The Introduction to the Process Working Group took place Sunday
morning with over 25 people. The agenda items included a definition of PGA,
a brief PGA history, a look at decisions that need to be taken at this PGA
conference, proposals made by EuroDusnie and MRG thus far, other thoughts
and ideas about the process, and general clarifications of the issues brought
Intro to the Process Working Group
Sunday, September 1, 2002
10:00 - 13:15
- What is PGA
- Look at decisions that need to be taken
and what has been proposed so far for the PGA European Network
- Other ideas and thoughts from the group
- Quick summery Newspaper
I. What is PGA?
- PGA is not an organization, it is a network There are no members, no representatives,
no one can speak for pga and pga can speak for no one.
- PGA is a space for people to meet and share experiences. It is politically
defined by hallmarks and there is also a manefesto.
- Rejection of capitalism and the institutions of globalisation
- A rejection of domination, sexism, racism, patriarchy, etc.
- A confrontational attitude that embraces direct action and not lobbying
- A call for direct action, civil disobedience, and the creation of
- An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy
- PGA only decides about the network itself, and not about local groups
- we can decide about how to organise the conference and this role is filled
by the convenor. The convenor is the only structure within pga that has
a mandate to organise.
- There are also support groups but they do not have a clear structure.
The first meeting about support groups was held in December where convenors
met and discussed the support groups. We will have to think about how to
organize these at this conference and make a decision about them.
- PGA also does other things that can be collective projects, such as the
intercontinental caravan and global days of action, where we decide jointly
and it is called out.
- Tools: website of pga www.agp.org, the conference website, and a new initiative
to start a global archive for notes of meetings and general outcomes of
the conferences, caravan99 email general list - email@example.com,
but it is not completely clear, as there is also an email list for convenors
and support groups.
II. History of PGA
- Started in 1998 - focused on opposing free trade and commercialism, 300
people from 74 countries met and worked out a basic structure of PGA, the
first global day of action at first WTO conference, actions at Geneva and
- Just after the convenor meeting it was decided to have intercontinental
caravan in June 99 to bring groups and people from global south. This created
some of the basic network of PGA.
- Also planned to have a global day of action against financial centers
in June 1999. A huge action tool place in England, but there were also actions
in many others places.
- Had the next global conference in Bangor India in 1999 - decided to focus
more broadly - not only on neoliberalism, but also capitalism
- Decided to have global days of action around WTO meeting in Seattle and
May Day 2000
- Also involved in mobilisation against IMF/World Bank in Praha in Sept
- First European PGA meeting in Milano
- Sept 2001 - latest global PGA conference in Cochabamba in Bolivia - most
importantly decided that all groups would have autonomy to work on what
they want and therefore the hallmarks and manifesto changed slightly
- Many groups have been involved in PGA so far.
III. Decisions that need to be taken and what has been
proposed so far PGA European Network presented by someone speaking for EuroDusnie
- Decision 1: Who will be the convenor for the next conference, what is
the convenor, do we want to have a convenor?
- Decision 2: communication tools - European conferences, European website,
and European email lists - do we want to keep it this way or change it especially
as related to conference do we want to have them each year, 2 years, etc
- Decision 3: Support groups- there was is no approved structure, but there
were proposals from December to create support groups for 1.finaces, 2.communication
tools, 3.global contacts, 4.european conferences
- Many proposals: EuroDusnie, MRG, and maybe more? Proposals will be published
in newspaper, but in the end we will have to make a final decision at the
- EuroDusnie wants to make sure a decision will be made so they want to
have the consensus in the three days to develop the proposal through the
meetings and the conference newspaper, and then ratify the proposal with
¾ majority b/c they are afraid of discussion in a three hour plenary
- Others disagree with voting and want consensus in plenary
Question - There was something about global contacts that the note-taker
did not catch
Comment - there is one other proposal that is not in paper, it involves more
local meetings and decentralisation, and then a delegate structure that would
send regional delegates to the European structure [I am not quite sure if
I got all of this right] This could get more people involved, prevent from
big plenaries, and [something I missed].
IV. Other ideas and thoughts from the group
- Convenors - best is dual convenorship, build structure to pass knowledge,
convenorship should last two years - for example one would organise a conference,
then choose a new convenor, the new convenor organises the next conference
with the old group there to help.
- Communication tools -
- action announcements
- strategy and tactical list
- convenor list
- general list for al people doing support work
- Conferences should have a definitive date every year so people can better
organise for them and prepare
- Technical support groups
- have one technical support email list so they are not split up
The fact that the structure was already strictly defined beforehand about
how to talk about the process was not good. MRG has proposed a fourth point
for decision as a part of this - talking about PGA as a global network (not
about how PGA Europe relates to other PGA outside of Europe) They don’t
want to loose the spirit of PGA as a global network - this is especially important
for the Spanish State, as they have lots of contacts in Latin America. They
question if we going to open this process and make a decision about which
issues we will talk about or is it closed?
