soma, an anarchist therapy

On saturday the 7th of May we organise at the Field a workshop of Soma, an anarchist therapy. We would like to keep the number of participants around 15, if you are interested in joining please send an email to the New Cross Commoners.

Soma is a libertarian group experience using playful games to develop collaboration. Created in Brazil as an anarchist therapy by Roberto Freire, Soma is a space for social experimentation despite capitalist formulas of life. it brings out the micro-political through our bodies’ response to certain physical exercises, to challenge the authoritarian or submissive behaviour that we discover in our daily lives. Soma encourages perception of how this behaviours reproduces political systems and aims to extend this awareness to other areas of our lives, to challenge hierarchy and social injustice.

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Job de-centre at The Field, Friday 19.02.16 from 18.30 to 20.30

The job de-centre is a space to counter the job centre and its culture of work, exploitation and control, with a practice of mutual support developed through the re-appropriation of marginal knowledges and techniques of care. Let’s de-centre our lives from work, let’s collectivise pleasure and care, away from monetized and professionalised relationships!

Next Friday we will possibly look at a questionnaire to map our desires, knowledge and know-hows. But we could also do something else, or nothing at all.

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job de-centre at the Field

on Saturday 6th of February 2016 2.30-5.30

Hey friends, commoners, newcrossers… are you working too much, or not enough to pay the bills? Do you spend long hours in front of the computer to look for work, keep yourself active in the job market, dealing with benefits bureaucracy? Do you feel anxious because you don’t know how long your job is going to last, when the flat where you live will be sold or the rent increase once again? Or how long your relationships with friends, partners and lovers will go on for? So do we!!

The job de-centre is an experiment to help us work less and learn how to rely less on money and more on each other. It functions like an indefinitely repeated drop in session, a mutual coaching, a mentorship where everybody can be the expert: people bring together their skills to heal each other from individualism, consumerism, competition and all the other illnesses capitalism brings with it, and to give mutual advice on how to counter precarity and collectivise care and local resources.

We are building a job de-centering practice and putting together a toolkit that will help us de-centralise our lives from work and the alienation and exploitation that come with it. These are some of the tools we got so far: mapping-skills database, fake therapy / political therapy, de-individualising diagrams and questionnaires, permaculture cards, Soma games and Theatre of the Oppressed exercises, third leg analysis, non-violent communication techniques… Come to try out this stuff and help making the toolkit bigger. And help us building a database of knowledge and desires, so that we can try to activate them in connection with what happens at the Field and in New Cross.

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Some notes and pictures of the day:

body work: My hand touches my knee but it’s also the other way round my knee touches my hand. To learn to pay attention to our bodies whilst working. we rarely do that, when we work our body is subjected to its optimisation, it becomes functional to work. To move from your body accepting working conditions to your body resisting working conditions. To develop body awareness not in order to accept but to resist oppression and exploitation.

non violent communication: To gain clarity on our needs and on other people’s needs. To learn how to express needs. Emotions are neither good nor bad in themselves. The strategies to get what we need are different, some are good some are bad, violent strategies are bad, co-operative strategies are good. Rebellion as not being in control? To develop a different kind of rebellion? Civil disobedience.

permaculture cards: the group used a case of conflict of values someone got involved with at work and picked a permaculture card to reflect on it: “catch and store energy” helped people to rethink the conflict in different terms, through a reading of energy exchanges. After this reading the group did an exercise in writing complaints about work + discussion. Complaints as elegy, as lamentation.

poetry group:

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What is a Resource?

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What do we mean when we talk about resources in the context of commoning?

How do commoning practices imply a reframing of the notion of resources that moves beyond the narrow limits of reductive economism?

Can thinking in terms of resources distort commoning practices through the lens of capitalistic economic efficiency?

You are all invited to join us on Saturday 28th November 2015 at 3:30pm to think about some of these questions and more. The session will take place in the Common Company Cafe at The Field, 385 Queens Road

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The session will discuss how we can think about resources in the context of commoning. The aim will be to explore how commoning practices problematize, expand and move beyond more traditional conceptions of resources and their efficient management and organization.

