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(en) My Belgrade experience - 3rd European conference of Peoples' Global Action in Belgrade 24th-28th of July 2004 I. (1/2)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 28 Oct 2004 09:23:04 +0200 (CEST)

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

To cut long story short, PGA is a network founded 1998 in Geneva, which is
united according to the following 5 hallmarks:
1.. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all
trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalization.
2.. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination
including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious
fundamentalism of all creeds. We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
3.. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can
have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organizations, in which
transnational capital is the only real policy-maker.

4.. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social
movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect
for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local
alternatives to global capitalism.
5.. An organizational philosophy based on decentralization and autonomy.
Currently PGA networks mostly in continental and inter-continental levels,
conference in Belgrade last July was that of European continental network.
PGA has several webpages. http://www.agp.org is for the inter-continental
network, http://www.pgaconference.org has some documents and links related
to the continental European organizing.

Best of the discussions and workshops I attended in conference last July
have already had their minutes published. More than report of "work done",
attempt of this text is to give some general picture, reflect on off-program
business (such as corridor intrigue), and continue the discussion I began
two years ago (this far with myself only) about purposefulness of such
events in general, in article I wrote about 2nd European conference of PGA
in Leiden.

My main interests relating to conference were

-To see whether such a multitude of most diverge activists could find a
convergence of interests which goes beyond superficial "one struggle"

-To meet with people who could help our group in case shit hits the fan some

-To see whether good intentions, which influenced bringing the event to
Eastern Europe in the first place, could give any concrete benefits to
Eastern European movements I am networked with or participate to.

-To see if there is a demand for a bit more narrow, but more coherent than
PGA model of international organizing in Eastern Europe.

-To analyze dynamics of decisionmaking of an organization, which attempts to
be as little organization as possible.

Nobody ever commented my article about Leiden, but indirectly I understood
that some people interpreted me putting down the whole thing. This would be
a rude simplification. But definitely there were moments I was sort of lost
there, and I have learned some lessons since then.

Conference is useful if you know how to use it

First lesson is to make ones own program. Framework of the event may be
organized normally or disastrously, but it may never make a success alone -
it is the content which matters in the end. And since people have so diverge
interests these days, you should ever count someone else to organize
according to your interests. Good ideas for workshops are the best way to
contribute, since organizers will be so much burdened with logistical
questions that you should not count on them. More cooks, better the soup
will be. So together with a couple of friends we announced a number of
discussions and workshops on the spot, which had us busy about half of the
time we were there. Some of them gained wide interest from others as well,
few themes flopped since they were of interest for us alone.

Some other groups which have applied this approach in the past have been
accused for an attempt to hijack the whole event - one example people from
European Social Consulta in Leiden. Although I was not too much into ESC
project which apparently got a flat landing soon after Leiden (now they seem
to only exist in Spain), I think it is PGA which should serve movements, not
movements that should serve PGA. In Belgrade, this approach was taken to its
extreme by Venezuelan Chavists, who had their recruiting events every day
from morning to evening, all the area plastered with their placates and
announcements. I have a lot to learn from them what comes to promotion. They
gave about zero contribution to the process, except a resolution project to
support "Global Day of Action in defence of the Bolivarian Revolution of
Venezuela and the Pachamerican struggles" 12th of October for the final

After bitter disappointments with all 3rd world "national liberation" and
"anti-imperialist" movements during last four decades, it is little surprise
than in the final spokescouncil this Chavist resolution raised some
uneasiness. At first, initiator was unwilling to amend the call since it was
already distributed independently from the PGA, but having an instinct of a
skilled politician, he soon realized that there was no any other way around.
Eventually they rewrote the text with one person from Wombles who originally
demanded to make it completely anti-state, against US intervention without
any support for Chavez. In the end I did not saw any big difference between
the original text and the new one, but I decided not to block it. For sure
there was not anything that an anarchist would oppose in principle, just the
ambiguousity which cleverly hid how much the initiative was just typical
leftist cheerleading of authoritarian regimes.

This is one of the reasons I am pretty critical about consensus - if it was
vote, I would have had a fair opportunity to make my point and lost a vote.
But now I had to shut down, since it was about principal disagreements which
could not be mitigated. Since much time was spent for the issue, and there
was nothing directly contradicting PGA hallmarks, it was clear that
accepting some lame statement by consensus was much lesser evil than major
disappointments caused by a block.

