Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News and Other Busyness

Exodus In Zurich

Squall 14, Autumn 1996, pg. 11.

EXODUS, movement of Jah people. Sixty of them in fact, plus sound system, crammed into a small convoy headed for Zurich, Switzerland in September. Hosts of the one-week event were arts and cultural centre Rote Fabrik, a large red brick complex located on the banks of Lake Zurich.

Rote Fabrik began life as a squatted derelict factory in the 1980s until the Government decided to fund its renovation to the tune of £8 million and the promise of a hefty annual subsidy. Rote Fabrik organisers had visited the Exodus Collective in Luton and invited them over to Switzerland in recognition of their unique contribution to the debate on land rights, civil liberties, and lifestyle.

During the week Exodus broadcast on independent Radio Lora; hosted a screening of Mark Saunders’ film Exodus Movement of Jah People; appeared on Swiss TV; and featured in numerous publications.

By the end of the week few people could have escaped the knowledge that Exodus were in town and the resulting free party was packed out with enthusiastic Swiss still dancing when the sun rose majestically over the lake the following morning.

‘Exodus are not about the freedom to party but the freedom to live’. This freedom can only exist with financial independence and Exodus recognised that Rote Fabrik lost its autonomy the day it accepted state funding. Exodus plan to be entirely self-sufficient and are a long way towards to fulfilling that aim. As a result they have suffered repeated persecution from ‘the authorities’. Just before they left Zurich news came through on the telephone that once again they were on the receiving end of what appears to be a persistent campaign. This time 60 Police Officers had raided their farm and removed a bag of sugar and a bag of coffee whitener for analysis.