We will examine on Gustavo Esteva’s text ‘Commoning in the new society’ in which he argues that commons are not resources and to treat them as such remains trapped within the capitalist paradigm of effective resource management.

The sections we will focus on are: “Is it the economy, stupid?” (p. i147-9), the list of the different forms of ‘social commons’ (p. i155-56), and the conclusion (i156-8).

The text is available here: http://cdj.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/suppl_1/i144.full.pdf+html

The session will take place during the Common Company Café at The Field, 385 Queen’s Road, New Cross, SE14 5HD.
www.thefieldnx.com

You can join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1522635934725420/

New Cross Commoners will host a public meeting at The Field, 385 Queens rd, about Nunhead Reservoir- bringing together many people who have a connection to the place- to share memories of a local green space which has been perceived as a common for many years.

Nunhead Reservoir was built by the Southwark and Vauxhall Water Company in 1855 and is now, since the London’s waterworks were privatised in 1989, owned and run by Thames Water PLC. Despite access being prohibited people have been going to spend time there, almost as if it were a public park, or a common, for many years. People would go up there to socialise, eating and drinking, barbecuing, – a major draw was the view- best in South London many people say. (I would agree)

In December 2014 a larger fence was erected inside the parameters of the original. It was at first still easy for people to get in- somebody had cut the spiral razor wire at the top and placed some rags over the top which could be climbed over. But now they’ve increased security- there are guard dogs patrolling and a security guard.

Thames Water probably have valid reasons for doing this. But some locals are understandably upset that what by now is perceived as a common has been so suddenly taken away. There hasn’t, as far as I can tell, been any dialogue between Thames Water and Nunhead locals, so nobody is completely sure of the exact reasons for the new fence. The only new signs are to tell people that guard dogs patrol the area. There is no notice explaining why, even though Thames Water know that people regularly used to spend time there- that’s why they’ve built the new fence after all.

The reservoir is an example of a space which until its recent increased securitization has been paradoxically liminal in terms of its private/ public status.  It’s been used as if it were public, and yet its private status has allowed it to be outside of state control- free from the ‘city officials’ who might also try to control it. Wide open space in this way is always in demand, and yet it being above a reservoir it is at least protected from being bought and developed on as expensive flats. Because of these two powers- the state and the market (in the form of Thames Water) turning a blind eye, many different activities have been allowed to happen at the site, from graffiti and taking drugs to yoga classes and dog walking. The fact these activities are both legal and illegal/perceived as anti-social is indicative of its status as an informal space- there was little police presence (unless they are specifically called there) and no surveillance. One twitter post described going to the reservoir and seeing kids burning a chair. Where else around here could kids burn a chair without being swiftly moved on, or arrested?

For me the (re-) enclosure of Nunhead reservoir represents many different struggles over the commons. For example, privatisation of water- Thames Water make vast profits out of our human need for clean drinking water- and is particularly bad at paying corporation tax. Secondly, privatisation of land- gated communities, council housing sell-offs and demolitions (see Aylesbury Estate) and the trend for private-public spaces such as Canary Wharf, Paternoster square etc can only lead to private-private spaces. There are many other things the reservoir symbolises – you can read more  in my essay I’ve attached to this post.  This is by no means required reading for the session- just a bit of background info in case you’re interested.

The meeting we’re holding does not have a set agenda. It will simply be a chance for all those who have a connection to the reservoir to meet each other, share memories, connect over a common cause and popular local space. I hope many people who love the reservoir will come, but also those who maybe live near it and are glad it has been fenced off for good for whatever reason. I am interested in how a space such as this polarises people as well as brings them together. I have posted flyers around the area so I hope there will be a mixture of people. We will see what happens through this meeting and go forward from there.

Meeting held at The Field, 385 Queens Rd, New Cross, SE145HD-
22/11/15
7pm
There will be soup and wine.

The Problem with Nunhead Reservoir; Trespassing on a Heterotopic Space of Resistance by Rosanna Thompson

NUNHEAD RESERVOIR PUBLIC DISCUSSION (1)

This post is by Rosie, and the meeting will be facilitated by Rosie and other New Cross Commoners