Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deptford Job Centre occupation

This afternoon some anti-cuts activists entered and occupied the offices of the old Job Centre (next door to the main job centre plus). Banners went up in the windows and a notice was put up of a public meeting to be held at 6pm.

We went along for the meeting and joined around 40 or so others who sat on the floor in a circle to hear everyone introduce themselves and to discuss the intentions of the occupation and put forward ideas of how they would use the space. Much of the first part of the meeting was taken up with discussing what to do about the fact that the owner of the building had already invited Rebecca Molina (who runs the Deptford Project) to occupy the space for a year as a pop-up community space with a programme of events and activities, something she had been working on for a couple of months. Rebecca attended the meeting to explain her position. The squatters decided, however, to continue the occupation and establish the building as a base for political activism against the cuts.

When one of the group stated they were looking for other unused buildings to squat we suggested the Halifax (where Betfred hope to open the eighth betting shop on the high street). The Chair was rather dismissive: "if you want something done, do it yourself" was his answer. * Unfortunately we had to leave the meeting as the group began to discuss ideas for how they would use the building and engage the local community. This obstensibly was what Rebecca had been planning, but with the owner's consent and without the politics. The occupiers plan to live in the two floors above the main space.

They have set up a website where they state:  "We have occupied the disused Deptford Job Centre as a response to the brutal cuts to public services being carried out at both a local and national level. We aim to clean the place up and convert it into Social Centre Plus: a new public space for members of the local community here in Deptford and the surrounding area, that we can share, contribute to, and create a truly social building and a hub of local opposition to the cuts programme.

"This is a self-organised space, run by people from a variety of backgrounds and we are not in any political parties.

"We have taken the space in order to also demonstrate our resistance to the cuts Mayor Steve Bullock and his Labour cronies, under the orders of the Tories in Westminster, are promising us. The Council aims to slash £88 million off of its budget within the next four years. Libraries, day care centres and early years centres will all be closed while we have to suffer from pay cuts and price rises.

"...we want this to be a free space for the community to use and we invite everyone inside with their ideas for the building and the wider world, or even just to chat over a cuppa. We plan cafés, film nights, workshops, and a million other things on which we’d love to hear your ideas!"


More info at:  socialcentreplus.wordpress.com
Email: socialcentreplus@gmail.com   Twitter: @deptfordplus

* Postscript: Subsequent contact has been made and support offered for the anti-betting shop campaign.
 
One of the group is staging a play-reading performance at The Albany next Saturday 19th March at 7pm. Mandy Destroys World Capitalism by Bill Jefferies "reflects perfectly the current zeitgeist with its tale of seedy bankers, corporate corruption, vicious workplace sexism and different ways of fighting back from street protests to individual acts of vengeance." Staged with professional actors and direction, the evening has been organised by Artists of Resistance in partnership with Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance and Manchester's White Circle Theatre Company.  Entry is via £5 donation to the Anti-cuts movement.

At the event, there will also be an auction of the Deptford Says No To Tidemill Academy poster. An edition of 50 A1 (bloody big) posters have been specially screen printed to raise funds to pay legal costs incurred in challenging the legality of the school's bid for academy status.  For more details of how to get hold of one of these iconic posters go to academies.sayingno.org

94 comments:

  1. If the owner of the building already has plans to use the space productively and for community use, surely it makes more sense for the anti-cuts group to find another venue? Or perhaps the group members could volunteer their time and skills to support Rebecca's scheme? If they continue to disregard the current plans, surely the local community is the main loser here?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Collaboration was offered to Rebecca, and she politely declined.

    The main difference between the two projects is that Rebecca intended to do something FOR the community, and Social Centre Plus is a project to be run BY the community.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Unfortunately the Anti-Cuts Alliance has shot themselves in the foot. As a member of the community there's no way I would want to be involved with anyone as belligerent and insensitive as they appear to be. I'm sure that goes for many of the other people who have been involved in community projects over the years in Deptford.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh dear, a very selfish act by the minority to the detriment of local residents.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @anonymous - who gets to say who is or isn't 'community'?

    I don't know Rebecca, but if she has invested lots of her own time and energy into working up proposals for the temporary use of the building until it gets demolished, and presumably worked with a number of local people in the process, then she has ever right to be a tad annoyed when others from the 'community' come along, squat the building and suggests she 'collaborate' with them.

    Tricky one though, as I've got a lot of sympathy with those angry over the cuts and the Job Centre Closure, but difficult to claim that one group is the community and the other isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  6. oh, to be clear, I'm not the same Sue as Sue whose blog this is (I should use a different name on here - sorry!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think the 'selfish act' is one borne of not making a few pounds, which I perceived was the focus of Rebecca's intentions - I for one am fed up of the Deptford project's prices, bad service and general indifference to the traders that have tried to use a space that was put aside for them. The original market space wasn't being used (I gather health and safety) and a small hardcore group of artisan types held their ground. Admittedly these issues may not all be lumped on to Rebecca, but there I always perceived a lacking where it wasn't groovy and a novelty. The project is/was a bleedin' shoreditch novelty rip off...just who does it benefit?

    ReplyDelete
  8. >>>>The main difference between the two projects is that Rebecca intended to do something FOR the community, and Social Centre Plus is a project to be run BY the community.

