ArticlesDatacide 10


Parties continue and there are probably more producers than ever thanks to computers and free, easy-to-source software.
Overall I’d say the ‘scene’ in this country has deteriorated as the previously strong links between music and a wider culture of resistance have dissipated.
The numbers involved in ‘free’ parties have diminished and much of the initial energy and enthusiasm for autonomy and freedom has been absorbed by the mainstream and turned into hopeless consumption.
Due to ongoing gentrification and other factors squatting in ‘our culture’ has become less and turned in on itself rather than always seeking contact with an outside.
At the same time it’s important to maintain some perspective and acknowledge that the moment of free parties as a ‘mass’ popular movement has perhaps come and gone, and to concentrate on pushing ideas and expression wherever possible.
Many people other than party heads are squatting in England, housing problems are becoming more acute all the time.
Squatting and living on site has become more difficult, and often uninspiring and distracting, as we step across the puddles of bodies and minds broken by drink and drugs.
Ketamine has found a place as an acceptable (and largely government sanctioned) version of self-destruction and atomisation alongside heroin..
Technology, while making information easier to find and populations easier to control, seems to have resulted in increased solitude at the expense of collective community action.
Many parties have become small-scale capitalist enterprises at their core, a branch of the enter(con)tainment industry and little else.
The content of parties and their aims and directions are undoubtedly the responsibility of everyone who turms up.
A squat/party can be an access point to life outside of control, but this is rarely made explicit.
Admittedly only relatively few crews have pushed the connections between the free spaces where parties exist and a wider current of freedom in everyday life.
We’ve put out zines at our events to give a written background that shows our interests and motivations, to share ideas and inspire others.
When our actions have really worked well, every event has been different, thought-provoking and challenging to ourselves and the active participants (formerly known as punters).
This expression of resistance and self-determined freedom to be found in communications (such as zines and flyers) and in the core of the music now seems more needed than ever.
At the moment I feel there’s mostly no context for the music that relates to individual and collective action to bypass capitalism and attack it at all vulnerable points.
As the noose tightens – over here in recent years there has been a monstrous quantity of legislation designed to take away what freedoms were reluctantly granted by the authorities or hard-won through determined struggle – it’s up to us who make use of and create free spaces and noise as a weapon to find new ways to create and resist.
On the other hand there are more people than ever from a free party and squatting background pursuing sustainability and permaculture (nature based design) projects.
A number of ‘permanent’ social centres have sprung up, run as co-ops by their members, as an antidote to the transience of squats and the subsequent problems of creating long-lasting community spaces to foment revolution.
There are still tree protest sites and direct actions, as with parties overall the numbers of people involved have become less.
The culture of resistance that grew during the 1990s and reached its peak by the end of that decade has moreorless disappeared.
What looked like the beginnings of a broader social movement with links to other movements in other countries has been hammered by State repression, recuperation, bad organisation, class control and sheer lack of interest or time due to the exigencies of everyday existence.
Plateaus of intensity necessarily come and go, the elements and forces that combine to spark them find new forms and places to happen.
London: Since the last Datacide, some sound system crews have disappeared and others appeared, overall there has been more violence and less community vibe at parties (in my experience). There are lots of up and coming music producers, No Fixed Abode while not always being in squats showcased an amazing variety of fine music (including a couple of very well attended parties on the short-lived beach on the River Thames). Rupture (a now monthly party and culture zine) continues, as does Advisory Service for Squatters (a voluntary organisation that helps with all aspects of squatting) and the 56a (Crampton St) Infoshop/food wholesaler. Only a couple of sites/large-scale squats have lasted more than a few months, squatted social centres have been thin on the ground but very welcome when they appear. Reclaim the Future 4 deserves a mention as a large-scale, one day active expression of resistance and free party culture in a very public accessible location, with workshops, vegan cafe and party (including over-the-top attacks by the police and the blocking of Highbury Corner with a hastily requisitioned supermarket articulated lorry); there have been other irregular similar smaller events, and squat cafes and art events – including an excellent Temporary Autonomous Arts last year, and TAA has spread successfully to other cities. Within London old vehicles over 3.5t are no longer welcome due to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), with big daily fines so watch out! The Olympics in 2012 has brought in many more corporations to do business, as a consequence Stratford in East London is being demolished for gentrified money making – a surprising lack of resistance to this.
Terry Ordo

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