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(en) Ireland: 3rd Grassroots Gathering in Belfast Oct 26-27 2002

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 1 Oct 2002 05:56:05 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Invitation for the Gathering in Belfast Oct 26-27 2002                    @ Giros, 1/5 Donegal Lane, Belfast(for contact details see below)
Following the success of two previous gatherings, one in Dublin
(last Autumn) and one in Cork (last spring) there is a new
grassroots gathering preparing to happen and you are invited.

So far the grassroots gatherings have aimed towards a network
which would:
- Be based on the principle that people should control their own
lives and work together as equals, as part of how we work as
well as what we are working towards.
- Within the network this means rejecting top-down and
state-centred forms of organisation  (hierarchical,
authoritarian, expert-based, Leninist etc.). We need a network
that's open, decentralised, and really democratic.
- Call for solutions that involve ordinary people controlling
their own lives and having the resources to do so: the
abolition, not reform, of global bodies like the World Bank and
WTO, and a challenge to underlying
structures of power and inequality.
- Organise for the control of the workplace by those who work
- Call for the control of communities by the people who live
- Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and social
system, agreed by the people of the planet.
- Working together in ways which are accessible to ordinary
people, particularly women and working-class people, rather than
reproducing feelings of disempowerment and alienation within our
own network.

Provisionally, the grassroots gathering in Belfast has been
booked into the Belfast Youth and Community Group hall, more
frequently known as "Giros", on the weekend of 26th & 27th of
October 2002.  Beyond this there are plenty of details to be
worked out and your involvement and ideas are needed and
desired. Between then and now, here's how you can get involved. 
You can pass this
invitation along to people who support the intention of the
gathering and would like to become involved. In Belfast there
are regular activist meetings at the "Our Kitchen" cafe night on
the first Wednesday of every
month in Giros with food, craic and discussion from 8.00 p.m. 
This is a great place to meet up, eat some food and find out
what is happening.  Other planning meetings will be every other
Monday (7th+21st Oct) evening at 7pm
in the Student Union building of Queens... ask for the Green
Action meeting).

There is contact information below including a website and email
list. Also enclosed with this invitation is report on the first
and second grassroots gatherings, what happened during them and
just a few of the things that occurred as a result of them.

Signed with Solidarity & Autonomy, the provisional group to
organize a grassroots gathering that will prepare
us to stop globalisation, environmental destruction, war, and
capitalism dead in their tracks!

More information
To receive further updates about the Grassroots Gatherings by
email send an email to
By post send a letter to Grassroots gathering at any of the PO
Boxes below
      Belfast - c/o PO Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ
      Dublin - c/o PO Box 1528, Dublin 8
      Cork - c/o PO Box 31, Sorting Office, Cork
By email contact us at GGcontact@yahoogroups.com
More information on the web at
Telephone - 07759598798


About the First Grassroots Gathering

On the 24th and 25th of November an important event took place
called the Grassroots Gathering in Dublin. Individual activists
called for this meeting from the following organisations - Irish
Mexico Group, Gluaiseacht, Workers Solidarity Movement,
Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, and the Alliance of
Cork Anarchists.

As I arrived at about 10.30 on Saturday morning I was impressed
with the numbers of people walking in and signing the
registration forms. All in all almost 100 people registered over
the course of the day. We all had come to the gathering from all
over the island as activists to try and set up a new network
based on the principals that people should be in charge of their
lives. We wanted to reject the top down organisational model for
one that's open and truly democratic. People had come from
various backgrounds with different concerns - but we were in
that gathering to work together to find
a means to working towards some solutions that would bring about
empowerment to those effected.

The first day was divided into 3 separate sessions and small
work groups were set up. A good idea was that the workgroups
were set up randomly (i.e. in an attempt to put people together
who hadn't met before) and we each
addressed the topics. Why we were there ? How to organise from
the bottom up? What could we do in the future?

>From a personal perspective I found the 3 sessions very
refreshing and though provoking. People attending were all
coming from an activist background - and we could all learn from
our different experiences. There was also a good display of
mutual respect for differing opinions and
tactics. We came up with some ideas of trying to spread
knowledge on the various issues we were all working on. Nobody
was there to specifically sell a line - convince you to buy a
paper or join The Party. This led to a
productive day were we agreed to work more closely in the future
on specific agreed issues.

The second day we met up in Spacecraft (a warehouse) and the
people there tried to come up with what could be done in the
future. A planned national anti-war demonstration at Shannon -
was organised from this meeting and that
duly took place on the 15th of December. We also plan to involve
more people - swap information about what the various groups are
up to - and we plan to have another gathering - in Cork at

I found the whole experience very inspiring - and was impressed
to see so many motivated activists who are not only yearn for a
better world - but are intent and prepared to work towards it.

(account by participant)


About the Second Grassroots Gathering

The second grassroots gathering was held over the Easter weekend
in Cork. It was quite a success with nearly twice as many
libertarian activists turning up as had been hoped for. Some
seventy people from all over Ireland took
part. Areas represented included Cork, Dublin, Limerick and
Belfast as well as a scattering of other counties including
Kildare, Kerry and Sligo. Some visiting
international activists also dropped in, including people from
Canada and Norway.

This gathering was a follow on from the Dublin one held in
October, see the gathering web page for some details of this.
The idea of the Gatherings is as a base around which libertarian
activists can network, exchange
information and plan for the future. This gathering included
activists involved in Gluaiseacht , Workers Solidarity Movement,
Reclaim the Streets, Dublin and Cork anti bin-charges campaigns
, Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, Cork Autonomous Zone, Reclaim
the Glen, Anarchist Federation, Sellafield bike tour, The Bet,
West Paupa support group, Shannon anti-war refuelling and quite
a few more.

The opening night saw a large group session where individuals
gave a brief introduction to the sort of activism they were
involved in, including those listed above. A member of the Cork
Autonomous Zone explained that the rooms we were meeting in were
available because a number of activists had come together to
open up a space that could be used for a variety of activities.
This was followed by the first of two fine parties in a nearby
house which gave us all a chance to get to know each better.

On the Saturday four parallel workshop sessions ran through the
day. There were workshops on Alternative media, Anti war/Shannon
airport warplane refuelling, Peoples Global Action and a
discussion around non-violence.

Some of the other workshops included 'activism and gender',
Consensus decision making, the World Bank meeting in Norway,
activism after September 11th and the criminalisation of
activists. The previous gathering had led to a protest at
Shannon where a number of people had been arrested for taking
direct action against the presence of a US military transport,
for a report see

We discussed ways this could be built on in the future. We were
in general agreement that meaningful anti-war activity had to
move from passive marches around Dublin's city centre to direct
action aimed at Irish involvement in the war, principally around
the use of Irish airports for refuelling war planes. There were
also a number of workshops intended to be fun / relaxing
including an
alternative guided tour of Cork, meditation, clay modelling and

For the first time there were also a number of bookstalls by
some of the organisations that were present. The day ended with
a long general session to decide if and when we wanted another
Grassroots Gathering. Provisionally we agreed one for the
October bank holiday which will take place in Belfast. This time
it will focus on campaigns we are involved in with some
discussion of the issues that we do not agree on. A small group
of people were mandated to prepare this agenda.

We also did a collection at this session which covered the costs
of the gathering and raised some money towards the costs of one
of the protesters arrested at Shannon airport last year.

Next morning dozens of people from the Gathering set out by car
and bus to the Old Head of Kinsale. There we joined in a protest
again the refusal of an exclusive golf club to allow people to
follow the traditional walk to the lighthouse on the cliffs.
Despite police, we scaled the fence and got to the lighthouse.
More details and pictures from this protest at

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