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Seomra Spraoi: We got us some space!

category dublin | miscellaneous | feature author Thursday September 20, 2007 13:28author by Social Gaff - Seomra Spraoiauthor email seomraspraoi at gmail dot comauthor address Mary's Abbey (off Capel St, three doors from Boar's Head Pub)author phone 086 2001039 Report this post to the editors

Seomra Spraoi launches new social centre this weekend

featured image
Having a relaxing read in Seomra Spraoi

As Seomra Spraoi prepares for the official launch of its big new social centre off Capel St in Dublin this weekend, we look at how far the project has come since the collective formed three years ago.

"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 there be somewhere indoors to go after street parties?"

These were the opening lines of the first Indymedia article published by or about the Seomra Spraoi collective, on December 1st, 2004. The collective had been formed just a few weeks before, with the aim of creating a space in Dublin to emulate the autonomous social centres of other European cities. The article was written to publicise Seomra Spraoi's first event, a screening of films about European social centres, followed by a social at the Nicholas of Myra parish hall off Francis Street. The headline was "Give us some space!" and the article included such chin-stroking lines as: "Many questions have to be answered on the long road to establishing a social centre in Dublin."

Related Links: Grassroots Gathering Follow Up Meeting | Three Minutes of Infamy: An Intro to the Groups Using The Space | Give Us Some Space: An Intro To The Initiative | The Seomra Spraoi Blog | Seomra Spraoi's Carfree Day Scavenger Hunt/Launch Weekend | Trad Music Night to Launch Seomra Spraoi | 3rd time lucky for community garden in Dublin 8 | Photos of Seomra Spraoi's final weekend at Ormond Quay | Seomra On Myspace | Totally Dublin Article About Seomra Sproai | Sunday Tribune Article About Seomra Sproai


Well, almost three years later, the questions posed in the first paragraph can be answered with a confident, satisfied, air-punching, shouted-from-the-rooftops: YES, WE HAVE A SOCIAL CENTRE! And yes it's used for benefit gigs and political meetings. And yes folks went there after a Critical Mass bike ride recently. And they were given some lovely food.

It's also being used for arts/crafts workshops, screen-printing, banner-making and bike workshops. Entertainment includes a weekly movie night on Wednesdays (on a 10-foot by 20-foot screen), a contemporary storytelling night (http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84004) about once a month and regular gigs and socials. Last Saturday (September 15th) saw Spraoi For All hold the centre's first all-ages gig (http://www.myspace.com/spraoiforall).

The centre has three computers with broadband, as well as wireless broadband throughout the building; table tennis and pool tables; a library and a zine archive; a free-shop; a kitchen and an office. Oh yes, and two toilets. All of these facilities are free (though donations are welcome) and the entertainments are generally by 'suggested donation'. The vegan meal served every Sunday afternoon at Ormond Quay will make a welcome return this Sunday.

The "long road" wasn't as long as expected. After spells in a small room in Abbey St and a bigger room on Ormond Quay, Seomra Spraoi now occupies two floors of a building on Mary's Abbey, on the Luas line just off Capel St. It has a really big venue room, two further sizeable rooms and about five smaller rooms. It's big, it's bright and it's a bustling mix of political and non-political activity. On a typical weeknight you might find three campaign groups meeting in separate rooms, another group making a banner in another room, the newly-formed Table Tennis collective playing poker on the pool table, and one of Seomra's working groups meeting in the "office".

Since taking up residence at Mary's Abbey at the start of July, the project has moved into an exciting new phase. Lots of new faces have appeared; weekly meetings of the collective consistently boast between 20 and 25 people; six working groups also meet regularly to make it all happen. This is also the first of Seomra Spraoi's homes which has had regular opening hours, though these are still short of what we aspire to. You can drop in between 1pm and 10pm on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and between 5pm and 10pm on the other four evenings of the week.

Volunteers work a 'welcomers' rota, so that during all of these hours, there is someone in the Seomra who can welcome you, show you around, tell you about the place and make you a cup of tea (or rather point you to the kettle... it's all about DIY after all). Our weekly meetings are on Thursdays at 7.30pm and are open.

The December 2004 screening mentioned above was the premiere of a series of short films about autonomous social centres across Europe. It's safe to say that those who got the collective started in 2004 did not envisage that in less than three years Dublin would have a social centre bigger and busier than those featured in the films.

Another achievement is the project's openness, accountability and democracy - something the collective strove for from day one. Derek, who has spent time in social centres in Britain, Germany and Spain, reckons Seomra Spraoi need no longer look to the continent for inspiration. "I remember the first Seomra leaflet said the centre would be 'a model of participatory democracy', which sounds lofty, but compared to centres I've been at in Europe, Seomra Spraoi has far more people actually involved in the running of the place, and in the decision-making."

"I'm also struck here by the involvement of plenty of non-activist types. It's not a cultural ghetto, which places abroad often are. Rather than being just a hang-out for an activist community, it seems to me a place that's creating a new type of community."

One of those "non-activist types" is Naomi, an artist who has got involved more recently. "It's very welcoming and non-clique-y," she says. "You don't feel like you have to be an activist or totally political to be involved. Also, the political ethos of the project is very simple to understand. There was an obvious demand for a place like this, for music, art and other entertainment, as well as for the needs of campaign groups and that."

There is an ongoing discussion about how expressly political Seomra Spraoi is or should be, a discussion that this article does not intend to get stuck into. But the mere fact of creating and maintaining a self-managed, self-funded, non-commercial space in the heart of this most consumerist of cities, a space in which everyone relates to each others as equals, is a political act in itself.

If Seomra Spraoi is an experiment in social organisation, then its results so far are encouraging. Fuck yeah!

Launch Weekend

To find out more about Seomra Spraoi's history, aims, principles and structure and about how to get involved, come along to the centre this Sunday at 4pm for a short talk/slideshow/discussion about the project. Then at 5.30pm it's Three Minutes of Infamy, which will see each of about 18 of the groups that use the centre giving their own talk/slideshows in under three minutes each.

The space is open all weekend for people to drop in and drink tea and look around any time from 12 midday onwards.

This weekend's events:

Friday 21st September

7pm: Trad night - traditional music session, bring your instrument or just come to listen.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84198

Saturday 22nd September

3pm (registration 2pm): Car-free scavanger hunt, hunt by bike, on foot, skate board, roller skate, jog, whatever. Teams of 2, 3 or 4.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84200

7pm: Contemporary Storytelling: You are invited to find out what Irish storytelling is, was and what it might be.

10pm: Live Music - Known (UK), Eva Urban, Heathers, Mike Igeo Poet, Dropping bombs.

Sunday 23rd September

1pm: People's Kitchen (vegan)

3pm: Kids activites, all ages, table tennis, toys, stencils, drawing..,

4pm: Brief talk/slideshow and discussion about Seomra Spraoi.

5.30pm: Three Minutes of Infamy: the groups that use the centre will give 3-minute talks/slideshows about their groups.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84277

7pm: Cabaret!

8pm: (in a different room) film screening (time subject to change)

RELATED LINKS:

Give us some space (first article about Seomra Spraoi, December 2004):
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/67739

Photos of Seomra Spraoi's final weekend at Ormond Quay:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82777

Desperately seeking space: Seomra Spraoi needs a new home (May 2007):
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82301

Seomra Spraoi Blog:
http://seomraspraoi.blogspot.com

Seomra Spraoi MySpace:
www.myspace.com/seomraspraoi

'Do Make Say Think':
(excellent) Totally Dublin article about Seomra Spraoi
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83000

Sunday Tribune article
(gives more of Seomra Spraoi's political aims):
http://www.tribune.ie/2007/07/08/97321.html

Community Garden website
http://southcirculargarden.blogspot.com/

3rd time lucky for community garden in Dublin 8?
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84268

Related Link: http://seomraspraoi.blogspot.com

The front of the building
The front of the building

Wednesday night is movie night
Wednesday night is movie night

Another Wednesday night
Another Wednesday night

Window cleaning at the new space
Window cleaning at the new space

author by Social gaff - Seomra Spraoipublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 03:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

Wednesday night screening: someone walks in front of the projector...
Wednesday night screening: someone walks in front of the projector...