With all the setbacks of the anti-imperialist movement in the North, in its
heyday it was a true mass movement, something which cannot be said about
anarchist movement during the last 60 years. I suppose much of the PGA has
been founded on networks which date back to those years, so if one decides
to participate, one should not complain about a couple of fruits with old
best before - dates in the basket.

Perhaps more than half of the people hanging around in events like PGA
conference do not have any coherent political ideology, so little surprise
that I met typical "you have not been there..." arguments in discussions.
For sure, as happens with any shifts to "left" in the power structures
everywhere, Chavism in Venezuela has also given impetus to tendencies which
want to push processes further from the old school latino populism, but this
does not change the fact that weakest link of the "Bolivarian revolution" is
Chavez himself. I am sure that the party will be over the day when CIA
finally gets the guy - this is why all real change must come from below. For
sure I have not been there, but I do not have to spend all my time and money
for travelling to places like North Korea, Cuba, USA or Venezuela to have an
opinion about their regimes. Anarchists are few, but strength of the
movement is that we are almost everywhere, and Venezuelan anarchists around
El Libertario - journal are particularly symphatic and well-argued, so I
will buy anything they state unless serious reasons to do otherwise appear.

Some bad excuses for a parasitic behavior

Talking about ethics of participation, I do agree than one should try to
give something for the logistical side (security, food, cleaning,
technology...) as well. This time I ended up giving nothing, and for my only
defense I may say that I really tried to contribute to the content side and
in the end I ended up sleeping in average 6 hours every night anyway,
getting totally exhausted in the end even without doing any shitwork.

When I understood that Belgrade organizers were attempting to repeat Leiden
spectacle, I was very critical at the beginning. And not only because I
would probably find more effective ways to spend thousands of euros in
Eastern Europe, but also because I supposed that lack of the local activist
infrastructure, and infrastructure in general would lead to a total
logistical disaster. But this disaster did not happened. I bet many people
from Western Europe found everything totally chaotic, but really there was
much less chaos than I expected, and even this chaos was partially due to
reasons extraordinary, such as a very bad weather during 4 days of the 6 day

I really liked the food in the conference. Food supply was outsourced to a
local collective kitchen suffering from serious financial problems, and they
fulfilled the order better than one could have expected, given that
traditional Balkan kitchen is not too vegan. But since participators were in
advanced level what comes to conference kitchen philosophy, they were also
aware of possible shortcomings of the outsourcing - so there was also
autonomous kitchen for those who wanted their food more according to _______
(add your favourite -ist here), self-organized ideals. I am all for that,
but there was too little time anyway, so I just paid for the food and ate
what was served. Most of the people did the same, so autonomous kitchen
faced frustration and co-existence of collectivism (autonomous kitchen) and
mutuellism (monetary exchange between collectives) was not so smooth all the
time. I hope this was not a final argument for mutuellism in longstanding
debate between these two, but an important and interesting experiment at

What comes to payment for food, there was an ugly incident, where guests
from probably most impoverished country of Europe (Bosnia) were accused of
being parasites for not paying for the food. Or more exactly, their company,
a dedicated parasite, was accused and they took complaints as being directed
for them as well. Originally they came to perform in an event closed down by
coppers in Resnik, and after this food incident they got such a bad taste
from PGA that they did not showed up in conference site another time.

For sure, they could have gone to register, given a fair price according to
ecorates, and paid for the food a price they could have afforded. But since
they had little experience about such events, there was no clear call to do
that anywhere (even more experienced people got confused) and they were not
that much for the PGA conference anyway, that just did not happen. But I do
not think that is necessary a reason to insult anybody. This incident
inspired Parasites Global Action webpage, which I think is meant to be more
a satire than an attack against PGA.

I think organizers of such events should just take into account, that some
people (a minority of participators) just do not register in principle. It
is not for rational, but for emotional reasons. Or even more likely, they
are just chaotic. To count amount of food needed, one may add a certain
percentage of chaotic people to number of registered, or just estimate the
need according to portions served in the previous meal. It was nice that
there was enough trust and no control tickets were gathered in meals, but
there could have been a pot for those who would like to pay for the meals
without being registered.

