Seomra Spraoi Is back
Tuesday November 11, 2008 21:52 by Seomra Spraoi - Automonous, anti capitalist, social center project
They'd never gone away y'know
We haven't gone away, ya know
Seomra Spraoi opens new autonomous social centre.
Seomra Spraoi is back. After 10 long Seomra-less months a new home has been found, and work is underway to transform the space into a fully functioning social centre. A lot has changed since being forced from our last space. We've been pretty busy too.
Since moving out of our last address (at Mary's Abbey), we've been kept busy organising Ireland's first social centre gathering, hosted a large talk at the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair, and ran lots of fundraising gigs/quizzes. We've provided catering, kids' activities & entertainment at the Grassroots Gathering, organised a beach party, several people's kitchens & kids days. We've also restructured our working groups & learnt a lot about fire safety.
Seomra Spraoi | Social Centre Stories | Seomra Spraoi on Indy.ie
Not to mention scouring Dublin for a suitable new premises, (some of which we've added pictures below for) an experience which only compounded for us just how difficult it is to access space in our city. We've also contributed to the 2008 publication '"What's this place?" a booklet with stories from radical social centres in the United Kingdom and Ireland at http://socialcentrestories.wordpress.com/
In October our search came to an end when we moved into 10 Belvedere Court, just off Gardiner St., in Dublin's North inner city. This two storey building is ideal for all sorts of cultural and political activities, but we're still missing one crucial component: you!
The new Seomra Spraoi wants to be an active hub of positive action. As billions of our taxes are spent covering the bets of banks, it's the elderly, students, those on welfare and ordinary workers that now have to bear the brunt of recession. There never has been a time in recent years where the naked ugliness of capital has been so obviously on display. You know that's shit, but now's your chance to do something about about it.. We want it to be a space where all can develop some of the skills and tools needed to dismantle capitalism, a space and project to help take back control of our own lives, shape our own fates and that of the city we live in. We want to turn this (for now) empty building into a hub of Do It Yourself activity
Dublin needs alternatives to the exploitative, boring, melancholic reality that too often characterises life in the city. Seomra Spraoi is an open experiment in non-hierarchical organisation and another way to live, work, resist, and create right now. So if you want to organise a workshop, exhibit some art, start a revolution, screen a film, hold a talk, develop a community based-project or explore the possibilities and politics of social centres then get involved in the brand new Seomra Spraoi. It's not about waiting for things to happen, but about making them happen. Already many groups using the space are doing just that.
At present our new building hosts activities, meetings, & activities for Choice Ireland, Revolutionary Anarcha-feminist Group, Shell to Sea, Workers Solidarity Movement, Irish Climate Camp, & the Soupstone Kindergarten, as well as all the Seomra Spraoi Working groups. Whilst the building is a bit of a building site right now, we have two fully functional meeting spaces and we hope, with your help, to be up and running by Christmas
Our new building needs a serious makeover: walls to be built, others to be knocked down, a kitchen to be constructed, a café space to be opened – maybe even a garden to grow. We've held out to get a building with ground floor & wide doors & aim to make the building accessible with the addition of whellchair ramps & toilet for disabled people. To make all this happen we need to get stuck into some serious handy work and we need plenty of skills and equipment. If any of this sounds like something you could help with please get in touch at the email address below. So, whilst the building might have the look of a space under going work, we aspire to have that completed by December. Right now though we have two large meeting rooms and can host other activites so get in touch.
Seomra Spraoi is a strictly not-for-profit operation, but unfortunately the world we're in isn't. As an anti-capitalist project we seek to separate out the financial costs of running and maintaining the building from the range of activities and project that happen within it, or that are borne out of it. We want to make the relationships between the social centre and the people, groups, and others who use/participate in the space to be as undistorted by money as possible. We don't depend on a few big donations and we neither get them nor look for them. Fundraising remains a part of our activities, a part without which the project would simply and realistically not be possible.
We organise regular fundraisers and if you can help by organising a gig, exhibition, or table quiz – or something else entirely – this is a massive contribution. The other two ways to contribute financially are through the PayPal system on our website ( www.seomraspraoi.org ) or by taking out a standing order. By setting up a standing order, for even a small amount, you help the project become more stable and effective. It might seem like a very little amount of money but it's a bit like the little fish - big fish idea. The project is part of a grassroots movement, and that is a strength we want to build upon and encourage. The project's desire to remain strong and autonomous is made real by sharing out the responsibility for making it so.