Electronic Resistance: DJ collective, on the decks at the Seomra
Electronic Resistance: DJ collective, on the decks at the Seomra

Entertaining the younger folk (this was how the venue/screening room looked when we moved in to the building)
Entertaining the younger folk (this was how the venue/screening room looked when we moved in to the building)

... and this is how the welcome area looked before we moved in
... and this is how the welcome area looked before we moved in

Venue room before moving in
Venue room before moving in

author by Social Gaff - Seomra Spraoipublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 04:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

The farewell weekend at Ormond Quay (yes, these photos are going in reverse chronological order)
The farewell weekend at Ormond Quay (yes, these photos are going in reverse chronological order)

A dessert at the People's Kitchen (Ormond Quay)
A dessert at the People's Kitchen (Ormond Quay)

People's Kitchen, Ormond Quay
People's Kitchen, Ormond Quay

Cuppocrafts organise regular arts/crafts workshops
Cuppocrafts organise regular arts/crafts workshops

A screening at the Ormond Quay place
A screening at the Ormond Quay place

author by Social Gaff - Seomra Spraoipublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 04:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

In April 2007, Seomra Spraoi hosted an evening of discussion (about social space) and music as part of Hotel Ballymun
In April 2007, Seomra Spraoi hosted an evening of discussion (about social space) and music as part of Hotel Ballymun

Free Shop at the Dublin Anarchist Book Fair in March 2006
Free Shop at the Dublin Anarchist Book Fair in March 2006

The facade of 47 Middle Abbey St, in which Seomra Spraoi had a room for a few months in 2005/2006
The facade of 47 Middle Abbey St, in which Seomra Spraoi had a room for a few months in 2005/2006

Face-painting during a children's activities day at Nicholas of Myra in February 2006
Face-painting during a children's activities day at Nicholas of Myra in February 2006

75 people turned up to that children's day at Nicholas of Myra
75 people turned up to that children's day at Nicholas of Myra

author by Social Gaff - Seomra Spraoipublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 04:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you do print off a standing order form: you can fill it out for any amount, small or big, weekly or monthly. Post it to the address on the form, or bring it with you to the social centre. There are also blank standing order forms at the centre.

See you all at the weekend.

This one always gets a laugh: dance off during a table quiz in 2005
This one always gets a laugh: dance off during a table quiz in 2005

Solidarity action at the Magpie squat in Leeson St - a precursor of sorts to Seomra Spraoi
Solidarity action at the Magpie squat in Leeson St - a precursor of sorts to Seomra Spraoi

Standing order forms - one of Seomra's sources of income...
Standing order forms - one of Seomra's sources of income...

... and here's a standing order form of your very own (click for printable version)
... and here's a standing order form of your very own (click for printable version)

The front of Seomra Spraoi's propaganda leaflet
The front of Seomra Spraoi's propaganda leaflet

author by Nighthawkpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 04:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wonderful space you've created. Ar aghaidh libh go leir!

author by JC - gafferpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 05:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and how is it paid?

author by hs - sp-pcpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 08:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congratulations to everyone involved, the space looks great and the whole philosophy is very refreshing, in terms of society and in especially in terms of leftist politics (it looks like autonomous self organisation can wok very well!). I'll try to get down over the weekend. Well done to everyone who put such hard work in over the last few years and best of luck with it.

author by Seomra Spraoi radio listenerpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mark from the collective spoke on Mooney show on RTE, interviewed by Angus Mc Nally...

"Ever thought that the vacant warehouse or old school at the end of your road could be put to better use? Maybe you're a member of a community group that pays hefty rent for your meeting spaces and you'd much rather be able to re-vamp that empty building? What are the implications for free public spaces, and how can we best use them? These are concerns close to the heart of Seomra Spraoi, a Dublin-based collective committed to creating more communal public service spaces. For more, Aonghus is joined today by one of the collective's members, Mark Malone, and also by Andrew McIlroy, a writer, cultural policy expert and project manager. "

from rte's website
http://www.rte.ie/radio/mooneygoeswild/fp2007/july26.html

audio upload C/O Paul, revolt video.

This is the mp3 for those who missed it on the radio. The ads and news have been cut out.

15 min- 16.91 Mb
http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/jul2007/seomra_spra...7.mp3

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83592
author by Black Guardpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done. Looks fantastic and a credit to the libertarian left ...

author by Margaretpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How things have moved on from the days of Disco, Disco!

author by The Oh-Aissieux - Narrative Arts Clubpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 15:15author email narrativearts at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors


Thanks for the report and many great pictures!

About the storytellng on Saturday evening:
As there are lots of other things going on later the same evening, I have only one hour to perform this time, from 8 to 9 pm. As usual, I will be working fairly punctually. (Libertarianism does not mean taking the freedom to break agreements and turn up late.) So please get there early, take a seat, close the conversation you were having just before, and be ready to start at 8 pm sharp.

I would like to modify the offer made above, as I don't give a hoot what what Irish storytelling WAS, or what people think it was. In fact, I've heard more than enough nonsense about what it was and is.

You are invited to FORGET what Irish storytelling was, and FIND OUT what it might be!

Here's how a visiting journalist described his experience in the Narrative Arts Club in May:
"... this is not your typical sit-down-by-the-fire type of Irish storytelling. This is something modern, perplexing and thoroughly engaging, which knows no boundaries and succumbs to few taboos."
http://seanchai.vox.com/library/post/beginning-at-the-e....html

I look forward to seeing you there.

Best,
Coilín.

author by curiouspublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 18:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are zero political events in seomra spraoi's opening weekend, a healthy mix of culture and politics might be good but this looks like the anarchists are retreating from the political world into a subcultural space, it's the eighties all over again. This isn't the first social centre in Dublin, have you learnt the lessons of the last one?

author by curiouspublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 18:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The Garden of Delight (GoD) was a self managed space in Dublin's city center that was ran by a collective from January to September 1997. It provided space for a huge range of campaigns (including Anti-Racist Campaign and the Irish Mexico Group), public meetings, speakers included Hakeim Bey and Mike Davis, art exhibitions, political exhibitions and a huge variety of parties and happenings. It was raided by armed police after a banner declaring the EU to be the 4th Reich was hung on the roof during the European summit. We saw many other police visits, normally in response to parties that went on late into the night, on the night GoD closed no less then two of the collective members and two international visitors were arrested. GoD is dead but like a shooting star it led a short but brilliant life and will be missed."

https://flag.blackened.net/revolt/garden.html

author by dunkpublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 19:18author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

firstly congrats to all the seomra spraoi collective and friends, past as well as present... its been a long road and I imagine the fruits will finally bare as the space turns into many dreams realised... I imagine it can only grow from strength to strength.

The story telling sounds great and im sure there will be plenty of very interesting talks and discusssions in the near future in the seomra. With a little bit of tek work, the computers could be hooked up so that those not living in Dublin could listen live to the talks, this can be easily sorted by free streaming systems set up on the computers. Failing that, it would be great if there was audio and/ or video recordings of all talks and storytelling events so that again those not pys¡cally there could "tune in" to chat from the gaf.

In time I imagine there might even be Spraoi TV, yes its possible and been done right now by more and more groups..and with that we can expect live connections, live broadcast forums between many global groups similar to those in Dublin and the seomra... when we get there, perhaps then we will be a lot further down the road in answering "What would it mean to win?"

But thats for tomorrow, and I hope you all enjoy this weekend and beyond. Its funny as the seomra spraoi collective finally take a big step, which is their third after gers gaf and on the quays... So too does another collective playing with and changing the use of space take its third and big step.... the gardening collective, which was sort of related to the social centre collective at one stage but not sure now, have attained a legal space for at least 2 years.... strange the similarities ??

