What is the 1 in 12 Club? Where did the money for the building come from? Is it primarily a punk venue?
Where did the name come from? How was a slum transformed into a Club? What are the collectives?
Why use the Red & Black Flag? What about the licensing laws and other legal requirements? Who organises events?
Do I have to be an anarchist 
to be a member?
How is the Club managed? How do you become a member?
How did the club get a building? Is it expensive to run? What are the Club's long-term aims?

What is the 1 in 12 Club?

The 1 in 12 Club was formed in 1981 by members of Bradford's anarchist orientated Claimants Union in 1981. The immediate objectives of the 'Club' were to generate and sustain a social scene, accessible and affordable to both the low waged and unemployed. The expectation and hope was that this would in turn encourage the anarchist values of self-management, co-operation and mutual aid.

Where did the name come from?

The late 1970s and early 1980s saw massive job losses across Britain and Bradford was no exception with GEC and International Harvesters shutting plants in the City. Against this backdrop a particularly strong and active Claimants Union emerged which campaigned vigorously to improve the situation for unemployed and low waged people in Bradford When, in 1981 a government investigation into benefit fraud (the 'Raynor Report') found that '1 in 12' claimants were actively "defrauding the state", the union lost no time in adopting this statistic for themselves.

Why use the Red & Black Flag?

From the outset the 1 in 12 Club has identified itself with the anarchist principles of selfmanagement, mutual aid and co-operation. As such the 1 in 12 logo has always been placed upon a red and black flag the historic colours of the international anarchist movement.

Do I have to be an anarchist to be a member?

No, but agreement to abide by the guiding principles, aims and objectives of the club is a pre-requisite for membership.

How did the club get a building?

The 1 in 12 Club is two separate things; firstly and most importantly it is a group of people who work together to promote certain political ideals and social change; secondly it is a building housing a members social club. This ditference is vital, with or without the building the 1 in 12 Club lives. For the first seven years the club led a nomadic life in pubs around the city, and it was during this period that the club's reputation for political and social action was established. The decision to apply for a grant to buy premises was just one more dimension, albeit a major one, to the already well established Club's existence. The Club is not the building - the building is not the Club, it is just our most recent home, the present location of our activity and focus to our social scene.

Where did the money for the building come from?

In 1985 the 1 in 12 Club applied to the Department of the Environment and received a one off capital grant of £92,400 for the purchase and refurbishment of premises. In spring 1986, following a long and difficult search for a suitable building, the Club bought 21-23 Albion Street, a derelict mill in inner city Bradford.

How was a slum transformed into a Club?

Over a three year period hundreds of Club members worked voluntarily to reconvert the four storey mill into a social club complete with all the recognised fixtures and fittings you would expect. The building was completely stripped, floors removed, and walls demolished, then with painstaking effort rebuilt to our own specifications. For the first six-months the Club employed a skilled builder to oversee the work, but when money became short the Club was forced to go it alone. Two young Club members, Glenn and Gemma, became 'Project Managers' and successfully saw the project through to completion.

What about the licensing laws and other legal requirements?

Our initial ignorance of such matters was overcome by information gleaned from books, solicitors and the experience of Workingmen's Clubs. After exploring the various models of licensed premises legally permitted the Club decided to apply for a Registration Certificate and establish the 1 in 12 Club as a "private members club owned and run by its members."
This required the adoption of a written constitution and the establishment of certain formal structures i.e. the election of officers to a General Committee to run the Club and a Bar Committee to run the bars. This is the law under which Workingmen's Clubs traditionally operate and was the option most consistent with the 1 in 12 Club's democratic structure.

How is the Club managed?

The sovereign decision making body of the 1 in 12 Club is the weekly Sunday Meeting open to all members. All other committees and collectives within the Club are answerable to it. However this created an apparent conflict of responsibilities with the General Committee required by law. This has been avoided by the elected officers of the General Committee meeting on a Sunday with the legally established proviso that all Club members can attend and contribute fully to any decisions made.
In this way the Sunday Meeting effectively functions as the General Committee of the Club.
Each April the 1 in 12 Club holds its Annual General Meeting at which the membership must elect officers to the various posts in the Club.
The AGM is also an important opportunity for the membership to review the financial and general progress ofthe Club and the various collectives active within it. In addition an Extraordinary General Meeting which has the same powers as an AGM can be called by any ten members at any time during the year. Since control of the Club legally rests with the elected officers, an EGM is a good way to review their activities and safeguard against any attempts by power crazed individuals to take over the Club.

Is it expensive to run?

The Club needs to take approximately £1000 per week in income to survive and the majority of this money must come from bar sales. However there is usually a substantial shortfall and about 25% of Club income must be made up by other means, donations, fund-raising activities etc. Minimising expenditure is clearly imperative and has been achieved by tight financial management and a reliance upon the unpaid efforts of members. Indeed a total of only 36 hours per week, shared between three part-time staff, is paid in wages by the Club.
Is it primarily a punk venue?

No. Members book the bands that they like and want to see, and those involved in the punk scene have always tended to be among the more dedicated and enthusiastic at organising events. Fashions and tastes change however and the kinds of bands booked over the years has reflected this. What has always been consistent is that gigs at the 1 in 12 Club are organised, publicised and run by members voluntarily, free from bouncer intimidation and the usual promoter rip-offs.


What are the collectives?

The different interests and concerns ofthe membership are reflected in various collectives within the Club; booking, record, publications, cafe, library, peasants etc. With separate meetings and finances each collective functions autonomously but must report regularly and is ultimately answerable to the l in 12 Sunday Meeting.

Who organises events?

Historically the Booking Collective has been responsible for booking bands and events but in recent years gigs have tended to be organised by interested parties.

How do you become a member?

As a private members club who can and cannot join is in the hands of the membership and is decided by the Sunday Meeting. Anyone wishing to join the Club must first fill out an application form agreeing to abide by the guiding principles of the Club and then find an existing member willing to propose them. The application is then displayed on the notice board during the week prior to the Sunday Meeting and so long as no objections are received is then passed.

What are the Club's long-term aims?

The original objectives of the 1 in 12 Club were to develop and spread the anarchist values of self-management, co-operation and mutual aid. Through gigs, books, records and direct action, the Club has sought to extend the influence of these ideas throughout Bradford and beyond.
Who can tell what the future will bring, a Housing Association, Credit Union, and a Farm have all been discussed by members. Whether these ideas are realised or not the 1 in 12 Club remains a living example of practical anarchism in action. Participative, democratic and dynamic, the 1 in 12 Club is proof that given the opportunity people have the creativity, intelligence and above all desire to begin taking back control over their own lives.