June 2008

Well, the squat has been evicted but the women are continuing their collective with info at Ladyfest and a DIY skillskaring weekend at end of June 08 – as they say, in spanner-wielding solidarity. Bring it on!

This is a callout to all women and trans-folk that would like to be
involved in a weekend of workshops around diy-squatting. We plan to take
advantage of all the usual challenges that semi-derelict buildings pose as
a platform for sharing our knowledge, skills, and experience in all the
tasks related to opening and maintaining a healthy and happy squat!

These are all the areas that have thought of so far, but more ideas are
always welcome:

Security- doors/locks etc
Dealing w/ cops/owners- talk about experience/share tactics
Women/Trans squatting- open discussion on experience of squatting from a
Sustainable energy

All levels of experience in any of the above areas are welcome (you don’t
need to have a degree in plumbing to know how to unblock a pipe and share
this knowledge with others!).

And even if you have no experience in any of the practical, diy-related
areas, we also hope to have a platform to share experiences, stories and
advice related to all aspects of squat-living from a trans/woman’s
perspective, so all experience counts.

Please get in touch if you’d like to help out at all in organising this
weekend – We’ll need help finding a suitable space and preparing it for
the weekend, publicising the gathering, and then running workshops on the
weekend itself, as well as collecting and preparing food. We also hope to
provide childcare (on a rota-basis), so please let us know if you can help
with that.

This gathering will be held on the weekend of the 28th – 29th June.

You can e-mail us at diy_squatting@riseup.net.

Please spread the word! (Let us know if you would like to be sent leaflets)

In spanner-brandishing solidarity


And now for some welding
A group of women has turned an empty space in the London borough of Hackney into a new, women-only (trans-inclusive) social centre.

The ‘wominspace’ may not be around for long, as this is taking place in a squatted building, and a court case today could see them served with an eviction order as soon as April. But if you get down there now, you will get the chance to participate in a whole list of exciting-sounding workshops and events, including, yes, welding, “feminist singing”, yoga, a women’s health workshop, stencil-making, and a daily cafe and kids’ space.

Call 07939381562 for more information, or email womenorganise@yahoo.co.uk.


4a Corbridge Crescent London E2 9DS

the importance of women-only spaces:

Because it is in women-only space that a woman’s voice can be heard on her own terms. In women-only space she is free of the ‘male gaze’, free of the spectre of patriarchal judgement, that in mixed space- aka the ‘real world’- threatens to denounce, silence, talk over, appropriate, or ridicule her voice.

Women have made many important gains into previously ‘man-only’ space, most notably governmental politics, but because these gains have been made in a world where male privilege still remains, where male values continue to dominate and hold the most credibility, women’s voices are still mainly deemed subordinate. Where men’s voices and values dominate, a woman’s voice is often only given credence if she appropriates the male voice and values, if she tows the patriarchal line.

So while this continues to be the case, women-only space remains relevant because women need space free of male influence and control in order to forge our own politics on our own terms. Otherwise those dominant male voices and values will worm their way in, leaving us where we started.

as posted on http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/03/womenonly_space

For weekly timetable click here

For DIY health weekend timetable March 15-16th click here



Invisible food is a project to discover the wild food growing quietly in the Loughborough area, food that can nourish local residents into health and resilience.


Invisible food responds to the global necessity to live more locally, to rely less on transport – now that the blip of cheap oil is over – and to create stronger networking communities. 


Invisible food recognises that “the logic of the market leads to mass starvation”, as Mumia Abu-Jamal wrote about recent hikes in food prices leading to riots in Mexico. And we want to pass on the insight made by Vandana Shiva that we can only strengthen local economies in the developing world by relocalising agriculture in the West.  Invisible food is fed up with the idea that developing countries have to export the food growing in their back yards for ‘growth’ and progress at the cost of their own nutrition and health. You can’t eat money. And besides, money is never fairly distributed, whereas plants are.