Eitherway, things seem to be taking a very healthy turn in Dublin as these new spaces and ways of doing things open up. Perhaps its appropriate to quote David Graeber: "the work is beginning. It is clearly a long-term process. But then, the anarchist century has only just begun."

Related Link: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4796
author by dunk - part of seomra spraoi in earlier dayspublication date Thu Sep 20, 2007 23:39author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great news that you have managed to get a great space for 2 years at least, no end to the possibilities that this can lead to. No doubt it will act as a real catalyst for the activist community leading to a deepening of things. Hopefully it will widen the parameters of things "activist" to a more connected role with the very culturally strong and very quickly changing community in which it, Seomra Spraoi : the room of play, "Dublin city's social centre", now exists: the markets area of North West inner city Dublin, an area that I thankfully got no know thoroughly since '95 having gone to college in DIT Bolton St, up the top of Capel Street, and living for sometime up in Stoneybatter.

In December 8 2002 Jim Barrett, the then city architect, referred to this area as "That part of the city that's been dead and unknown.", and since then there has been much "development" that has changed the face of many parts of this area and their are plans for more. The markets area has tradionaly been one of the busiest, most lively and diverse parts of Dublin. In 1791 the customs house moved up river from where it had been previously, on the South side of the river on Essex Quay where U2's Clarendon hotel now stands. The area behind seomra spraoi still houses the fruit and vegetable markets with all the early morning trading and hecticness as forklifts fly around loading and unloading from lorries to warehouses and the market itself. The market is a fine old ornate brick building and plans are underway for moving out the clutter of traders and the insertion of something new but along the same lines, possibly a snazzy covered market similar to Cork, London and other places. The fish market that was housed next door, a building of lesser architectural quality, has been pulled down and now the site is fenced off and unused. There are plans to make it a public square but for the moment its another empty lot awaiting development, perhaps Seomra Spraoi might extend their critique of the use of space and come up with ideas for its short term use that might appeal to both the local council but more importantly the local community: football, volleyball, mural painting... a play zone??

The existence of the markets resulted in the diversity you still see on my favourite Dublin street, Capel Street, which the new seomra is still off. Trading working hours result in the existence of many of the nearby pubs being early houses, opening about 6 or 7 in the morning, which can be both strange and amazing places to end up at this hour, whether that be still last night, or next morning. Seomra Spraoi finds itself between 2 such drinking emporiums, on the city side The Boars head, but on the far side Hughes, opposite corner to the 4 courts and one of the best pubs in the city to get quality trad music, sometimes you can even catch a bit of set dancing on a monday night along with 2 seperare sessions, 1 in the main bar and the other in the snug... a fine fine spot. Theres also the chancery inn, around the corner on the quays, and further up from the markets you get the pub which im sure was the setting for a boozy session of Joyce's "Ulysses", on little britain street, I forget its name now, but when I used to pass it on early monday mornings you would see some real sights of the modern city "Dublins only early morning disco bar" was how it used to bill itself... an odd odd sight. Theres also the "hacienda", the white bumpy wall with the bit of terracotta tile, where you used to get one of the cheapest pints in the city and a good game of pool (where have all those old pool hall pubs gone....same way the footballeen tables all went from Barcelona..), its not a real pub, its a members or locals type place and you had to buzz and chat to the barman to gain access....a fine few monday night Triple H sups were had there...

Capel street itself has to be the most diverse street in Dublin, if not Ireland. Where else do you get furniture shops next to sex shops, next to model making shops, next to polish food shops, next to old grocers, next to even more sex shops... our lecturers said that in "the old days" it was a great place, whatever you wanted you got it down on Capel street.

But like many other parts of inner city Dublin, the communities that live there now, that stayed on despite the councils wish to drive them out in the sixties "doughnut effect" to Ballymun, Ballyfermot, Finglas and beyond, have had their tough times when Dublin was a dead miserable unloved city. They stuck it out, people and their place, you can still see the "no drugs here" painted sign on the wall down Arran Street, beside the boarded up Ormond Square. The times have changed and I wonder whether the new social centre will become a used space by those existing Dublin communities it now finds itself. I hope so, I hope an effort is made to inform the wider community of the presence of their new neighbour, what local papers are there, what local radio stations, will there be a few flyers dropped around, will the existing local community spaces be found out and visited with a few flyers and more importantly a few "howya, were from seomra spraoi, the new social centre around the corner, just saying hi...." There are already many strong networks in the neighbourhood and the social centre could act as another and possibly more radical space and system of thought, organising and possibly action for local communities. Equally inviting local communities to use the space, organise and work out of it, participate in and start new dialogues about the area, problems and how to combat them, the future.... I really hope that from the centres strategic position and with all the tek know-how and in depth political views that many "spraoi-ers" already hold, that a real dialogue starts or develops in this part of the city. Take a walk up Green street and check out the MACRO centre, find out whats going on...

Of course another great thing about this area is that it is now smack bang in the middle of quickly changing multicultural Dublin: Chinese, Polish, Indian, Pakistani, Latvian..... again how to approach and inform these communities of the seomras existence, whats appealing about it to them? I look forward to seeing an article about the seomra appearing in the local Chinese and polish papers... that should be a fun exercise... Unfortunatley It seems racism is on the increase but perhaps the seomra might really become a vital part of a more tolerant Dublin. I imagine a time when maybe each month a different community might visit, prepare a local dish from their country, show a film or 2 and engage in a discussion about home, Dublin, Ireland, adjusting..... and with the existing tek stuff there and maybe with Revolt, or IMC-IE's help maybe a 2 way forum might happen with these new-Dubs and their family back in say, Lahore or Lublin?

Im not sure what is happening with Ormond square and the field alongside it which has been boarded up for as long as I can remember, the one on the other side of the street from the Chancery on the river Quay...perhaps while it remains in limbo a little guerilla gardening crew might pay a visit...?
And the square itself, what is happening there, are there still people living there, are there still play things on the square? Only way is to go out and ask. I know many many great things will happen inside the door of the social centre, but id like to think that it didnt all stay in there, that the idea of exploring, testing, pushing the boundaries of space could grow out of the centre, into its physical environment, out to the streets. God knows there a need for it. Again reasons or excuses to call into local flats and ask what the story is, like exploring the idea of mural or graffitti workshops, there is a fine big mural on the back wall of the flats beside where the fish market used to stand. Was it legal or did they do it themselves, how did it come about, are the kids into doing more, or learning more skills on how to do them. This stuff happens, see the amazing results from Mayfield in Cork and youll see how important a factor murals can play in community, and a lot more beyond.

Up in Bolton Street theres the architecture school, where i studied. I know a lot of you might smirk at architecture and students, but exploring these issues and plugging into and working with the local area could be something young students, or even the school, might take an interest in. They didnt in my time, in any real sense, but who knows times might change. Maybe some of them might be on for it, some of the old lecturers would be really into it, if you chatted to them about it.. Theres also the AAI, who might be interested in whats going on, theres also ARCHISEEK, the online ark blog, the seomra should post there and try to develop a critical dialogue about how space is used....just another factor to throw into the seomras equation...

By the way, just found out earlier, Johnny Giles, the soccer player and now commentator on RTE is from 7A Ormond Square. Maybe he might drop down sometime.

Anyway, these are just a few notions. Just throwing them out as Im still very keen about this project and although not living anymore in Ireland feel it can be a great thing and lead to much badly needed things. I really do hope that the seomra explodes into something far wider, deeper, meaningful, funny than any of us ever dreamt of. A lot of hard work has gone in to making it happen, and now here we are, a few days before the official "opening". One of the reasons I am here in Barcelona is to explore further how spaces and political/ social/ artistic/ cultural systems, much like what seomra spraoi is about, play a critical part in communities as they try their best to develop as to how they want to, or to fight against unfair systems that are against them. It is really something to see such connected movements, not everywhere but someplaces, where a mutual symbiotic relationship exists between "activist" and "community", many times the lines are blurred. But to see, and to participate, in these local struggles is very inspiring and there is still much to be learned here, especailly at a time when the UN head of housing had to come to criticise the Spanish state on how it was managing housing policies, especially in Barcelona, where like Dublin, speculation and big business call the shots.
Anyway, be great if this depth is reached with the seomra spraoi project and its neighbours in the markets area of north west inner city Dublin.