As for myself, I like registration and I always do it. I got a nice yellow
card to stick to my chest, where I may write my name and organization.
Nobody besides me was going around with such a card after the first day of
the conference. Such a card makes me feel important, and people come and say
"oh, you are the guy who writes those too long reports we have read in the
internet". Small yellow card is my pledge of allegiance to PGA, so it is an
excellent way to annoy Rata as well!

No beef but activist beef

First program I participated was supposed to be a training for facilitation
of consensus decisionmaking in Saturday morning, but it ended up being
mostly yelling and accusations. This was a pretty confusing situation, since
I had missed the scenario day before where PGA hallmarks (or exactly
speaking it was the conference reader) were used to wipe ones ass - this had
pissed some people off quite a bit. Conflict dates back to the preparation
process of the conference, which had plenty of frictions. One debate which
escalated in a needless manner in e-mail was about men only spaces - a group
called West Essex Zapatista was suggesting these were intended to exclude
women from important decisions. Another major disagreement had been should
the conference be organized in Belgrade suburb of Resnik, or suburb of
Jajinci. Arguments for Resnik were that it is an impoverished working class
area where many local activists were living and had contact with local
community, in another hand school and kindergarten in Jajinci, where
conference was eventually organized, had superior capacities.

None of the sides (Resnik vs. Jajinci) were willing to give up, so given the
consensus paradigm of the PGA, I think the resolution to split the
conference to two parts was the only possible solution. Workshops were to be
held in Jajinci, and evening parties in Resnik. For sure this was pretty
inconvenient, although both suburbs were in South side of Belgrade it was
pretty big distances and bad traffic between them. Personally I did not
visited Resnik at once during the conference.

I may not comment whether this split decision was made with a good process,
since I did not participated to preparation meetings. Resnik people and West
Essex Zapatista supporting them claim it was not. Originally, evening
program was planned to be organized in Resnik every day - however after
second evening party local activists got harassed by the cops, and they had
to cancel rest of the program. A pretty serious complaint raised - Resnik
activists claimed that they were not given funds to organize program and
support against repression by the conference organization. As far as I know,
this claim was not handled proper manner at any moment in the conference,
and obviously the issue must be taken up in any possible coming up
evaluation meeting, if European PGA seriously claims it is living up to its

Although I may not comment the preceding process, sorry show I saw Saturday
morning inspired me to raise some new concerns about the so-called
"consensus processes". I have a feeling, that always so volatile consensus
process gives extraordinarily strong demands on which kind of behavior could
be considered as correct, and which not. People, who do not fit the narrow
"well-argumenting, polite peace hippie" model of behavior may quickly get
ignored, excluded or even attacked. Actually, West Essex Zapatista people
were labeled as crazies already before beginning of the conference. I do
know, that after Leiden conference all European PGA shitwork has fallen to
very few shoulders, and when pretty aggressive comments are flying around in
e-mail one may easily get pissed. Making whole PGA responsible for
shortcomings of the process by such a provocative manner as wiping ones as
with the hallmarks may as well be the last drop.

But although I like PGA hallmarks, I am fine with wiping ones ass with
them - that is a pretty cool punk thing to do in case you want to underline
your message that something is wrong with the process. In another hand, I
may forgive lack of humor for people totally dedicated for the PGA process,
since I respect people who take their shit seriously. In Saturday morning,
things did not got too violent, actually attempts to move someone out from a
workshop physically in a non-violent manner, when this person is resisting
non-violently, may look pretty funny. In the end, people who were most
pissed with the West Essex Zapatista questioning consensus processes inside
PGA left the room to have workshop in another place. At this point I was
confused and did not followed the workshop any further - my only connection
to West Essex Zapatista was from a number of angry e-mails, and I could not
really figure out what these conflicts were about. In another hand what I
had just sawn was indeed pretty far from the hippie consensus ideal. Later
on, I learned that off-line West Essex Zapatista are much nicer people than
I had judged from their e-mails, and some of their criticism are indeed
well-founded. However I must admit that in this conflict I am partial, since
anyone giving me Black Mask & Up Against the Wall Motherfucker anthology for
free gets my loyalty!

