Cuts Cafe second building open

Tagged as: 0ct20 20oct cuts cutscafe occupylondon social_struggles solidarity squat squatting tuc workers_struggles
Neighbourhoods: waterloo

Cuts Cafe: 1 Stamford Street, SE1 9NT. Doors are open - see full list of events in the run up to Oct20 TUC protests.

This is the second building the Cuts Cafe has had. The first one was lost due to obstruction and eviction by security and the threat of arrest by police. The Cuts Café aims to provide a radical space in Central London to build resistance to the devastating cuts being imposed by the Government, and to explore the real alternatives to austerity.

Related articles: Excitement grows for Cuts Cafe | Cuts Cafe - first impressions and pics | Dissident Island background radio interview [.ogg]

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IMPORTANT UPDATE
: we are not yet wheelchair accessible, entry only via stairs - We hope to be wheelchair accessible by Wednesday. Therefore the DPAC workshop has been postponed and will be rescheduled, please keep an eye out.

 The Crypto party workshop will still be happening at 6.30pm today; and all are welcome to come and help with final set ups. Obviously we’re massively sorry about this, and will endeavour to help anyone that still wants to come.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cuts-Caf%C3%A9/362777590463045

http://twitter.com/cuts_cafe

Additions

haha nice

I squatted that building back in 2007 and got kicked out by a bunch of heavies.

Glad to see it resquatted, I just left the country for a long time, so sadly I can't visit, or help out, but lots of love.

We’re nearly there, but we need your help!

For the past month the space group of the Cuts Café collective has been working flat out to identify accessible spaces for the initiative to take place in.

Dozens of empty central London non-residential buildings were identified yet all bar a handful were rejected due to the rest not being physically accessible to everyone.

Why we’re in this situation

Our primary space of choice was a property belonging to South Bank University which was an un-used former library and crèche. This building had fully accessible toilets and was really quite perfect for the events.

Sadly, security and police, at the request of South Bank University made access to the building impossible by physically blockading it, arguing that it was still in use – when it was clearly not – due to archives being stored in the building. Despite our assurances that we would respect all the documents and literature still there, South Bank University remained opposed and we vacated the building judging that keeping it would not be feasible.

What the issue is (if we can’t get a wheelchair in, it’s not our revolution)

We thought the struggle to find a space was over with our current building yet despite the electricity working, the current entrance is only accessible by stairs and there are issues with water connectivity meaning there are no working toilets on site.

Cuts Café crew have been working flat out to remedy the water and accessibility problems, including:

- building ramps
- researching portable toilets
- finding alternative spaces

As a project and collective, we hold the principle that Cuts Café must be accessible to everybody which includes sanitary facilities that anyone can use.

What we need your help with

In light of this, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s (Tuesday) and possibly Wednesday’s events until we have resolved these problems and Cuts Café can truly be an open, reclaimed space for all to use.

If you think you are able to assist us with these problems either practically or financially – and we have researched them quite extensively and have identified solutions – please get in contact with us at: cutscafe@riseup.net or 07842 631 370

We apologise to everyone who has organised or planned to attend workshops – we are working to reschedule as a matter of urgency.

Regarding our current building, police and private security acting on behalf of the owners have contacted us and have accepted that we are legally occupying the building.

We will do a better job of keeping everyone updated too! We apologise for some of our silences, these have been down to everyone working very hard to make this space come to fruition.

Stuff needed

We are looking for some material items to make Cuts Café more hospitable – your donations make this space function!! We need furniture (chairs, sofa; table, rubbish bins, etc), kitchen things (forks, knives, spoons, plates, cups,), cleaning materials (anti-bacterial, soap, paper-towels, sponges), decorative materials (posters, banner making supplies, etc), and food.

Fuller list:
http://cutscafelondon.wordpress.com/list-of-things-we-will-need-for-the-space/

Explanation of the building and schedule changes

An open letter from the spaces crew

This is an open letter to everyone, who has been excited, disappointed, confused, concerned, etc about what is happening with the physical space that will become the Cuts Cafe. My name is Peter, I am a member of the space team who have been working day and night for the past two weeks in order to try and find a building that meets the criteria of size, accessibility, location, and security. In the last fourteen days we have scouted around forty buildings in areas such as Elephant and Castle, The City of London, Holborn, and Mayfair; opened and internally expected around 10, and fully squatted and prepared 2; most of us have slept less than 4 hours in every 24.