Ill leave you with a rough map, of the area, with a few thing pointed out like the early houses, the markets and the seomra.
_____________________________________________________________________
related:

John Giles: 'Football was my living, not my sport'

It begins, as all football stories should, on the
street. The young John Giles played alone on Ormond
Square. He looked after 'the bouncer', the small ball
they played with on the street, so when his friends
disappeared for tea or bed, he was not alone. He still
had the ball and the hours would pass quickly. He
lived in 7A Ormond Square and he spent his solitary
hours trying to hit the '7A' on the door. The
foundations were laid.
http://www.ireland-mad.co.uk/news/loadfeat.asp?cid=EDY1...51405

Dublin: The City Within the Grand and Royal Canals and
the Circular Road ... (online book with much local history and info)...
1682 ormond market, which had a central rotunda and seventy stalls, was demolished in 1890 and replaced in 1917 by Ormond Square...
http://books.google.com/books?id=oj7T-OL29awC&pg=PA111&...P1,M1

"reclaiming a part of the city that's been dead and unknown," according to Jim Barrett, city architect. (December 8 2002)
http://www.irish-architecture.com/news/2002/000279.htm

google satelite hybrid map image of the area (interactive)
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=dublin...&z=16

Dublin Fruit Market , archiseek, irelands main
architectural blog
http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=3277

the reflecting city, the reconstruction of dublin
http://www.reflectingcity.com/index.html?a=3&t=13

through streets broad & narrow: crying five for 50,
and ten for a pound. The end of Moore Street? (IMC-ie
feature)
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/69798

_____________________________________________________________________
local groups and spaces:

NWICAN is a forum of community and voluntary social
inclusion groups, which actively seeks to enhance the
quality of life for all in the community by
campaigning and lobbying to challenge poverty,
prejudice and discrimination.
North West Inner City Area Network
Spade Enterprise Centre
North King Street
Dublin 7
http://www.dicp.ie/communitynetworks_nwicn.html

The North West Inner City Network. (NWICN) is an
independent member- based forum of Community and
Voluntary Groups in the North West Inner City of
Dublin. Established in 1997 by a group of local
community activists, people living and working in the
area, the Network seeks to ensure that the community
has an active say in how their community is developed.
http://www.nwicn.ie/

Established in 1995, MACRO is a Community Development
Project operating in the Markets area of Dublin's
north west inner city. MACRO facilitates the
development of a collective response to the needs of
its community and works from the principles of
participation, shared decision making, empowerment and
change

_____________________________________________________________________
art and local community activism:

Mayfield community arts centre
http://www.mayfieldarts.org/
Muralismo @ Mayfield. Nicaraguans, Colombians, Rebels, rest of worlders;
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70860

Understanding Community Organising
http://www.wsm.ie/story/2805

Working-class community politics (tools for change)
http://www.iol.ie/~mazzoldi/toolsforchange/papers.html#...unity

' On the Conditions of Anti-Capitalist Art: Radical Cultural Practices and the Capitalist Art System'
http://www.leftcurve.org/LC31WebPages/AntiCapitalistArt...y.pdf

Some of the spaces where art theory and practice is discussed , including using the tech that
is available to artists to increase their work and bring it into new areas is:-
http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Really excellent article on activist art in Argentina during and since dictatorship
http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/2007/04/28/remember-th...sent/

_____________________________________________________________________
Barcelona
We are thousands : Somos 1000´s (Miles social centre and their strong links with local Barceloneta community... ongoing struggle even today)
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82327
with their pirate university
http://www.universitatpirata.org/

audio:
1 : http://indybay.org/uploads/2007/05/30/miles-de-vivienda.mp3
2: http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/jun2007/copia_de_re...3.mp3

Barcelona: 3 early morning raids on 3 squats, including MAKABRA
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79776

Can Mesdau, an example of how and when and why a community are willing to fight for you and with you... 80 year old aul lads saying "we are squatter too, arrest us" to the riot cops...legendry and lovely article to boot.
http://www.inthefield.info/rurbano_revolution.pdf

+ their site
http://www.canmasdeu.net/cat/index.php

http://usurpa.squat.net/ : the local weekly BCN paper listing all social centres and activities for the week, great resourse, simple yet v effective.

the old customs house, leading to a vibrant part of the dublin: the market area, seomra spraoi's new home
the old customs house, leading to a vibrant part of the dublin: the market area, seomra spraoi's new home

the fine building that is the dublin fruit market
the fine building that is the dublin fruit market

eco transport @ dublin fruit market ?
eco transport @ dublin fruit market ?

Seomra Spraoi and its local environment (apologies about shite image)
Seomra Spraoi and its local environment (apologies about shite image)

author by Seomra Spraoi - Seomra Spraoipublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 00:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Details of Cabaret in Seomra Spraoi on Sunday night at 7.30pm

La Vie En Rose Lawless!
Introducing The Dazzling Cabaret of Pearls
Featuring:
Anne Lilis on Vocals
Johnny Taylor on Piano
Martin Gruet on Double Bass
George Urich on Drums

With special guest comediennes
Kathleen O'Rourke, Leonor Bethencourt, Pom Boyd
Burlesque Guest: Emma Pearson

Admission on the door: €15 or cheaper if you're poor.
It'll be well worth it!

author by soundmigration - seomra spraoi -per cappublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There are zero political events in seomra spraoi's opening weekend, a healthy mix of culture and politics might be good but this looks like the anarchists are retreating from the political world into a subcultural space, it's the eighties all over again. This isn't the first social centre in Dublin, have you learnt the lessons of the last one?"............'curious'

Not sure i'd agree with that at all 'curious'. Not sure how it looks like the eighties again, or that 'the anarchists' (that homogenous group in dublin???) are retreating into a subcultural space.

What events over the weekend would you describe as sub cultural exactly. The kids events, the storytelling, cabaret etc. i take the point that there are no political meeting over the weekend, but politics isn't always about sitting around and talking either. Considering we host at least 6 seprate meetings of non hierarchical political groups/campigns each week, i don't think the collective in any way can be seen to be retreating from the political world.

The fact that we have worked on, and implement a 'positive space policy' at our events suggest that our politics is also grounded in the day to day organising of the space.... as well creating resources for others involved in progressive libertarian politics.

Seomra Spraoi is a self managed, self funded self organiseed space, with non hierachical structures,and informal non fixed roles. We organise on anarchist principles but we aren't a ghetto for 'the anarchists'. anyways most/all anarchists i know have no interest in being in a ghetto. much more interested in creating cultures rather than being pushed into some box

With regards the garden of delight, im sorry i never had the pleasure of being around it when it was up and running. seems like a pretty interesting space at an interesting time. I have spoken in great lenght with many of those involved. From the perspective of those individuals, as a project for creating, and sustaining, autonomous social spaces in the city centre, seomra spraoi compares fairly favourably. We have had the ability to learn from not just the garden of delight, but from CAZ, Giros, and other social centres and autonomus projects across Europe and beyond

from your post it reads like you where involved with the garden of delight. it would be great you could post some of the lessons you think we could learn from, and maybe reduse to possibiltiy of you being shrugged off as a hay sayer. I (and i'm sure the rest of the collective) would be well interested in hearing and learning more. oh and yeah in the spirit of the convo, if there is something 'more political' you'd like to see happening free free to drop your ideas to seomrasproaievents@gmail.com or come along over the weekend and have a chat

author by Niall Harnettpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 15:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hope ye have great weekend folks.

All the best in your great work, long may you run.

author by Adam - Liverpool Social Forumpublication date Fri Sep 21, 2007 16:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just seen a comment from one of you on our opening feature (https://publish.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/09/381102.html), so I thought I'd return the favour. Our centre is called Next To Nowhere, and it opened last Saturday. We're now well into our opening week, which has been a fantastic success (despite a few arguments here and there). Hope you have as much fun as we're having, and all the best for your future.

