk The Common Place is organised into Collectives who run all these activities through face to face meetings and email. We will be putting on regular events over the next year, including a ‘Friday Social’ featuring gigs, music, and other cultural events, and our ‘Sunday Political Cinema’ screening the latest films from the global resistance movement.
Throughout the festival we are also hosting two political art exhibitions: the annual Art Not Oil exhibition that coincides with protests against BP’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery awards; and multimedia work about the ongoing struggle in Western Sahara, featuring installations on landmine victims, refugees and disappeared activists.