Last Thursday, we found and secured an absolutely ideal location in Elephant and Castle; a three story Library on Borough Road which had been abandoned by South bank University for around 9 months. The building met all of our needs, and most importantly of all was completely wheelchair accessible. Sadly, the forces of the state, and the management of the university would not allow us to use this building, and swiftly and violently evicted us from the premise.

Following this, we in the spaces team spent day after long day scouting buildings to find the perfect place, and night after long night opening and exploring buildings to see if we could make them work. It has been a steep learning curve for many of us; as an able bodied person, I had never realized how horribly in accessible so many central London buildings are.

On Sunday night, after intense sleep deprivation, failure after failure to find the perfect space, and a high degree of burnout we decided to open up 1 Stamford Street near Blackfriars. We chose this building, as it is large and spacious, well located, clean and welcoming and also because it was one of the last places we could realistically open before we all collapsed of exhaustion. The doors have been heavily barricaded by the owner and access for all of us has been difficult, we have finally sorted this and today have been building a ramp to make the place accessible for wheelchair users.

We at the spaces crew, have worked as hard as we can to find and identify a space and want more than anything for us to be able to open the doors and get things rolling but we also feel that it is unfair and hypocritical to open a space to the public that a wheelchair can not get into. To this ends, the wheelchair ramp will be finished by the morning and from then we welcome everyone to come and help us fix up the space to be the future we want to see.

We’re sorry, really sorry for the delay in opening and i personally apologize to those who had to cancel workshops because of our failings, but I hope people understand the work that has gone into everything we’ve had to do, it’s been a mission, but a mission that has been worth it.

http://cutscafelondon.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/an-open-letter-from-the-spaces-crew/

About the first building

We got in and secured the first building.

Within forty minutes security had arrived and were being aggressive. No doubt they were annoyed as they are the workers charged with keeping the building secure. But they were aggressive and then called the police... after this we had a standoff for hours and hours until like 8 in the morning.

After that we thought we were secure. Some left to get more equipment and set up stuff and about twenty of us came back, which annoyed the security more and and they called the police again.

This time police were threatening people with arrest, but changing their threats a lot, sometimes saying aggravated trespass, other times illegal abstraction other times other stuff. Eventualy they called for TSG police and it was really unclear what was going to happen, like if the TSG were coming to storm the building.

So there was another standoff for ages, and eventaully the police vans left. Security then took their moment and kicked down a door and confronted people inside. Those inside really had no choice then other than to leave. If they'd tried to resist they'd probably have been arrested and then there would have been no hope of getting another building.

This from notes of Dissident Island radio interview:
http://ia601204.us.archive.org/1/items/DissidentIslandRadio05Oct2012/DissidentIslandRadio-5oct2012-episode109.mp3

THURS update - we're open!

The Doors Are Open and the Events Begin at 5pm

After some minor delays working tirelessly to prepare the space, we are pleased to announce that we are finally ready to open. Events start from 5pm tonight and people are welcome before that to come hang out, see the space, and generally get things moving.

Todays Thursday Events are:

5pm-6pm- Occupy: Global Noise and Beyond
Occupy will be presenting the numerous activities planned for the autumn. Come along to find out how to take part and to have your say on what you think our next steps should be.

6pm-7pm- Robin Hood Tax presents:
Dispelling the myths of the financial transaction tax and what it could mean for the UK.

6pm-7pm- Traveller Solidarity Network
An introduction to the Fight for Sites campaign, and what the fight for Traveller’s rights has to do with cuts, housing and the Tories.

Update on the Space:

The space has electricity and step free access, and we are aiming to have all workshops either on the ground floor or if necessary video linked to the ground floor in order that everyone can take part. We have a kitchen in the basement and some food, teas, and coffees on the ground floor. Sadly, we do not yet have full running water, but there is a disabled toilet on the ground floor, and a bucket flush toilet system in the basement for able bodied people. We are working on a kids/crèche space, but we really need input into this about whether it is o.k to have it on one of the upper floors etc. Please come today and input into the decision making process about the space.

http://cutscafelondon.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-doors-are-open-and-the-events-begin-at-5pm/