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(en) Ireland: 2nd Belfast Grassroots Gathering: an invitation

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 28 Sep 2004 12:55:49 +0200 (CEST)

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Following the success of previous gatherings throughout Ireland over the past
three years the grassroots gathering will be back in Belfast over the weekend
of 22nd to the 24th of October. 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
* 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 there.
* Call for the control of communities by the people who live there.
* 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.

The grassroots gathering in Belfast has been booked into Queens Students Union,
located on University Road opposite the main Queens building. A theme this
gathering hopes to tackle is building safe communities with an emphasis on
undoing racism (both structural and interpersonal) and addressing gender bias
and patriarchal structures and attitudes throughout society and within our
social movements. There will be space to discuss issues pertinent to the
campaigns coming out of grassroots activism all over Ireland, such as,
anti-water charges campaigns, war resistance, environmental campaigns, the
global women’s strike and the other issues brought to the gathering by the
people attending. As always the success of the gathering is dependent upon the
involvement of those attending. Between then and now here’s how you can get
involved. You can pass this invitation on to people who support the aims of the
gathering and would like to be involved. There are regular organising meetings
in Belfast. If you would like to get involved or have suggestions for workshops
get in touch, there is contact information below.

Signed with Solidarity & Autonomy,

the co-ordinating group for a grassroots gathering that will help prepare us to
stop globalisation, war, capitalism and patriarchy dead in their tracks!

Contact Information:

To receive further information about this grassroots gathering contact:


Belfast -
c/o PO Box 505,
Belfast, BT12 6BQ

Telephone: (UK) 07729785327

More information on the web at http://grassrootsgathering.freeservers.com or

The Grassroots Gathering is a space for communication, learning and debate
between people organising non-hierarchically for a new society in Ireland and
worldwide. We include environmentalists, community activists, worker’s and
consumer’s cooperatives, anarchists, trade unionists, feminists, cultural
activists and others united in our rejection of capitalism and commitment to
the voluntary creation of alternatives without coercion. Children are welcome
at this event.

The gathering will include video showings, workshops, evening festivities,
direct actions and presentations from all over Ireland and abroad, and a
bookstall by Just Books. Veggie and vegan food will be provided by Belfast food
not bombs, and free accommodation will be provided (bring a sleeping bag).
Volunteers are needed each day for an hour or so to supervise play activities,
help in the kitchen and clean up.

There will be workshops on the themes:
• gender, queer activism, Global Woman’s Strike (March 8th), and other issues
such as dealing with rape and sexual harassment in our communities.
• racism, understanding white skin privilege, anti-racist/anti-fascist

If you have experience in these areas and want to get involved in planning the
discussions or presenting a workshop please contact us at

Other workshops suggested or confirmed include:

* politics, democracy & technology
* water charges
* student politics in Latin America
* education workers network
* fire your boss workshop
* understanding different stages social movements go through
* guerrilla/community gardening
* food not bombs
* bin skipping and recycling
* the Dissent network (planning for G8 UK 2005)
* bicycle repair workshop
* wild food gathering
* 3 sided football
* home brewing

If you would like to present a workshop or facilitate a discussion please, or
have experience relating to some of the workshops listed, please contact us as
soon as possible at grassrootsbelfast2@safe-mail.net

We are also planning to set aside time for ‘renegade workshop’ space for
shorter meetings, workshops and announcements.

We want people to get involved, we need help with cooking, children’s
activities, providing accommodation (if you live in Belfast), facilitating
workshops and discussions. Come along and muck in.

Web Links

• The Grassroots Gatherings in Ireland

* Queens University Belfast Student Union
* City of Belfast
* City Map

Belfast City of Culture
• Belfast Festival at Queens
• Children’s Art Festival

• Catalyst Arts http://www.catalystarts.org/
• The Vacuum/Factotum

InterContinental Links • Global Women’s Strike
• People’s Global Action
• Dissent Network
(Opposing the G8 in Scotland 2005)
• Irish Social Forum
• European Social Forum (ESF)
• Autonomous Spaces (at the ESF)

Irish Environmental and Social Movement Organisations
• Gluaiseacht Network
• Workers Solidarity Movement
• Organise!
• Greenaction
• Cork Autonomous Zone
• Campaign
against Mallusk Landfill http://www.no-more-landfill.com
• Direct Action
Against Apathy http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/5944/

What Happened at the Last Grassroots Gathering In Belfast?

There have been several highly successful Grassroots Gatherings across Ireland
in the past three years. The previous Grassroots Gathering in Belfast held over
the weekend of October 26th – 27th 2002, it brought together over one hundred
grassroots activists, environmentalists, union members, feminists, working
people, anarchists, children and other assorted troublemakers from across the
island and beyond. There were almost 20 different workshops on a wide variety
of topics including Gender, Direct Action, Social Centres, Opposing US Military
Use of Shannon Air, Workers Control, Reclaim the Streets, Confronting
Sectarianism, and Forest Gardens. It took place in Giros, which was a
democratically managed social centre in Belfast, with gigs, meetings, a cafe, a
darkroom, a library, and much more. Given the international situation,
unsurprisingly talk about the war took up a lot of time. One excellent workshop
was introduced by the Shannon plane spotters of Refuelling Peace. The
discussion following this was mostly about schemes to establish a peace camp at
Shannon, creating a democratic anti–war network and a call for a further
demonstration at Shannon warport. These proposals were then taken to the
Morning meeting, i.e. to all folk at Grassroots, not just attendees at one
workshop. Many concrete plans and ideas emerged from the many workshops during
the two days, including the formation of a grassroots network against the war,
the staging of Reclaim The Streets, and the suggestion to host a People's
Global Action conference in Ireland. In fact the only problem that seemed to
occur was that of two or more interesting workshops coinciding and the sheer
lack of time to attend everything. A special word of thanks has to go out to
the Belfast crew for all their hard work and the organisation of this
Grassroots Gathering. It was a roaring success thanks to their hospitality and
meticulous attention to detail!

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