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Give Us Some Space: New Initiative to Create Dublin Social Centre

category dublin | miscellaneous | feature author Wednesday December 01, 2004 17:57author by Seomra Spraoi - Seomra Spraoi Report this post to the editors

World premiere of films about social centres

This Friday sees the premiere in Dublin of Six Films About Social Centres – a series of short documentaries about autonomous social centres from Belfast to Barcelona. Ideally, this screening should take place in an autonomous social centre, but Dublin has none. (A parish hall is being borrowed for the evening).

So, in a year or two will someone be able to come to Dublin and make a documentary about an autonomous social centre here? Or will fundraiser gigs, political meetings and workshops always have to take place in Teachers Clubs or the upstairs rooms of pubs? Will Food Not Bombs always be at the mercy of the weather? Will there be somewhere indoors to go after street parties?

The Indymedia centre that operated for a couple of weeks around Mayday this year gave many people a glimpse of the great use to which a disused building can be put. It reminded just how badly Dublin lacks an autonomous space.

The Six Films made by Direct Action Against Apathy, a Belfast-based collective will be screened at 8pm on Friday at the St Nicholas of Myra Parish Hall (Carman's Hall, a street running between Francis St and Thomas St Map), followed by a brief discussion, music, a raffle and a photo exhibition about social centres.

Directactionagainstapathy...numerous reports and photos of spaces.
Giros/Warzone Collective Belfast
The Story of Disco Disco.
One of numerous stories about the Magpie Squat.


The films explore and celebrate the phenomenon of autonomous social centres in Europe, independent of local authority, church, business, trade union or other controlling body. These spaces have provided a focal point for many of the social movements in the West, where public spaces have been eaten away by consumerism, property speculation and the culture of the car.

They celebrate collective cooperation and diversity and have numerous day-to-day uses: community drop-in centre, inexpensive cafe, political meeting space, library, gig venue, arts centre, internet cafe, to name a few.

Usually these social centres begin as squats in derelict buildings and eventually an understanding is reached with the local authorities. Of course, Ireland is unique in Europe in that the authorities are utterly intolerant of squatting. Today in Ireland there is virtually nowhere indoor for people to congregate that isn't a pub or overpriced cafe.

Many questions have to be answered on the long road to establishing a social centre in Dublin, for example should it – as a matter of principle – be a squat rather than a rental, with any eviction attempt fought against in the courts, thereby making more of a public issue of it? This is an issue treated in the films.

But at least a start is being made: Friday's event is an attempt to bring together people who are interested in such a project and hopefully to inspire people through the examples in the documentaries.

The Six Films
by Direct action against apathy and Belfast media collective.

Our Kitchen Squat Café
Belfast’s first squat café November 2003, music, vegetables, & talk about anarchy in a very cold dark & secret place…
8 mins 2004

Aspire
Temporary squatted social centre in Leeds England December 2003. 10 days & 10 nights. Hundreds of people transform abandoned warehouse into kick-ass space for workshops, discussion, parties, and cafes; chop vegetables & huddle together to keep warm.
12 mins 2004

Canmasdeu
‘Rurban’ squatted social centre on the outskirts of Barcelona, bringing ideas, skills & technology from the countryside into the city. Sunshine, community gardening, fancy d.i.y. plumbing, & experiments in communal living. Canmasdeu is the squat your grandmother would love.
28 mins 2004

Three Social Centres in Amsterdam
Does exactly what it says on the tin. A tour of three legalised squats in Amsterdam; the Molli, the Film Academy, & the Binnenpret. Squat actions, children’s theatre & electro-acoustic concerts with musings on the merits & pit-falls of ‘dealing with the man’.
34 mins 2004

A Winter Walk Through Christiania
A quiet stroll through the infamous squatted town in Copenhagen; frozen lakes, wooden cottages & winding paths in the brilliant winter sun followed by a raid from the Danish police.
6 mins 2004

Sumac Centre
Vegan fries, vegan beer, vegans, & home to veggies the probably the best vegan catering outfit on the planet. The Sumac is a co-operatively owned ‘Radical environmental community type social centre’ in Nottingham. Some vegetables were cooked in the making of this film.
18 mins 2004

Binnenpret Amsterdam
Binnenpret Amsterdam

Canmasdeu Barcelona
Canmasdeu Barcelona

Our Kitchen Belfast
Our Kitchen Belfast

author by darren - direct action against apathypublication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 04:15author email directactionagainstapathyagainstapathy at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can find more info about the films on Social Centres as well as images reports & interviews from various spaces on the direct action against apathy site.

