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(en) Australia, g20 protests melbourne. the 'space outside, active intentions within ' squat gathering reader

Date Tue, 05 Dec 2006 17:48:07 +0200


anarchist/anarcho-punk/feral and autonomist gathering in melbourne before the g20 meeting produced this reader.
The first few pages are extracted below - see the rest in the: http://www.aspaceoutside.org/wp-content/uploads/Space_Outside_Reader.pdf
For information on the actions the most militant by anarchists in several years can be read about in the features of melbourne.indymedia.org
-------------------------------------
a Space Outside reader -
a note from a Space Outside collective, nov 2006

Thank you to everyone who submitted articles, images, and energy to a space outside collective and the reader. We created this! A space outside would like to acknowledge m-city for the graph we have loved and used. www.m-city.org
The articles in this reader do not necessarily respresent the views and opinions of the collective.
------------------------------------------
This reader is designed to present some of the issues and debates that will be raised at the gathering,
A Space Outside ­ Active Interventions Within, 13th ­ 19th November, coinciding with the G20
mobilisation in Melbourne.
This will be a chance for activists to discuss radical responses to the current political climate.
Militarism, the war on terror, the privatisation of public spaces, and the neoliberalisation of Aus-
tralian Universities are provoking activist responses and campaigns, but are also providing barriers
to activists' capacities to challenge these issues. Workshops will also critically examine governments'
linking of aid and development objectives with military strategic and economic objectives. This
gathering will provide an opportunity for us to learn more about these political issues, while at the
same time reflecting on our methods and strategies for addressing them.
A crucial purpose for this gathering is to explore better ways of organising radical/ revolutionary
politics in a way that is relevant in the current political climate. The workshops and forums that
will take place at the gathering and the articles in this reader are contributions from people who are
working to bring about radical social change. Authors and workshop facilitators are from all over
Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and elsewhere.
Much has been learned from experiences of previous summit mobilisations. Many people wish to
build on these experiences and to contribute strategies, ideas and praxis not only to future mobilisa-
tions, but to everyday life. Questions should be asked about how we organise effectively. We ask these
questions not to posture our politics, acquire some kind of subcultural social status or win debates
with political `opponents' on the left. We ask these questions because we are striving to understand
our political, economic and social reality, and how to change it for the better. This is not historical
revisionisms. This is not motivated by a desire to hark back to some imaginary golden era of Seattle
or May '68. Times change. This is a collective attempt by activists to try harder to understand how to
bring about positive change in a way that is all-encompassing and not limited to a reformist approach.
We hope that upon leaving the Space Outside gathering, people will feel that our capacity to resist
intense forms of capitalist exploitation is increased. We want people to leave inspired to examine how
we live our lives and organise in ways that create real and meaningful change.
--------------------
a space outside safer space

people are around who can play the role of helping you to
debrief. There are even a couple of trained counsellors in our
circles!
Conflict Resolution and the Boot
It is inevitable that there will be conflict in the time that we
are occupying the site. This can be an incredibly valuable
thing if it is managed in a constructive manner.
We have designed a basic process for dealing with conflict,
based around the principle that a resolution deemed positive
to all parties involved should always be sought first.
Any conflict arising in the space that at least one party feels
cannot be resolved without some help, should seek the as-
sistance of one of the members of the Conflict Resolution
Sub-Collective.
The collective is Holly (Syd), Dave (Canberra), Eleven (Melb)
Jane (ASO), G (Melb), Erin (ASO), Rodney (Melb), Minch
(Melb), Killer (Melb), plus some other people.
Ideally, with the help of this collective, the conflict will be
resolved. However, if this fails, then as a last resort, the
conflict will be taken to the entire collective to make a final
decision on what action needs to be taken.
Cops and Owners
(Thanks to the Affordable Student Housing Collective for
allowing us to rip off this next bit).
We hope that on the first day of the gathering, Tuesday 14th,
we can have a very brief discussion and reach consensus
about how we are going to deal with cops if and when the
situation arises that we need to. We prepared the following as
a suggested proposal that we can hopefully reach consensuon
pretty quickly.
1. The most important thing to remember is DO NOT LET
THEM IN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
2. Tell them that we are in negotiations with the owners, that
this is a matter of civil law, and it does not concern the police,
thank you very much for assistance constable.
3. DO NOT admit to altering the property in any way, and if
they ask how you got in, tell them that the door was open.
4. If asked who is in control, tell them that last time you
heard it was a mix of George Bush and that Bono, but that
they are welcome to talk to you in the mean time, although
you cannot make any decisions on behalf of the group, nor
can you speak for anybody but yourself.
For more general information about squatters rights, get your
hands on a copy of the Melbourne Squatters Guide. There
is usually a few lying around and it is an excellent source of
information about squatting. If you can't find a copy, it is
online at www.geocities.com/squattersguide or
www.aspaceoutside.org
Roster For Presence
There must be people at the space at all times. At any
moment the coppers may rock up requesting, amongst other
things, a quiet chat with the upstanding citizens. If no one is
home, they may decide to let themselves in, make a cup of tea
and declare it reclaimed as the Victoria Police social club and
initiate a whole new era of Blue Light Disco.
As no one needs to relive their early adolescent experiences
of drunken pashing at the Blue Light, we will create a roster
system to ensure that there is always at least four or five
people at the site.
On the wall there is a list, where everyone lists the times that
they intend to be at the space.
Please put yourself on this list. If you notice that there is a
blank spot and you can't be there, please try and rope your
mates into doin' a stint.
It is a collective responsibility to make sure that we always
have a presence at the site.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
----------------------------------------

