AZ equals Autonomous Centre
The air-raid shelter in close proximity to Aachen Central Station is being used by the Autonomous Centre since 1993. People with different motivations and backgrounds commit themselves to the preservation and development of the AZ on a voluntary basis.
The underlying idea is quite simple: Autonomy means self-management, self-determination and independence. This entirely self-funded, one of a kind facility in Aachen was created with those pretensions.
The AZ is a place to take action oneself, a place to develop and realise one’s own ideas, a politically and culturally open space which deliberately distances itself from the commercially driven. Whether it’s concerts, parties, readings, seminars or theatre performances – The AZ considers itself a non-commercial, left-wing platform for popular and obscure artists, for people who want to contribute, for the different-minded.
Voluntary and self-funded?
As stated, the AZ is completely self-funded. This means we do not receive government subsidy, nor do we want any. The purposely low entry fees at concerts and parties serve only to cover our costs because everybody should be able to afford attending cultural and political events. Our main source of income is beverage sales (so drink!). We use these proceeds for maintenance, to cover our bills and to acquire new equipment. All personnel contribute voluntarily, they receive no payment for their work.
„Do It Yourself“ is our motto.
Regarding the Autonomous Centre’s price policy – solidarity instead of commerce
We aspire to give everyone the opportunity to indulge in the AZ’s programme, regardless of their wallet. That is why we try to keep entry fees low in spite of our acts‘ increased fuel and provisioning costs.
To account for differing financial situations, we request our organisers to set price ranges, instead of fixed entry fees. This way, it is up to you to decide how much the evening is worth to you. Those with little money have the option of asking the cashier for reduced admission.
But we are reliant on your solidarity. The fact that the AZ also hosts „unknown“ bands, presentations, pub nights and workshops in return for donations or for free is made possible by our beverage proceeds and the donations of party organisers. This money is used to cover the AZ’s running costs (power, water, beverage supply, minor and major repairs etc.).
So, think carefully about how much you really want (and can afford) to give the next time you face the cashier, such that we can operate the AZ with the contributions we receive. And remember: There are always those who can spare less but also want to have fun. An institution which puts its faith in solidarity instead of consumer compulsion and profit maximisation needs your solidarity!
The AZ as a politically open space
At the same time, the AZ is not a „party location“ but a self-governed open space, emerging from social and political struggles of the previous decades. The AZ is a space for self-organised leftist structures, for anti-fascist and anti-sexist politics which particularize and scrutinize the dividing, oppressing and discriminating aspects of our society.
Sexism, homophobia, racism and anti-semitism are no peripheral matter. They govern human perceptions and actions on a fundamental level. The AZ is a necessary open space, even in Aachen, where those mechanisms of stratification and exclusion can and must be addressed and criticised.
You want to contribute?
On principle, the AZ is open to all kinds of events, be they concerts, parties, workshops or exhibitions, so long as they are consistent with the AZ’s moral axioms. Our aim was and remains: „Fostering autonomous culture“.
Whoever is inclined to help shape and support the AZ is welcome any time. You want to mount something of your own conception? You want to contribute? Feel free to speak with us at the next event or simply come straight to the plenum. It convenes in the AZ every Monday at 8:30 p.m.