of PGA conference
Content of the PGA Daily of Monday 26-07-2004
|| Breakfast Big tent big school
|| Introduction and welcome Big tent big school
|| Introduction to gender issues for children Kindergarden big
|| Sexual violence accountability Classroom 4 big skl
|| Genderlab drama workshop Gym big school
|| Mens workshop Kindergarden big skl
|| Theatre workshop Memorial park
|| Lunch Tent on football pitch
|| Workers collectives and women initiatives Calssroom 3 big skl
|| Sex workers debate Municipality building
|| Diesel to vegetable oil Outside front big skl
|| nextGENDERation Classroom 2 big skl
|| Essentialism debate Classroom 3 big skl
|| Qweer Serbia video Classroom 9 big skl
|| Implication of anti-muslim laws in France Classroom 5 big
What about PGA?
PGA process discussions started off with an introduction to what
PGA is and it ’s recent history.To ensure that more people would be
able to take part in the discussions,we broke into smaller groups.Here
the introduction of participants took part and the agenda for the
discussions was decided.As there wasn ’t much time,group I didn’t go
any deeper into any particular issue,but raised different questions and
discussion point that might be important for the PGA process and
to be the next PGA Convernor?
Coordination Meeting Sunday ’s Report
about animal equality…
Why is there no meat nor fish in the meals at the pga conference?
Among the persons who have been organising the pgac,many are
vegetarian or vegan for the animals and many among them want equality
between humans and animals.What does that mean? What one usually
answers to justify the fact that he/she doesn ’t take into account the
fundamental interests of other animals (their interest not to
suffer,not to be killed,etc.),what one usually says to justify their
exploitation,corresponds approximately to these three categories:
If we agree with an argument like « we can exploit animals
because they don ’t belong to our biological group »,then
we can no longer reject racism,sexism,etc.Is this kind of thinking
acceptable? Does it justify anything?
On the other hand,if we accept that intelligence,freedom or the ability to
think become criteria to decide how to treat somebody,it would allow
such things as feeding a child or an idiot in order to eat them
afterwards. We all agree that nothing could justify such practices:it
’s not because a person is intelligent that we have to take her
into consideration,it ’s because he/she can suffer of the consequences
of our acts,because we can make her life enjoyable or horrible,whether
she be an idiot or a genius! Last but not least,we don ’t believe
that anything like « nature » exists: we don ’t believe
that the world is governed by any kind of mystical order,which would
assign a speci fi c role to each and every being,an order which
we should respect or worship,which we should follow as an example
… In the history of the Christian Western countries such a mystical
order has always been used to legitimate all sorts of dominations:patriarchism,speciesm
of course (speciesm is the discrimination based on the species like
sexism-sex,racism-race)but also kingdoms,racism,slavery, colonisation,the
oppression against children,etc.
Once you ’ve started considering someone in a purely functional way
in relation to a kind of general order,you ’re on the way to dominate
this person (for example,this is the social perspective of totalitarist
systems : the individuals are considered as merely mechanics of the
general order, which is the only thing that matters).
As a consequence,we think that it is not justi fi ed to refuse to take
into account what the animals are living,what they would like to do or
what they try to avoid;it ’s not justi fi ed and it ’s illegitimate … so
we think this oppression is not defendable.In this way,any kind of
animal exploitation is an injustice,as much as it would be if it were
applied to humans.
As unfair.In the same way.In an equal way. The first beings concerned
by this question are all the animals we eat :on the one hand because
the amount of victims is horribly huge (every single year,about one
milliard vertebrates and thousands of milliards of fi sh are killed in
every country).On the other hand,because this massacre -organised so
that people can eat meat and fish -is an extremely common habit and
occupies a huge place in our imaginary and a central place in our
meals; this habit seems to create part of the basis for social
relationships.When we kill the animals in order to eat them and treat
them as insensitive objects,we show a strong despisement for them; this
despisement,this contempt,seems to nourish and consolidate the
relationsships between humans, it seems to allow humans to see each
others as equals,feeling much above non-humans,standing proudly on top
of heaps of cadavers.We are not animals!We are not livestock!
We wish to establish new relation-ships with
non-humans,relation-ships which are no longer based on domination but
instead on the acknowledge-ment of what non-human animals need,what
they desire,what they reject;new relation-ships which would eradicate
contempt,indifference and inequalities.
That ’s why,in the same way as we fight against sexism so that men
stop defining themselves as more valuable than women and stop exploiting
them,we want humans to stop de fi ning themselves as superior to the
other animals;we want humans to reject any form of exploitation. We don
’t ask people to feel pitiful for the animals, we simply ask for
25th Coordination meeting
The gender question is a central issue for the conference,Mathieu
explains.There are 13 workshops oragnised about this subject,and a
specific Gender Day.It is interesting to understand how this began.
«this problem is often ignored in the movement, even though it is
always there.Every day,in the most “innocent “of behaviour we can see
this domination of women by men.Actually we are all conditioned by
society,to repeat this behaviour sub-conciously.»
«For example,to take the popular activist meetings,it is
so typical that the majority of men are more vocal. And worse! One
can see that if a woman make a proposals,she is ignored the first
time,but men are normally heard. In our imagination,it is the men
who have the decision making power,a role that is not given to women.Even
where people should be aware of these issues,men are treating women
according to their physical appearance rahter than their arguments.In
previous PGA conferences, there were attempted rapes.
The rules of our patriarchal culture are imposed from childhood.One
can see at shools the books are full of the stereotypes and more
genreally, in society,there is a very strong model of patriarchal
domination. Because the men don’t suffer from this domination it
is easy for them to ignore the issue and not ask questions.Luckily
feminism came and challenged the system and asked the questions.
