Both social centres under threat

= Hi and welcome to the joint Rampart & Bowl Court Social Centre newsletter for 20th May 2008 =

As you can see from the opening sentence we have finally decided on a name for our new space in Shoreditch. There’s even a specific contact email address and website!

But now for some surprising bad news.. shortly after settling on a name for the place it is then under threat. Bowl Court was visited by the owners, Hammerson plc, at the weekend and they told us to leave the building or they will start legal action against us. As you can imagine this is pretty disappointing for us but isn’t seen as the end just yet.

And not only that, but now the Rampart building itself has two planning applications on it and we need people to write objection letters to further delay the ending of it. You don’t want to see it go really do you?!
Planning permission for the part demolition of the row of houses has been already been granted, so we are now the last in the line.

We have an example letter below if you do not have the time to write your own, though if you are able, it would really help us if you could write your own individual letters. See the main objections list for the key points. Deadline for objections is currently Wednesday 28th May. Thanks a bunch!


London Borough of Tower Hamlets
15-17 Rampart Street, London, E1 2LA
Objection to Application No: PA/08/00813 and No: PA/08/00814

(Specify if you are local resident or a user of the building)

Please find enclosed with this letter my objections to the above planning applications.

Main Objections :
– Loss of character with the demolition of the pitched roof.
– No affordable units or family units
– Poor accessibility
– Loss of community / social functions with the residential conversion
– Inaccuracies and false statement in the marketing report
– What is the community gain / section 106 agreement of this project ?

At present the Rampart is occupied by a “Public Social Centre”, residential spaces, small offices and workshops, a video room, an art gallery, a cafe’, a music-concert space and a rehearsal studio.
The conversion into flats will empoverish and limit the current mixed-use character of the building.

All the proposed flats in the planning application are small units (max 2bed). In an area where family houses are crucial to the community, this proposal would be able to contribute only to the buy-to-let market sector. It would be limited and economically unsound.

There is not provision of socially rented affordable housing.

The flats are not designed according to Life Time Homes standards, therefore they don’t provide enough flexibility to future generations (in particular the elderly). The overall accessibility to this proposed project is very poor.

The ground floor of Rampart is a perfect example of multi-functional space. This space could be very important for the future of the community as it has been over the past years: From supporting bengali women groups meeting to local musicians and artists.

The marketing report indicates that the only solution is the conversion of the building into residential units. What it fails to say is that Rampart has been actively used for the past years and this underlines the necessity, in London, of small and flexible business, workshop, office and art and community space.
We want to see at least the ground floor of the building retained as a community asset.

What are the community gains from this project? What is proposed in the section 106 agreement?

Please consider this objection in the process of deciding the future of this building.

Kind Regards,

<< End of letter >>

Don’t forget the collective meets every monday at 7pm. You will find Bowl Court off Plough Yard which is next to the Drunken Monkey at the junction of Shoreditch Hight St and Great Eastern Street.

And now on with our usual routine:

[[ Upcoming Events at Rampart and Bowl Court Social Centre ]]


-=: Vancover Anti Poverty Committee Fight the Olympics: Public Talk :=-

Action Eastend and London Coalition Against Poverty (LCP) are organising a joint public meeting for a Canadian comrade involved in the Anti Poverty Committee in Canada and anti-olympic solidarity there, she is going to be in London on the Wednesday 21st May and is going to introduce the ‘Five Ring Circus’ film about the travesty of the 2010 Winter Olympics and is willing to discuss and answer any questions people have.
Please feel welcome to attend and please distribute as widely as possible.



Thursday 22nd from 7pm onwards people will be coming together at Bowl Court Social Centre to discuss the concept of a free skool and how this could be put into practice within the space. So, this is a call for people who want to share knowledge and skills to come and get involved.

Through the institutionalisation of education, knowledge is taken out of the hands of the masses. A free skool aims to reclaim that education for all through sharing theoretical and practical knowledge. This can involve anything from a one off workshop on building a bicycle powered washing machine to individuals with shared interests meeting on a regular basis.