    This is the key point here I think. This Rebecca woman spent much of her intervention essentially telling the occupiers what the community wanted, as if she knew better than them. We are the community, as are you all, but the notion that you should retain the building just because the landlord's invited you in seems unfair and undemocratic to us (and how can you claim to represent 'the community' with such an undemocratic attitude?).

    We share your concerns about the latest betting shop plans, yet we find it hugely patronising that you feel you can tell us where to move to. We saw a building and chose to occupy it, organising ourselves together in order to do so. Why can't you do the same if it's an issue you feel strongly about? We'd happily support you. I don't see what's 'dismissive' about us refusing to move just because you instruct us.

    I would also like to point out that a vote was held on whether or not to leave, one which she thoroughly lost (0 votes in favour!).

    And now that Rebecca has left, could someone possibly ask her if she could stop sending her football agent boyfriend round to harass us please? He's told us he's "bringing his mates round on Wednesday, when we plan to hold a public event, which I don't think is very fair to the families and residents we're expecting to visit,, not to mention rather contrary to the bohemian middle class artiste image she's been trying to present to us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. A lot of time and effort has gone into the current occupation but by a lot of different people who want the space to be run by the communtiy - not for the community. She claims to want to have a community space. Well, the community is in the space right now and she wants nothing to do with it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Can I personally and any other projects I'm part of stop being attacked . I'm not the bad guy here which ever way you look at it. My intentions were only good, nothing bad or negative against anyone. The main point to draw back on is... A private property that has been taken over that already had something good about to happen I'm not the person wanting to stop what the anty cuts movement are doing, far from it! I just attended a meeting organised to let the group know what the intention had been for the property, as i understood they had no ideas what was already underway  and suggested along with others perhaps they could moving so both could work in the area, even next to one another. I was polite and obviously upset, as I was in a very difficult place.  No matter who you are in this world, anyone who has been working on a project like I have ( i'dlike to add unpaid for) for as long as i have, you would also feel shocked, tired and after some of these posts quite depressed( this whole experiance all obviously came out of the blue to me) And I do work hard, everyday single day, if anyone believes that or not, to create not only sustainable ideas but also ideas that are good for our community
    I won't be commenting after this as I hope I and other projects will stop being the focus of this topic. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  11. My spelling is terrible sorry, anti cuts

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've lived in the Deptford area for fourteen years.

    Seems to me the community projects tend to be run for the middle class, by the middle class.

    I and many others on low incomes can't afford to eat at the Deptford Project,lets hope the squatters open a nice cheap cafe space!

    Many locals are being forced out by the gentrification of the area, I have lived through this and witnessed it first hand. Lets hope the squatted space aint yet another middle class social movement.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous, your complaints about prices are typical of someone who (seems to have) no experience of catering and/or running your own business.

    I've eaten at Deptford Project and also find the prices quite steep. However, it isn't somewhere I go regularly. It's somewhere I go as a treat, because it's a great hang-out spot.

    But, when I have eaten there, the food has always been great. Ingredients don't come cheap, especially when you want to offer the kind of quality that Deptford Project does. Also, the proprietor needs to make a living too.

    I can't believe you are criticizing an independent, good quality cafe in Deptford. It may have elements of Shoreditch, but it certainly livens up the high-street and is a good alternative if you don't fancy fried chicken/rice and peas/curry/chinese.

    Also, if you are going to polarise the cafe as a middle-class retreat, then surely you can't complain, as there are two great pie and mash shops up the road where you can get your fill of traditional working-class grub.

    I am disappointed by the supposed lack of co-operation between Rebecca and the squatters. I think the Lewisham anti-cuts movement is great. It would be a shame to see it lead by belligerent, spiteful, blinkered activists.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The only way to stop 'belligerence' is to get involved. It is belligerence that got this space opened up. And some of you are only here to whinge not contribute.

    Rebecca et al like to say they are doing 'things' for the community, I have never seen or heard, until today of the 'Deptford Project'!!?? What plans/projects were afoot-nothing said here, so far, apart from the catch all phrase of 'community' To me its sounds as if their opportunity to profit from Deptford people has gone up in smoke! Were they planning to share their profits? For the good of Deptford? Shameless twaddle and thoroughly patronising attitude toward the anti-cuts movement and the people of Deptford!

    The middle classes are going to have to get used to a working class area with its own peculiarities, they need to give summat back to this community, they are only here in Deptford because they too are been squeezed by the financial cuts, and since when has poverty been trendy?

    Yours in Solidarity.

    ReplyDelete
  15. People from all classes should be allowed to enjoy Deptford. I've been here over 10 years and probably fit a 'middle class' sterotype. I eat, drink and shop in Deptford. Please don't tar all middle class people with the same brush - we have just as much right to enjoy the place (and have our voice heard) as anyone else.

    ReplyDelete
  16. (I should also point out that I am not the same anonymous as the one in the thread above!)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Free-thinking citizen of the world here.
    I don't want to be boxed in any class.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I wanted to show my support for the cuts situation, but I'm finding it hard to be supportive of a group which has cut local jobs that were to be generated by the opening of a community art space, run by the community for the community.

