Thursday, April 12, 2007
|Contributed by: AlexTrocchi Views: 15|
During the heyday of the anti-globalization movement, anarchists were at the forefront of the global struggle against capitalism, but the movement in the USA lost its groove after Sept. 11th. Recently, at the Zapatista Encuentro, anarchists from across Mexico, including anarchists involved with APPO in Oaxaca, declared their desire for a continental cross-border network for solidarity, mutual aid, and direct action. Let's get together to discuss this network proposal!Anarchist Assembly 65 fifth ave the new school room 212 sunday, april 15th, 4-8pm Right at the end of the NYC Anarchist Bookfair. For more info on the bookfair: http://www.anarchistbookfair.net
During the heyday of the anti-globalization movement, anarchists were at the forefront of the global struggle against capitalism, but the movement in the USA lost its groove after Sept. 11th. Recently, at the Zapatista Encuentro, anarchists from across Mexico, including anarchists involved with APPO in Oaxaca, declared their desire for a continental cross-border network for solidarity, mutual aid, and direct action. Let's get together to discuss this network proposal!
Why a Network?
In North America, there have been, effectively, no such large-scale actions since Miami, and the limited actions in New York against the RNC. In part this is due to repression and the flight of our earlier allies. Yet the national mood has changed. In the rest of the world, the post-911 slump has long since begun to reverse itself. The Dissent! Network formed in the UK for the G8 meetings in Scotland in 2005 and now functioning in Germany for the G8 2007 has proved that anarchistic networks can take the lead in organizing effective direct actions in this day and age. At the same time, in the US, interest in such a network keeps sputtering along without anything actually coming together.
This is a crisis we feel for two reasons. First of all, because existing informal networks have proved clearly inadequate for large-scale direct action mobilization. There are hundreds of young people enthusiastic about organizing new actions and initiatives but with little experience in how to do so, and hundreds, if not thousands, of direct action veterans scattered around the country with years of skills and experience, and almost no way to bring them together effectively. New generations of activists literally don’t know who to call. It seems to us high time we recognize our responsibility to one another, as a community.
Second of all, a new round of struggle has begun in deadly earnest in Mexico, most dramatically with the Zapatista’s Otra Campaña and the uprising in Oaxaca. You don’t have to be an anarchist to realize that the borders between the US and Mexico are becoming increasingly artificial and meaningless (except as a means of oppression). Increasingly, Mexican anarchists need to able to easily communicate with American counterparts who may not have personally done work in Mexico. Like the younger activists in the US, it is difficult outside the US to know who to call in some events. There was much talk of this, particularly from anarchists from Mexico, at the last Zapatista encuentro in January. European and Asian activists often voice similar complaints. It seems time, then, we think about our responsibilities to the global community of which we are a part as well.
Organization is not a value in itself but neither is it an evil in itself; common sense suggests that different projects will require different sorts of organization and it’s foolish to apply some kind of prefabricated, cookie-cutter approach to every one of them. Yet it’s also possible to learn from experience. Experience by now pretty strongly indicates that if the aim is to be able to organize effective large-scale actions and mobilizations, particularly on a continental scale, a network of networks seem to be what works. This is particularly true if one aims to organize those actions democratically. It’s hard to think of any large-scale mobilizations - or any one that’s are simply limited to marching around with signs - being organized by anything else.
Proposal for an Anarchist Network in the USA
Proposal 1. A network is based not on ideology but on a broad consensus on goals, a desire to take direct action, and agreement that we wish to take action in a way that reflects a shared commitment to egalitarian decision-making. It’s in this sense the network is anarchist: it operates on anarchist principles. Participation is not limited to those who consider themselves “anarchists” in the ideological sense of the term.
Proposal 2.To join the network is to agree to the PGA Hallmarks:1.A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation. 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 organisations, 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.
Proposal 3. The network should be based in already-existing local groups and initiatives, who should retain own name and not become mere “locals” or “chapters” of a wider network.” Particular initiatives and calls to action will not be in the name of the network as a whole but come from participating groups. The main purpose of the network as a whole will be to provide the infrastructure for resulting convergences and mobilizations.
Proposal 4. Due to the size of the North American Continent, face-to-face meetings should be localized to bioregions, with wider meetings happening virtually over the Internet, or face-to-face once a year.
Proposal 5. Our initial focus will be o “No Borders” and the upcoming Convention actions in the USA (though not limited to these). We will make sure the Network is bilingual and created jointly with anarchists in Mexico.
Proposal 6. The network will be open and public. We will hold interest meetings at Bookfairs, the Earth First! Rendezvous, Social Forum, and beyond, but also hold an actual network meeting somewhere on the East Coast, West Coast, and Mid-West, and at least one place in Mexico, at east once a year.
Proposal 7. Every group is encouraged to work with others in the network around practical tasks such as comms, propaganda, medics, legal, in order to help facilitate infrastructure for continental mobilizations against capitalism. They will thus be able to form continental Working Groups that meet virtually and have their own autonomy.
Proposal 8. More immediately, participants will immediately start assembling a direct action solidarity resource base (possibly to be eventually made available on the Internet) of the location of trained facilitators, facilitation trainers, medics, legal teams, media collectives or those with media experience, people with access to printing resources or plumbing/electric, and so forth, willing to volunteer their time, energy, or possible spaces to projects within their cities or regions. This should be a crucial resource for anyone
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