Come along to bowl court social centre (6 Bowl Court, off Plough Yard, next to the Great Eastern street/Shoreditch High street junction) at 7pm on Thursday if you are interested. If you cant make it but would like to get involved email us at


-=: City of the Sun, art exhibition :=-

@Bowl Court

With London as the theme, the works depict some of the many possible ways to live this city from different points of view that usually are not represented by the mainstream. “Many of us came here not long ago from other countries. What are we looking for? What sort of dreams are we trying to make real? Why have we left our ”cities of sun” behind?

As foreigners we usually keep strong links with our countries of origin. As a consequence we look at London without forgetting what is happening simultaneously in other parts of the world and with a special attention for what is different from what we were used to, back home. Is the urban space meeting the needs of its inhabitants?

Our artworks are our way to deal with the many dysfunctional elements of this city and with the extreme sense of alienation that we often experience in the disorientating geography of London.

* Friday 6pm -12 opening, drinks and djs
* Sat 1pm – 12 with live music from 6pm
* Sun 1pm – 12 sound performance and video


-=: KKR Private Equity campaign meeting :=-

We are planning a campaign against Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co.(KKR), a private equity firm which ‘flips’ companies. KKR buys companies, strips their assets, puts them into debt, lays off workers and outsources jobs, and then sells them for a huge profit. The result is that KKR makes these companies tax exempt and engages in some very bad labour and environmental practices, for which it takes no responsibility.

The goal of the campaign is to do some education and creative activism, so that people know more about KKR, private equity firms and the damage they cause. We are preparing for both an international day of action (KKR has headquarters in several countries) and an ongoing campaign.

If you’re interested in getting involved, you are welcome to join us at our meeting.

About private equity:

Will Private Equity Help Banks Out of Toxic Mess?

Behind the Buyouts: Concerns Growing over Private Equity Buyouts’
Impact on Students, Workers, the Environment

WEDNESDAY 28 MAY, 7.30 pm

-=: Dos Americas and Down But Not Out film screenings :=-

Screening of Dos Americas and Down But Not Out by Upheaval Productions followed by a talk with one of the film-makers

Post-Katrina reconstruction is still in progress throughout the Gulf Coast, with much of the city of New Orleans still in ruins. Dos Americas: The Reconstruction of New Orleans focuses on those rebuilding this city through interviews with some of the estimated 100,000 Latino migrant laborers who have converged in this area over the past two and a half years.

Despite terrible working conditions, massive fraud, a housing crisis, severe harassment by law enforcement, and very limited resources, New Orleans’ Latino-community has mushroomed since the storm and is establishing an infrastructure proportional to its size. Take a look at how this community is organizing to defend itself against numerous injustices and the attempts to bridge the gap between themselves as new residents and the pre-Katrina
population, all within the context of the extremely unique and tragic context of post-Katrina New Orleans. Trailer:

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina attacked the Gulf Coast of the United States. A Category-5 hurricane, Katrina destroyed entire towns and left a trail of destruction in her wake. But the impact was magnified by city, state, and federal government negligence, and in no city was there a better example of the government’s failure than in New Orleans, where thousands were killed—both by water and bullets—and hundreds of thousands were left behind to save themselves. In early August 2006, almost one year after the disaster, survivors sit down and talk about their experiences of fighting for survival in the days following Katrina, and how their lives have progressed since returning to New Orleans.

Providing accounts of living in a city whose populace has largely been forgotten, the survivors give a stinging description of a slow reconstruction process that is ignoring the human cost of rebuilding. Down But Not Out shows the people directly affected by the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, and lets those who experienced it tell the stories themselves.

FRIDAY 30 May, 6pm

-=: Radical Theory Reading Group :=-

The readings for the next meeting are both by RD Laing: Ch 1 of The Divided Self (’The Existential-Phenomenological Foundations for a Science of Persons’) and Ch 1 of The Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise (’Persons and Experience’).

Downloads here:


-=: Pre-meeting for anti-capitalist feminist event :=-

Feminist Fightback, Feminist Activist Forum, Left Women’s network and others will be meeting to discuss holding an anti-capitalist feminist event in the autumn. This is our first meeting, agenda is entirely open, all welcome. For more info contact or 07890 209479.