    I have been helping with the plans for the use of this building which was to be a gallery, networking and workshop space to be run by local artists of the community. It was a rare opportunity for all local artists, designers, musicians etc to use this space to get a kick start, and show their work to a larger audience that would have been incredibly exciting, beneficial, inclusive and all with the permission of the land lord. Many local groups such as the Deptford X and the Deptford film club where already set up to be involved. It's also worth noting that this space was to be used to help run art programs with the local schools and get children involved with local creatives. Any money being made was to be put back into the site to cover over heads and make it accessible to the young and disabled.

    I am aware that jobs which were to be held by local artists, designers and grifters have now been put on hold indefinitely, meaning that these locals are now heading back to the job centre in Catford or finding it hard to make ends meet due to the actions taken by this group.

    I'm sure that the events you are planning are going to be beneficial to the community but it just seems a shame that the original plans for this site have been ignored and a compromise can not be reached.

    Why can this protest not be moved to the old Halifax, soon to be yet another betting shop or simply move next door to the actual job centre?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dj313 said...

    The only way to stop 'belligerence' is to get involved. It is belligerence that got this space opened up. And some of you are only here to whinge not contribute.

    Rebecca et al like to say they are doing 'things' for the community, I have never seen or heard, until today of the 'Deptford Project'!!?? What plans/projects were afoot-nothing said here, so far, apart from the catch all phrase of 'community' To me its sounds as if their opportunity to profit from Deptford people has gone up in smoke! Were they planning to share their profits? For the good of Deptford? Shameless twaddle and thoroughly patronising attitude toward the anti-cuts movement and the people of Deptford!

    The middle classes are going to have to get used to a working class area with its own peculiarities, they need to give summat back to this community, they are only here in Deptford because they too are been squeezed by the financial cuts, and since when has poverty been trendy?

    Yours in Solidarity.


    DJ313, if you knew nothing about the Deptford Project then I find myself doubting whether you know anything at all about life on the High Street. For my part, I declare my solidarity with Rebecca, who lives here, works here and contributes positively to the area

    ReplyDelete
  20. my partner is not even in the country?! and has been away since thursday evening... My partner is also not an aggressive man, and would not work in this manor. WE DO NOT WANT A WAR!!!!! stop these accusations PLEASE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can emphasise with Rebecca I have no doubt a lot of work will have gone into her project and it is just an unfortunate clash, but the urgency of the current political situation must be taken into account. The people of Lewisham are been walked all over by this government more and more people been pushed further and further under the poverty line because of the cuts planned.

    even with a very basic look at the cuts i mean We have already lost our job centre in a borough which is one of the top 5 in London for percentages people claiming jobseekers allowance. Not to mention the rest of the cuts to our libraries, community centres and all of the public services that we value and need. We cannot stand by while the government takes 33 million (this year alone) from our council and less than 1% from Richmond upon Thames, Buckinghamshire and other more affluent boroughs.

    I really am up for supporting artists and designers in the area, I am one! And I hope the occupiers and Rebecca can work together, if not I guess Rebecca’s project will have to be put on hold just for the time being, because as far as I see it the political situation must take president this government are forcing people in our area into abject poverty and that needs to stop first, We all need to take responsibility to fight this. Spaces do not come along very often, and there will be always something or another to work around, but I think it would be irresponsible for the occupiers to give up such a perfect space and opportunity to bring people together to stop the injustice of these cuts.
    Apologies for my grammer!

    ReplyDelete
  22. oh and i am a different anonoymous too!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Marmoset and Rebecca and other middle class typos
    The message is what are YOU offering to the COMMUNITY?
    Yet to actually answer this Q
    more gallery space? more what exactly? Blag?

    Anon 305

    ReplyDelete
  24. I try to offer a sense of good humour to the community. You should try it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think the last anonymous post was well put. Perhaps as this situation has arisen 'The Deptford Project' could ask permission from the owners of the Halifax and re-locate their project plans there.
    I am looking forward to Wednesdays 'Hello Deptford'. I have lived around Deptford for 27 years, it is part of my life but the train carriage isn't! Yes I appreciate it's decor and i would recommend it for coffee and cake but nothing else as the service is so appalling. So I am well up for checking out the Occupied Job Centre.

    ReplyDelete
  26. It's nothing to do with The Deptford Project.This was going to be a new project. completely different and separate.

    I also do not own this space, so this is now between the Anti Cut Group and the Landlord, Paul Jackson. Perhaps there should be a proposal from you to him about your intentions. At the end of the day it's not my space to decide what happens there or not.

    I was just given an opportunity to which I responded to.

    ReplyDelete
  27. A quick word from your sponsors - it appears that some of the anonymous contributions on this thread are defamatory, not to mention hateful, and may have to be deleted.

    Meanwhile, please refrain from making anonymous allegations about other people. Any further attempts to defame others will be deleted and this post will be put under moderation.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think the anti-cuts occupation is excellent. This is all about the community taking the initiative.
    The clash with the alternative project is no doubt unfortunate, but obviously not intentional on behalf of the occupiers.
    Its disappointing that people are so hostile to people actually getting off their bums and doing stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Bill, people in Deptford have been getting off their bums and doing stuff for as long as I can remember. Are you new here?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Plus I don't see anyone being hostile except some people from the occupation. Have you been reading the same blog?

