Saturday, March 12, 2011
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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