Autonomous and free spaces news.
See also UK Indymedia - Free Spaces
The Black Rose Centre is a new social centre project (PDF Flyer) at 268 Verdon Street, established by the Sheffield Social Centre Collective. This is the first time that the Social Centre Collective has had a permanent space, previously there have been weekend events held by the collective such as the Free Schools in 2011 and 2010 and there were two, short lived, squatted buildings in 2009.
On Wednesday 22nd of February at 7:30pm there will be a discussion on setting up a Sheffield Wide Class Struggle Anarchist Group following a screening of An Anarchist's Story. On Friday 24th February at 6pm there will be the opening of QUEER: an exhibition of local artists' work in response to "LGBT History Month", the deadline for submissions for the show is Wednesday 22nd February.
As UK occupations squat more buildings the police, many of whom have criminal records, are flouting the law to harass protesters, the Lords are debating making squatting residential buildings illegal, the government plans to make hundreds of thousands homeless and Occupy LSX is threatened with eviction.
On 8th January 2012 40-50 police officers raided the Railton Hotel, next to the train station in Lancaster, which had been squatted by Occupy Lancaster the day before. At approximately 8.15 pm, the police used a battering ram to break through the front door. Once they had gained entry, the police arrested the four occupants who were inside at the time. The Occupiers secured the building legally, and displayed notices of Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 on the exterior of the building, but the police paid no heed to the law and Occupy Lancaster are now seeking legal advice.
Also on 8th January undercover police arrested 3 occupiers at Occupy Liverpool on suspicion of possession; none were found to be in possession of "controlled substances". Twenty or so police then surrounded the occupied building stating that it was a crime scene and laid siege to it for 3 hours. Like Occupy Lancaster a Section 6 notice was displayed but the police acted as as if squatting was already illegal.
Newswire: Eviction - Press Release: 9/1/12 from Occupy Lancaster! | Legal help required | Police Harass Occupy Liverpool at Legal Squat | Police raid on Occupy Lancaster | Occupy Sheffield Statement on the occupation of the Citadel Of Hope | Salvation Army Citadel Occupied and renamed Citadel Of Hope
UPDATE: Audio recordings of 3 workshops and the plenary are available.
All welcome to this year's Sheffield Free School event, on Saturday 15th October 2011, from 10am till 8pm, at CADS (Creative Arts Development Space) Snow Lane Entrance, Shalesmoor, S3 7AL (5 mins from city centre, next to "Kit Locker").
This is a Free School NOT of the type created under the present government, but in the long tradition of autonomous self-organised activities. It's being run by the Sheffield Social Centre project, which aims to establish a permanent space for non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist and non-discriminatory activity in Sheffield.
People in Sheffield are coming together to resist the tide of consumer capitalism, exploitation and crisis, creating a space for the free sharing of skills, ideas and knowledge. Come along to the Sheffield Free School ? maybe even to share a skill of your own.
The day's line up includes a whole list of workshops, practical activities, food, film, stalls, fun and friendly stuff.
Following that, everyone's welcome to the evening benefit gig (£4, £3 concessions) at the nearby Redhouse Pub, 168 Solly Street S1 4BB.
The weekend 19th to the 21st May 2011 saw the second Sheffield Temporary Autonomous Arts event take place in a disused industrial unit on Bowdon Street. The event was organised by the Art and Soul Kollective and followed on from their event last year.
A squatted social centre on The Moor, next door to Debenhams, has opened opened as the 0742 Club following the squatting of the building as a convergence space for the Liberal Democrat Conference protests.
The Collective invites a broad variety of artists, collectives, and political groups to come and make use of the space (which is huge) as well as opening it's doors to those wanting to show independant films (A projector is avaliable), hold poetry sessions, or generally hang out. Spaces can be booked or aquired by inpromtue informal discussion with the residents as and when they are needed, and doors will open on monday to the wider public for the display of an art exhibition, a poetry session (to which any poets are invited to take part in), and the provission of hot beverages.
The Collective also puts out a request for Residential Artists and persons who can help to maintain the security of the space (this does not have to mean every night and day, but it would also be useful to have volunteers willing to stay a night or two).
The 0742 can be contact via its SQAUTLINE on 07806414837 or via the contact number that has already been given out in other articles written in reference to the Centre.
Links: 0742 on Tumblr
The UK's Con-Dem government is promoting 'Free Schools' without realising that there is a long and proud history of counter-cultural, libertarian free schools across the world.
The weekend was well attended and included, urban scrumping, the UK premiere of Psywar (watch online | download | bittorrent | audio version), discussions about what is a social centre? and how can we bring about radical change in our society? and much more.
