Posts Tagged ‘community interest’

No More Trouble

December 18, 2011

Originally published by SchNEWS, December 2011

At The People´s Cafe in Edinburgh, the fight continues to liberate the collective space previously known as The Forest Cafe on Bristo Place. The occupation that began three weeks ago has successfully kept the doors open without any major complaints from surrounding businesses or  passing policemen.  The premises is still connected with water and electricity having closed 3 months ago and the occupiers are wasting no time in connecting shower facilities, checking the electrics and fitting fire alarms with the help and advice of Lothian and Borders Fire Service. A free shop allows Christmas consumers to wander in and help themselves and if you were passing last wednesday the Alternative Christmas Fayre helped clear out the cupboards. 

However, amidst these seasonal good tidings, a petition has been lodged by the administrators PricewaterhouseCooper (PWC)  to remove the illegal dwellers before Christmas is out. The civil motion will be held in court this week and a member of the occupation is to represent The People´s Cafe. His proposals are to invest in the space as a community project as opposed to previous offers of turning the listed building into ´flats with added business space´. Profit has often obscured any possible vision of a collective organization at the cafe as allegations of bankruptcy and corruption moisten the lips of loyal disheartened artists and musicians that once frequented the venue. The old Forest Cafe management don’t want anything to do with the occupation and are still currently looking for a new premises in which they can continue their collective arts project. 

Only time will tell if the courts will listen to the occupation´s proposal for a facility that embraces ´the people´s interest´. The cafe´s legal representative said:  “we are interested in a centre for community projects – not workshops and not for entertainment.” The emphasis was on providing a space for the less privileged communities on the outskirts of Edinburgh and bringing these communities along with the inner cities, together. 

There has been some support within Edinburgh´s judicial system for an autonomous space were popular culture and a community spirit can thrive, but against a capitalist model  that operates on segregation and individualism, a collective unit is far from welcome.  PWC are ready to wash their hands on the administration, their remarks on the premises:  ”The Forest is more trouble than it´s worth”.  With these kind words from Bruce Cartwright, The People´s Cafe go into battle with a legal system that all too often supports the bistro, the banker and the building contractor before the collective force gains political strength and becomes a catalyst for social change.

www.peoplescafe.noflag.org.uk

Advertisements