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From "kebele K.P." <kebele@marsbard.com>
Date Wed, 5 Sep 2001 05:52:11 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

What “Kebele” mean ?

Kebele means ‘community place’ in Ahmaric.

The Rastafarians who took part in the revolution in Grenada in 1979 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.

The term “Kebele” is also used to refer to the community
groups in Ethiopia which organize around issues and
needs like justice, education, community decisions,
health, etc.

What Kebele Kulture Project is about

Kebele is based on anarchist principles of opposing authority and organizing
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 responsiblities.

Kebele’s opposition to authority extends outside our collective: a commitment
to oppose all authority is always implicit in any organizing 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 organizations 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 necessairly 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
comrades who were in need of space for political and community organizing
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 organized and anarchists from a wide range got
together to discuss the possiblities and responsibilities associated with using
the building as a community space.

Kebele Café – Food, Fun and Revolt!

The Café, which became one of the main activities, started soon with little
resources and equipment but with great enthusiasm. It became known and
established, and soon expanded to serving on 2 day of the week: Thursdays
and Sundays. Due to Kebele’s idiosyncrasy it has had better and worse times,
being a thriving experience of collective cooking and spontaneous popular
music, which is also inclusive of diverse ages and ethnicities. The kitchen
was moved into another room to improve storage and access. All this was and
is done by peoples’ contribution. >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. On the other hand we wanted to promote vegan food
but also make it affordable in order not to be elitist. We worked out the way:
donations. Donations have been the way Kebele has been sustainable since
getting back what was spent for the meal plus some extra money for bills, etc.

A women’s café happened for a period and is in the process of restarting as a
way of creating a space where women can meet together and be more
comfortable in Kebele –because being open to the general public doesn’t
always guarantee an atmosphere where everyone feels totally comfortable.

Kebele’s premises have been utilized by other
collectives, and as well as our meetings there were
SCRAPITT’s meetings, the animal right network,
Reclaim the Streets, Palestinian solidarity group, Bristol
Free Mumia Group, Bristol Prisoners Support Group,
Bristle magazine, Earth Circus Network,

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 AFA, etc.

The existence of the Café also led into us doing some
catering and running outdoor cafes. Kebele has taken its
cuisine out and about and offered it at other events and
to help other collectives—including the Brian Roberson
campaign, Permaculture Convention, The Land is Ours,
etc. This also led to Kebele catering at festivals and
taking part in large events, as well as organizing our
own gigs and fund-raisers.

The Bike Workshop

In order to encourage alternatives to the existing social system, Kebele
encouarges the use of the bicycle as a transport alternative to car-culture. A
bike workshop takes place in Kebele every week, offering cheap maintenance
and skill sharing, in order to help guarantee more bikes on the road. The
workshop takes place every Wednesday with a core of 2 to 3 people helping
out. The bike mechanics follow Kebele’s principle of no-individual-profit,
investing in spares, equipment and tools. It’s a rewarding service to the
community run through members’ contribution.

Kebele Radical Library

The Kebele library was started from scratch, beginning with the need of
spreading information and ideas and the possibilities of sharing this instead of
turning it an individual patrimony. It has grown rapidly through individuals
contributing to the collective. Come by and check out our overflowing shelves
of mind- broadening books!

Kebele Kulture Projekt 14
Robertson Rd, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6JY 0117 9399469
www.marsbard.com/kebele www.bristle.co.uk

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