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(en) Britain, Bristol, ABOUT KEBELE - the anarchist social center

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 23 Oct 2004 13:42:03 +0200 (CEST)

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The Kebele Kulture Projekt is based in Easton, Bristol and for six years [already 9]
it has provided a space for the development of radical community politics
and international solidarity. This leaflet is in response to the often-asked
question: ?What?s that Kebele place all about??
What "Kebele" actually means
Kebele means ?community place? in Ahmaric, an Ethiopian language. The term is
used to refer to the community groups in Ethiopia which organise around issues
and needs like justice, education, community decisions, health, etc.
The Rastafarians who took part in the revolution in Grenada in 1979 also
used the term ?Kebele? to refer to the community centres in each
neighbourhood where ? at least in theory ? the revolution was based.
The revolution in Grenada was defeated in 1983 when the USA invaded
this tiny island.

What Kebele Kulture Project is about

Kebele is based on anarchist principles of opposing authority and
organising collectively. Our opposition to authority means that we are
non-hierarchical. We operate through assemblies, in which we discuss
and decide on matters relating to the space. Those involved with the
Project embrace equality by accepting equal responsibility for the space,
and by co-operating to fulfill these responsibilities.

Kebele?s opposition to authority extends outside our collective: a
commitment to oppose all authority is always implicit in any organising
that we do against the capitalist system. We believe that the capitalist
system not only must be fought, but that it must be replaced by a
non-hierarchical alternative. We believe that the imposition of power and
control which constitutes authority in human society is also the basis of
the system of privilege that constitutes capitalism. We believe capitalism
is the root of human, environmental and animal oppression.

Kebele attempts to empower people and to demonstrate of the potential
we have as individuals when we come together in collective organisations
without hierarchies and rulers. Kebele refuses to take part in the capitalist
system?s games and tricks, which are all dedicated to the common
purpose of profit. Kebele acts for the collective and the community. In
this way we hope to lay the foundations for the respect, trust and
generosity needed to eliminate dependency and oppression in our society.
Kebele believes in co-operation as a way of exchanging resources, energy
and products instead of money.

Kebele believes in self-funding as a way of being independent. We refuse
charity and funding from institutions ? or multinationals ? because
their aims are to manipulate us into feeling grateful to them, and help to
justify their own policies which do not necessarily fit in with our ideals.
The funding of charities is something that only happens in the West
because resources have been stolen through economic imperialism from
somewhere else.

The History of Kebele

Kebele was born in September 1995 when the building where the
collective is based was squatted by people looking for housing. But
residents and their friends who were in need of space for political and
community organising soon discovered that space had other possibilities.

In December 1995 the first community activity happened in the space that
is now Kebele: on the anniversary of the execution of martyred Nigerian
activist Ken Saro Wiowa, who was assassinated by Shell Oil in
collaboration with the Nigerian state, we hosted a visit of a Nigerian
Ogoni representative, along with a video showing and food service.

After this, meetings were organised and anarchists from a wide range got
together to discuss the possibilities and responsibilities associated with
using the building as a community space.

Kebele ? Food, Fun and Revolt

The Caf?, which has become one of the main activities, soon started up
with little resources and equipment but with great enthusiasm. It quickly
became established and expanded to serving two days a week: Thursdays
and Sundays. The caf? has been

a thriving experience of collective cooking and spontaneous popular
music. All this was and continues to be done through peoples?
contribution of time and energy.

From the beginning we faced the problem of money: our simultaneous
opposition to it as an indispensable part of this capitalist oppressive
system, at the same time that we needed it to fund our activities and
projects. We also wanted to promote vegan food but make it affordable in
order not to be elitist. We worked out the way: donations. Donations have
made Kebele sustainable, as generally we?ve managed to get back
money spent on food, plus some extra money for bills, etc.

A women's cafe took place for a while and is currently in the process
of being re-established in order to create an autonomous space where
women can meet together and organise independently.