    ReplyDelete
  31. I had almost lost hope until the recent post by the person who began "I can empathise..." That makes me want to go down teo the new centre and check it out, that person sounds reasonable. But I probably won't cos she won't be there, there's just going to be those cunts who accuse you of being middle class if you like salad, I've seen them posting here al evening and it puts me off. those blokes will have my head off if they could.
    if it was a womens centre I'd be much happier going in.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It would be helpful to know if any of the hostile and divisive comments here are by or representative of the views of the occupiers, or if they are just bitter individuals using this platform as a way of bringing up personal grudges. I suspect the latter. I went to a meeting at the socialcentreplus last night because I wanted to see for myself, I could not believe that the comments posted here were representative of the collective aims of the group; all this rubbish about what class you are if you like to drink real coffee and look at art and support local independent businesses. I met many of the occupiers, they were welcoming and friendly and interested in engaging with local people and finding out more about local issues. Many of them even had a good sense of humour! I saw no indication of the type of ignorance that is displayed in some of the comments here and suggest that if other people want to make up their own minds they should go along to the open day on Wed and find out by meeting people face to face. No-one will be hiding behind an anon tag, and it will be a good way of finding out how we can combine our efforts in a positive way.

    ReplyDelete
  33. http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/empty-deptford-job-centre-occupied-community-anti-cuts-space-12032011

    ReplyDelete
  34. Dear all, As one of the members of the social centre plus occupation, I would like to show some sympathy towards Rebecca and her thwarted plans. Many of the political activists in the occupation are sympathetic to encouraging new artists and workshops and to enriching the lives of ordinary working people. I would however make the following points. London has for some time seen the steady gentrification of poor boroughs which has often pushed locals further afield. Such gentrification is unfortunately proceeded by the smell of freshly ground coffee and the quirky middle class fondness for retro and all artistic things!. Secondly in these harsh economic times, with the steady destruction of the high streets their has been a tendency by the main stream media and establishment to 'prettify' the process by focussing on the fact that empty shops will be given over to local artists. This is of course no substitute for local services. Both a pub and bank transformed into betting shops! are sadly the legacy of new labours Tessa Jowel. I only make these points in order to try and contextualize some of the over harsh criticisms that have been posted. In no way am I suggesting that Rebecca had anything but positive intentions with regards the space and her posts on this site have been very amicable. I for one would like to occasionally pop over to the deptford project to savour a freshly ground coffee and hope that perhaps a cordial chat between us will lead to some mutual projects being undertaken!

    ReplyDelete
  35. PJ i went to the socialcenter and they gave me hummus, if that clears up your reservations

    Anon87

    ReplyDelete
  36. With the amount of rent the squatters are saving I thought they'd be dishing up Lobster Thermidor

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey, i've been part of the occupation, and i think it's feelings of urgency which some people feel Now, and other people will feel Later. (i'm trying to generalise to make a point; its very difficult to do accurately, and also personal squabbling is just rubbish)
    Right Now, its felt that direct action - which (by definition) means disrupting 'normal activity' - is necessary. a lot of people are becoming increasingly worried and angry by not only their current situation (job losses, pension changes, losing services...) but also what the implications of those changes will have in the future. this occupation wouldn't have happened without those feelings, and its an attempt to convert those fears into productive working and learning - working and learning that can resist detrimental measures to the area as well as create friendly, interesting encounters and relations.
    But it would be way better if we could be having these conversations on the street and in the centre. this is exactly what it's there for - to meet each other and discuss important, relevant, sometimes difficult stuff - as well as eat loads of hummus and drink lots of tea!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Deptford no-fly zoneTuesday, March 15, 2011

    I don't doubt your sincerity, smidge, but reading the posts on this thread make me think that you should have called yourself the hatchetjobcentre.

    I also have no doubt that community is what will remain once you've been removed.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Helena, you may well be right about the source of some of the comments not being from SocialCentre Plus, but one particular Anonymous (no.8) was obviously at the meeting on Saturday and part of the occupation.

    He inaccurately reports "This Rebecca woman spent much of her intervention essentially telling the occupiers what the community wanted, as if she knew better than them". She did no such thing. She simply explained what she had been planning for the space, and stated clearly that it was nothing to do with the Deptford Project and was not-for-profit.

    He goes on "but the notion that you should retain the building just because the landlord's invited you in seems unfair and undemocratic to us." No doubt he believes all property is theft, but there is nothing fair and democratic about refusing to acknowledge that someone else was using the building before it became 'occupied'. It may be that this prior project resulted in a relaxation of the building's security that made it easier to break into, unlike the Job Centre proper next door.

    Another Anonymous (no2) says "Collaboration was offered to Rebecca but she politely declined." I recall collaboration was indeed offered. By Rebecca.

    However, if the two projects were to exist side by side with Rebecca there at the owner's request, then it could not be considered to be an 'occupation'! It would diminish the power of the protest to be there with the owner's permission, would it not?

    Sorry to go on about it, but it was a bit of a Kangaroo Court on Saturday, and Rebecca was treated appallingly by some of those present. Anonymous (no.8) says "I would also like to point out that a vote was held on whether or not to leave, one which she thoroughly lost (0 votes in favour!)." The bizarre decision to have a vote on whether they should leave or not seemed to me a no-brainer. Of course no one would vote to leave, they had only just bloody got there. Anonymous sounds like a vindictive child.