I suppose most of the humanity will not fit the scheme how consensus is
currently expected to work in the PGA/related scene. Many people may react
too emotionally, or without enough emotions, or aggressive manner - in the
end, wiping ones ass with PGA hallmarks is no way the most radical way to
express ones emotions. It makes me wonder if consensus culture of
West-European activists is like the Culture of science fiction books of Iain
Banks - something which destroys everything except itself with its
all-encompassing love. I know all too well that there is no way to replace
consensus in the PGA process, and often it is best of the worst alternatives
in other frameworks as well. And main input the whole consensus school has
given to radical theory is anyway putting emphasis on the process instead of
the result - so my critics should be seen more as guidelines for the future.

Besides ignoring people who do not really fit into the hippie consensus
culture, labeling them as "crazies", "aggressive" or "paranoids", another
problem is labeling all conflicts as personal ones. Actually, I think real
political differences are more often put down as personal problems, than
personal rows are claimed to be political. Also, problems which are concern
of everybody were claimed to be minor local skirmishes. For example Andrej
Grubacic, a key figure of Drugaciji Svet je Moguc! (DSM!, Another World is
Possible! - current European PGA conveyors who put the 3rd conference
together) put West Essex Zapatista criticisms as internal London Action
Resource Centre (LARC) rows, and conflict between Resnik and Jajinci as an
internal DSM! issue. I do not accept this - although some of the distrust I
originally found difficult to justify in West Essex Zapatista e-mails may
have its roots in frictions inside LARC, most of the concerns they raised
were about the process in general, and thus an issue of everybody.

Where I found concerns raised by West Essex Zapatista dealing with the
Resnik vs. Jajinci issue relevant, it is not necessarily the same with the
gender reader and questionnaire issue. Concerns raised by Fabian from WEZ in
April in regards to gender questionnaire seemed to me minor issues relating
to language of the document. Personally I try my best to use politically
correct wordings in my texts, although sometimes it is very difficult due to
all inconsistent sex-distinctions which Indo-European invaders have imposed
in Europe. For example, I do not really understand what is racist in the use
of word "ghetto" when referring to close-knit activist communities. I think
often stress to language issues is just a way to escape problems more
difficult to deal with. It is also not a big deal for me if European map in
PGA page or in the conference poster has a big part of Eastern Europe
missing, I do not think that is a real issue. Plus I do not think there was
a burning necessity to translate all materials to Russian - that would have
been good, but availability of materials requires lots of work and is not a
guarantee of getting some PGA presence in Russia.

I also find West Essex Zapatista argument that all these issues are rooted
to institutional racism inside PGA very problematic. Call me behaviorist,
but if someone is ignorant how may I know is she/he ignorant because she/he
is a racist, or just ignorant? Accusation of racism is a demonizing
accusation, which leaves little room for mediation. How may one negotiate wi
th a racist?

In other hand, even if I perhaps do not find these concerns relevant, it is
not reason to dismiss them without discussion. I do not know what was
happening inside LARC, but it must be said that West Essex Zapatista was
presenting their concerns in e-mail list in an open manner, and they were
ready for discussion. I have no reason to oppose them having their way in
issues of gender questionnaire, reader or whatever. If people just had not
time to discuss these issues a proper manner when there was so much work to
do for the conference as they claimed, logical solution would have been to
remove that fraction of the gender working group which could deal with each
other from the "inspired by PGA" framework altogether, to a completely
autonomous entity. It seems to me that eventually no questionnaire, nor
reader was published - apparently because of this conflict, at least I did
not saw one. Maybe people should have had their thing published without the
"inspired by PGA" label. Maybe people should not be too much sticked to
their "inspired by PGA" label, since this seem to a source of much of the
controversy, and problematic issue in general as one could conclude during
the final spokescouncil. To be honest, I do not really have ideas how
conflict around gender reader could have been resolved, the whole discourse
is just way too alien for me.

There was men's meeting in the conference, I only attended unsuccessful
attempt to have a second part in lunchtime of Wednesday. No women tried to
join us, but I suppose there would not have been any attempts to exclude
them if some wanted to join.

