Five years ago, on May 29 2009, a group of a few hundred people occupied a disused factory near the Lachine canal. Together, they hoped to reclaim this space and transform it into an Autonomous Social Centre, a building that would represent the community spirit of Pointe Saint Charles. Pointes Saint Charles is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the borough of Le Sud Ouest in Montreal. Today, it is one of the most affected areas by gentrification in the city.
An Autonomous Social Centre is different from a community centre in that it is completely separate from the state; a space created and sustained by the people, for the people. This is exactly what activists celebrated at the end of May, when they held a picnic on the banks of the Lachine Canal. We were there to talk to a few participants who have been involved since day 1, and understand their motivations.
For more information, visit lapointelibertaire.org and centresocialautogere.org