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.


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.


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:

2016-02-06 16.28.40 2016-02-06 16.18.36

What is a Resource?



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


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:

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

You can join the Facebook event here:

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-
There will be soup and wine.

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


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

Commoners at Deptford Town Hall

Here you can find an article on the event that Niel wrote for transpontine:


New Cross Commoners warmly invite you to share a meal and a conversation at the town hall chamber during Being Human festival.

On the 14th November Goldsmiths’ historic Deptford Town Hall will host an evening of open reading and discussions on the possibilities of commoning in New Cross, organised around the preparation and eating of food. Bread and spreads will be prepared and eaten by community groups, historians,academics and local people to explore the politics of access, place and eating together.


Event’s Programme:

From 6pm food will be collectively cooked at the Field, at 385 Queens Road, New Cross.

From 8 to 10pm we’ll be in the Deptford Town Hall Council Chamber, New Cross Road, SE14 6NW to eat and discuss.

There would be an open mic round happening during the evening and we invite you to join and participate in the conversation and share your experience of the town hall, local area, food, and the relationship between Goldsmiths and New Cross.

We are also inviting local groups and people to use the event at the end to ask for things and contacts they may need, announce local events and look for help.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Commoning and the politics of food – reading, discussion, action preparation – 19th September

New Cross Commoners, People's Kitchen
The Field New Cross from 6.30 to 8pm
Address: 385 Queens Road, SE14

New Cross Commoners invite to you to join our next reading and discussion session where we will look at the commons and the politics of food, particularly relating to urban spaces, everyday consumption, individual/collective consciousness and the market.

From here, we have an opportunity to look at current community practices at New Cross and present/future events in which we are involved. Especially we would like to talk about Weekly Kitchens at the Field and the preparation to the People’s Kitchen at the Deptford Town Hall in November this year which will coincide with Radical New Cross Festival.

Some ‘food for thought’ here below :

An interview with Silvia Federici on Capitalism, Colonialism, Women and Food Politics:

an article by Paul Hendrich Charting a New Course for Deptford Town Hall:

Please also take note of late Paul Hendrich talk on the history of Deptford Town Hall, slavery ‘and the relationship between Goldsmiths and the local community. The talk was given at the event ‘Migrating University: No Detention, No Deportation, No Borders in Education: Freedom of Movement for All’ held at Goldsmiths in September 2007.

See you all soon!

The commons and the state – reading and discussion 24th August


This month we will be investigating how those fighting for commons within the city can interact with the state – and the pros and cons of such attempts. Can we force the state to recognise our commons? Can we use the state to create commons? There are a few readings but they are all short:

On the Bologna experiment

And Barcelona in Common:

And on the idea of the Partner State:

The session will be at 7pm, on Monday August 24th, at The Field, 385 Queens Road, SE14 5HD

Thoughts after the session

The texts were chosen to create a discussion about how those struggling to create and maintain commons can interact with the state. The two main readings presented somewhat different ideas – working to commonise the state, and working with the existing state to create commons. The discussion was attended by several members of Commons Rising, which added a welcome new perspective to the discussion. I made no record of what we talked about so am instead going to report on what I’ve thought about since.

Any interaction with the state is difficult, for the state contains a lot of conservative and reactionary forces, is to some extent defined by being a channel for those forces. One must be aware of a fine balance: the need to compromise with the state, versus the need to challenge it.

There was some discussion of whether we need a strong culture of our own from which to challenge the state, and whether that exists at the moment. Do we feel ready to take on the state? Many organisations in Spain have clearly felt that they are ready, or at least that it is necessary to enter state insitutions right now. But this does seem to spring from a grassroots far more active than in the UK. Also, the Barcelona en Comu article imagines a beautiful image of intersectional struggles happening through a super democratic political infrastructre – but is a little short on details. It’s not clear how the party/network can enact many of their desires.