Another WEZ concern worth of mentioning is that of transparency of finances.
Up till now, I still have not seen a report about spending and financial
sources of the PGA conference in the process list - "thousands of euros"
mentioned above is just my estimation. Among long list of WEZ concerns, Asim
from WEZ also claims to be excluded from Asian PGA convergence just because
he is from Pakistani Diaspora in England and thus not living in Asia -
personally I find centralizing inter-continental communications inside PGA

I did not recognized any attempt to clear these concerns during the
conference. Originally I understood that one purpose of the Emma team would
have been to mediate these issues, but it seems they were dealing with
"external" threats instead.

There are many reasons why authoritarian forms of organization have defeated
anti-authoritarian ones during last 3000 years, but one small aspect might
be that in authoritarian organization someone usually bears a final
responsibility for failures. Authoritarian organization may always escape
revolving its organizational paradigm by discarding this person. But when
anti-authoritarian organization fails, as European PGA conference failed to
mediate these conflicts, responsible is just the abstract "whole". Everyone
was either busy with other issues, wanted to keep the caravan going or just
did not bother to figure out what was all that fuss about. This is something
what anti-authoritarian organizations should definitely deal with to justify
their superiority in the first place - PGA Wintermeeting would be a good
place to start, and I think discussions about Resnik issue and all other
West Essex Zapatista criticisms should be in the program.

Although my attempts to understand these processes may seem to be clumsy at
least and waste of words, for my self-respect it is important to make a
better try than for example that of Richard from Oxford Indymedia -
ignorance of his account about Belgrade is absolutely stunning! He even
claims that West Essex Zapatista wiped their asses with hallmarks because
they were disagreeing with them in the first place. Some people seem to be
positive and upbeat so hard, that reality must be ignored altogether! In
general text of Richard is interesting also because he seems to represent
not only totally antagonist to me tendency inside PGA in regards to general
mood (in axis of positive vs. negative), but in regards to his interests and
activities in general. I do not see much point in travelling 3000 kilometers
to see some videos, I do not even have a fucking television at my home! I
get my news from A-infos, Indymedia and Infoshop.org only, that is why I
hear about all the important events in the world only one week afterwards,
or not at all.

Unpredictability makes it more interesting

Next program I participated was presentation of the Tusovka-newsletter,
however nobody came to make a presentation. So we were a group of most
various people, some of whom knew little about this project and rest knew
nothing. I seemed to know the most (although not too much) of this idea of
Olga S. and Alain to publish about globalization-related themes in Eastern
European in English and Russia, but as far as I knew, this project
hibernated 4 years ago already.

Program projection was one of the more chaotic sides of the conference,
obviously hand program given the first day had to be taken with a grain of
salt. It was based on forms people filled about workshops they could make
when booking for the conference, but it was not adjusted according to time
preferences of presentators, and database was outdated anyway. So if an
event happened to be in the program, it was most likely announced in wrong
time and place. Fortunately, cartoon and markers have been invented.
Although some people did not figured this out during the whole conference
period, all program could be found in form of hanged announcements in one
wall (except the day when all of it was spoiled due to rain). This system
could have worked out an excellent way. Since it is obvious that there will
be plenty of cancellations and ad-hoc chances anyway, I hope that in the
future hand programs are banned as waste of forests.

Still I am pissed that someone took my program and did not give it back,
since until this day I have not seen any attempt in internet to list all
workshops which took place during those days in Belgrade - this person is to
be blamed for me writing only about part of the program I personally
participated. Shame on you! (Perhaps he stole it in order to make this
report a bit more brief).

Rest of the Saturday we had meeting of correspondents of the Abolishing the
Borders from Below with editorial collective. I wrote minutes about parts of
these discussions, so I will not refer it there. In prior conference
organizers were really delighted for us having our embedded meeting, with
condition of it being open to everybody. In the end, it was not open and
attempt to organize open presentation Tuesday evening did not really worked
out, but nobody criticized us for this.

Saturday evening our loose affinity group set up our program schedule, which
included second part of the Abolishing the Borders from Below - meeting, a
couple of discussions to be organized in Athenaeum of Belgrade
anarcho-syndicalists, planning meeting of an anarchist bus tour around
Eastern Europe, and foundation of a new anarchist international. Most of
these ideas popped up in Alternative Eastern-Europe mailinglist in prior to
conference. In course of the conference, many other people also decided to
add something, so in last days there were much many workshops organized than
during Saturday, when it was at most two parallel workshops. Good lesson for
next such event is to have ones own stuff in the very beginning, in order to
attract more people and to have a chance to participate to most interesting
stuff which is concentrated towards the last days.

