“so, what’s this place?”
“it’s a social centre”
“what’s a social centre?”
“it’s a non-heirarchical anti-capitalist autonomous space”
“what’s that mean?”
opening a social centre can be really bad for your health.
you may think that it’s going to be a wonderful adventure,
you may think that it’s going to bring people together,
you may think that you are creating a different model of society,
a place where everyone is equal, noone is denigrated or bullied and good triumphs over evil at every turn.
but what you may get is a cliquey, narrow-minded, intimidating old-boys club.
what you may get is people claiming ownership of the space because they flourished a paintbrush more than you.
what you may get is accusations and counter-accusations,
patriarchy vs matriarchy,
bullies who claim they are being bullied when someone finally stands up to them,
the sound of tumbleweed as the collective collectively turns away and examines their navels when the difficult issues rear their head.
the crashing sound made when the resepect you once held for people tumbles from the rafters.
the puffing up of inflatable egos that seem to draw breath from the apparent safety of behind a computer screen.
being reminded that the personal is political, then attacked for bringing personal issues into the space.
volunteers claiming thousands of pounds in wages.
having to work with liberals.
watching the same people dance the same circle of going nowhere whilst kidding ourselves that we are being succesful….
so, before you open a social centre,
before you commence on a journey that will undoubetdly cause you to question your very existence on this planet,
but most of all
talk to the people who are with you,
find out just what they think a social centre is,
cos, even the slightest difference of opinion can cause schisms that mean someone is going to lose out.
can you guess what side of the schism i ended up on?