Signing up for even a small sum each month affords the project a much needed element of stability. We reckon if we can get 100 people contributing €20 a month, Seomra Spraoi's finacial future would be guaranteed – which means we could really get down to the business of making an alternative, open-to-all social space in the heart of Dublin. If you'd like to set up a satnding order contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
But of course, the most important thing to do is to GET DOWN AND GET INVOLVED WITH THE NEW SEOMRA SPRAOI
We're still busy getting the building in ship-shape, but we'll publicise regular opening hours as soon as we can. In the meantime, however, we want to enable anyone who wants to check the place out and think up plans and projects to fill it with, and turn it into a thriving social centre and a real alternative in Dublin. Just email us at email@example.com, and keep an eye on our website ( www.seomraspraoi.org ) and our MySpace (www.myspace.com/seomraspraoi ) and of course Indymedia.ie for news of upcoming events.
Seomra Spraoi Aims and Principles. Below these are principles that are in the process of being discussed and agreed
To create self-managed, autonomous social spaces in
Dublin. The purposes for which are to:-
Provide safe, positive space, enabling people to be informed about and empowered through engagement in struggles for a more just, equitable & sustainable society.
Provide resources for, and facilitate the needs of activists and campaign groups, enabling them to meet, discuss, plan, create links, recuperate, strengthen, consolidate, re-energise, and develop new ideas.
Provide an environment in which people can access, create, play, and enjoy, music, art, theatre, film, poetry, etc; exploring and integrating ideas of creativity with activism.
Demonstrate and promote viable alternatives to the profit-making, hierarchical power structures and social relations of capitalism - based on grassroots direct democracy, co-operation, consensus, non-profit, social justice and environmental sustainability
To promote and support people having democratic control of their lives and the world around them, their workplace, communities etc.
< Autonomy and self-management >
Seomra Spraoi aims to run independently of local authority, government, church, business, or other controlling body. It is managed collectively by the people who use it.
< Openness and inclusion >
Seomra Spraoi seeks to be open and inclusive, providing a space that is welcoming to everyone irrespective of age, race, ethnic background, gender, class, sexuality and ability. We encourage - and aim to provide equal access to - participation in Seomra Spraoi.
< Horizontal (non-hierarchical) organising >
Seomra Spraoi believes in organising without leaders or bosses, and in everyone having an equal say. When power is shared equally in a group, it can be more effective and sustainable - as well as empowering - for all involved.
< Collective decision making >
We reach decisions by consensus, as far as practically possible. Consensus decision-making is about trying to find common ground and solutions that are acceptable to all. This attempts to ensure that everyone's opinions, ideas and concerns in Seomra Spraoi are taken into account.
< Co-operation and mutual aid >
In a world dominated by competition and conflict, we believe that working together, sharing knowledge, skills and resources, and helping each other out, builds strong communities and networks of support and friendship.
< Not for profit >
Seomra Spraoi is a not for-profit collective. Fixed bikes, food and drinks, information, books, internet access and meeting space are available either for free or in return for donations. We strive to make our activities genuinely affordable - and accessible - to all.
< Environmental Sustainability >
In an effort to minimise the ecological damage we cause, Seomra Spraoi tries to reuse/recycle as much as possible. From reused furniture, bike and computer parts to recycling our rubbish, an ecologically sustainable outlook is fundamental to Seomra Spraoi.
Principles currently being disscussed
All that happens at Seomra Spraoi is made possible by people freely giving their time and sharing the work of organising a social centre. With no wages or bosses involved, it's a
different kind of work. People contribute what and when they can. We work together to our collective goals, and on our own terms.
Seomra Spraoi is anti authoritarian, opposing the perpetual waste and exploitation generated by today's capitalist system and proposing one where everyone has a say in decisions that affect their lives in a spirit of mutual aid rather than competition. We support the people who struggle alongside us for real democracy everywhere.
Direct action means refusing to be a spectator, or waiting for someone else to do it for us. It is about taking back control of our lives and realising our potential to bring about change.
Some useful links
Ireland's first Social Center Gathering - http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86848
Hidden History of social centres in Ireland http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87044
What's this place? http://socialcentrestories.wordpress.com/
Links to some of the groups and links that use the space. Check out what they get up to!
Shell to Sea http://www.corribsos.com
Choice Ireland http://choiceireland.blogspot.com/
Revolt video http://revoltvideo.blogspot.com/
Thanks to Michael R for making the montage used at the top.
10 Belvedere Court, off Gardiner St, Nth Inner City
Seomra Spraoi at the Anarchist Bookfair
Peoples Kitchen feed the masses at the Grassroots Gathering
Seomra Spraoi host a 'Kids day' at The Shed