It is not possible for men to fully undestand the situation women
are in and how that makes women feel.However they can begin to try
and understand by reading feminist literature. In an ideal situation,we
could abolish gender » says Mathieu.
an autonomous kitchen
A big group of people that arrived on Monday to prepare the
conference,had to fi nd a solution to the question of food (if
possible,according to the principle of self-organizing ,even if it was
just for the days before the conference.This is how the autonomous
kitchen was created,even though it was “laborious ”,according to one
Also,some people were not happy that the Rad kitchen would prepare
the meals during the conference.Rad is a self managed cooperative,and
the workers take a wage.They often work with militant groups but
people felt that we should also have a kitchen that is self organised.People
felt it important that we should be able to provide for ourselves,that
is why we came here.Some people were disappointed that the cooking
was seen as secondary and many times there was nobody to help cook.However,eating
is the most important thing!Luckily even if it is hard to coordinate
the kitchen,things are starting to happen.
An idea was passed before the conference that the kitchen should
continue and that a new stone fireplace should be made where we
could prepare meals outside.And also that people would participate.The
only difference between now and before is that we used to have donations,and
now we use meal tickets for both kitchens.5 Euros per day may seem
a lot,but the price is negotiable. Anyway,we have our ideas,and
we have to try and make use of what we have to fit.
For breakfast the principles of self organisation has been
maintained.The meeting of the kitchen group is held every morning at
that time,and everyone is welcome.
Want To Say Something!?!
Yesterday,people are not understanding a part in the article about
the meeting interruption.The problem is the first sentences: “Yesterday
evening,people from (...)Reznick enter the space. An English guy
took off his trousers (...). This really annoyed people who leave
the room (...). The reason why people are so upset (...) is because
they know the people interrupting the meeting. THESE people would
have have been preventing the smooth functionning of the organization
over the last six month (...)”
So OK,when I read that, I can understand that “people from Reznick
” is contain in this “THESE”.And that is nor the truth.
Concerning the fonctionment of the newspaper,another precision seems
necessary:as anybody is free to write an article in it, the newspaper
is not representative of the PGA.
What’s more,nobody can speak in the name of PGA. One mustn ’t forget
that an article cannot claim to be objective. This is the first
criticism which can be made against the traditional medias, which
claim to be neutral in order to aim at a larger audience, to sell
better to their announcers. For example, let’s consider a riot.
‘There was a riot’ seems to be the most neutral way to report this
piece of information.Nevertheless, its impact won’t be the same
depending on the kind of media that will refer to it.What’s more,this
difference will be visible at the scene of action too,according
to which side of the bar.
Sienna Rodgers,age 10, a caixa player with Rythms of
Resistance(london) writes: “Today at the 4pm samba workshop for kids
there weren ’t many kids. In fact,there was only me and another boy
called Medeo.It was good. People learnt the songs quickly. Tommorow
though hopefully there will be a few roma kids and maybe some serbians.
About the PGA its a bit boring because there are no kids my age. The
only meeting I have attended so far is the morning samba meeting and I
was the facilitator which is quite hard because you cant shut adults up
most of the time.”
Ash Brewen,age 8, feels that most of the adults are
ageist.“ the facilitators dont facilitate properly.If the kids do
something wrong because they haven ’t been taught how to do a
meeting,the facilitators don't correct them but they do with adults.Say
an adult deviates fromthe subject then the facilitators will correct
them but with kids they ignore them.I
had this experience myself with the first general meeting.I ‘ve lived in
squat communities in London and france where there are mostly adults.
Sometimes the adults say lets get some kids in but they give up after a
week or two.”
Kerstin Rodgers,a parent and an ROR drummer writes: In fact
despite the desire of the PGA conference to include children the
reality is that very few children are here.What happens to people when
they have children?Do they give up and stay at home watching telly? Are
all the young radicals in their teens,twenties and thirties that are
here right now going to stop travelling,being activists,taking risks
when they have children? Do you have to give up your life when you have
kids or can you incorporate them? Surely bringing our children to these
events is part of their education... I just spoke to a young activist
who confidently declared ” well you make a choice: do you live your life
for you or for
your kids?” And at the ripe old age of 26 he declared that “Its
because I want to live my life that I have decided to not have children
”. (I didnt tell him that its unlikely to be him making that choice
anyway, its generally the woman). Positive reasons to bring kids:they
show the locals that we are just like them in that we have families
and responsibilities too.
There ’s a noisy Batucada show tomorrow at 6:00 a-m. The juggling
workshop is a secret self-defense workshop. Radical activists are here!
Other peoples think they are dissidents.
People are sleeping when dogs bark. This newspaper is written by
junkies! For kids (not only),the meetings seem just like school.
Yesterday ’s newspaper was read by everyone! The medical team ’s
meeting is moving location to a psychiatric hospital. Regristration
of the passport is just for us. Somebody is pissing on tents at
night!!! Some others says that they saw a flock of sheep ;0)
Our way of life
The role of the media is to allow communication of a society with
itself.Control of this communication by the state and private interests
is the best way to avoid any embarrassing debates.The mainstream media
never questions this control which is why it is necessary to
re-appropriate the media.
This newspaper is an experiment in reappropriation.It is important
that everybody can participate in its redaction.To this aim,an open
meeting is organized every morning,at 10:30 a.m.in the computer
room to decide the content of the next day ’s paper.But it is possible
to write an article at any moment: there is a “daily news ”folder
on the desktop of the computers. where one can save txts.At 18:00,
layout begins with the available texts.If there is too many articles
or they are too long,the choice is hard.It is better if this choice
is not individual...And as for the long articles,we have the internet!
So it is possible to work without a leader...
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| dd. 17-02-2005