    Lots of toys seem to be thrown out of prams in the comments above. Anonymous goes on, again inaccurately, "We share your concerns about the latest betting shop plans, yet we find it hugely patronising that you feel you can tell us where to move to". On the contrary, I was not suggesting the group squat the Halifax INSTEAD of the Job Centre offices, but AS WELL AS. The Job Centre is obviously the perfect venue for a protest against job cuts, and the question of squatting other venues came up before anything else was discussed. Someone needs to get their ears cleaned out.

    Anonymous wrongly assumes that anyone who might have been supportive of the original art project is automatically anti-SocialCentre. As has been pointed out already by another commenter, he also needs to work out what he means by 'community'. I hate to point this out, but I didn't see any Caribbeans, Africans, Vietnamese, Turkish, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Punjabis, Hindus, Iraqis, Chinese or Eastern Europeans at the meeting on Saturday, just lots of educated white people of varying ages. Whether other members of the local population will be attracted to use the building and get involved remains to be seen. Perhaps there will be concerted efforts made to engage them. Maybe those who bang on about 'community' can get the ball rolling.

    By the way, Anonymous No.8's comment originally came into the blog's spam. We retrieved it, but this meant it didn't appear immediately. Perhaps we should have left it in the junk mail box, since lies, inaccuracies and bullying do nothing for the cause.

    Fortunately, as Helena says, there are quite a few reasonable adults at the Centre (as displayed in the more respectful comments above) and we've now been invited to meet and talk about the Betting Campaign.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Readers might not know that the main Job Centre that the activists were unable to gain entry to is owned by MacDonald Egan and was destined to become a wine bar and luxury flats as long ago as November 2003. See Marmoset's post on this blog from August 2010.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Lots to read and a lot of whinging to boot

    I support the socialcentreplus

    Paulo

    ReplyDelete
  42. But do you support the character assassination of Rebecca and her partner, Paulo?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Just some clarifications on Sues post
    (no hostility!)

    On community - Rebecca was selling her plans (quite heavily) as something for the community, which is implying she knows what the community wants. Our plans are constantly developing with all members of the community invited to decide.

    On acknowledgement - no one has refused to acknowledge that Rebecca had plans.

    On collaboration - Rebecca said she would welcome our input, which is nice but she seemed to have her plans in place already. We offered/offer her, along with everyone else, an equal say in the running of the space.

    On permission - a deal with the owner would not diminish our protest. The main point of the space is to be a hub for anti-cuts and fun activities, not to fight Mcdonald Egan.

    On the vote - the vote was held to acknowledge that there was another proposal and that some people might be in favour of it.

    On diversity - it is a shame that people using the space at the moment are mostly white but we hope to attract as many people from the area as possible to get involved or just use the space.

    The Social Center Plus is a welcoming space and I hope everyone reading this blog can come down to check it out - you won't be kicked out for being middle class or an artist, we have a fair amount of both already :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. I don't know who Rebecca is but she sounds like a person who has got up off her backside and set something up. You may like it or not but from what I can gather the train cafe is a thriving venture and I assume all of her staff are legally employed and paying taxes.

    Please can the illegal occupants of the job centre inform me what financial contribution you will be making to society? (Forget the flowery 'we're in it for the community'). What gives you the right to restrict someone from setting up a lawful business? Will you be paying rent? Will you be paying council tax? Will you be paying income tax? Or are you just a bunch of people who are happy to put your hand out and expect money from the state?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Grumpy perhaps you would be surprised to hear that the people currently occupying the social plus centre are lawful occupants and will remain so until a court decides otherwise. You may also be surprised to find that the majority of activists involved are hard working employed people who pay taxes and who give up a large part of their free time towards fighting the injustices that this goverment are to perpetuate. Finally i would refer you to beautifully put point earlier in this blog.

    'Right Now, its felt that direct action - which (by definition) means disrupting 'normal activity' - is necessary. a lot of people are becoming increasingly worried and angry by not only their current situation (job losses, pension changes, losing services...) but also what the implications of those changes will have in the future. this occupation wouldn't have happened without those feelings,..'

    ReplyDelete
  46. In the comments above the word ''community'' appears 47 times. I suspect some of them were meant to say ''co-mutiny'' but education's gone downhill since the cuts. As far as I can tell, though, community is not something that's up for grabs, as though simply repeating the word will magically make it your own.

    Right, as I've used it twice we're now at 49. A round of applause to whoever makes the half-century.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Cheers for your Contribution Alex - I will be Participating and not just double clicking

    as for the word count marmo - OH DEAR, try and get out more
    you might as well count all the repeated words?
    still waiting for a positive contribution from you, yet still reading whinge whinge....

    Paulo

    ReplyDelete
  48. But do you support the character assassination of Rebecca and her partner, Paulo?

    ReplyDelete
  49. https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=190963974275147&index=1

    ReplyDelete
  50. It's good to hear some comments from reasonable people with positive angles on the anti cuts alliance, as generally all comments have seemed far to centered around the 'clash' with other projects going on locally and hasn't, as yet, given any feeling of the nature of their own proposals.

    LACA have certainly made an impact with this move, sadly, i'm afraid to say what's been said so far in this thread the impression i get of the group inviting us for a 'friendly cuppa' doesn't make me feel particularly like getting involved or coming to the meetings.

