A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 40 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ Nederlands_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ The.Supplement
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours || of past 30 days | of 2002 | of 2003 | of 2004

Syndication Of A-Infos - including RDF | How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) US, Boston, DNC Resistance Consulta - Feb 13-16 Reportback / New discussion forums

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 25 Feb 2004 14:32:15 +0100 (CET)


________________________________________________
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html
________________________________________________

An Austin activist provides a reportback to the DNC resistance consulta
The Democratic National Convention Resistance Consulta, called by an anti-
authoritarian coalition known as the Bl(A)ck Tea Society, was held in Boston
on the weekend of February 13-16. Participants traveled from all over the
country, either with or on behalf of larger affinity groups. Written proposals
came in from as far away as Washington state. The purpose of the consulta was to
collectively discuss and educate one another about the upcoming actions surrounding
the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Boston on July 26-29. Participants
came to hear what was already being planned, both by the Bl(A)ck Tea Society and the
State, as well as to offer discussion and proposals about possible action scenarios.

The Democratic National Convention Resistance Consulta, called
by an anti-authoritarian coalition known as the Bl(A)ck Tea
Society, was held in Boston on the weekend of February 13-16.
Participants traveled from all over the country, either with or on
behalf of larger affinity groups. Written proposals came in from as
far away as Washington state. The purpose of the consulta was to
collectively discuss and educate one another about the upcoming
actions surrounding the Democratic National Convention, to be
held in Boston on July 26-29. Participants came to hear what was
already being planned, both by the Bl(A)ck Tea Society and the
State, as well as to offer discussion and proposals about possible
action scenarios.

The majority of the consulta was held in a rather large rectangular
room, on the second floor of a radical community church near
Copley Square. (A painting on the third floor featured the Virgin
Mary in a balaclava.) The walls of the meeting room were draped
with Anarchy flags of every color: black/red
(anarcho-syndicalism), black/purple (anarcha-feminist),
black/pink (anarcho-queer) and black/green (eco-anarchist). This
broad inclusiveness of anti-authoritarian perspectives, staunchly
defended by the facilitators against pressure from multiple
directions, allowed the Bl(A)ck Tea Society to open a space where
struggle was placed before platformist quibbling-where theory was
supplanted by a solid commitment to cooperation and action.

Through the morning session of the consulta, somewhere
between 60-70 participants were presented with an innovative
model of facilitation that was nothing short of inspired. Members
of the BTS spoke with all of us about the questions they had dealt
with in the weeks leading up to the consulta. The big one, they
told us, concerned whether our community had reached a level of
maturity where mass decentralized action was now possible. Their
conclusion, based on long discussion, was that we, as an
anarchist movement, were ready to take the next step.

The decentralized mass action still fresh on a lot of our minds was
the “People’s Strike” in Washington, D.C. the fall of
2002. While a certain number of affinity groups there had pulled
off daring direct actions (the burning barricade still vividly recalled
by a number of us) the large percentage of those that converged
on the city were arrested on the first day. Each was corralled
together after participating in the few centralized actions that had
been planned: the pagan cluster, the snake march, critical mass,
etc. From this experience, the problem appeared of how to best
encourage larger numbers of people to organize and carry out
autonomous direct actions.

The BTS facilitators decided that the problem was one of support
and coordination. At the People’s Strike, groups traveling
from far out of town did not have access to the sorts of
information they might need to plan an action. This was true both
in terms of tactical logistics, as well as the particular weave of
local issues and threads of history that overlay any city. The
consulta opened, then, with a detailed presentation of
Boston’s geography and the ways in which certain locations
intersected with systems of class and race privilege. About
Charlston, Dorchester, and Roxbury, we learned about the
construction of INS detention centers, the lack of reliable public
transportation, and the presence of Bioterrorism research
laboratories. The BTS made it clear that it would provide any sort
of historical or community-specific information that might be
needed in the planning of any direct action.

“People coming to Boston must have a plan,” one of the
BTS facilitators insisted. Affinity groups were encouraged to
cluster if they wished to coordinate larger, more above-ground
actions. At the same time, all groups were welcomed to approach
the BTS about any logistical support needed for more clandestine
actions-as long as details were kept private. (For purposes of
greater electronic security, all participants were encouraged to
procure encrypted accounts from Hushmail.com.) The role of the
Bl(A)ck Tea Society, as they described it, was not to plan actions
but to provide a framework for action, a certain amount of
infrastructure, and their full support before, during, and after each
affinity group’s action.