Related Link: http://www.liverpoolsocialcentre.org/
author by curious aswellpublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ive been invovled in and seen quite a few social centres over the past
couple of years and am not convinced of their usefulness as a tactic to those who
identify as anarchist. Seomra Spraoi will flourish and i am glad for
those invovled. I have witnessed the work that went into the project.
And the results are the results the project wanted. An all-encompassing,
supposedly safe(r) space not just open to anarchist but people from all
walks of (the middle class) life. I dont mean that as an insult, nor do i
think that having a space full of "working class" people would be more valid.
Seomra Spraoi has actively promoted itself as an arty "alternative" space.
I think im right in saying that "anarchy" was dropped in 2005 in the hope that a bland a-political "self managed" space would include more people. More of a certain type of people, those generally from a leftist or liberal worldview. I have always maintained that being honest and explicit about our convictions (ie that we want to overthrow capital in all its guises and create a world of full enjoyment) would also attract people, just not the type who are traditionally viewed as "safe".

I do not see a wave of agitation and subversion springing from
seomra spraoi. As an anarchist I would hold that just as dear to me (if not dearer)
than a place to go after critical mass, to show films and eat cheap food.
I did believe that the social centre could be a springboard for a (non-dogmatic) insurrectionary momentum but I do not believe that the spraoi will provide that.
I think it will probably bolster the subcultural scenes in Dublin (diy punk, dance and
art scenes) which may at some point lead to a rupture with the existent (an example of this would be ungdomshuset social centre in denmark) but will probably mean more enjoyable and accesible music and art. All very well but subcultures are
sanctioned. They serve to recover revolt and collect any energy that is threatening
the status quo. Providing a space for that does not interest me as an anarchist unless those participating are aware of and working towards destroying that
contradiction.
The spraoi is not (at least when i was there and involved) interacting with current
practice and analysis from anarchists in other countries who have had a much
longer history of "social centres". There is an active critque of social centres in europe right now (by active i mean anaylsis that leads to action) that is not to be seen in dublin despite the huge amount of travelling dublin anarchists have done in the past years and the vast amount of visitors we've had.
Judging by the opening weekend events that would
seem to still be the case. For instance this week Gabriel Pombo de Silva is on hunger strike in prison, Marco Camenisch has joined him in solidarity. Gabriel is an anarchist who was arrested in germany after fleeing from jail in spain. He is probably one of the most high profile anarchists in prison right now yet there is nothing going in response to this in Ireland. Not that we have to look to germany for prison struggle, just go the belfast anarchist black cross for some going on up the road (not to mention mountjoy and cloverhill). In social centres across europe gabriel's writing will be read and action will be planned. In ireland anarchists will continue to
overlook the possibilities of revolt and continue to participate in projects that do not
reflect their desires and convictions.
So I suggest to curious and all those other curious people who feel like
something is missing when they go to seomra spraoi to instigate their
own project. It could potentially come from people you meet at seomra spraoi.
I have met many dissenting voices in the space. I would still go there
if i were in dublin but the few remaining anarchists in dublin would do well
to look for their kicks elsewhere.

Related Link: http://esccapeintorebellion.info
author by M. A. Latestapublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 01:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You say - "I do not see a wave of agitation and subversion springing from seomra spraoi." Indeed, but if the cops saw any such thing they's spike the project overnight. The local community might give the place a miss too. Most of the adults voted for political parties in the general election. Why some of them might be FF supporters!

Seomra Spraoi (I like the name, a boost to Gaelic lingo) can be a boost to community development in an area that has need for social facilities. If people want to campaign on local issues they'll do it, with or without anarchists, trots, mao-worshippers or anything.

Ar aghaidh leis an spoirt agus forbairt soisiolacha na h-aite. Great community project. Great cultural imagination.

author by FredSaidpublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So according to 'curious aswell' the real anarchists are not the people stuck in doing solidarity work with Rossport or the Wheelock family or organising with the IWU but those who main priority is supporting a Spanish bank robber who thinks the revolution is a question of individuals fucking shit up? This is just the usual wannabe insurrectionist ( http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=3430 ) twaddle which I suspect even Bonanno would piss himself laughing at. Anarchism has never been healthier in Dublin which is why there is so little room now for such militant bedroom posturing.

author by Social Gaff - Seomra Spraoipublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 14:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Insurrectionists should look away now; they might not approve of this. There's an article about Seomra Spraoi in today's Irish Times (Magazine section). It's on the top half of page 20 (I've pasted the text of it here). The author refers to "cathedral-like shopping centres", and as if to prove the point, the newspaper has placed an ad in the bottom half of the same page... for a shoe-shopping spectacular at Dundrum Town Centre. (That's the "town centre" where you're not allowed to hang out unless you are buying. In other words, it's a shopping mall).

SPRAOI'S COMPANY

A new centre in Dublin is hoping to become a community hub, writes Sinead Mooney

Seomra Spraoi consists of two storeys of a rundown building in central Dublin that aim to be whatever you want them to be: cafe, library, rehearsal space, meeting room or arts-and-crafts workshop - often all at the same time. Bright parachute material hangs from the ceiling, its colours sparkling off a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling. Couches united only by their ageing springs line the walls.

"We don't have a lot of money, and having a sustainable ethos - getting stuff from skips - ties in with what we are doing, as long as it's quality," says Mark Malone, one of the organisation's members.

Founded by a small group of like-minded individuals who felt there was a lack of practical resources to serve their interests, Seomra Spraoi describes itself as a "gathering space without a profit motive"; it is modelled on the independent social centres that you'll find in cities all over Europe.

"It's slightly ridiculous that people have properties for 30 or 40 years and let them fall into decay when they could be used for public services," says Malone.

As they prepare for today's official opening, someone is putting up shelves for the new library. An arts-and-crafts workshop has just finished, and people are milling around. A woman is sitting under a noticeboard advertising the Shell to Sea campaign, eating a sandwich. It goes without saying that the coffee is a Fairtrade brand.

The centre draws on a pool of some 50 people to help maintain and run the space, which hosts events and allows groups to use the meeting space. If you think, however, this is a crafty way to book a cheap city-centre meeting room you'd be mistaken. Seomra Spraoi is political with a capital P, and its leanings are firmly to the left.

Its calendar includes events as diverse as anti-authoritarian parent and child groups, storytelling, radical "anarcha-feminist" meetings, film screenings (think documentaries on Indonesian punk rather than Knocked Up) and a table-tennis club that can get "quite competitive".

"We're not a traditional geographical community group; we're a community of politics. We don't just provide a service; the groups that use the space are involved in organising the space, so I'd imagine groups on the political right probably wouldn't want to use it, because the ethics wouldn't suit."

Maybe so, but are they managing to pay the rent, given their prime location, opposite Gary Rhodes's Dublin restaurant? Yes. Just. Two months into their two-year lease, they have a system of standing orders and donations in place, and the landlord is sympathetic to what they are trying to achieve.

In the midst of a city where celebrity-chef restaurants compete with cathedral-like shopping centres for our custom, it seems almost nostalgic to speak about collectives where money-based transactions have no meaning. Yet it's working. Seomra Spraoi is getting things done. Watch this public space.

Seomra Spraoi, 4 Mary's Abbey, Dublin 1
www.seomraspraoi.blogspot.com

author by seomra spraoipublication date Sat Sep 22, 2007 15:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

kicks off tonite from7.00pm

author by matt - Emma's Living Room, The Olympia Anarchist Infoshoppublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 05:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One day i'll leave the U.S. (if i can get the bucks) and come visit your space. In the mean time, Hello from olympia washington! From our social center to yours!

author by Im a worker not an activistpublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 13:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

just a brief response to 'Curious' and 'Fred Said'

First of all i think it is important to state that Seomra Spraoi IS NOT AN ANARCHIST space. Anarchists are involved but i think the vast majority of those linked to the space do not identify with this particular brand of left - libertarian politics.