    I'm sure there's good people involved but the personal attacks (which have largely been removed. x) leaves me in grave doubts about the true motivations of some involved, do i hear the sound of axes being ground?

    We all want to see positive things happen, *** knows, we need it, but you guy's have got a lot to live up to - the plans you've derailed sounded like they were pretty good to me.

    Does this make me a bad person?

    No one denies the importance of positive action against the cuts being made to public spending, i personally lost a great job at the beginning of the massive cuts in the arts - so props to the cause - however, i don't think the way certain others have been demonised in previous threads, qualifies their activities as the 'normal' activities ACA should be proud to disrupt through direct action.
    It's a sad thing to be pitting ourselves against ourselves in the name of community action people.
    Let us move on x

    ReplyDelete
  51. Well , i've read thru this thread and really welcome this new squatted social center ,
    there's not enough of them in london at the moment ...

    as for the concept of community or Co-Mutiny ,
    as deptford has a really wide demographic of people , why can't this one be for the people of a more anarchic persuasion , surely we've got enough middle class art orientated goings-on allready , without yet another one ..

    the betting shop crowd have got their thing in abundance , the African and Chinese folks have got their thing going on , so why not a space
    for the rest of us who don't feel like we fit in one of those other boxes ..

    get involved or stop whinging or go and set up your own social space , there's plenty of empty property out there if you look ...

    i'd personally like to see the Bear Cafe put to good use as well , what a waste of a great space , just because some christian Herberts
    don't know what to do with it or run it as a sucessfull cafe , shame on them ..

    ReplyDelete
  52. Just a slight correction, Elvis is dead:

    (...I'm sure there's good people involved but the personal attacks (which have largely been removed. x) leaves me in grave doubts about the true motivations of some involved, do i hear the sound of axes being ground?....)

    The blog has not removed any comments. One comment did get filtered into the blog's spam folder but we dug it out and put it back amongst the comments above where it was intended to go. Crosswhatfields did say that defamatory comments might have to be deleted but at this point we're still going with principle that, while mud-throwing may stick, mud-throwers suck.

    We have no control over the comments posted on other platforms and it may get removed, but the earliest attempt at defamation that we've found so far was here - http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/empty-deptford-job-centre-occupied-community-anti-cuts-space-12032011. The social centre plus blog, of course, does not have comments enabled.

    ReplyDelete
  53. ''...going with principle...'' should of course read ''...going with the principle...''

    ReplyDelete
  54. Why can't we all work together and stop attacking Rebecca? We have a major job ahead of us to fight the government slaughter of public services..infighting will not help, why not use this energy to fight the real enemy, otherwise we play right into the hands of the Tories. I have been politically active for a long time and was a student when Thatcher was in power. The moment local anti government groups start infighting you have lost any voice, people will lose interest. Work together and in solidarity, we cannot waste time like this.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Comments ARE enabled on the Social Centre Plus; they weren't to start with but it was clearly an oversight as they switched them on when I requested it.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi DD,

    Try to leave a comment and let us know how you get on. I can't even find the comments box. There is a ''leave a comment'' link but it's not enabled.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Can't you email them and tell them their comments ain't working? socialcentreplus@gmail.com
    (Maybe they is worried they'll get a load of abuse!)

    ReplyDelete
  58. I thought of that, newest anon, and found their wordpress email link didn't work either - there was no room to say anything. We really need to market a ''rebellion in a box'' kit to get the new Deptford working again.

    ReplyDelete
  59. You can email them though just not from the website, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I Followed the debate closely UNTIL Deptford film Club were noted as one of the groups involved in plans for the Community undertaking planned by Deptford Project prior to the squatters...That settled which side I was on for me Deptford Film Club are an abomination and an insult to the real meaning of the term It is headed in his spare time by a guy in charge of Lewisham council's web site and PR, has surprise surprise been awarded grants and has openly declared to be run by a bunch of mates (NO EQUAL OPPS THERE theN) but the worst part is the atrocious job it is doing - and giving other film clubs elsewhere a bad reputation !! If the squatters have stopped them in their delusion self reverential rather intellectually dim privileged class progress ...I for one am greatly relieved.....I am a Deptfordian, have have a long history of running screenings and am a member of a genuine and wonderful film club in a nearby borough run on a voluntary donation basis - not the rip off prices asked for by Deptford film Club and Deptford Project's silent film season last summer...These guys know the grants system and milk it..they are hand in glove with the developers too...STUFF THEM

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi FILM LOVER,

    If there's a great film club just an Oyster card away from Crossfields, why not give us the details and we'll see if we can do a post on it? That would appear to be more constructive than knocking something that's happening in Deptford.

    In other news, the socialcentreplus blog has now been enabled for comments. This appears to have been done sometime on Saturday pm, 20 March. On the other hand, their latest post feed is currently showing as ''Experiment.'' But as it doesn't link to anything, I assume that the experiment wasn't a complete success.

    ReplyDelete
  62. @film lover the Deptford Film Club (http://www.deptfordfilmclub.org/) which shows films in the Birds Nest (voluntary donation of £3) is a different enterprise to the Silent Cinema series of events that were organised by the Deptford Project last year (http://www.thedeptfordproject.com/template_permalink.asp?id=136) (I believe tickets cost about £10).