Yet at the same time the resources that the state can channel are so large that it is difficult to ignore. To me this is why many people don’t take radical politics seriously in the UK: our organising never becomes a channel for significant resources. So simply doing our own thing has its limitations – in particular it often does not appeal to people who feel that politics should be about controlling the significant resources they need for a good quality of life. We need to change the way we relate to each other, but this cannot ignore the necessities of life.

I mentioned a recent book called Flatpack Democracy, which is about taking power in town councils, against all the parties. There has been a recent phenomenon of coalitions of independents kicking out all the parties in a few towns. This is subversive in that it involves a deliberate abandoning of the party form – these groups have no whip. But at the same time there is little political content to these campaigns, except for making local councils more ‘responsive’.

This lack of confrontation with the status quo is echoed in the Bologna article. I think many of us felt suspicious of it, partly because of all the buzzwords but mostly because it assumes that everyone (businesses, citizens, developers) can work together. But most of us think there are conflicts of interest that are genuine, that cannot be argued away.

So the problem can be stated: how can we commonise some of the resources controlled by the state (changing ourselves in the process), while also confronting the state and the powers it represents? The Barcelona en Comu response is to try to get into power, then restructure the state. There must be other methods to balance the two approaches to the state, but the tensions involved mean we must always be careful: not to become a ‘Big Society’ stooge of the state on the one hand, and on the other, not to alienate people who right now need the state’s support.

The discussion finished with an imaginative exercise about how we would like the world to be. We broke into small groups and imagined some local body or place for co-ordinating infrastructure, common goods etc. What would we want such a body/institution to look like? This exercise got a good response from people, and raised the interesting point that many people in the room wanted a basic income as a pre-condition for organising themselves as they want. There was also much discussion about expertise, and how we might organise work and expertise. This generated much debate and raised as many questions as answers, which suggests it would be a good topic for a future discussion.

Notes written by Jacob, who facilitated the session and also blogs at

New Cross Commoners Reading Group- Ursula Le Guin’s ‘Future Archeologies’

The text for the reading group will be extracts from Ursula K Le Guin’s Always Coming Home – at once a novel, a critical utopia and an ‘archaeology of the future’. With them in mind, we’ll reflect on and map processes of transition: of arrivals, changes and departures in our lives and the places we live and work. What are these transitions, how are they marked, and how do they relate to conditions of precarity in contemporary society? All are welcome!

The session will be at 7pm, on Monday July 13th, at The Field, 385 Queens Road, SE145HD
Main Reading:UKL_AlwaysComingHome_MainReading

Supplementary Reading:UKL_AlwaysComingHome_SuppReading

If you want to read about what we did in the last session on Guattari’s Cartographies (not necessary for this session, but does explain where we’re picking up from) you can read a summary here.

kesh map

Screening of Three Moments a Shout of Cecilia Barriga

The New Cross Commoners would like to invite you to the projection of Three Moments, A Shout by Cecilia Barriga (2013) on Wednesday the 3rd of June 7pm at The Field 385 Queens Road, SE14 5HD.

The film brings together three moments of indignation. In Madrid, “Taking Over The Square” in La Puerta de Sol, with the shouts of “No, they don’t, they don’t represent us, No!. In New York “Occupy Wall Street”, with the chant, “We are the 99%”, and in Santiago de Chile, “Taking Over The Schools”, the students, after occupying the schools for over seven months, give them back to the authorities, shouting, “Chilean Education must not be sold, but defended”.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker Elisa Fonta, a collaborator of Cecilia Barriga and active participant in the 15M movement.


new cross commoners reading 25.05.15 – Guattari’s cartographies (and New Cross)

Come to a nxc reading next monday 25.05.15 at The Field, from 7 to 9pm

We will read Brian Holmes’ “Guattari’s Schizoanalytic Cartographies”

The text is long and dense, we’ll focus on the last sections “The Fourfold” and “Start Again” where Holmes explains Guattari’s diagram. We will re-draw the diagram and try to make use of it to map the “chaos” and complexity of New Cross, The Field, the new cross commoners, starting from our knowledge and experience of the neighbourhood.