Invisible food responds to a sense of lack of earthly connections in inner city areas in London. It provides an opportunity to get on first name terms with local plants and to cook them up. Wild food is whole food. Wild food carries power and energy. Wild food is naturally occurring and uniquely adapted to its environment; resilience and strength are present in every cell of plant matter. 


“Eat wild food frequently, in addition to your normal diet, your tastes begin to change. The junk foods you couldn’t resist before now irritate your tongue, smell offensive and generally annoy you … Wild food is vital, unique, local, common, simple, messy, fresh, abundant, accessible, seasonal, varied and full of love.”  Susun Weed


Our wild food in London is a gift to us from its ancient woodlands.


Invisible food invites people from the local area to walk and talk and search out some urban food. It will then be used to make tea, infusions, cordials, soup, fritters, tarts, pies, salads, jams and beer. 


In the noisy green silence of the hedgerows and bushes of Brixton, Invisible food will talk about what your mother told you about plants, what you can remember your grandmother doing with plants, what plants you remember from your childhood, wherever that was.


Invisible food is no expert. We are an experiment arising from the fractured and isolated urban condition of having very little to do plants.  Invisible food is an excuse to learn.


Invisible food loves to acknowledge this suggestion by Meg Wheatly that, human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change … if we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive. We share what we see, what we feel, and we listen to what others see and feel.


Invisible food sits and writes these looping sentences when not out walking the hedgerows and reflects on the conversations that were had out on the commons. Invisible food likes to show where ideas come from so that’s why there are lots of quotes.


Invisible food is a guerrilla operation liberating time through land, imagination through memory, and friendship through food.


Wild food quietly growing  has a sister thread of a project called the Plant Olympics 2008 which is a workshop for children exploring and inventing games with plants.



If you want to go on a walk somewhere in the area stretching between Loughborough Junction, Loughborough, Mostyn and Ruskin Parks and Myatts Field, please call Ceri Buck on 07963 446605 or openbracket@riseup.net

Priority is given to residents from the Loughborough Estate


Months and Recipes



Nettle tart, ravioli, soup, tea Crystallised violets and violet rice pudding

Young hawthorn leaves



Nettle tart, ravioli, soup, tea Crystallised violets and violet rice pudding

Young hawthorn leaves Elderflower cordial, fritters and champagne



Elderflower cordial, fritters and champagne Chickweed salad and pesto

Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens



Dog rose petal jam and crystallised dog rose petals Lime blossom tea

Chickweed salad & pesto Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens



Dog rose petal jam and Crystallised dog rose petals Lime blossom tea

Chickweed salad & pesto Fat Hen, Good King Henry and Dead nettle greens



Hawthorn jelly Blackberries Mulberries Rowan  and Elderberry jam

Dandelion root coffee



Sloe gin Hawthorn jelly Chickweed salad, pesto

Rosehip soup and syrup Dandelion root coffee





for the champagne

4 elderflower heads in full bloom

4.5 litres (1 gallon) cold water

1 lemon

650g (1.5 lb) sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar


Dissolve the sugar in a little warm water and allow to cool. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, cut the rind into four, put the pieces with the elderflowers in a large jug, add the white vinegar and pour on the rest of the cold water. Leave for 4 days. Strain off and bottle. Should be ready in 6 to 10 days. If not, re-cork and wait some more.

Picked up a little booklet from 56a Crampton Street, Infoshop, behind the Walworth Road. Notes on action and activism in 2007. Passing it on here.


Our eyes are drawn to things that are highly visible.

That’s where the light is. But we also need to assess victories in the less tangible though just as real realm of possibilities. Our experiences create their own luminosity and consequently their own areas of darkness.

Prague Gothenburg Genoa Evian Cancun Gleneagles

Each opened up a space and set in motion processes of contamination (often behind people’s backs) that were key to the politicisaion of a generation of militants. On the one hand, people launched practical challenges to the legitimacy of global command (the rejection of dialogue, the blocking of roads into the summit); on the other, commonalities and mutations were produced in the camps and convergence centres, during debates and actions.

After Seattle, in 1999, it became clear that the affect produced in mass street actions would not translate automatically into everyday practices of transformation.