    ReplyDelete
  63. Marmoset, the link goes to their latest post now, and comments are enabled. I am told they have been grappling with internet connections and the less-than-user-friendly Wordpress...

    ReplyDelete
  64. Is it, Sue? I must be running an obsolete version of the internet on my PC then ;-) It's still showing ''Experiment'' as their latest post here - the homepage link is working ok, though.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Film Lover, interesting comment on Deptford Film Club. If it is true that they have been in receipt of grants, I wonder why they have not found a better venue up till now.

    Not sure there is such a big link to be made with Deptford Project who hired Silent Cinema in (with its attendant high prices) partly because of the noise factor of putting events in that space.

    It also may be that Deptford Film Club were invited to use the Job Centre space because they are the most visible local film project – not necessarily because of nepotism, but because there wasn't enough time or resources to request expressions of interest from others.

    ReplyDelete
  66. The Deptford Film Club was awarded funding from the New Cross Assembly locality fund in 2009/10, which I believe they used to buy equipment to start up the club - this was never a secret. http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/ElectedRepresentatives/LocalAssemblies/NewCrossAssembly/NewCrossAssemblyFunding.htm

    I see from their website that they are also funded by the Capital Community Foundation, which is a charity.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I see that the Social Centre is mentioning ....
    "Tomorrow from 2pm SCP will be hosting a FAMILY DAY, hopefully the first of many. Come on down with your children and enjoy – or even contribute to – our amazing, secure, child-friendly facilities."
    I hope that all the CRB checks are in place ?

    ReplyDelete
  68. Film Lover, please tell the readers of this blog about the screenings you have been involved in. It seems that you are resentful about somebody running a film club that you didn't have the initiative to set up. At least it is attempting to do something. I would like to know of other local film clubs so that links can be posted to them so that people can be aware of them and support them. Better to be constructive than bitter. Deptford if a great place to live so let's celebrate that.

    ReplyDelete
  69. http://selondonfilmclubs.wordpress.com gives listings for loads of film clubs working in south east London.
    If you're running a film club that isn't listed here, please email selondonfilmclubs@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hello, Deptford Film Club here to clarify some points.

    Alas I don't 'run' Lewisham Council's website and PR. I'm a fairly junior member of the webteam.

    I have no links with developers, either in my day job or my work for DFC.

    As far as I know, Council employees like me have no way of cheating the system. We applied for funding like anyone else, and this funding has paid for equipment and the ongoing costs of film licensing. My friends and I who run the film club do not make a penny from it - we do it for love.

    If anyone has some practical ideas about how we might improve and develop Deptford Film Club, please email me at deptfordfilmclub@live.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  71. The Deptford Project has nothing. I repeat NOTHING!! to do with the space that the Social Centre Plus have now taken over..... Two separate projects.

    .......Hello, is anyone there??!!

    ReplyDelete
  72. Can someone from the Social Centre explain why they decided to take over - and effectively put an end to - a venue that was going to be put to positive use for the benefit of Deptford, rather than occupying a empty building doing nothing. Having both the new creative centre which Rebecca had done so much to set up - and the Social Centre- seems a no brainer. There are loads of empty premises all up the high street that the Social Centre could have occupied. Perhaps the best way forward is for Deptford to decide. Lets set up a vote - Sue you did this very well in respect of the betting shops - and ask the following. Should the Social Centre stay where it is or should the Social Centre move to an alternative venue.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Just a general comment to make here about Deptford and Rebecca...
    I used to live in the area and have worked with Rebecca for some time. She is an inspirational person who really cares about the place she lives and who has single-handedly tried to put something back into the community (imagine what would happen if more of us took her lead?). She works her backside off and is full of passion. I am extremely upset and disgusted to read what people have written here. The Deptford Project is not the only project she has pulled off for the community - trying to bring people, interest, investment and attention to a previously neglected part of London. And none of it to line her own pockets - she works on a voluntary basis and then does other work on top of this to try and support her family. I doubt she gets more than about 4 hours sleep a night after all she does. People like Rebecca should be celebrated. It's time to stop focussing on demonising one person here and look at the bigger picture. She is on the side of Deptford. We could do with a few more Rebeccas in this country. And for those of you with an embarassing chip on your shoulder about so-called 'class'... maybe you should talk to her... you'll notice from her manner that she is not 'middle-class', just an ordinary down-to-earth Londoner who cares about where she lives. And I, for one, am not hiding behind an 'anonymous' label... Chin up Rebecca and well done for trying to do something in this often obstructive and negative country of ours.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "Should the Social Centre stay where it is or should the Social Centre move to an alternative venue."

    I think the decision's been made by the squatters. Might is right and all that.

    ReplyDelete
  75. @gocz

    ''Lets set up a vote - Sue you did this very well in respect of the betting shops - and ask the following. Should the Social Centre stay where it is or should the Social Centre move to an alternative venue''

    Because this is a blog anybody can make multiple votes, either anonymously or under as many names as they can think of. So the most votes will go to whichever camp has the most obsessed or single minded or whoever has the most free time for messing around on the interwebs. It would be no more democratic than the impromptu vote held by the direct activists when the discussion about Rebecca's plans came up.