At the first threat of eviction we started searching for funding and
organised fundraising events. This became a regular activity in support of
other campaigns, and we have now built up a network of DJs and sound
systems, providing music and club caf?s for benefits in Bristol and
beyond. Kebele has also provided catering at political festivals and

Kebele's premises have been used by other collectives, and as well as
our meetings there have been SCRAPITT?s meetings, the Animal
Rights Network, Reclaim the Streets, Palestinian Solidarity Group, Bristol
Free Mumia Group, Bristol Prisoners Support Group, Bristle magazine,
Earth Circus Network, West Country Activist network... it's a long list.

Many groups have used the premises for occasional meetings, including
the Hunt Saboteurs, Anarchist Black Cross, Undercurrents, I-Contact,
Association of Travellers, the Land is Ours, Bristol Chiapas Group, South
West Solidarity Federation, Bristol Anti-Fascist Action, etc.

kebele diary

Cafe (vegan/ donations)
Thursday 6-11pm
Sundays 6-11pm

Bike workshop (donations/DIY)
Wednesdays 12-5pm

Allotment: Fridays 2pm till...


-Kebele KP:8pm Monday fortnightly (from 25th June on)

-Bristle; depending dead-lines, etc. bristle@network.com

-Bristol Animal Rights Group
First Wedns. of the month 8pm

-Bristol Palestinian Solidarity Campaign:First Wedns. of the month 8pm

Kebele closed for the rest of the summer
Discuss this article...
Submitted by martin on 2004-07-08 14:07:23
Kebele cafe will be closed from July 5 until August 25. in the meantime
the bike workshop and some one-off activities (video projections) will
continue if it doesn`t clash with building work.

The building which hosts Kebele project was built in 1895. Kebele has
been there for 8 years and a half and it was squatted for another six
months. We don`t know what work was done in the past, but we can say
that the building has reach a bit of critical state with walls and window
frames leaking water in and ceilings being in serious state (very old

Because of this, the Kebele collective decided to focus in the maintenance
of the building, something which is an ongoing activity for us, but which
now needs serious consideration specially before next winter.

Once again, Kebele showed an excellent response to tackle these
problems and even greater to tackle the jobs: a dozen of people volunteer
to contribute with their time and skills to the work. Once again, this will
be done collectively according to anarchist principles of co-operation and
collectiveness. The work will take place on the week of the 12th July from
10 am onwards.

A scaffolding tower is to be in place and the external walls will be
repointed and the window frames replaced (we`ll check possibilities of
changing windows too if we can afford it). The ceilings of some rooms
will be replaced with plaster board (ceilings in hallway landing have
already been replaced). And this requires the usual moving of things,
tyiding up, painting, etc.

If you have any of the above skills or want to help come along on those

If you want to get involved with Kebele in any other way, contact us on
Ffi: www.kebele.org

Text from Avon CDA new co-op guide
(errors: cafes no happening on Thursdays any more – closed for the
The allotment is not happening any longer)

Kebele is a housing co-operative set up after much hard work and help
from expected quarters such as Avon CDA and unexpected quarters such
as Chumbawamba.
Vegan Café: Thursdays and Sunday evenings. A Café offering fine
vegan fare for donations, righteous good food for the palate and the
wallet, with stimulating conversation guaranteed. Not an intensively
farmed product in sight. Beverages include a range of teas, coffees and
herb teas. The café is often found accompanying club nights and
benefit gigs.
Bike Workshop: Open to all every Wednesday. Bike repair and
maintenance workshops that range in price from very cheap to free.
Handy hints on bike making, access to parts etc. Skilled hands promoting
sustainable transport that 3,000 of the world`s top scientists at Kyoto and
The Hague and unstable weather conditions are crying out for people to
endorse. Library containig classic polemic literature, regularly updated.
Allotments: Kebele runs local allotments producing organic food and runs
regular workdays. Contact for further details
Contact: 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Birstol, BS5 6JY; Tel: 0117 939
9469; email: info@kebele.org- A HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE

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