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(en) UK, London, Hub convergence 8th June - Minutes of the convergence

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 16 Jun 2003 20:21:06 +0200 (CEST)


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www.hub.org.uk is the discussion site for the co-ordination HUB - new networks of
resistance and solidarity see also: http://ainfos.ca/03/may/ainfos00697.html -
HUB - a discussion document - social - political - collective
These minutes were summarised from the convergence.
After the introduction each paragraph represents a new speaker (thanks
to everyone who wrote minutes and facilitated the discussions).
Introduction (JB, TACT1)
This is intended to be a very open convergence and (coming from TACT1)
I would like to stress from the start that this is not our idea, its not our
meeting, its just that the idea had so much potential that we thought the
discussions that were already happening needed a little kick-start from
talk into action. We don’t want to impose ourselves on either the
project or this convergence.

For the sake of beginning at the beginning, a brief introduction...

There were discussions already taking place about things like a
co-ordination HUB/umbrella organisation/united front and ways for the
anti-authoritarian movement to work together (and challenge the
all-pervasive front groups of the Leninist Left), as part of this TACT1
initiated the HUB website & discussion document.

These ideas and the fact that diverse groups of activists were talking
about them at the same time were very interesting: a product of
interesting times and interesting struggles around the world and a sense
of connection and circulation that grows out of things like Zapatistas,
PGA, anti-Capitalism, anti-war movement.

For me, the HUB is not another organisation, not just an efficiency drive,
not just a good idea for the sake of it. There is a real need for us all to
work together. Its very important that people carry on in their own groups,
doing what they do, but this HUB is something that we need to do NOW -
we can’t keep on as we are if we want to change things. Need a level
of active participation to make it work: there’s a difference between
the HUB and a contacts page sitting on a website (a list of groups that
never actually talk to each other). No money, no central organisation, the
HUB exists only in our collective activity - the HUB is us working
together, talking to each other, sharing resources and ideas, giving
solidarity. If we don’t do that, there is no HUB. It exists between us.
If there is no us, there is no HUB! If we can’t talk about us,
there’s no point even talking about a HUB.

I think its really important that, beyond an agreed core, different
approaches are welcomed. We can think bigger than simply building a
co-ordinating process or efficiency drives. We can think about what we
could achieve with our collective effort, about circulation of solidarity and
resistance, sharing our practical experiences, discussion, sharing ideas
and resources, new initiatives of our own, drawing in other initiatives that
already exist (like technology projects, social forums, networks). We may
also need to think about the implications of collective organisation and
how that doesn’t have to be about consensus.

And obviously, beyond the general talk of ideas, work is going to be
needed to begin to establish both existing proposals:
a website
a real network

As a starting point we would like to propose that the Hallmarks of the
PGA apply to this convergence [this was agreed by all present], and to
take up the suggestion that we accept those principles as the core for the
HUB project.

Before the discussion, we would like to suggest a couple of things that
might help to make things work a little easier today:

This is such a positive idea, let’s try and keep the overall atmosphere
of the convergence positive, including criticism (its always easy to find
reasons to disagree, let’s try and focus on the reasons we agree). If
you can identify a problem, try and also think of a solution to that problem
too. Because of the scale of this project and the short time available
today, inevitably this convergence is going to be superficial/surface
treatment - please let’s not get too in-depth or hung up on detail today
- think about this convergence as being a “primer” for the next
one. We have a short amount of time but a lot of contributions and voices
to be heard. We need to be fairly general and forward-looking:

We don’t need to feel like we have to solve all of the problems today,
at this stage identifying them is enough. We should feel that we can trust
ourselves to come up with solutions further along (and as we go along).
I’m NOT saying that we should ignore them, but we don’t have to
do it all NOW. We need to have faith in the next meeting, not impose
decisions on the next meeting that may be inappropriate at that time. Its a
process (not a list of endless meetings). If we can be clear about where
we’re taking this, and keep it real, we should be able to continue to be
forward-thinking and flexible while at the same time preventing the
project from turning into a talking shop or from meandering around forever.


first session - general discussion

The HUB should be a networking point. A “sharing point” of info,
skills, resources. It mustn’t be Londoncentric (problems need to be
dealt with). The G8 might be a target, however we shouldn’t fetishise
one event, this has to be an ongoing thing, a continuing process.

Should we differ from the PGA hallmarks - do we need to?