The long planned, public occupation of a derelict, University of Sheffield owned, listed building as a progressive social centre lasted less than a week after the Sheffield establishment moved swiftly to evict the squat. Despite the short stay a lot of political activity took place in Pisgah House and the collective have now moved on to 10 Northumberland Road [photos] and the events that were planned for Pisgah House will now take place there. However a trespass hearing which took place on Wednesday 14th October was followed by another eviction, one week after the Northumberland Road building was squatted.
The case that the University made against the Pisgah House occupation was overtly political, they were unable to cite complaints about noise or disruption to the residential area or damage to the building to justify the eviction, rather they claimed that the occupation would give a bad impression to political dignitaries; "there are plans for a number of University Open Days and a visit from the Leader of Sheffield Council and senior Liberal Democrat Party politicians including Lord Ashdown and Nick Clegg during October. The University has concerns that these could be disrupted by the occupation and events stemming from it and a very bad impression given to visitors of the University. This could affect student numbers and University revenue in the future." In The Star coverage The University said that "We regret the fact that at a time of cost savings, valuable university funds were required to take legal action", which is very ironic since the article ends with "£5m Revamp of students union building: Page 13"...
UPDATE: The Sheffield Social Centre has relocated. Pisgah House was vacated on Wednesday 7th October after a Possession Order was granted at Sheffield County Court. The day before the University of Sheffield was granted an injunction which they then used to start court proceedings for possession. The social centre was given notice of an injunction hearing at 1pm for a hearing at 3pm the same day. At the 3pm hearing the judge agreed to postpone the hearing till 10am on 7th October.
On Thursday 1st October a new squatted social centre opened in Sheffield on Pisgah House Road in Broomhill. The press release from the collective who opened it up states that the "social centre is a non-hierarchical, anti-capitalist space based on a number of core principles which reflect the world its organisers want to see: co-operation and mutual aid, openness and inclusion, voluntary participation and shared responsibility." There are lots of events planned, including a Sheffield Activist Network Open Meeting on Monday 5th October, see the full event listing for details of all events.
"From 3:00 til about 8:30 everything was going well. Plenty of people had turned up, we had raised quite a bit of money and people were generally having a good time... At around nine, the police turned up. At first, we were only met with a couple of bobbies on the beat. They told us to turn the music down and that they didn't want to have to come back to tell us again. We complied with this order. A short while later they returned, this time they cited breach of the peace and noise complaints from local residents. At this point we were given no legal warning and shown no noise abatement order... At this point TSG arrived. The officer arriving on the scene demanded two spokespeople from the organisers to negotiate a de-escualtion of the situation. Two spokespeople were mandated and let outside of the property. The negotiation was a complete farce. The officer had no interest in an open dialogue, he ordered that the soundsystem be removed from the premises within ten minutes and when the spokespeople refused to give out their personal details repeatedly threatened them with arrest." See the full report for more details and photos.
The Matilda Social Centre in Sheffield has now been vacated and 111 Matilda Street is once again a empty building left to rot, RIP Matilda. The names of most of the bands that played the building in the last year have been painted in the windows and poems have been written and songs dedicated.
The final chapter in Matilda's story started on 14th June 2006, one year on from the G8 protests that were based in the Matilda Convergence Centre, Yorkshire Forward, the owners of the building, tried to evict the social centre on health and safety grounds but this was resisted and the building was squatted. The events of the day were reported on BBC Radio Sheffield.
The squat didn't last long however, "30 persons unknown" were due in court for tresspass on Thursday 22nd June at Sheffield County Court and pages from this web site were cited as evidence. There was a protest outside but the case was lost — the judge awarded possession for Yorkshire Forward and their agents asked that the building be vacated by 9am on Tuesday 27th June.
An open letter was written to Jan Wilson, the leader of Sheffield Council, about the eviction and people started to move things out of the building. There was no big farewell party and on Tuesday morning some people turned up for the handover of the building, it made page 2 of the Sheffield Star, but Yorkshire Forward failed to appear.
Several days after the Matilda Collective had abandoned the building Yorkshire Forward secured it and installed a 24-hour security guard and surveillance equipment.
In the end "the energy seemed to have flowed out of the Matilda collective and the will to resist had gone", much like in London where another social centre, The Square, which was facing eviction and resisted for a week before issuing a dissolution communique, "it very quickly became clear that there simply wasn't the energy to go on".
Some events that were due to take place in Matilda have been cancelled, others like the Indymedia "Summer of Truth" film festival have been relocated and some have yet to find a new home.
Matilda and the huge number of events that took place there won't be forgotten in a hurry and perhaps the moles of the Matilda Collective will reemerge somewhere else and reclaim another abandoned building...
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