NAN Conference- Brief Report. (fwd)

The Anarchives (
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 23:24:00 +0000 (GMT)

Although this was on the anarchy-list

I thought it should go onto a-infos

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 15:35:41 +0000 (GMT)
From: Douglas John Potts <>
Subject: NAN Conference- Brief Report.

Hi Everyone,
Here`s a very quick report back of the Northern
anarchist Network conference, held in Leeds last weekend. Please note
this is a subjective viewpoint.

The conference started off with a short plenary which set the tone of
the conference as decided at the last get together, i.e. it would be based
more on skill sharing and practical work than on theory, although the two
are relatively inseperable.

The first workshop was on everday struggles and was introduced by
Albert Meltzer. The workshop covered the idea of solidarity centres which
anarchists should set up, where the community could have a place to
organise and get advice about their everday struggles in the workplace
and the community. The workshop then moved on to how to spread the
message of anarchism in the wider community. The need to link up single
issue struggles together to try and offer a more universal outlook was
covered as was the need to spread the anarchists message more widely and
to attempt to escape from the political ghetto.

The second workshop was based around Anarchist Black Cross, and
supporting political prisoners. This took the form of addressing the
practicalities for supporting prisoners for people who may not have
written before i.e. what to say to break the ice, how not to jeprodise a
prisoners liberty, and basically a reminder to put the prisoner first and
to ask for what _they_ want. The workshop then moved on to what could be
acheived by the network in terms of joint protests in the region of
Northern England. The workshop also looked at the possibility of
organising coaches and mobilizing for national demonstrations.

This workshop was then folowed by a short video of the women in the
EZLN, which provided a useful insight as to how political upheaval and
armed struggle has affected the women involved in the EZLN in Chiapas.
The women explained that if they had not joined the movement they would be
a lot less free, and would have much less equality to the amount they
have in the EZLN.
The video was followed by a short discussion introduced by a Workers
Solidarity Movment member from Dublin. The debate touched on the politcs
and organisation of the EZLN and recent developments in the struggle. It
also covered how this relates to anarchism, and whether people support the
EZLN or not.

In the evening there was a social and an excellent quiz organised by
people from Leeds Anarchist Group. This was really good in my opinion,
as it had an imaginitive presentation, including an electronic
scoreboard, name that tune, question categories, silly costumes and even
dancing at the end!!

The second day began with a discussion on developing the network. This
involved sorting out the details of future work, and discussed methods
that different anarchist groups in NAN could work together on. It was
also decided that the next conference would be held in January.

After lunch there was a speaker from a local solicitors who have been
involved in a number of defence campaigns, as well as suing the police
etc. This covered legal rights (or lack of them) on demonstrations, what
tricks the cops like to pull and how to operate in custody. It then
covered examples of when it is possible to sue the police and the
likliehood of winning the case.

The final session was a contraversial debate on Sexuality. Which looked
at sexuality and the role it plays in society, how the state restricts
and opresses it the state of sexual politics and the lack of rights that
stil exsist for a large number of people in society.
The role of the issue within the anarchist movement was then covered,
with a wide range of opinions.

Althought the turn out was lower than expected, the people that did come
were serious class struggle activists and a lot of concrete plans and
suggestions came form the weekend. It would appear that the network is
truly beginning to take shape, with this conference hopefully being a new
start for anarchists up North to work together, aiming higher for bigger and
better actions.
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