Capitalism, Social Relations, Autonomous Organising and Community

The structure of our economy forms the basis of social
organisation, structuring relationships and the way these are
conceived, developed and understood. It provides an impera-
tive around which our lives are organised, determines value
and power relations, establishes frameworks of communica-
tion and self-thought, ways of perceiving others in relation to
the self; defined and limited ways of thinking and being.
Neo-liberal capitalism is an individualistic ideology ­ the
individual is a self-sufficient economic unit, producing goods
or providing skills for private profit, consuming goods
and services for personal enjoyment and satisfaction. The
social body of our society is disconnected. This relationship
between producer and consumer is distant, impersonal. The
individual earns the benefits of her own success; carries the
responsibility of his own failure ­ social relationships are
inessential beyond the pursuit of profits and their exchange
for material fulfilment.
Interpersonal relationships in capitalist society is indirect,
realised through the mediation of things. The creation
and exchange of commodities is the primary purpose for
our communications and networks. Everything is saleable,
tradeable ­ even the bonds that we establish with others. Re-
lationships become commodities also, valued for their relative
costs and benefits ­ tolerable, useful, or perhaps barriers,
even threats to our private ambitions ­ to be kept or traded in
response.
Social relations are delegated to the private and the personal;
deemed alienable, fundamentally disconnected from and ines-
sential to the achievement of all other needs and goals. Where
work must be constantly undertaken, social engagement is
another demand on time and energy, and must become more
artificial; manufactured, short-term, casual. Passive material
activity replaces active community involvement as the central
occupier of leisure time. The community has been replaced
by a mass consumer culture, faceless and fragmented.
Capitalism is predicated on a discourse of scarcity, even as
it encourages endless, accumulative growth. It suggests that
capital, and its derived benefits, are limited, and hence cannot
be amassed evenly, endlessly, by all ­ capitalism depends on
there not being enough for everyone. The accumulation of
capital is determined by supply and demand: market forces
encourage the movement of goods ­ food, cars, toilet paper
­ to areas where people can afford to pay more them, under
the guise of the pursuit of the "efficient" allocation of
resources.
Relations are reduced to perpetual competition ­ people
must continually grapple for capital, for "things" which are
of limited supply; pushing and stomping and cheating and
lying in their struggle to have, to use, to own, to look at. As a
system of private ownership and individual profit, collectivity
is cast aside ­ what remains is antithetical to love, friendship,
mutual and egalitarian respect. Instead, capitalism produces
coercion, deception, suspicion, poor communication.
Social organisation becomes hierarchical ­ someone must
always have more. Inevitable inequality breeds jealousy,
division, conflict. Economic hierarchies exist at all levels of
society: between states, within states, in the family, among
friends. Capitalism creates a way of thinking in which all
other factors of life become competitive, a field in which to
pursue and maintain constant binaries of domination and
submission. We do so in the workplace, the school, the sports
field, the bedroom. Trying to possess the most "things"; be
the most educated; the prettiest; the most admired; the most
charitable; the funniest; the most alternative ­ to be better,
and more, and better, and more. We are taught that we must
provide for the self at the expense of others, and then work
to protect our staked out position at all costs. Individuals
learn to fear the "theft" of their "things", the "invasion" of
their space; and then to fear each other, to hate each other.
The oil-abundant land mass, the threatening refugee who
comes to steal jobs, the black person who comes to corrupt
lifestyles, the traditional occupants of our land who might try
to reclaim what we have taken, the friend who looks better in
the dress.
We learn that to have value, we must be superior to others;
that we can only define ourselves in relation to others, at the
expense of others ­ a sort of scarcity economy of the self.
And so we devalue others, through whatever means we have
available. We must distinguish ourselves by the colour of our
skin, the way that we dress, or the way we behave. In doing so,
we alienate "the other", dissociating ourselves from those we
can define as beneath us, be they countries, races, communi-
ties, or individuals, in an attempt to validate our self-worth. At
the same time we refuse ourselves a truer understanding of