    ReplyDelete
  76. The social centre team made a genuine mistake and took over the space without knowing that it was going to be used for everyone and will obviously do the right thing and move on. These guys have the interests of Deptford at heart as much as Rebecca and now that the conflict has been explained it will just be a question of them working out which alternative venue to move onto. Some of the posts here seem to think the social centre team has done this deliberately, slipping into the job centre while the security was lax as the transfer to the new use was underway. What do you take these guys for. That would have been just the type of shitty underhand piece of class treachery we are all fighting against. The social centre team will move on in the next few days.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I heard Utrophia have to get out of their building and the people next to the train cafe have to get out of their's soon, so why don't they get a chance at the Job Centre space?

    ReplyDelete
  78. It's probably too late to make a comment that anyone is going to read, but as a local resident I can't say that the ant-cuts squatters represent any section of the local "community" that I can think of.
    On the other hand, it is my understanding that the railway carriage cafe was put there as a stop-gap "freindly face" by the big, unfriendly development company that is re-doing the station and building flats etc, none of which is going to do the "community" ANY favours.
    I don't know if this issue has been raised, but if the proprietor of the railway cafe is feeling stung by the presence of the squatters, she might like to reflect on how Terry must have felt when he was booted out of his long-time premises for her benefit.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I forgot to add; betting shops in all their bedazzling array have proven EXTREMELY popular with a large, visible and occasionally quite vocal section "the community".
    And what's wrong with flutter from time to time?

    ReplyDelete
  80. "has single-handedly tried to put something back into the community" !!??
    Isn't the Deptford Project bankrolled by Cathedral Group? It's no more than lipstick on a pig. I'm very middle class and i don't like to drink my double-shot latte at the Deptford Project either, so please don't generalise.

    ReplyDelete
  81. The Deptford Project cafe is an independent business covering all it's own costs and overhead and is a registered business also Terry the butcher you will find if you cared to ask, as I did, instead of speculating is happy and has no problem with the cafe!.

    ReplyDelete
  82. @anonyme la dernière,

    Was it Terry the butcher - I thought it was the Terry the general-purpose ''a little for everyone, everything for a little,'' (or words to that effect) store that now faces the building that socialcentreplus are occupying?

    ReplyDelete
  83. @Anti-Christ:
    whatcha mean 'anarchic persuasion' - d'you mean 'smash the state' like what the Tories are doing quite nicely thank-you, or non-conformist and unconventional - like 99% of artists?
    Re Bear Cafe, it is now owned by a Vietnamese family I hear, you're completely out of date with your 'christian Herberts'.
    And where's that property to squat? Don'tcha think some artists would be in there by now!
    Get yer facts right.

    ReplyDelete
  84. @Anon March 24:
    Are you a weirdo? No one at Social Centre Plus knows about leaving, so how come you do? Looks like you were wrong anyway.
    @Dan:
    Are you a weirdo? Betting shops are extremely popular with drug dealers and old fellas who can't find a pub on the high street any more, and the sort of bloke who hits their female partner outside the bookies and nicks her purse...You, of course, can bet online.
    @Anonymous March 28:
    There is no doubt some confusion around the train cafe's relationship with Cathedral, but the cafe is a separate business, even if it grew out of the developer's idea to make the space viable before they put up their horrible flats (you don't see that with other developers might I add). And business has been better for the likes of Terry since it's been there, that's bloody obvious. And better for the stall holders.

    Better direct your meanness at (and all those involved in) the intolerable length of time it is taking to sort out the station, which has been a shithole for several years now. Have you been here long enough to remember when Deptford was so shitty the station was threatened with closure? Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Marmoset, are we going for a century, or shall we shut this thing down now?

    ReplyDelete
  86. Oh not before I address this from last week.

    Gocz: I did not set up a vote for or against betting shops.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Is this for real? I thought it was a script for an episode of south-east enders...the roles are immaculately written...to be continued........

    ReplyDelete
  88. @Mushroom Diet March 29:
    @Anon March 24:
    Are you a weirdo? No one at Social Centre Plus knows about leaving, so how come you do? Looks like you were wrong anyway.

    Looks like you were wrong anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Ahem, anonymuddle (@Mushroom Diet March 29:
    @Anon March 24:
    Are you a weirdo? No one at Social Centre Plus knows about leaving, so how come you do? Looks like you were wrong anyway.

    Looks like you were wrong anyway
    )

    ..take a look at their website (http://socialcentreplus.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/social-centre-plus-face-eviction-this-tuesday/) and then slowly repeat ''Looks like you were wrong anyway'' to yourself. Come back when you've got a name.

    ReplyDelete
  90. The above post may contain traces of sarcasm. Deptford deserves better.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Impression I got from their Press Release was they will make the most of the time they have by staging events and open days (see our link to them in the side bar)...a personal conversation at the centre suggested that if there was enough support from the local community the "residents" might fight the eviction. God knows what that means.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Kept in the dark, fed on shit.

    ReplyDelete
  93. I thought this post was dead, but since it isn't i refer everyone to Libcom.org where, if you go to the comments section and have a spare hour or two, you may read the sort of debate that takes place at Social Centre Plus, it being home to Solidarity Federation (SolFed) as well as (LACA) Lewisham Against Cuts Alliance)...

    ReplyDelete