Sunny Sunday

Sunday morning I visited presentation of students from Sumy of Ukraine, in
hand program this was marked for another day, so presentation lacked
participators. I was surprised to learn, that same people actually put up a
quite decent anarchist samizdat (Anarh Akbar) I was familiar with before,
and actually we had accepted their group to our federation (Autonomous
Action) year before, although since then contact had withered - seemingly
their interests had developed to another direction. Students of Sumy
struggle against unification of three local universities to one for various
reasons, for example it is expected to boost already flourishing corruption.
Struggle has a mass character, and has faced pretty harsh repression (a tent
camp was attacked with an unknown chemical poison, march to Kiev was stopped
with heavy-handed arrests). 3 months later, it seems that this conflict may
be seen with intensification of oppositional currents in Ukraine in
general - something which seems to be happening in Belarussia as well,
although to a lesser extent. Especially in Ukraine repeat of Serbian and
Georgian scenario is possible, not that it would necessary change things to
much better direction from anarchist perspective, but any unrest gives some
opportunities. In Belgrade I had much good intentions to organize some
support for Sumy efforts, but now it seems there just will not be any time -

Sunday was my distro day. I attempt to bring to such events as much Russian
underground press and literature as I may carry, since it is seldom
accessible to interested people outside of Russia. This is actually quite a
pain, since after carrying that 10 kg one way your main concern will be
avoiding carrying it back - not to talk about groupies who insist on having
free copies since they contributed years ago. And since nobody may read it
anyway, I ended up distributing most to Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian and
Bulgarian speakers for free since they maybe could learn one day. And of
course, almost all Western materials had very Western prices and no trade
with Avtonom - with notable exception of Anti-systemic Library posse (the
notorious West Essex Zapatista), who gave all their shit for free. Big
respect! Organizers of such events should always remember us poor distroers,
and to give one program slot for book fair only.

Sunday afternoon we discussed anarchy bus tour project. Idea is to have a
couple of tours in different Eastern European countries with a bus during
2005, mainly visiting countries and cities with "emerging anarchist scenes",
small groups which would benefit from such a visit which could encompass
street actions, video screenings, discussions and lectures. Of course,
everything should be preferably connected to some local struggles. Idea is
pretty clear and ready as it stands - thus this workshop was mainly
presentation of the idea. Perhaps there was a small collision of concepts as
well, when a more ngoist point of view met with the anarchist one (in
questions of grants, public image and so on). No doubt that certain common,
coherent political concept should be worked out, but I hope nobody felt
excluded in the starting line. Also, some people we perhaps would like to
cooperate with maybe do not align to "Anarchy" label, but what can you do -
for example "Councilist bus" or "Horizontal bus" sounds way less cool.

Sectarian Monday

Monday was to be our day in Athenaeum of anarcho-syndicalists. It was
unfortunate that it was to be Monday - gender day had some of the most
interesting discussions coming up. I got brief taste of the "dealing with
violence inside the movement" workshop by Sydney people, until I had to
leave for the city, and I really liked what I heard.

We wanted to organize something in Athenaeum anyway, in order to have
contact with local anarcho-syndicalists from Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative
(ASI) as well. (Note that their website asks a password if you are a
lifestylist. Try names of pioneers of Serbian anarchism!) Moreover, in
Tuesday it was to be strike of electrical workers and in Monday they came to
anarcho-syndicalist place to present their cause to "anti-globalists" as we
were presented to them by anarcho-syndicalists from ASI, and to ask for our
support. Since I had some business in the city, I missed this presentation
and did not really got what was their cause. However, I suspect that workers
were right and bosses were wrong.