The HUB could give us some “punching power”, would mean the
anti-authoritarian Left wasn’t just swamped at big events. We could
also organise around solidarity tours.

We mustn’t become too web-focussed. Let’s not preach to the
converted.

How can we support other social movements (especially class
movements)? Maybe their weakness is the reason for our weakness?
Also can we connect with “new” activists through the HUB?
Things have to move forward (However we don’t want to become
SWP-type recruiters, we unite around common actions, we don’t hand
down commands etc.)

We need to link up with existing projects, rather than constantly
re-inventing the wheel. By connecting we create something better than
we could individually. Suggested link up with projects like BLINC
(Blatant Incitement Project).

We need to DO things to draw people in - people will trust the HUB if its
not just a talking shop, but contains something “in it” for them.

We must set our sights HIGH. Let’s not be just a “contacts
page” (although that may be a useful step). We can be an access
point into anti-authoritarian ideas. BUT we need to be useful if people are
going to get involved.

What are we going to do? Groups should get together and make
suggestions for the next meeting, so we have more stuff to talk about
next time.

As this discussion progressed, its key points were written up on the wall:

* network point
* space/place for sharing resources
*focus on action
* carve out space for our ideas
* part of PGA
* practical projects
* international connections
* working with existing projects/learn from others
* internet as tool
* skill sharing
* analyse social movements and help them to connect
* understanding networks
* not impose our ideas on other expressions of resistance
* HUB is sum of parts rather than separate entity
* don’t re-invent the wheel
* make connections with existing initiatives
* deliverable objectives
* trust/be trusted
* real network not virtual network
* access point to anti-authoritarian ideas
* show that it works

second session

For the second session, the list of points were summed up into threads,
with a discussion on how to put these ideas into action. The threads were:

* PGA
* Internet
* Practical projects
* Process of networking/Making connections
* Public Face
* Skill share/Knowledge base/Resources
* Diversity/Inclusion
* HUB “on tour”

PGA

Proposal to accept the 5 PGA Hallmarks as a basis for organising the
HUB (and particularly the next convergence) as we go forward, until such
a time as we choose to amend them or adopt some other different
suggestions [proposal agreed by all present]. Make explicit connection
with PGA (a 2-way connection).


Practical projects

Practical projects are the most important item, other threads need to feed
into them (or be seen in those terms).

Suggestion of an action-based co-ordination.

Be part of an action rather than call one at this stage?

Working together is the best way to build connections, its a chicken &
egg situation.

Potential of the HUB to act as an information source/networking tool for
anti-authoritarians.

Get involved with DSEI co-ordination.

Place to access and co-ordinate.

Participation from HUB suggested at EarthFirst! Summer Gathering,
Durham Social Forum, Anarchist Youth Network Summer Gathering,
DSEI.


Internet (As practical project)/Skill share/Knowledge base/Resources

Set up working group to investigate Net possibilities.

Skill-sharing workshops (even down to simple things like producing
stickers etc).

Share resources too.

Do training for other groups.

Look at what exists already (wireless networks, social centres, skills).
What can we be part of, help, improve on, add to?

There are a half dozen Social Centres already existing in london, perhaps
HUB is one way to help them work together (maybe as part of HUB
convergences, maybe joint socials). Social Centres workgroup agreed.

Knowledge base/skills library on the website.

Maybe not working group, but everybody spreads ideas and contacts.

Don’t get too caught up in the HUB in itself, its the network that is
important.

The HUB is not an end in itself, its a gateway. Skillshare must be
“transferable”, not an Anarchist Yellow Pages.

Not a binary opposition - it can be a bit of web/bit of workshop.

Be part of existing work, existing networks.

Be practical about website/computer info: a working group agreed to bring
some results for the next convergence.

Public face of HUB

Do we talk about the HUB as separate entity?

Need to be careful about about attracting too much attention before we
have something to back it up.

Pro’s and cons of HUB as an identity - possibility of power struggles.
Its OK to talk about the HUB as co-ordination, but not to talk about
“HUB actions”? Difficulty of a “public face” of a diverse
network.

Process of networking/Making connections

Communications workgroup agreed.

Diversity/Inclusion

Need to address these issues early on. We need a wider engagement.

HUB “on tour”

Workgroup to extend the existing process of communication and discuss
the idea around the UK.

Next convergence

TACT1 agreed to organise another convergence on a date in July to be
arranged.

poli


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