If the space is to surive and remian inclusive to

a) the surrounding community and
b) progressive persons looking for an avenue to get involved in left wing politics

then it ought to remain within a broad left libertairan framework and avoid narrowing its focus to 'anarchism' , just to please a few hardline action men.

Also,

"Anarchism has never been healthier in Dublin which is why there is so little room now for such militant bedroom posturing"

I have heard so many people state this over the last few months (mainly wsm members), now, i do not know if this is a strategic mechanism to build solidarity amongst anarchists so that they do not lose focus of the 'revolution' or a genuine belief.

Either way it is nonsesne. Dublin Anarchists tend to be more active than unaligned libertarians, workers etc and therefore have a lot more time and energy to work in campaigns. This is great, but it does not mean 'anarchism' as an ideology and movement 'has never been stronger'. There are a lot of active individuals who identify themselves as anarchists but it is not a growing movement.

author by Finpublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 14:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the post actually said "Anarchism has never been healthier in Dublin", so point to a time when it waqs in a healthier state in Ireland? Was this when we had the enormous anachosyndicalist union that noone has ever heard of.

author by confusedpublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"First of all i think it is important to state that Seomra Spraoi IS NOT AN ANARCHIST space. Anarchists are involved but i think the vast majority of those linked to the space do not identify with this particular brand of left - libertarian politics."

Then what other brand of left-libertarian politics do they identify with?

author by wafflepublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If seomra spraoi isnt anarchist it's meetings are strangely enough packed with about 90% anarchists. Is it the fear of ideology that has them denying the space is political though? The same reason they wont let socialist youth have meetings there (or so i heard last night). If you aren't a politcally defined space then you ought not be tracing your history back to the 2004 banner drop at the leeson street black bloc hq.

author by Anarchapublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 16:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fuck me, thats a dogmatic self assured quote if i ever read one.

Just because there are more self declared anarchists in Dublin and just because these individuals are active it does not equate remotely to 'anarchism' as a movement being in a healthier state than ever before.

Libertarianism maybe healthier but anarchism is a particular form of libertarianism that is distinctly class based and distinctly related to anarcho - communism.

Communism, the ugly half of Anarchism has never been in such an unhealthy state and for obvious reasons. Communism is dead and will remain dead for the in-definate future.

Thus, Anarcho - culture- libertarian - may be a healthy sub cultural group. But the 'anarcho- communist' movement is absolutely static.

Just because members of an anarcho - communist organisation are involved in campaigns it does not make these campaigns 'anarcho - communist'.

That is like saying, 15 members of a facist organisation are involved in different community based campaigns, thus 'Facism' has never been in a healthier state.

Thus, if you read the post you can certainly disagree.

author by The Oh-Aissieux - Narrative Arts Clubpublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to all the people who worked so hard to make the launch happen, including those who took the time to make the room upstairs ready for my storytelling evening.

Thanks also to all those who turned up to listen. There could be a film screening without an audience, but there could be no storytelling without listeners.

This was the programme as it turned out:
Mary's travels (How the Virgin Mary went undercover as a pig trough)
Don't tell nobody
Vasalisa fetches fire

Kimmage sniper
Guns in the chapter house
How to eat fish when demons are watching
Evil on the cliff

Thanks to the Tara kids for their great patience while listening to my "weird" stories.

Got to remember for future occasions to make a note that most of my stories _may _not _be _suitable _for _children!_ I had begun to take it for granted that people knew that storytelling is actually for adults. ;-)

Best,
Coilín.

author by katie - nonepublication date Sun Sep 23, 2007 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I find it hard to believe that seomra spraoi are denying socialist youth use of space. Sure wasn't one of their number involved in the early discussions and work in establishing a social space, HS, I think.

i think posters should be able to verify information when they post allegations

author by krossie - wsm lucy ppublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

kateie: I find it hard to believe that seomra spraoi are denying socialist youth use of space. Sure wasn't one of their number involved in the early discussions and work in establishing a social space, HS, I think.

As an anarchist and a WSM member and I agree.
Seomra Spraoi have open meetings every Thursday
- I go to some of them.
I argued strongly and consistently for the SP to be allowed have meetings at any meetingwhere the issue came up and I was around.
I was on the losing side of the argument.
Democracy eh - what ya gonna do?
Its certainly worth re-opening
- if you feel strongly about it "katie"- come along and get it the debate re-opened

krossie

author by Coilín - Narrative Arts Clubpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Nice going to get a fairly accurate and favourable article published in the Irish Times. It takes some skill to give the the mainstream media a clear and attractive message about a project like this. Keep up the good work.

Coilín.

author by krossie - wsm pers capacitypublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 15:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought it was a weird article - almost "damning by faint praise"

- still a lot better then nothing or even something hostile!

". A woman is sitting under a noticeboard advertising the Shell to Sea campaign, eating a sandwich. It goes without saying that the coffee is a Fairtrade brand."

I dunno - seems a sorta slight drip of sarcasm off it? -

Maybe I'm being very picky?

Good thing about that particular bit of the IT is that it has the TV programmes so tends to lie about the house for the week!

btw thanks to everyone who came down and/or helped with the events it was a fantastic week end!!

kp

author by I - Seomra Spraoi - personal capacitypublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Waffle' says our meetings are "packed with about 90% anarchists". As someone who attends every week, I assure you this is not true. A good number of the people involved in the collective do not describe themselves as anarchist. There is a fairly broad spectrum of people who attend meetings, put on events, help with the organising etc. For example, a few weeks ago, something about the WSM (an anarchist organisation) came up at a meeting. Several people present were not sure what the WSM was and that had to be explained. There are arts/crafts workshops and other events (including a cabaret lastnight) put on by people who are not involved in activism or political organising.

Now, that's not to say that Seomra Spraoi doesn't want the place to be political. It is political. The question is HOW political it should be, or rather, what specifically its politics should be.

One thing that is set in stone is that the place is non-hierarchical. That is just one of the arguments that was voiced against allowing the Socialist Party/Socialist Youth to have meetings there. SP/SY is a hierarchical organisation that runs for government and that has its own premises, resources, funds. There are lots of groups and campaigns and initiatives that do not have premises, funding etc and I think Seomra Spraoi prioritises these. If it allowed the SP, could it say no to SF, Labour, the Greens etc etc?

Of course, members of political parties and other authoritarian organisations are welcome to use the space, attend meetings of the collective -- and they do. Members of the Socialist Party and Labour Youth have been involved in the collective over the years. Members of Sinn Fein, SP, Lab Youth and the Communist Party attend Shell to Sea meetings in the place and other Shell to Sea events and members of all the above-mentioned parties attend all sorts of other events there and help to organise them. So far we have drawn the line at hosting meetings of political parties in the space, though I think that may be open to review.

By the way, there were lots of arguments put forward by people involved in the collective in favour of allowing SP/SY to have meetings in the space.

author by also curious - wannabe hardmenpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2007 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am very hesitant to continue this little debate online as i
always feel these digital encounters are very insincere and
are usually excuses to be anonymously rude to people you
wouldn't usually reproach face to face.