Besides activists, a number of inter-activist conflicts were also converging
to Belgrade - I already referred conflict between West Essex Zapatista and
rest of LARC/PGA conference organizers and inside-DSM! conflict between
Resnik activists and those who preferred Jajinci for the conference
location. Third, and most longstanding conflict is between
Anarcho-syndicalists (ASI) and the section of DSM! who eventually ended up
organizing the conference in Jajinci. To this third conflict I give least
attention, since there is no place for mitigation. I do not even find it
necessary to go into details to political differences between these groups
(although I indeed find them political, not personal as some claim). Long
time before the conference, anarcho-syndicalists had made their conclusion
that PGA is a hopeless structure not to be debated with. I may understand
people who get annoyed for some bullshit getting hanged to their Wiki, but
when you get to know Rata off-line, you learn that he is the most funniest
sectarian there is - so I will forgive him a lot. But thinking back now, I
am sorry that I did not took effort in the spot to sit down with certain
DSM! figures, asking detailed answers to certain accusations of
anarcho-syndicalists - it might take several years until I have the next
opportunity, since e-mail is simply too worksome means of communications.

No matter their small size, both ASI and DSM! had contacts to trade unions
organizing protests and direct actions around Serbia, and there seemed to be
a sort of rivalry which of them has more such class struggle credentials. I
doubt political differences between ASI and DSM! are reflected to these
contacts, actually I think it is more or less haphazard whether some group
gets hooked up with ASI or DSM!. One meeting of workers' collectives linked
to DSM! was organized during PGA conference, but for non Serbo-Croatian
speakers it was not really possible to follow its dynamics, and I heard that
short time reserved for questions of internationals did not helped a lot to
clarify the real situation in the country.

In some sense such a rivalry is understandable, I am not friend of false
unity and I want to respect peoples' right to organize according to their
own principles. At some point this rivalry however got a big ridiculous,
when some people were clearly disappointed when we were inviting people
inside PGA conference to support action of striking workers linked to
anti-PGA ASI.

I was a bit worried that people in general would be annoyed us announcing
inside PGA conference events to be organized in premises of the ASI. It is
still a mystery, who added to our announcement that these discussions were
to be "anti-PGA" - for sure none of us did that, West Essex Zapatista were
suspected by someone from, but they denied the charge. We erased this line
from the announcement.

In the end, people were interested about our event, and especially many
indymedia activists wanted to join our sectarian hit discussion topic "Indy-
or anti-media? Against ANY journalism..." which was first in program. I
wrote a summary of this discussion as well as about less witty
"'Terror"&"human rights' as bourgoise concepts", so I will not refer them

Monday evening after dinner in the PGA conference area, there was a
spontaneous discussion in the tent outside about strike which was coming up
next day. None of the people discussing were local, so there was a big
confusion in front of the coming up action and all these local conflicts. In
course of this discussion I got to a rather stupid argument with a long-time
PGA activist from London. I hope that he has changed his mind since, but
then he was arguing that by inviting people to demonstration of the strikers
next day, I was breaking PGA hallmarks, because action was organized by
authoritarian trade unionists where according to hallmarks, PGA is for
horizontal organizing. I hope shortcomings of this argument are obvious to
everybody, but perhaps at the next conference some discussion on what
hallmarks really mean would be at place.

Another, more legitimate concern was about respect to organizers of the
conference. Since they registered us as temporarily residing in Serbia and
Montenegro with their own names, they could get some personal problems in
case we got arrested. In another hand, people were not told about this
setback when they were asked to be registered, and probably many would have
preferred not to register if that would require refraining from a solidarity
action. Sure, demonstration came without a warning in prior and organizers
could not warn people about it, especially when it had not connection with
the PGA conference. Many people did not registered and they did not had any
problems when leaving Serbia - in another hand, one participator from
Ukraine had spent 10 days in Yugoslavian jail 5 years ago when attempting to
leave country without a registration.

This was a more complicated matter, but in the end I think support to
strikers was more important than concern about uneasiness for individual
people organizing the conference. Although local organizers did not endorsed
the action, at no point they asked us not to participate. It must be noted
that this was not just some marginal lefty cheerleading, but strikers had
personally come to ask for our support. And I doubt that they saw a big
difference between ASI and PGA - for them it was all just a bunch of
anti-globalist freaks, so does not really make difference if they did asked
help from ASI or PGA. And in the end, the very person who had registered
people in her own name was in Tuesday's demonstration and liked it, so I
hope nobody had hard feelings in the end.

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