London Indymedia

Dissolution communique of The Square occupied social centre

The Ex-Occupation Committee of the Square | 30.06.2006 16:14 | Free Spaces | London

One last gasp.

One last burst of light and heat
One last burst of light and heat

The Square Occupied Social Centre was formally dissolved in the aftermath of a 4-hour garden barbecue. About thirty people, including most of those who had had a sustained relationship with the space, had come together to decide the term of the resistance that had begun on the Friday. Sadly - or perhaps it was for the best - it very quickly became clear that there simply wasn't the energy to go on.

People's reasons differed. The most significant and widespread was exhaustion - physical, emotional and political. People were just tired, and wanted a summer in the sun, not barricaded into a building. Others felt the social centre had drawn to its natural conclusion given the limits that had been placed upon it, and wanted summer for reflection and reformulation of the project. Still others were concerned that the symbolic weekend of resistance, which burnt so brightly, would be diluted by days and weeks of events for events' sake. What everyone with a long-term engagement agreed upon was that this game was up.

The space has now been passed on to a handful of residents who wished to remain and a few people who wanted to continue to run the place as a political and cultural venue. But the Square, which was the network of friends and comrades that ran and maintained that building for 5 months, has now ceased to be. The people involved will be meeting at 3pm on Sunday the 9th of July at The Swan, Cosmo Place, off Southampton Row to consider the Square's history and its legacy - and specifically to begin a reassessment of the social centre project at this stage and to consider our future role as a collective within that project.

To that end, all those who have been involved are invited to write critical texts on the Square, exploring the extent of and reasons for its failures and successes, with an explicit focus on helping all of us learn the lessons of the five months of activity we have just shared, and perhaps share those lessons further afield, too.

In conclusion, it should be emphasised what a glorious explosion the weekend of the resistance was. Quite apart from the official events - the well-attended resistance in the morning of the Friday and the remarkable 8 hour gig on Saturday, attended by hundreds of kids - what was most remarkable was our emotional fragility as we all began to sense that we were approaching a profound ending. This building has been sustenance for us, a place to socialise with like-minded people, a place in which to play, to party and conspire. That it was ending - for all of its flaws and tensions - made a lot of us take stock of what was being lost: and it was more than we had thought.

Something has passed from central London into our hearts. The red and black will not fly over Russell Square much longer but we carry them in exile, and we will have another building in due course.

Just another minor ending,
The Ex-Occupation Committee of The Square.

The Ex-Occupation Committee of the Square
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Still here

02.07.2006 20:00

What did you do in less than 6 months to become so exhausted, politically etc., if you don't mind me asking? I really don't see the reason to abondon such a beautiful building until we are forced to, and I see potential to do more stuff in it - which incidentally is happening, the place is still working as a social centre despite the Square collective dissolving itself. From there maybe we can perfection our experince and move to the next social centre without interruptions / summer holidays? What do people think? Please feel free to pop round the social centre any time, until it lasts.



Hide the following 9 comments


30.06.2006 16:37

It was a beautiful special space and I will sorely miss it. I can't wait to see the next space. Perhaps with smilier faces this time!

Tumble Weed

Another place another time

01.07.2006 11:11

Sad to hear of this ending but it's good to go out on your own terms and hopefully retain or refresh the energies required to open yet another space.

a ram part


02.07.2006 05:05

good luck and good holydaying for all the comrades of the square, we hope you can rest and recharge your batteries under the sun, and that you find the currency exchange favorable.

"they stole our land, they stole our freedom, they kill our children, they rape our daughters. we will never stop resisting day or night, come rain or high water"

quotes of the day

'you know what resistance is when you don't notice the weather'

'winter, autumn, spring, summer... a time to prepare and dream, a time to sow, a time to water, a time to harvest. life is a makes sense. otherwise you die or you eat your food from a plastik package from the the change you want to see'

'there is a country in the north of the world where you can't resist in the winter because it's too cold, you can't organise in the autumn because it rains all the time, you can't 'resist' in the spring because there are too many cops at May Day, you can't struggle in the summer because it's nicer to take a break from 'it all' under the summer sun, basically, there is no hurry, they benefit from a healthy neoliberal expoitative economy and make their choices. that is their 'alternative'. i just wish they would be honest and stop pretending. they watch their own films and read their own leaflets but don't feel them. its a game, an adolecence part time trip in fringe mainstream culture. it's enterteinment. there is no strategy, but then they want to be taken seriously. why? because they cleaned cups and sweep the floor? for making cups of tea to each other, sell beer, join mailing lists and read and write emails? do they ever get the feeling they are being cheated? that country is sweaden, of course'