How and ever, there are some loose ends to tie up. First and
foremost Fredsaid's posting. I think your dimissal of Gabriel
as simply a "Spanish bank robber" who "thinks the revolution
is question of individuals fucking shit up" is very very shortsighted
and I hope you have the decency to reconsider. Gabriel has
being in prisoner for over twenty years and has been a
constant agitator inside. For more on what it means to
be an agitator in spanish prisons read here.
http://www.escapeintorebellion.info/index.php?name=News...d=267

Supporting Gabriel does not mean not supporting "Rossport" or the Wheelock family. And what does supporting "Rossport" even mean Fredsiad? That you intervene in
a communities struggle? Or do you look for links, connections and
strengths between your struggle and theres? What is your struggle
Fredsaid? Do you determine the terms and contexts of that struggle?
What if your struggle was for liberated space in your community?
How could you go to another community in struggle and say- we are strong and
here to show our solidarity, when your very project is afraid of being honest and
open about what you want from the world. Why should that community take
you seriously? I am proud of being an anarchist and i think people have respected that much more than when i have attempted to shroud or disguise my views.
Thats why I dont consider seomra spraoi an anarchist space and
consider it unproductive for anarchist to struggle for an anarchistic seomra spraoi.
Let be clear and say that is not a call to boycott seomra spraoi, as i said
previously I would still go to seomra spraoi.
Also, i suggested looking to the belfast anarchist black cross for a prison struggle
happening in our own home. But you chose to ignore that to take a
shot at insurrectionalism or insurrectionalists or whatever the boogeyman
is called these days. You would do well to read some of the reply posts
to your linked article on anarkismo.
Also, Rossport and Wheelock are undeniably missing from the seomra spraoi
opening weekend. That was my point Fredsaid. I chose Gabriel's day of
solidarity as an example of the lack of anarchist activity in the space.
I also pointed out that seomra spraoi dropped the label anarchist in
2005 at the request of socialist party member HS.(if i remember correctly...im open for correction on that one). My post was more of a reply to Curious than
a critique of dublin anarchists or seomra spraoi.
Finally i hope people have more imagination than to think "agitation and subversion" is synonymous with men, militancy and violence.

yours,
hardman,who spends all day in his bedroom looking at pictures of
riots and has no feelings/deep relationships/class analysis/"insert whatever makes you feel good about your liberal agenda here" whatsoever,
hates children, fun and laughing.

author by hs - sp (personal capacity)publication date Tue Sep 25, 2007 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was involved ,as Katie said, somewhat in the seomra, since then I started studying a degree in the evening and between that and last years election I didn't have time to continue. I am sorry to hear sy are not allowed have meetings in the centre. Which I think is extremely unfortunate, I think more long sighted anarchists would agree with me. Anarchists have as much chance having influence on socialists as vice versa. I took part in some debates on anarchist/socialist space when I was involved, including what I was thought could lead to it becoming it an anarchist rather than social space. As far as I remember there was many misconceptions which seem to still be there. (such as the SP going for government???) Either way its a shortsighted and unfortunate move. And one can't help but wonder has the old left sectarianism seeped its way into the libetarian movement too?

Of course on the other hand if more members of the sp and sy had been involved in the building of the centre from earlier days (or if I had stuck at it and tried to convinvce a few more people), i think there would be no problem in them holding meetings. SY were aware of the centre for a long time. In SYs defence that election took all our time. (which we had chosen to fight as what we see as an important part of political and social strugge).

Politically though it looks pretty bad. its easy to support the free speech and right the organise of those you support, and to me there is a huge difference between, other groups not wanting to avail of the centre (as put forward in the times) compared to no being allwoed to.

Hopefully wiser heads will prevail.

HS

author by w. - wsm (pers..)publication date Tue Sep 25, 2007 21:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"SP/SY is a hierarchical organisation that runs for government and that has its own premises, resources, funds. There are lots of groups and campaigns and initiatives that do not have premises, funding etc and I think Seomra Spraoi prioritises these. If it allowed the SP, could it say no to SF, Labour, the Greens etc etc?"

This is a pretty unusual argument to make, what distinguishes SY from the youth wings of other groups is that they are revolutionaries who are working towards the same end goal as most of us, the difference being that they believe in a slightly different road towards it. SY do not run for elections, the socialist party do. SY does not function hierarchicly (ie democratic centralism) from what I am aware but the SP does. SY is somewhat autonomous from the SP from what I understand.

The distinction between the bourgeois parliamentary parties (SF, Greens, Labour) , who actually want to become the state as their end-goal, and the SP who see the dail as a tool in the building of a workers momvent (in my opinion they're wrong but...) should be pretty obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of revoluationary ideas (there's a big enough library at the seomra). I think it's regretable that they were unable to use the space.

Very enjoyable weekend though and great work from the ss crew, who aren't all anarchists... ;-)

author by M. A. Latestapublication date Wed Sep 26, 2007 07:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The usual slanging matches between members of left groups has got this thread away from the upbeat tone of the initial article - the successful opening of the seomra spraoi community development centre. Stick to the felt needs of the community in old flats and houses around this area adjoining the north quays and seomra spraoi will continue to play a useful role.

Nuts to all the slanging. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate... and carry on with the practical vision.

If seomra spraoi were the bridge of a ship at sea and the left slangers were crowded into it trying to grab control of the steering wheel, guess what would happen? Yep. After a while that ship would founder on the jagged rocks. And capitalist salvage companies would descend on the site to loot from the wreckage.

author by I - Seomra Spraoi - personal capacitypublication date Wed Sep 26, 2007 13:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm glad there's been some response to my post about not allowing SY to use Seomra Spraoi, because I'm kind of ignorant about exactly what the structure of the SP is and how it differs from other political parties (I am not being sarcastic here, by the way).

HS refers to "many misconceptions which seem to still be there. (such as the SP going for government???)"

The SP contests general elections, so I equated that with running for government, perhaps naively. Can someone from the SP explain what would happen if there was a huge swing to the left and their party got 83 seats in the Dail in, say, the year 2015 (unlikely I admit, but please indulge my hypothesis). I assume the party would form a government. Is this not the case?

By the way, I think SY/SP SHOULD be allowed to use the space and I don't think running for government would be a reason to keep them out. I was just relating some of the arguments that were made. And I don't describe myself as an anarchist.

SY/SP members are welcome to get involved in running Seomra Spraoi. The collective is no more anarchist that it was when HS was involved. Members of Labour Youth have been involved recently.

author by hs - sp (per cap)publication date Wed Sep 26, 2007 16:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one of the points of indymedia is so people can reflect critically on stories, i think its relevant that sy are banned from holding meetngs in the centre, as far as I am aware the WSM another political group do hold meetings there. (although it must be underlined the wsm are not opposed to the sy meeting there). Therefore there is a critical point to be made.

While i would congratulate the work everyones put into the centre, and am very aware that I didn't put that work in, i still think selectively banning political groups is not a good thing for an open social centre to do. it is a contradiction in terms. Obviously its the members of the centres choice and no one can tell them which way to operate, but it is an unfortunate and in my opinion mistaken decision. And you can't blame people for pointing out such a blatant contradiction.

Incidently i don't believe any political party or group should control a social centre (that too is a contradiction in terms) but i don't think that is an issue.

author by Mark - Seomra Spraoi - pers cappublication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi H and all

whilst i'm reluctant to engage this public thread about an internal discussion seomra spraoi was/is having, i think its necessary to piont out a few factual inaccuracies, or perhaps more realistically a few issues of perspective.

1.Seomra Spraoi has yet to ban ANY group from using space within the social centre. There has been no selective banning of any groups. To suggest that a group is banned because there not a positive consensus at that time suggests a misinterpretation of consesus. Whilst i can see that folks may interpret this as an 'open' social cntre being contradictory, that this is only one (and in my view genuinly incorrect) interpretation, based upon perspectives other than that in which this (non) decsion was made

2.Seomra Spraoi is developing and improving its own decsion making processes.the collective feels it is more important to complete this process that to push through decsions that clearly do not have consesus. If the cost of remaining committed to that process for ourselves and the benefit of the project is occasionly itmeans that some groups/individuals feel snubbed(and others will try and stir shit from that) than, whilst this is regretable, it is not something that the seomra spraoi collective should let feel accountable for other than a duty to be clear about its action to those it concerns. in this regard i must take a bit personal respondisibilty in the delay in communicating with the SY in this matter. a more prompt response might have avoided much of the above conjecture and inaccuracies

3.The fact that Seomra Spraoi still is shaping a process that will be sturdy, and transparent and accountable (within the collective not necessaryily to indymedia readers til they get invovled should they so desire) is a positive thing IMHO. Whilst i personally argued that it would be useful to allow SY to use the space, my politics are geared towards sustaining a functioning autonomous social centre, and living with the fact that things won't always go my way. To read (non) decisions whislt this process is underway as politcal comments lends too much weight to them. To reitierate, this was not a decsion made beacuse of any particluar interpretation of SY/SP politics or organsitiaionl structure. These things did of course feed into the discussion, but it was from this discussion that the collective realised we needed better and more consistent processes than are currently in place.