our own identity; of who we are as ourselves, rather than who
we are in not being others.
Our relationships are littered with rivalry, resentment,
hostility; on every scale, from the local to the global, the state
to the person on the side of the road. At best, we consign
ourselves to a truce of mutual dissociation and ignorance,
erecting hard, impenetrable borders between ourselves, to
protect ourselves, our things, our identities.
Capitalism is divisive, antagonistic. It keeps us passive, self-
interested, and wary. It establishes a form of divide and
conquer rule, mitigating against our desire to unite in collec-
tive solidarity, discouraging us from initiating any form of
joint resistant action. Instead, we remain alien, lonely, and per-
petually unsatisfied; individual producers and/or consumers,
trying to purchase our pain away ­ preferably before anyone
else is can do the same.
We can break these systems down. If we join hands in solidar-
ity; in mutuality and respect, with recognition of common
interests as the basis for deep connections among diverse
communities, we can actively establish collectively organised
communities and networks worldwide, choosing to acknowl-
edge and respect diversity and difference as central values. In
offering each other mutual support, working together towards
organising, the meeting structure, or the language that is used
­ whether it be the terms that are used that have developed
in autonomous organising movements and academic litera-
ture; educated white people's english; or both. It takes a lot
of confidence to speak up in a room in which perhaps you
feel the least educated, and if maybe you feel like an outsider,
whether it is because you don't know anyone and others do,
or you don't quite understand what is going on, or you are not
a white westerner who feels completely at ease in a room full
of people who communicate from a similar perspective and
experiential/cultural background to you.
We need to find some way of balancing the need to make
autonomous movements more open and accessible with
the need to avoid compromising our politics and the nature
of the organising process, broadening the movement and
encouraging more diverse involvement and awareness without
watering down our political standpoints, subscribing to
hierarchical education, or "recruiting". We need to find a way
of communicating issues and ideas to people beyond the uni-
versity environment, or academic and activist spheres, while
maintaining diversity and direct participation, and without
falling into representative organising structures. Because
without broader dialogue we run the danger of merely talking
to ourselves, radicalising only a core group of activists rather
than establishing the global, radically democratic community
of networks we purport to be working towards. Or worse,
degenerating into constant in-fighting and debate about the
relative merits of tactics, rather than living out our solidarity
rhetoric to actually pose a substantial, resistance and challenge
to neo-liberal capitalism.
If we can't find a way to extend discussion and involvement
beyond circles of people that are already at least somewhat
involved or knowledgeable, we will never pose a challenge to
campaigns like Make Poverty History. We pretty much stand
aside and allow Make Poverty History, LiveAid, and the like
to become the only visible point of widespread "protest",
thereby de-legitimising our more radical resistance and
denying ourselves audiences that may be inclined to listen,
take note, and get involved in direct action and autonomous
organising themselves. Furthermore, we can't strive towards
mutually respectful diversity and difference in our commu-
nities and networks if we do not find a way to encourage a
greater presence of non-white communities in actions and
convergence spaces, and, importantly, in all areas of the
organising process, rather than simply in actions or areas that
relate to indigenous issues, immigration, race, and so on.
We need to determine in what form this movement of
movements exists ­ or, perhaps more importantly, in what
ways it is or can be made, open and accessible to people that
have been previously uninvolved ­ in the absence of a direct
particularist struggle to ground it in a space. Direct action and
mobilisation around particular events or goals is an excellent
opportunity through which to engage broader groups of
people. But if we really do want to create lasting forms of
social organisation that counteract the effects of capitalism
on human relations and communities, we need to be able to
extend social organising beyond particularist struggles ­ we
need to be able to rely on ourselves and on each other, rather
than simply on the institutions of capitalism to give us a
reason to organise, network, and establish collective relation-
ships with solidarity as their basis.
Ani t.
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