If anyone else around the country is interested in helping organise a screening or if you'd like to get a copy of the films give me a shout.

Belfast Screening coming soon. Watch this space...

More details on Friday Nights event in Dublin here:
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=67604

Related Link: http://www.geocities.com/directactionagainstapathy
author by Brian Cynicpublication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 11:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was a social centre on Leeson Street for 7 months, as discussed in a previous thread before this did absolutely nothing to advance the cause of squatting/political ideology, instead it was a place for bored middle class dropout punks to hang out and drink their cans of beer or smoke dope. Obviously they tried to hide their existence there as much as possible (did they ever have one public event there??) and when it came to taking a stand against the Corpo, they all went back to their mammies houses on the southside, continuing to pretend to be interested in revolution.

author by conor (wsm personal capacity)publication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hardly even sure if Brian the cynic even desereves a response but quickly

1. People actually lived in the squat in Leeson street - very difficult to run a full social centre and actually make your home in a building at the same time

2. One of the resons we are looking at getting a place is precisely the difficulty of getting a squatted space due to Irish trespass law being so ferocious

3. DESPITE this the people lived in Leeson Street they went out of their way to facilitate meetings, and help various groups organise, there were many great events there, bad books was set up, excellent contact made with the neighbours and locals but I wouldn't want to endanger Brian's carefully crafted cocoon of pointless, cynicism too much


4. There may well have been dope smoked there, they may well have been people whom Brian regards as "middle class" there are even rumours that people had fun in there !

big deal !

Conor

Related Link: http://www.struggle.ws
author by publication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 13:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well here's the perfect chance for you to air your grievances. Come along on friday, make yourself known and I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding someone willing to engage in a discussion with you.

author by Acidpublication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There were loads of open meetings. For a month or so there were meetings or workshops going on everynight. It's just that you wernt cool enough to know about them. You should definelty come on Friday. Tell us all how a squat should REALLY be run....sap

author by hs - sppublication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 23:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Came across alot of them over there, every city of a decent size has at least one or two, Bologna had seven or so mind you. A few quick points to make on them, firstly Italy has an awful lot of derilict factories, factory complexes and the like. They haven't witnessed the celtic tiger property boom. A second point is they have a mass movent over generations, who support occupations. (For one personal example a mate of mine arrived home from a school trip one year to find his mother waiting with a bag packed, his school had been occupied in his absence and he was in no uncertain terms going to join in. I can only imagine what my own mothers reaction would have been in the same situation! ) The police do always try to shut down the centres but the centres will have hundreds if not thousands (in bigger cities) mobilised to protect them. I think if the survive six months or so they're left alone. But lately the police have been cracking down
harder.

The centres themselves are wonderful, no too excatly alike, and some very well organised. For example the C.P.A in florence while I was there was in a huge factory complex with a massive soundproofed indoor area which could fit a couple of thousand people. And regulary held gigs and festivels usually charging about 3 euro in. You were also allowed bring in your own drink. The centres in Milan and Rome are bigger again.

And its to say nothing of a space for meetings, "social dinners" and everything you can think of. And just nice friendly places to hang around in. And keep the "yoof" off the streets.

They also introduce a massive amount of people to progressive politics of all colours, although mainly organised by communists, often anarchists and maoists and all the rest are involved.

author by potpublication date Wed Dec 01, 2004 23:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

it was empty because it was so quiet. There turned out to be about fifty people sitting around in silence having a drink and speaking in sign language. They did it every week.

The industrial building is really huge and was an Aquarium Factory at some point in the Past. Oh yeah - and it was on via lenin.

author by bling blang blong. thoughts rattling inside my head. - not really sure any more. none, i guess. back to the beginning.publication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 12:25author address odd-numbered postcode.author phone got my number? use it.Report this post to the editors

Hmm... dont know what to think anymore about the chances of a proper squat/social centre/autonomous centre existing in this city. As the SP swocialist says, there is much bigger support (from long leftie histories) in other euro countires. Not sure if there exists same levels of support here (cant see many FF-brand Bertie "socialists" coming to a social centre night to be honest..!)

