Social Centre Plus – the occupied anti-cuts space on Deptford High Street – extends its solidarity to all the social centres, squats and homes across London that have been raided by police in the last 72 hours, as well as the numerous individuals arrested as a result (19 confirmed, but we’re anticipating more). It seems that the Metropolitan Police have gleefully seized upon the Royal Wedding – and the accompanying media hype about (largely non-existent) “anarchists” who planned to disrupt it – in order to carry out a wave of repression against the rapidly growing anti-cuts movement in the city.
Although SCP wasn’t itself targeted by the police, we maintain close links with Ratstar Social Centre in particular, and repudiate the police’s attacks on it. That most of the arrested within the space were held on the charge of “abstracting electricity” demonstrates the political nature of their attacks. The occupiers of the site in Camberwell Green had reached an agreement with its landlord, who actually encouraged them to stay inside as a means of maintaining the space, which would otherwise be empty and falling into disrepair. Despite this, they were forced to undergo an 18 hour-long occupation of their home by the Met, leading to many having to sleep rough in the cold last Thursday.
Fortunately, the police finally left Ratstar in the small hours of Friday morning, still threatening to close at least some of the space for “health and safety reasons”. 15 residents of the space have been bailed to return by the police. The mains electricity has also been turned off inside, so the occupiers are requesting donations of 12 volt batteries, as well as computers and phones to replace those that were seized as “evidence”. They can be delivered either directly to the space at 298 Camberwell Road, or, alternatively, we will take delivery to our space at 124 Deptford High Street (underneath the old ‘Christ Life’ sign). We also took donations for the space at our Anti-Monarchy Party on Friday and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
On top of the raids of Ratstar, Offmarket and Sipson social centres – and the hitherto unknown number of homes targeted – a huge number of Facebook pages have also been disabled by the site’s administrator, under the pretext of groups operating personal profile pages. This is clearly nonsense, since the vast majority of group profile pages remain active. SCP extends its solidarity to the hundreds of groups affected, including Goldsmiths Fights Back – the anti-cuts group on campus at Goldsmiths College – and the North London local of Solidarity Federation (NLSF), another group with strong links to the space. It is worth noting that while the vast majority of the deleted groups were not planning ‘disruption’ on Friday, SCP stands in solidarity with all the affected groups, regardless of their intentions.
The upsurge in popular resistance to the cuts in the UK over the last six months has been an inspiration to us at SCP. We consider the British state’s actions – from charging Alfie Meadows (who received brain injuries from a police baton at a student demonstration), to using the military to silence dissenters at Friday’s ceremony – to be a sign of how quickly its ‘democratic’ facade can fall when faced with a mass movement against the cuts, the government and Britain’s structural inequalities.
The powers that be are already sweating! Let’s continue to disrupt the cuts, both here in Deptford and across the UK.
Social Centre Plus
124 Deptford High St (underneath the ‘Christ Life’ sign)