The Autonomous Centre is an open campaign space providing resources and solidarity so that people can take control of their own struggle and define their own priorities, for example we provide facilities to groups like Edinburgh Claimants who provide benefits advice and solidarity. We make available resources such as computer access, and books, leaflets and magazines for sale, for free or on loan from our library on a range of issues.

We take action ourselves rather than rely on politicians or other leaders, and without creating a hierarchy within our own group so that everybody participates on an equal level. So people can do this we try to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary by organising talks, video evenings and having a discussion group on issues including racism, feminism, safety at the workplace, and the media. We have social nights to raise funds and to allow people to meet on a more informal level.


The Centre tries to develop links to other groups, such as Refugees Welcome Here, and the Gartocher Residents in Glasgow who are trying to stop a landfill site being built in their residential area, and supports international anti-capitalist actions (for example during the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle, USA) and other movements such as Gay Liberation. We support people taking control of our communities by concerning ourselves with issues such as housing and road safety and the environment (including involvement in an anti-GM crops action).

We support struggles in the workplace - for example by supporting the posties and MacDonald's workers - and those being forced in to the work place - with Edinburgh Claimants. We have also been involved in struggles against authoritarian schools with Angry Youth. ACE as a mixed collective has given solidarity and space to women's activity. Women interested in information and/or autonomous women's activity can leave their names and telephone numbers to be contacted by WIC (Women's Information Collective).


At ACE we aim to be a resource for people who want to take action to meet community needs and to create a fairer society. If you have a concern about an injustice, and you think something needs done about it, please get in touch. We are not an alternative Citizens Advice Bureaux who can solve problems for others. Rather, we are a network of people who believe in everyone joining together to support each other against authorities who are treating us unfairly.


Members of the ACE collective ran the Unemployed Workers' Centre on Broughton Street as a campaigning and social space until being forcibly evicted by the Council on Dec. 1st, 1994. Despite a long lack of premises, activities continued to flourish. Then in February 1997, ACE found its "Centre" at 17 West Montgomery Place.


We believe that the many struggles for justice need to draw together to create one fight against the whole system of exploitation. Fundamental, revolutionary change is needed.

We do not look to politicians, bureaucrats, or bosses for solutions... We realise that only by working together against exploitation, domination, and hierarchy can we build a free stateless world where people co-operate as equals and hold the planet in common. To make effective changes we believe that people need to take matters into their own hands and get organised.


The old poll tax was sunk by millions refusing to pay it. But the council tax, is still unfair. Many face demands they cannot afford.

Never tell the sheriff officers or Council any info about any job or any bank account you may have. Move any savings out of the Royal Bank, Bank of Scotland, TSB and Clydesdale. Remember, sheriff officers letters which do not give a specific date for a poinding do not give them the legal power to force entry to your home.

If you do get a letter giving a definite date for a poinding, then move out the few goods which could be poinded - TV, hi-fi, computer, video, etc - the evening before. Have some friends round the next day to give you support. Don't tell the sheriff officers anything, and they will have to go away empty-handed.

Contact us for a leaflet with more info, including a full list of goods they cannot poind.


Claiming benefits is difficult and stressful. The level of benefits is completely inadequate.

Edinburgh Claimants, based at ACE, is an independent group of claimants who support each other and battle for what we need in our dealings with the benefit authorities. We actively resist benefit cuts and compulsory workfare schemes, and try and link up with other resistance to this unfair society.


The golden rule when dealing with benefit officials is - NEVER MEET THEM ALONE! You've the right to take someone with you to any benefits interview. Your accompanying friend can act as witness, moral support - and can also chip in with a few well-chosen words if the dole official gets out of order.

ACE is open especially for claimants on Tuesdays 12-4pm. We have lots of info about claimants' rights, and free leaflets on social security snoopers, Benefits Agency Medical Examinations, the New Deal, Edinburgh Claimants Solidarity Network, etc.. Whether you've a particular benefits problem, or you'd like to get involved in Edinburgh Claimants, or you'd just like to get more information, please call in.


ACE is open every tuesday and sunday afternoon. Please feel free to visit to find out more, whether you agree with our views or not, you are always welcome to call in to see what we have available, or to get advice and solidarity on benefits and other problems.

ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA Tel 0131 557 6242

Open Tues 12-4pm (Claimants advice and solidarity available) and Sun 2-6pm ace 'at'

Monthly meetings 7.30pm first Wed every month. Discussion meetings every second Monday 7.30pm.

ACE home
older version of intro to ACE from newsletter