Not wanting to piss on a parade but I just wonder sometimes if we havent been here before (and when the economic climate would have made for better conditions for it happening - rent for spaces nearer the city centre would have been within affordable ranges) - the Garden of Delight closed down for various reasons, but talking to the people that ran it, by the end they were jaded by the lack of support from the city. ("young people here dress in an underground way, but they are not really underground").

Other countries centres seem to be tolerated to a point because there's a lot of them, and property laws are different (think it will be a VERY, very long time before the collective Irish pysche breaks out of post-Land War mode of private ownership - perhaps never) but those laws were changed because squatters went through legal/physical/prolonged battles to get them in the 70's, so as dumb and tired as Brian Cynic's points are, maybe there is a minute grain of truth in there. It might be a question of years rather than months.

author by Alinepublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 13:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To Conor: don't know about here but in France a squat can't work if people don't live in it - for practical/legal reasons in fact. If you just hang around they can kick you out and close the place down straightaway - and that doesn't leave much time to organise events.
If you can prove the place is used for accommodation (furniture...) then they can't kick you out until a legal decision is taken, which means they have to leave you alone for a few weeks/months. The decision is usually eviction - (appeal is possible + no eviction can take place during the winter months) but it also means that when the eviction takes place eventually they have to give you some notice and leave you time to collect your belongings. Basically it's about staying in a place as long as you can and find a new one when you're kicked out, and any squat lasting for over 2 months is considered a great success...

author by Michaelpublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sustainable Ireland have an amazing space in Temple Bar (see link below this comment) called Cultivate which should be supported before another under-resourced libertarian activist-community space is created.

Related Link: http://sustainable.ie/cultivate/index.htm
author by pcpublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

its exspensive to use and and there has to be someone willing to wait around to close up... a big groups of orgs tried to lease out that entire complex last year and were unsucessful...

author by Lpublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

sustainable ireland is a great space & sharing a space with other groups or using a space generally only used daytimes etc. are possibilities which can be discussed tomorrow night & beyond.

that said what we have in mind may be something a bit different and may need our own space. we'll find out.

author by padraic - wsmpublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 18:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

while cultivate might be great and all its hardly the same as whats being talked about. I guess people are looking for a social space where they get to decide what goes on, cultivate is more or less closed and while they might be open to helping people out or allowing people use the space sometimes its not really providing the functions people are talking about

author by hs - sppublication date Thu Dec 02, 2004 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

point is it isn't just lefties that go to social centres, if you're into live music (of any kind) most likely you'll be going there, anybody in a amateur band can do tours of italy. Also think about it you're in some suburb like blanch or tallaght and what is there to do for a 16 year old? Nothing, in the italian suburbs they have the giant social centres, so there always full of teenagers and not just political one's. keeps the brats off the streets.
I'm sure if there was a social centre in dublin it would be popular, the main problem i would see is security, a few locked shitheads coming along could pose problems. Especially as the places are by nature voluntry and by nature outside the law.

author by grand-dapublication date Fri Dec 03, 2004 01:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've started worrying about where my grandchilder are of an evening, if there was an autonomous centre open in my neighbourhood, @ least I'd know they weren't on cocaine, and probably learning how to fix their bike or hang off a trapese or make a stencil and hopefully someday get up on a perfectly working bicycle, and find some real world precarious work.

author by Corran - P.F.J / J.P.Fpublication date Sat Dec 04, 2004 02:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

that was an amazing meeting/event thing! really inspiring to see such a crowd turn up... anyways, just sayin : )
....iv had my fun & thats all that matters...

author by pcpublication date Sat Dec 04, 2004 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yeah great night, there was supposed to have been a big discussion but people were getting restless, perhaps we won't get all those people in the same room together again, so it might have been a lost opportunity but hey is great just chatting to people... but keep in touch, don't hesitate to give advice, suggestions...

join mailing list is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gimme_space/

and there's a meeting at the EENGO offices on Camdem Street. at 7pm the thursday the 9th of December... its opposite the Palace above the Bounty Store.