Included in the Bl(A)ck Tea Society’s coalition is the National
Lawyers Guild (which has already pledged a minimum of 50 legal
observers), BALM (Boston-Area Liberation Medics), and the
Anarchist Black Cross, which teaches street defense and provides
material, moral and monetary jail support for those arrested. The
message delivered to all of us by the BTS was that our backs were
covered at every step of the way; and they would bend theirs over
backwards to ensure that whatever we wanted to do would be
carried off in the clearest, safest, and most effective manner
possible.

The education provided by members of the BTS and allies about
local issues was considerable. We were given a detailed analysis of
the labor situation in Boston, which may or may not calculate
heavily in the equation of this summer’s actions. 32 of the 32
city unions do not currently have contracts in Boston, and this
includes the Police and Firefighter unions. While it is expected
that Mayor Menino (D) will negotiate at least some of the
contracts prior to the convention, the ones that remain without
contracts are likely to march. In the case of the Police union, the
city police are threatening to strike and consider any outside
security officials, including Federal and State, scabs. The general
consensus was that we should in no way fool ourselves into
believing that a Police union is our ally. Nonetheless the situation
might provide certain opportunities for action.

Other pressing social issues were discussed, including the severe
lack of affordable housing or living wages throughout Boston,
high taxes, gentrification, and the unaccountable growth of
corporate power. BTS organizers encouraged anyone planning an
action to conduct research about the area beforehand, either
independently or with their support. The chances are high that
allies may be found in even the most unexpected places.

Weeks before the consulta, Tom Ridge declared the Democratic
National Convention a “high-level national security
event.” While the Boston city council has expressed that it
wants nothing to do with the so-called “Miami model,”
there will be at least one thing in common between the two
approaches. It is what has become the most visceral, material
expression of all that we oppose: the FENCE. In this case,
however, we might see it in its most honest form: a solid, opaque,
black wall fully enclosing several blocks around the Fleet Center
where the convention will be held.

Anyone (the police in particular) looking for a repeat of Miami is
likely to be disappointed. The BTS has made it clear that, for all
the support they intend to offer out-of-towners, they will be
planning no centralized march against the fence. Attempts to
dismantle it were by no means discouraged, but the implication
was that any attempt-small or large-would be more likely to
succeed if planned and executed in secret. For this and other such
actions, the Bl(A)ck Tea Society reiterated their commitment to
provide as much information and coordination as possible before
the event.

At the same time, the Bl(A)ck Tea Society expressed a strong
desire, shared by most of the consulta participants, that the
initiators of any action join and extend local struggles. This would
be in contrast to previous “fence” actions, whose
participants risked isolating themselves from local communities
by seizing upon only the most visible, and also most temporary,
symbols of exclusion in the city.

Throughout the discussion on Saturday, which continued for over
eight hours with only a few short breaks (as well as an unexpected
false “fire alarm” that forced us to evacuate the building)
what impressed me the most was the considerable focus and-dare
I say it?-“professionalism” of all those that attended.
Many attendees took extensive notes and forced themselves to jot
down to every comment, even when they seemed ready to topple
over from exhaustion. Everyone was fully engaged in the
conversations taking place. The dialogue was spirited, cooperative
and impressively efficient. There was a general sense that our
discussions were of actual import; that all we said and how
carefully we listened would have a real, material impact on future
events.

I was reminded of the shift described by militants in Paris, France
1968; where they “broke out of the psychology of defeat, the
outlook of the loser” (endemic of Western Leftists, even then)
and began to understand themselves as subjects of their own
history. There were no spectators present at the consulta, and no
spectacle either: only participation. Should this level of direct
personal involvement continue, expressed collectively in our
rejection of electoral politics and its thin veils of
“democracy,” the participants of the Republican National
Convention protests will have much to live up to: once they see
the barricades burning in the streets of Boston.

http://blackteasociety.org

Discussion Forums Now Online For noDNC 2004

In an attempt to open up discussion on the coming convergence
against the Democratic National Convention, we have set up
discussion forums here on our website.

Come browse the topics and get involved in the discussion. This is
also where you will find our ride and housing boards for the
convergence.

http://www.blackteasociety.org/forums/


Link: http://www.blackteasociety.org/forums/
Source: http://www.blackteasociety.org/

Postead by Bl(A)ck Tea Society on infosop.org


*******
********
****** The A-Infos News Service ******
News about and of interest to anarchists
******
INFO: http://ainfos.ca/org http://ainfos.ca/org/faq.html
HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
SUBSCRIPTION: send mail to lists@ainfos.ca with command in
body of mail "subscribe (or unsubscribe) listname your@address".

Full list of list options at http://www.ainfos.ca/options.html


A-Infos Information Center