- The specific proposal will be in newspaper, so he will talk about it generally
- Support Group: technical differences between what EuroDusnie proposed
for the support group, but wont talk about it here
- Convenors - also two, but one should focus on the European conference
and network and one on global contacts and networks, focus on more of a
concrete definition of what convenors should do. Also think that the role
of the convenor should be discussed, and that the convenor should be there
to circulate ideas and proposals and provide communication between ideas,
but not to actually create proposals themselves.
- Subdivide Europe into different regions, and then each region would have
their own process and convenor to give more strength to the local level
Other Proposals or Ideas? [each bullet should be one person]
- Why a European framework for this conference, why not a more local structure
and then related directly to the global?
- PGA used to exist in eastern Europe, there is nothing PGA related in Czech,
but in Russia there is a network of 5 groups that want to have an autonomous
- Again, an advocate for more local organisation
- We should have local, European, and global networks
- Wants to clarify how we can improve our support for Latin America
- Improve local level and circulation of information from local levels
- Level of motivation locally would depend on how open the process is and
how consensualised. He thinks consensus is very important.
- Not to make too much of a structure and make sure organisation and information
- We can come and go as we want, no need to make decisions [note-taker did
not completely understand]
- We should balance between the need to coordinate and bureaucracy, we should
try to improve coordination, but we should be aware to not go too far.
- Does not want to participate in voting here at all, as locally they have
a commitment to the consensus process
- It seems that there are two levels of thought - local and european levels,
structure should reflect ideas of how localities can strengthen each other.
And also, bulletin to distribute info non-electronically, but this should
be combined with ideas of how to finance this
- It should be flexible, certainly not to create a bureaucratic structure,
the reason why pga first started was to create a global network structure
to interact. Also, it is important to outreach to groups that do not use
the web, email and who cannot even read, so maybe we should see how we can
use a radio structure.
- Decentralisation - decentralise pga, find 10 or so groups across Europe
to make meetings (does not have to be based upon borders) people would go
to the nearest meeting, all regional meetings would talk about the same
thing, and then each meeting would send delegates to a european level meeting,
local decisions should be made locally
- Change will be necessary in order that pga survives as a workable structure,
but s(he) is still suspicious of change, PGA’s weakness has always
been its strength also, as this has allowed us to avoid domination even
if we are extremely effective this could serve to make issues of the global
south invisible and until now we have focused on making it visible. S(he)
is suspicious of local pga networks, as it should be the local groups that
work and have their own face so effectively PGA should be invisible and
does not work as an organisation but as a spirit that encourges new ideas,
for example in Prague- although the idea to plan the Prague demos came out
of pga, INPEG was formed out of the local situation and had the face for
the local situation - it did not have to be pga organising the demo, also
likes the idea of rotating the convenorship as EuroDusnie proposed and making
it easier, while still finding a way to make it more transparent for new
people to get involved
- Decision making - consensus is the most important, but we should find
a way to deal with blocks, make sure information is spread to local networks,
through email distribution lists, but to also move beyond like to radio
or video. It is also important to connect struggles from north and south
and show the richness of southern struggles.
- Issue of visibility, good to have invisibility, but still we need to be
visible to get people to become a part of the PGA network - if we just say
well we have a meeting every two years and take a look at the website it
does not do much, so how can we walk this balance? Ideological framework
of PGA - are we focused too much on actions? maybe we know what we are against
but don’t have a clear idea of what we are for. We should start an
exchange on alternatives and what we are for on the global level.
- PGA does have an identity… something about PGA becoming some label…
[note-taker cannot remember the rest]
- The local level is very important and it is also important to avoid a
top-down approach, so as not to promote pga as a label, but rather the hallmarks
at the local level and practicing them in a collective search process -
find ways like “preguntando caminamos”. It is clear that we
need to improve the structure that we have and broaden the access to the
support group in accordance with the hallmarks, without becoming bureaucratic.