SATURDAY 31 MAY from 9pm till 2am

-=: Music and Lights, Riseup & A.S.S. fundraiser :=-

Music and Lights Benefit on the 31st May is a joint benefit party for [who provide valuable web space and email/list services for activist groups Advisory Service for Squatters []

Music and Lights Saturday 31st May @ Bowl Court Squat, Plough Yard, Near Drunken Monkey off Shoreditch High Street

The Music and Lights Crew are staging a funky night of electro,reggae, funk and eclectic tunes.
Two bands of super quality:
Captain Strange – Funk-ska with a ghoulish edge.
The Juliets – Electro indie to please the dance floor

Djs: Steene, Catnip and CNTRST playing party tunes from afro,hip-hop to dnb Grand Union Crescent come back with their positive reggae vibes and dubstep Visual treats from Raul, Skiprat and slides from Mighty-I & further guests tbc

In between all this there’ll be a puppet performance and food. See you there

£4 suggested donation

Callout for helpers on the night. People to help out with door, bar, food, and decor always appreciated. Anyone with a car/van to help transport the PA on the Sat and then Sun/Monday
also would be helpful. Should be a fun night!


-=: rampART’s 4th birthday :=-
Anniversary celebration spectacular

Our favourite community creative centre and social space, the rampART is – despite threats from all sides – still alive. Therefore we want it’s 4th birthday anniversary to be a gorgeous celebration spectacular on the 6th of june. doors open at 7:30pm.

We will have an open house presenting the rampART at it’s best:
– with fabulous films and footage, snippets and slideshows from 4 years rampART
– poetic social- political rants and spoken word performers
– fantastic cabaret and cabaretesque accoustic music
– jam session and live music of rampART’s most loved bands
– dressing up, face painting, arty- crafty creativities
– tea bar, vegan food and drink

Everything is by suggested donations:
All proceeds for the socialcentre seed fund. This is meant to spawn new social centres and help them to get started. There will be more info on the event.

Don’t miss it! It will be the last one… :'(

If you want to help out with the organising, or have an idea for an activity that should be part of the celebrations then email us at

[[ Events elsewhere ]]



@ Passing Clouds, on Richmond Rd, just off Kingsland road in Dalston, 10 mins from Dalston Kingsland Station. Buses: 149, 242, 243, 67.

Free or donation entry to talk

– Films and speakers upstairs from 7pm

Juan Haro, a speaker from the Movement for Justice in El Barrio will talk in Dalston, London about their struggle against displacement by gentrification in Harlem, New York city.

Dalston, like many other parts of London is undergoing development that will mean rent rises for tenants already struggling to pay extortionate London rents. When an area becomes appealing for investors and “regeneration” it’s those people with money who end up enjoying the new housing, expensive cafes and shops, and the people with less money who end up having to move further away from the centre of the city or who, if they stay, lose the shops, cafes and resources they rely on.

Movement for Justice, the organization of tenants in Harlem, New York that have been struggling against the landlords that want to price them out of their area say;

“This displacement is created by the greed, ambition and violence of a global empire of money that seeks to take total control of all the land, labor and life on earth. Here in El Barrio (East Harlem, New York City), landlords, multi-national corporations and local, state and federal politicians and institutions want to force upon us their culture of money, they want to displace poor families and rent their apartments to rich people, white people with money. They want to change the look of our neighborhood, with the excuse of “developing the community.”

The talk will explore issues around resisting gentrification and the model of organization that Movement for Justice have used to work with each other – an inspiring and educational example from across the Atlantic that we could learn from in London.

“Together, we make our dignity resistance and we fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who are displacing poor families from our neighborhood. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against local politicians that refuse to govern by obeying the will of the people. We fight back against the government institutions that enforce a global economic, social and political system that
seeks to destroy humanity.”

Talk organized by Hackney Solidarity Network, Hackney Independent, Haringey Solidarity Group and London Coalition Against Poverty.


– Movimientos hosts the music downstairs from 9pm

Live music from Kogui
“Rhythms, dances and melodies from the Caribbean coast of Colombia”

Sounds of Tambores, voices, flutes and guitars that have been passed down through the generations, keeping the roots in a mixture of African, Indigenous Indian and European influences
+ Tropical rhythms from Mexican maestro DJ Señor Priego (Movimientos)
+ Original Latin Funk and Boogaloo from Venezuelan crew Le Pico

Entry £5 / free before 9

Passing Clouds
Richmond Rd, just off Kingsland road in Dalston, near Dalston Kingsland Station



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