Has the Sumac been 'non-intentionally' hijacked?Tagged as: local_communities
Neighbourhoods: fields forest
In the last few years a number of activists/idealists have effectively ‘taken over’ the day to day running of various groups and activities at the forest fields social club, AKA Sumac Centre, a very well established hub of community, grass routes organizing with links around the country to long and well fought campaigns, including climate camps and animal lib projects, vegan campaigns, etc.
This clique, which is really the best word to describe it, numbers around a dozen at its core, with one particular individual (who will certainly remain nameless, as will others and would respect any trolls/commenter to regard that confidentiality) evidently taken up a subtle guru-leadership, effectively creating a very forceful clique in the centre and what can best be described as scaring away potential new comers to the scene and also ‘falling out’ with old school members, discussing the private lives and artistic endeavors of private individuals within their wider circle, (telling people what can and cant be displayed in their own private space) and basically sticking their nose in where it most certainly shouldn’t be, rather like anarcho-cops, if ever such a ghastly entity could exist.
The guru leader of the clique has had numerous complaints about them to many members of the Sumac’s wider community and because of that guru-leaders ‘status’ and influence (most of this has come about because of their own compelling personal history and political stripes earned on demo’s and within campaign groups, etc) there has never been any open self-criticism and analysis of the clique, who seem to hold themselves in the highest of regards when it comes to knowing what is best for the activist/alternative political scene in Notts, which is mostly based around the Sumac, or at least centers around its food kitchen, bar and its connection to housing co-ops in the area and one or two other ‘operations’ within the scene, libraries, print shop, etc.
I personally would not have written this article if, for the umpteenth time in a year, I had not had yet another ‘complaint’ about the ‘elite’, ‘clique’ and ‘gang’ (as they have separately been described) come to me by a member of the wider scene, i.e. Someone who has used Sumac for a number of years and has felt recently that the clique is taking their own status too far and has become the de-facto ‘management committee’ of the forest fields social club without consensus of all of the members or the wider community that use the place.
By operating like this, the ‘elite’ have scared people away by what has been described by witnesses and disaffected members as ‘looking down their nose’ behavior and a political attitude of ‘our politics is more sound than yours, so we’re right and you’re not’ atmosphere.
It is obviously the case that Sumac on the whole is a very anarchic place, it upholds anarchic ideals and that, to me, is fine, although the ‘clique now in charge’ seemed to put down those members and those in the wider community if their own view does not toe the line and when it comes to getting involved in peoples personal life, if someone’s art does not toe a particular line then attempts to censor it will take place.
For anarchists or anti-authoritarians to censor a person within their own community seems absurd, truly, and without defence, particularly when that censorship is of artistic materials, not political materials.
Off the top of my head, perhaps a dozen people have complained to me about the cliquey nature of the ‘clique’ involved in various aspects of the running of the Sumac and unless the attitudes of those people involved are confronted by the wider community as well as by their own self-analysis and critiscism, many people will continue to feel alienated by the very community in which they are supposed to feel the safest.