'somethings better change'

'no justice, no peace - of mind'


kro-pot-kin sounds a little bitter

02.07.2006 10:44

Look, friend, it's really this simple. We are toying with militant forms of struggle both new and old, and trying hard to learn the lessons from those experiments. This place was in the main part a failure, although it generated certain interesting although unintended successes (as well as all the usual blah - money raised etc). Luckily, we (since we are really constituted as a group of friends and comrades, that is in the real world) are much more able to collectively learn from our 5 months of shared activity than any keyboard warrior who restricts themselves through fear of their own abnormality to - as you say - writing and reading emails (/forum posts etc).

And why would we want anyone to take us seriously? As it happens the only positive response we really want is that of history, and we will continue to move, to criticise, to grow in understanding until we as a group, a network, a milieu are capable of generating that response.

Who cares what the scene thinks? Numbers never mattered anyway, we only thought they did (and after J18 it's easy to understand why...) More particularly, your embittered denunciation of us as lifestylers (for that is what your post amounts to) really only amounts to an inverted judgment on your own self-sacrifice. I know many people who through mortgages, families, even through history (long residence etc) are trapped or wish to remain in their geographical communities with 9-5 jobs etc. Most of them realise the attraction of an itinerant, drifting life in the anarchist milieu, and don't begrudge it to those who can achieve it. Especially when it is clear to them at every stage that these people are their comrades, and will support them in their own struggles without questions or prevarications.

Remind me why we should hold an empty, useless building for months when it is summer outside? Remind me why one more experiment in form oughtn't to be put to sleep when it's run its course?

But you don't have any answers, only a knee-jerk reaction to the word 'squat'. Maybe one day we can call each other comrade but I doubt it will be soon.


reply to Chiara

03.07.2006 19:07

Lets see. I guess you didn't take part in the desicion making process which saw those people who had been making things happen at the square decided to stop? And I guess a group of people who weren't there for that meeting or at least weren't around actively making stuff happen now feel that it should and so will now try to make things continue to happen. Ah! a new collective is born as the rope goes slack!


Hey Chiara -

04.07.2006 13:58

for someone whose political engagement extended only to money-grubbing for your proto-ngo organisation to lauch such a petulant tirade would be farcical if you'd not gone to some lengths to conceal that (prior?) lack of engagement, lumping yourself in with others who are 'still there'...

There is much more to be said that should not be aired publically. I hope you have the gall to come to the meeting this sunday to put forward your craven theses - we can be more open then.



04.07.2006 21:43

Would you mind signing your comments? I could have very well hid behind an aka myself, I decided it was more honest not to. I usually hide my identity from the cops, not from my supposed comrades.
Dear 'involved', it would be nice to know who you are, besides being a spiteful little shit. I do not think your comment deserves an answer.
Dear 'jugs', you are in a better cathegory than 'involved'- not that it takes much to be better than that! I guess I can guess who you are but I may be wrong. I did try to attend last dissolving meeting, I was late as usual because busy with other work. Sorry. When you do political work you will see how little time you have left for other political work, meetings etc. And little time for bickering too.


Involve . . .

04.07.2006 23:12

Why didn't you try to make the place a bit more welcoming to the public? All you had out the front was a sign that said 'Cafe Open' and then a front door that was pretty much shut all the time. I used to go to a few social centres and stuff and I get the 188 to the stop right outside the centre pretty often, and I still don't feel that welcome, so why on earth should the average passer by even consider coming in?

I think it is a shame that people have given up on a place that was threatened with eviction, and then didn't even get evicted. It seem like even when we win, we still lose.



Chiara -

05.07.2006 08:54

has it occured to you that not only 'potential comrades' read this site? I have no intention of pursuing this flamewar (which I of course must take responsibility for beginning) in the public eye. Nor do I have any intention of naming myself although I'm sure you've a decent idea. (questions around territory, ownership - borders?)

I regret the above post but I can't quite bring myself to repudiate it. See you in a week?



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