And Gleneagles 2005 showed the extent to which the desires of a movement could be captured and turned against itself, with 300,000 marching FOR the G8.

Heiligendamm was less a repetition that sought to mimic, more a new experiment in the production of politics;overcoming rather than reaffirming existing identities. In the run up to the summit, the groups involved in the organisation underwent something of a reconfiguration. They took some significant steps towards becoming a more genuine ‘movement of movements’. A common ‘choreography of resistance’ was built. While more radical elements attempted to set the terms of the coalition (a rejection of the G8’s legitimacy alongside a toleration of diverse forms of action), there was a willingness to compromise and come to common agreements as to which forms of action were appropriate where and when. In this way Heiligengamm moved beyond the principle of ‘diversity of tactics’ that had become commonplace, and returned to the earlier process of cross-pollination. Instead of different political currents engaging in different forms of action – in a spirit of solidarity but without jeopardising their own identities – the work developed in Germany was in the direction of a ‘becoming other, together’. This meant collectively devising and carrying out forms of action new to all, actions and alliances that took people beyond their comfort zones towards the practical constitution of new commons, and therefore new common potentials.

Towards the end of the 1980s, it was relatively easy to point to the in-built illegitimacy of the G8’s activities. The the G8 reinvented itself. It stopped being just a place for the major capitalist powers to hammer out differences and became a media-circus that presents itself as the only forum that can deal with global concerns. At Gleneagles, a big NGO operation sponsored by the UK government saw 300,000 people turn out, not to demonstrate against the G8, but to welcome and ‘lobby’ it in favour of debt relief and aid for Africa. At Heiligendamm, the G8 had once again moved on, now seeking to draw legitimacy by seeming to respond to widespread concern about climate change. And this is where we (got) lost. The actions carried out in Germany failed to convey a political challenge to the G8’s relegitimation on the issue of climate change, which had become a new key terrain of struggle.

If the whole emphasis of environmental activism over the last few years has been on raising awareness about the threat of climate change, then 2007 must be seen as the year when ‘we won’. Yet it is precisely this victory that could prove to be a defeat. Global concern about climate change must be given a new form if it is to actually affect the state of things (that is, radically reduce carbon dioxide emisisons in a short time-frame). In part this means constructing a new story, one that can stop the issue being turned into a huge profit-making opportunity for capital. Without this, it’s easy to see climate change being used to unleash a new regime of austerity on the governed, and to excuse measures like increased ‘security’ and border controls as geopolitical tensions rise.


It’s common to think of climate change as a technical-environmental problem that calls for a technical-environmental solution to reduce carbon emissions via technological innovation, government legislation and the public ‘doing their bit’.

The difficulty with this is twofold. First, almost everything we do is bound-up with fossil fuel use. Second, the cuts required (60-90% before 2050) are so large they require sweeping changes, and cannot be solved simply by the world’s environmental ministries getting together.

An alternative way to understand climate is in terms of metabolism. The Earth’s metabolism, its ability to process carbon, runs at a slower speed than the metabolism of contemporary capitalism.

For capital, limits are peculiar. Capital has an internal dynamic of expansion which must be satisfied, so limits must be ignored, subverted, side-stepped, or otherwise overcome. And the secret of capital’s longevity lies precisely in its ability to use limits and the crises they engender as a launch-pad for a new round of accumulation and expansion.  the high level of organisation of the industrial working-class in the first hal fo the 30th century appeared as a limit to the expansion of capitalism, threatening not only to half accumulation but to destory the system once and for all. The welfare state was a direct result of these struggles, but it was also a way of neutralising this threat.

There’s no doubt that climate change is a limit which presents as many opportunities as dangers to capital. Many are jumping at the chance to take this new limit, this potential crises, and turn it into a new motor for accumulation eg buying and selling rights to emit carbon, carbon credits, carbon offsets, green consumerism, green cars. A capitalist solution to climate change will still look like capitalism. So almost all the current crop of solutions will also work to reinforce existing hierarchies.