Hope that clears up some of the confusion and misinterpretation

Thanks to all for coming along amnd making the openin 'launch' wknd a massive success

author by O. - (p cap)publication date Thu Sep 27, 2007 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Come on, lets be honest about it - a large part of the Seomra Spraoi project is completely grounded in soft-focus, anarcho-lite lifestyle politics. There is very little to be cheery about if you're talking about radical or revolutionary actions. On one hand, three and a half years ago most of the people involved in SS were also involved with DGN, and were constantly making statements about the "mainstream" or "corporate" media distorting the message of the anti-EU/Mayday campaign. Now you cant open a broadsheet without a week going by - usually a nice colour, weekend or living supplement - with more or less the same article about how the space is a wonderful idea, etc etc, with choice quotes from the same spokesperson Mark Malone and a photo by William Hederman. Please spare us another version of this coming up somewhere again. I dont think I ever heard the 'A' word mentioned once in the RTE interview. The fucking Derek Mooney show!

The 'A' word became a dirty word because somewhere very early along the line a decision was made by the SS people - either consciously or unconsciously - to rent and not squat a building. I think this is because other people who were not the Leeson Street crew got involved, i.e. much more middle-class libertarians (not necessarily background-wise, but definitely with a softer edge than the punks in Leeson Street, with comfortable jobs and basically, too concerned about their careers or social status to put themselves in a position where they might get a criminal record for trespass, breaking & entering, or any other offence associated with squatting a building).

If the medium is the message, and the message that is continually sold by anarchists and libertarians is that "Direct Action Gets Results", then Seomra Spraoi encapsulates the message that its OK to sell out, to settle for less, to pay €1600 a month for renting a space, that was probably empty or near derelict in the first place. If anything its symptomatic of the Celtic Tiger economy. Even crusties and anarchists have money now so they can afford to pay for something, rather than challenge the status quo of property and landlordism in the city, which is what any autonomous social centre should be doing. This is even evident in the last few years where anarchism in Dublin has been taken off the street and into a building, tucked away from view and completely non-confrontational. If I recall correctly there were about 4,000 people on a very anarchist, anti-state march in Mayday 2004, now there is nothing like that happening, not even small street actions. If antyhing anarchism is getting smaller while lifestyle-ism is getting bigger.

Seomra Spraoi should drop the word "autonomous" from their title. What exactly is autonomous about paying €1600 a month, or nearly €20,000 a year, to a landlord? It is in this decision that the revolutionary message gets diluted, because any potential landlord is not going to want to give anarchists a space if it is mentioned up front. So it is something that has to be hidden or toned down because the boss in this case has the power. A squatted building can be evicted at any time, rent defenders say. Well so can a tenant. SS will not provoke any sort of attachment the way that Ungdomshuset did because if SS gets evicted, all they have to do is try and rent another building. This rent money could easily be used to fund a decent squatting campaign with equipment and lawyers' fees if there was a body of people willing to do it. Willing to confront the system for its hypocrisies and slant towards the property class - but if everything is comfortable and easy, and "confused libertarians" are brought into the fold with a nice safe rented centre, then why bother?

SS stands for nothing. Or, more they know what they dont stand for - anyone who is different to their own outlook. Continually you will read their blurbs with guff along the lines of "This is your space too, use it!" Yet if anyone other than what the "collective" only considers to be valid political activity, you can forget about using the space. In this way any nonsense from gigs (how exactly is jumping around with cheap beer to bad music political?) to story-telling to cup-making gets the green light, but any group that wants to use the space that doesnt fit in with the extraordinarily narrow political vision of the collective is told to fuck off. Political "parties" arent allowed in, yet the WSM (anarchist organisation with regular newsletter, local branches, magazine, involved in class struggle politics) can happily use it if they wish. Other groups who sell out to the "system" of elections are not welcome - yet as mentioned above the SS crew have sold out to the system of the mainstream lifestyle media to spread the word about their centre, and also sold out to the system of rent and profiteering when there are tens if not hundreds of derelict buildings in the city.

Why exactly this is the case is not clear. Anarchists always claim to not be interested in recruiting or getting people to "join", so why would they fear any other political group using the space? This essentially is all about control of a space, and sectarian divisions or splitting between people who should really be working alongside each other in a country with an enormous right wing vote.

I have a lot more to say about the collective and their politics or lack of them, but I have to go to work now.

author by Dohpublication date Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Lets be honest, your arguments are pretty lame in so far as they are a 'critique' of Seomra Spraoi

as far as i know (and i do), seomra spraoi doesn't' have spokes people. though i get the idea as it seems that the malone fella is a bit of a media tart, god love 'im... i always thought he had notions above his station, but with a face like that it was always gonna happin. William does take great fotos too, funny that him being a photographer among many things.

oh and you'll hear anarchism mentioned in the interview ya mentioned if ya want to, as ya will sqatting, DGN anti capitalism and direct action, not that thats the end deal

methinks the nameless 'o' (per cap or otherwise) hears and see's what they wanna.

"The 'A' word became a dirty word because somewhere very early along the line a decision was made by the SS people - either consciously or unconsciously - to rent and not squat a building."
it pretty simple, and yeah i'd say as someone invoved with the project from the start that their was a very conscious choice for Seomra Spraoi not to squat. sorry to shatter your dogmatic purism '0' but your just aren't gonna collectively create sustainable resources and meeting spaces internet access or more generally a home for non authoritarian campaigns and groups like like shell to sea, choice ireland, revolt video, RAG, cinema collective, anti authouritarian parents/kids group etc based in a building that you spend you time defending coz its a squat. Get real. your arguments are a bit like a someone pretending to be an anarchist so you can point fingers and tell us where we are going wrong. What chapter of 'insurrection now' are ya on

fair play, and seomra spraoi is well up for constructive critism..(public meeting thursdays 7.30) but i've very little time for armchair critics.

unlike yourself, the seomra spraoi collective is well able to live and deal with 'purist' contradiction, rather than work ourselves up into a lather about being afraid to become crims for tresspass (have ya been to rossport lately...seems lots of seomra heads have no problems taking direct action and doing scary trespass when they judge thats its the useful thing!!!!)

as for much of rest of your quite pissed off rant it seems to be address at 'the anarchists', as i'm not the spokeperson for either seomra spraoi or 'the anarchist movement' i'll get back to my work now, but it might be useful not to confuse seomra spraoi with 'the anarchists'. we are responsible for createing and maintaining a hell of a lot as a collective, but even i would draw the line there.

as for the whole, "you sold out cos your talking to the mainstream media" argument, perhaps you forget that the experiences of DGN in the run up to Mayday 2004 has been instrumental in shaping the way non aligned non authouratarian and anarchist group interact with mainstream media, particularly the G8 in Scotland and now the like ofg the Climate camps and No Border camps.
check "shut them down" chapter counterspin collective for more info.

http://www.shutthemdown.org/Resources/Ch%2031.pdf

as for the argument about political groups being banned. i can only say this so many times....no groups has been banned as yet, though i imagine pro lifers or organising facists wouldn't be getting in touch to hold a meeting, but i'm a bit tired and cranky of lot of bitching so i'll say this

just what is stopping you, or another group or political party pulling thier finger outta their ass an creating, just imagine, another social centre, or even another two...Thats not a sectarian comment, its a genuine question?. . much less time consuming easier to pass unthought through comment as critique. you could even hold meetings in your social centre about our lack of politics and how we sold out man!!!....as for now we will continue to create sustainable resources for all of the above metioned campaigns, groups and more....

author by unimportantpublication date Sat Sep 29, 2007 14:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Great space. But the donations are not really voluntary - I felt compelled to pay. A bit like entering a church where there are voluntary donations but some person checking that you donate the right amount. SS scooped in a lot of money one night I was there. Where does the money go? Who's accountable for it? What if I decide to donate on my way out, will I be let in?

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