Don't forget the Gig on the 21st December Voodoo Lounge.

author by dunkpublication date Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

fri was great

1- id like to put on films again on wed in bolton street college in attempt to get some of the architects, sustainable development group, and others interested in coming down, so if its possible to get copies for this it would be great

2-a but of urban gardening- is there a crew on for doing something now, is there tools etc, is time right?

if not still could do something to act as catalyst for discussion and further interaction for development of social centre

3- le petit cinema screening of "social centre vids"- showing the city the vid of what we would like to add to the city ie :: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=67670#comment93770

attempting to tie this back into ideas of "catalyst @ botanic spine"
http://easa.antville.org/stories/960542/#994319

social spaces, guerilla gardening, funny buildings
social spaces, guerilla gardening, funny buildings

author by conor (wsm personal capacity)publication date Mon Dec 06, 2004 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Absolutely Dunk good idea. We hope to make Francis street a monthly thing.

Also don't forget the gig in the voodoo lounge 21st December 8 pm.

Great turn out Friday (100??) - thanks to indymedia for leaving the feature up!

krossie

Related Link: http://www.struggle.ws
author by dmcpublication date Mon Dec 06, 2004 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

here are the details for the benefit gig on the 21st:

playing are:

The Boy You Hit Is Dead (Galway harsh n' heavy metallic hardcore)
Burn It To The Ground (Dublin abrasive emo HC)
Transmundane (Young pups playing basic old-skool punk)
Captain Moonlight (Live hip-hop from former Homebrew MC)
DJ Krossphader (Radio Na Life)

hopefully some more DJs and other fun stuff will be confirmed soon too.

The Voodoo Lounge, Arran Quay.
Tue 21 Dec
Doors are 7.30, show starts at 8 and goes on till the wee small hours.
Admission is €6.

author by dunkpublication date Fri Dec 10, 2004 14:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

wont it be lovely in the months after the arrival of spring; critical mass`s followed by social evenings, in the centre or in temp spaces as part of the process of the creation of the space

@ 15 people turned up last night, young, older, usual crew, new faces. concrete discussion, workgroups, discussion continued in anseo after

one lad came up all the way from clare for the chat

food not bombs christmas benefit
thr 16th dec 04, bohs bar, admission= 1 kg of food + euro

author by redjadepublication date Thu Dec 16, 2004 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

15.12.2004:
This last year has been a pretty active and productive year for the social centres movement in the UK...

At the begining of the year, the Wombles occupied 93 Fortess Rd for several months before moving into the ex-Grand Banks in Tufnell Park. Both occupations saw successfully resistance against eviction and were highly successful and popular. After eviction in August the wombles took a break to concentrate on the 'Beyond ESF event' but they'll be back in 2005.

[....]

In Hunguary a vast supermarket in the centre of Budapest which had been empty since 2001 was occupied just days after people returned home inspired from the ESF in London. Plans were to create a social and cultural space and a place to organise established projects such as food not bombs, indymedia, and other cultural and political collectives. They recieved a great deal of media attention and were evicted just two weeks later.

read more, with links @
http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/12/302806.html

author by crimethincpublication date Fri Dec 17, 2004 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For ten long years, our operatives have honed their skills, testing their wits and mettle against the global capitalist empire, the most formidable adversary in the history of life on earth. We have learned how to redecorate the walls of cities occupied by armies of riot police, to transform random groups of damaged, isolated individuals into loving communities capable of supporting one another through the most severe bouts of repression and depression, to shut down corporate summits and franchises armed with little more than plastic piping or eyedroppers of glue. Now, the notorious CrimethInc. ex-Workers’ Collective has compiled many of the techniques that made these feats possible into a 624-page manual entitled Recipes for Disaster.

http://www.crimethinc.com/a/cookbook/

author by dunkpublication date Thu Jan 06, 2005 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

another little bit from the night
berties support for the idea

maybe another night last friday of january?

"god bless DGN"
"god bless DGN"

author by Starstruckpublication date Thu Nov 29, 2007 20:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And now the Seomra.

author by Soundmigration - WSM, Seomra Spraoipublication date Fri Dec 03, 2010 17:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to all and everyone who has contributed in any way over the last 6 years

author by BArry - seomra spraoipublication date Wed Dec 03, 2014 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

today is the tenth birthday of Seomra Spraoi! hurray!

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