Sunday, March 30, 2008
Scoil Spraoi is the Seomra Spraoi educational working group. This is our first event. We hope you like it…
Social Centre Gathering
"A space to share our experiences and knowledge about Social Centres. By sharing these things and making them collective we can sharpen our tools, develop our ideas; create new forms of non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist organisation. Through collective discussion debate & action we create communities of resistance"
Social Centres have been an important and stable development of social movements. Social Centres create space for meetings, workshops, benefit gigs, not for profit cafes, libraries, internet access, craft activities, bicycle workshops, self-defence training: the list goes on. What more can we use them to do? What forms of collective activity do they make possible? What forms of resistance emerge form such a social space? What are their limitations?
We have part of the answers to these questions in our collective experiences. This is a chance to share, discuss and debate those experiences.
The Seomra Spraoi collective was started three years ago with the intention of setting up an autonomous social centre in Dublin. We reckon we’ve been pretty successful…
Since our humble beginnings we have occupied three different spaces of our own, each bigger than the previous one. Our move to 4 Mary’s Abbey in July 2007 saw a huge surge in activity and an expansion of the collective. Over 20 groups held regular meetings or events there, with hundreds of people using the space on a weekly basis. After a month of bureaucratic dealings with the landlord, fire authority & police the collective decided to terminate the lease. From this experience we learned a lot...
We keep on learning. The collective is highly organised, with around 30 people managing the social centre, via working groups, and an open meeting of the collective every Thursday.
Europe wide days of action
This gathering coincides with a European wide call for "decentralized days of action for squats and autonomous spaces" - a weekend of discussion & action in defence of free spaces.
We want to make autonomous spaces and social centres more visible as a political movement. We want to develop interconnections and solidarity between social centres and autonomous spaces. We want to keep linking our spaces with new people and new struggles, and support the creation of autonomous spaces in places where there has not been a history of this kind of action.
First things first - Friday
…will kick off around 7 and is shaping up to be a nicely chilled and fun evening.
The venue for the gathering is CASADH, 19 Newmarket Square, The Coombe.
Click on the map below for a larger graphic.
Please note that CASADH is a DRUG & ALCOHOL FREE SPACE,
it is used as a drug rehabilitation centre during the week and drugs/alcohol are not allowed on the premises at any time.
So far we have individuals who will tell us about their experiences of working in autonomous spaces and social centre projects in Italy, Poland, Germany and Seomra Spraoi...more presentations to be confirmed.
Dinner will be provided by the skilled ’Peoples Kitchen’ collective. If you think you’ll be arriving late let us know and we’ll try to keep food for you or if you have special dietary needs, again, do let us know. Lunch and dinner will be provided on Saturday also.
While we’re chowing down we’ll chill out watching some short movies on various international social centre projects. If you have an interesting short documentary that you think we could show feel free to bring it along.
Saturday’s discussion topics
Saturday will be broken into 3 discussion sessions – each session will deal with a variety of themes – we are currently working on the structure of the discussions to enable full participation so please mull over these topics – we wanna know what you think!
Session 1 - practical issues associated to running a social centre
1. From shaky ground to safer spaces
Can we make social centre spaces free from oppression? How do we deal with behaviour and language that perpetuate oppression?
2. Decision making by consensus
Why do it without leaders? How can we increase democratic participation in social centres?
3. Avoiding the ghetto and increase accessibility.
How can we broaden the appeal of social centres and not just serve the needs of the familiar activist scenes?
Session 2 - Discussion topics relating to viewing social centres as a political project
1. From autonomy to bureaucracy and back
Can Irish social centres remain truly autonomous in the face of bureaucratic challenges? How do we raise finances without being limited or diverted in our aims?
2. Creating spaces of resistance
How do we see the role of social centres in social movements and wider revolutionary currents? Are we just providing services that the government provides?
3. Developing aims & principles
How do social centres develop their politics?
Session 3 - Futures
1. Creating a social centre network - developing social centres in Ireland
What ways can we support each other in creating social centres and other spaces?
2. Social centres as places of skill sharing and popular education?
In what ways can we tap in to the full potential of social spaces to share and develop skills; inspire and create amongst each other?
3. Creating spaces beyond the social centre
How can we create temporary autonomous zones? What role can social centres play in campaigning and taking action to reclaim spaces?
A fun and kid friendly picnic marking the privatisation of public space. We’re encouraging creative participation so get any costumes out and start making banners!
If you need somewhere to crash over the weekend please email us - firstname.lastname@example.org - and we’ll try to sort you out. There is limited space so we can’t guarantee everyone a place but we’ll do our best to sort you out.
Over and Out!
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