I was going to leave the Bulletin for another couple of weeks but then fascists happened. It’s always fascist innit, they got a thing about social spaces. Kicking off and trying to spoil everyone’s nice time.
On the 9th Nov, down in Deptford in London, a couple of hooligans tried to smash their way into Pie ‘n’ Mash squatted community cafe with the intention of attacking the people inside. Obviously not appreciating the re-appropriation of their bit of rhyming slang (it’s “Antifash Pie ‘n’ Mash” now see :p) nor the signs of any community organising it seems. They’d been seen lurking around the streets of Deptford for a few weeks (even visiting the squat a few times) and had been caught being typical racist trash in the local offy spewing homophobic and racist slurs as the fella behind the counter in the run up to their assault.
Then a couple of Saturdays ago they thought they’d give the social centre a go, putting through the front windows and kicking in the door before bailing as support came down the stairs to see what the noise was about. It’s nothing more than a nasty attempt at intimidation from people who only know threats and violence.
It’s all reminiscent of the attack on ANAL in Belgravia a while back where a group of Fash encircled the building and tried to break in, only just being held back by the occupants. Either of these incidents could have so easily have ended up like the horrific events our comrades in Greece have suffered, chiefly the burning down of Libertatia in Thessaloniki, the attack on Favela in Piraeus, and that on Villa Amalia in Athens a few years back.
Fascists hate social squats and social centres you see, from Greece to the US, Poland to the UK, they can’t stand ’em. There are few more threatening things to the establishment of a forceful authority than the fermention of community. Even worse the sinister squat! which relishes sticking two fingers up at the parasitic landlords by telling them to scarper and utilising dead space for a positive and bright purpose.
Squatting is the housing equivalent of the cover of A Kestrel for a Knave. A giant fuck you to all the evil controlling scum that seek power over the lives of ordinary working class folk.
You see the fascist want to pretend that the Anarchists are a bunch of wet liberals, probably philosophy students on a gap year. They have this picture of us as pseudo-intellectuals quaffing buckfast and talking about the intricacies of 1900’s urban planning and the gentrification of Paris while listening to Rancid and trying to avoid hard graft for a few years before we inevitable get a job at the local uni brainwashing the kids to be gay, do crime, and destroy western civilisation. OK, so maybe they ain’t always wrong, however ten minutes in a Social Centre, being treated like a human ( all too rare these days) as you have a brew with some new friends and see all the hard work people just like you are doing, well, it totally undermines this portrayal of Anarchists. No, I don’t really know what “quaffing” is either.
These spaces are hubs for the local and regional communities to come down to network, share knowledge and build up movements. Almost invariably vital resources for the working class folk who live in the streets nearby. Time and time again people who come by for a laugh at the hippies or turn up for a nosey at an event, end up having a whole new world open up to them. For many community activists and organisers, it was a social space that first let them know that they are not alone and that it is the working class who have the power.
This terrifies fascists. Depending on which branch of bullshit you are looking at they either want to be the absolute authority without any deviants about or they fancy themselves the genuine anti-establishment movement and can’t bear to see working class communities unite under anything but the politics of hate. Social spaces unite local folk in a way they could never dream off.
The thought that folk from the estate are going down the wee cafe and organising knitting classes and screen printing workshops, let alone anti-fascist networks and actions keeps the boneheads up at night and fills them with rage.
Pie ‘n’ Mash was taken and set up not so long ago and quickly set to work provided a positive space, having someone running it all the time, with tea, coffee, snacks etc all available free to anyone who wants to come in off the street. They provide free wifi and have an infoshop with reading materials, and information and flyers about local politics and events.
The squat is available as a free space for any politically affiliated or friendly groups to use for organising meetings or events for the community. Open between 12-3 and 7-9 pretty much every day providing vital services and a hub for the diverse community that forms Deptford.
The intimidation that was put upon them is utterly unacceptable and they’ve responded by establishing a neighbourhood outreach which you can hook up with by giving them an email at: squatcafe(at)riseup.net or pay them a visit and have a brew at their current location: 70 Deptford High Street, London, SE8 4RT.
They are doing good things and deserve all the support as do all of our social centres. As we head into Winter, remember to give them some extra special love.
I’ll be back with a bit of X-Mas cheer in a few weeks, till then!
Peter Ó Máille