Autonomy vs Institutionalisation

Nataša Serec

For the alternative places to remain really alternative for as long as possible, it`s important they come from the grassroots. From my experience here in Metelkova in Ljubljana I know it`s an organic, easy, natural development, it`s like when a child is growing up. The whole process, from where we were in the beginning and where we are now 17 years later, was quite slow, but I think it went naturally like that. We were just on our own, without anybody above us, without any strong hierarchic, official structure. Most of us were acting by heart. We thought it`s good and we learned a lot about ourselves here. It was not that somebody really professional would come and help us with e.g. the sound or something. We`ve grown together with the place and we helped the place to grow together with us. There’s a catch in sight now, the process of legalization I talked about earlier. Legalization means of course that we will have to pay taxes, so we’ll have less money to invest into the programme. It can also bring a more commercial programme – and this is something I`m really afraid of. 

I am very interested in developing the internal economy of Metelkova, because we have so many possibilities and they are not all used yet. For example, we can earn money from recycling. Further, a proportion of the profit the youth hostel based here makes can be invested into maintaining the green spaces here, or similar. Further, we always need to feed the bands that play here and put them up somewhere, so why not cater for all this inside the centre to save money, to be more self-sufficient in economical terms, and not so dependent on the city and the government. They support us now, but who knows what will be in four years’ time when governments change. This is what I see as our greatest problem at the moment – that we`re not so conscious about the direction we’re taking, we’re just somehow going in this direction. We say \\\\\\\"we are autonomous\\\\\\\" – and of course compared to many other legal places we are, but still, we are not all that autonomous – what would we do without all the subsidies, for example? 

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Nataša Serec

Nataša Serec

President of the Association KUD Mreža in Ljubljana, Slovenia

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