|Campaign for the autonomist center ‘Free Dom’|
The autonomus cultural center “FREE DOM” from Wroclaw (Poland) is facing troubles from the local government. The support is needed to keep the center, where a lot of cultural and social activities are going on.
The prehistory of “FREE DOM” (“dom” means in Polish “house”) begins in the middle of 90′, when the group of friends squatted a small house near the center of Wroclaw (called “REJON 69″). During 3,5 years the group form a small comunnity and organised many cultural & political events (like punk concerts and festivals, regular food not bombs, demonstrations). In 1999 we had to leave this building and we squatted the next building.
Unfortunately it lasted only 2 weeks. Anyway we organised there “Eviction party” (concerts connected with spectacles and games for children), which showed the support of local (Jewish) community and made the “questions of squats” present in the media – first time on such a level. Owing to the big campaign, in the september 2000 we get the building for the cultural activity from the local authorities. It was quite devastated and we’ve spent almost a year on repairs. We called it “FREE DOM”.
information in polish: http://squat.net/pl/news/free190102.html
Counter-Cultural activities of the “FREE DOM”
The activites in the house began in the spring of 2001 with a new alternative library, space for the anarchist black cross, and cinema and concert rooms with acts like; Citizen Fish, Catharsis, Sin Dios, Tragedy, and many many others. There is now a info cafe, dark room, serography space, art gallery exibitions and every Sunday there is Food not Bombs which gives squatters a chance to give food and eat together with local homeless people and speak to the community people.
Activities with the local community
Many things we do is to have contact with the local people it is a cultural “community” center after all with the purpose of taking care of the local issues. We plan to start a local newspaper to give out independent information as well as promote anti-capitalist ideas and alternatives to capitalism, and give more possiblittes for community involvement. We’ve started activites with the city kids which have started to become part of the house. Together with their parents we held parties and childerens feasts with games and painting. Also in the plan is to begin an “after school” program where they can get help with homework and spend their time with some creative activites like juggling, theater, photography workshops etc.
Cooperation with other cultural centers
The idea and function of the Cultural center is to be the place where people can come, and without money realise non profit projects, ideas, or just have a place to meet. This house is the only legal place like this in the city. But – we cooperate with the squatters groups from the city. Now there are 2 squats and one wagenburg in Wroclaw – we are in close contact with this groups, we’ve tried to give them support, when they had problems with police (eg. Kromera – one of the squats was evicted and reoccupied after 2 months, owing to large campaign it exist until today). We cooperate also with other squats and autonomous groups from Poland – last November we’ve hosted persons from dozens of Polish autonomous groups on the congress.
Polish squatters used to have problems with the police. There is not any good squatters laws, police is often agressive and works outside of law in the contacts with squatters. “Free Dom” as a legal center doesn’t have such a troubles. But our activity is also not acceptable for many politics from the local government – eg. Food Not Bombs, contacts with children. Instead of police they use the fact that we are legal: we have to fullfill many rules, ordered by Fire Brigade, police, building inspectors. Many of these rules are absurd and we can’t fullfill them because we don’t have enough money to pay bribes (and we generally don’t want to do it) and to make many reparations. We can’t organise any cultural events, if we don’t fullfill it and we can be kicked out from the building.
So – much support for us is needed – especially from abroad. When the local government see, that some groups and individuals from abroad supports us, it will help us very much in negotations. They must feel that we are not alone!
You can send the letters with support (the best solution is to write few sentences in English and in your native language) to the following addresses:
Fire Inspection: Fax: +48 71 329 21 88 City Goverment (Wroclaw) Fax: +48 71 344 78 29 We need also money for the repairs, lawyer, architect, etc… so if you want to help us financially, please contact us.
(for more informations about our group and activities – write us an email, we will send you it)
|—- Example of the support letter|
I support the existence of cultural center “Free dom”, placed on JAGIELLONCZYKA 10d, WROCLAW. I think that the activitiy of “Free Dom” is important for the alternative culture in Poland. Such centers exist also in many countries all over the world. They should be supported and not blocked!