- Level of organisation -the conference is mandated to organise on the european
scale, in terms of connectivity with other regions that is a strategy question
- there is nothing that prevents people from organising on the local level,
examples of Israel, if only one group volunteers that can facilitate email,
web, and conferences it is better than none - which we saw in Milano, you
can organise what you have. there is no point to talk about what we will
do when we are thousands, s(he) thinks there are four or five serious stable
groups in pga, there should be two levels - a groups responsible for convenor
tasks for the conference, and then have other groups responsible for the
coordination of the other tasks - they do not have to do themselves, but
rather coordinate them. This would give us accountability and transparency,
decision making - to adopt consensus decision making it is clear that we
must consense to consensus. But the reverse is not true - if there is voting,
the people that are for consensus can stand aside, if there is a time limit
and it is important for people to decide for this maybe we can use a 75%
- All of the time people are calling for formal structure, s(he) is very
suspicious of structure, structures cannot substitute a local movement,
rather than develop structures we need to develop at the local level. Does
not want to have a ___ between global and local structure, we had a lot
of good experiences with global actions, but now we need to put it back
on the floor, we need to connect the rest of the world and the global level
with the local level and the continent we are limited in our experiences,
and there is a need for a local level, a european level, and a global level.
our target is not to be efficient because this is a capitalist word and
thinking. The system we fight tries to destroy human connections and behavior,
we need friendships and personal relationships not business relationships.
- Does not want a process for how to talk about and how to discuss thing
- finds it boring, the pga meeting is about meeting people, seeing people,
and hearing dreams and visions and that is it. Whatever will come out will
come out of it.
- The way we discuss things and the way we make decisions are important
and the way we come together to make collective decisions and process are
more important than strategies - process is fundamental not boring. In terms
of decision making, maybe the most important problem now is not consensus
versus voting, but rather how we talk about things. S(he) introduces their
proposal of a spokes council idea for the final plenary. Meet in groups
of 20 people and discuss ideas and proposals and then meet in a spokes council
meeting. Decentralised pga does not conflict with the global or european
level, we need to enforce our human relations.
- PGA should not be top heavy, but we should make sure that whatever process,
structures, and communication we do have should be transparent and open.
Nice to talk about local work, but from this meeting we cannot mandate that
people do local work, but we can build better communication and relationships
between us all working locally.
- Does not want different mailing lists for each issue
- Clarify that when we talk about convenors at the regional and european
level, we are not talking about structures but just communication
- Convenors have concrete proposals and tomorrow we should try to address
those rather than get bigger and bigger and more abstract.
- When talking about decentralisation it is not about creating lots more
local structure, but making it all decentralised. Consensus should be taken
seriously, and maybe it is better to not make any decisions here if we do
not have the space and time to properly consense to anything.
- Should not talk about this now, but it is not the same thing working on
something and taking a decisions, consensus is a process not only a decision.
Quick Summary for Newspaper
The Introduction to the Process Working Group took place Sunday morning with
over 25 people. The agenda items included a definition of PGA, a brief PGA
history, a look at decisions that need to be taken at this PGA conference,
proposals made by EuroDusnie and MRG thus far, other thoughts and ideas about
the process, and general clarifications of the issues brought up.
More about PGA and its history can be found in this paper as well as on the
website. While only one person from EuroDusnie was present, their proposal
was presented and can be found in the first conference newspaper. MRG's proposal
will be printed in this paper, but they also expressed criticism at the strictly
pre-defined structure for the process debate that has shaped how we discuss
Additionally there were many other thoughts that came from people outside
of EuroDusnie and MRG. They included a strong sentiment that people have a
commitment to the process of how we work together rather than being overly
concerned about efficiency (which is a capitalist concept in itself.) To this
end there was a strong but not unanimous support for consensus.
Many people acknowledged that change in the PGA process is necessary in order
to survive as a workable structure, people were still suspicious of change,
especially as related to defining more structures and PGA visibility, which
may not only lead to bureaucratic tendencies but also to domination and centralizsation.
As such there were several proposals to decentralise the European PGA process
into regional conferences which would send delegates to a European conference.
The European conference would then send delegates to the international PGA
conference. There were many variations on this, but they all seem to highlight
that such a process would allow for greater participation and access to information
on the local level which can make the European level more transparent.
PGA Process Working Group
Monday September 2, 2002
10:00 am -
Things that we want decisions on
- discuss structure of this
- depending on the above, maybe also choose new one(s)
- Email list
- Decentralisation and regionalisation
- Support Groups
- Global Contacts – relation with global pga network
- Visibility – current status and if decisions will be taken about
- Decision making process either during conferences or with in pga in general
- Clarify PGA’s abiliy to initiatiate actions or if t is just a network
- Final plenary, and its decision making
Keep in mind through the entire process the issue of coordination versus
Prioritise Issues to Talk About
- Issue of how to decide about the final plenary was raised as one of the
most important topics to decide here, but there were to objections to this.
Firstly, we should get a more concrete idea of what needs to be decided
before we can know how to discuss this in the plenary. Secondly, the issue
was raised that this is not the space to decide how the entire group will
decide. To this though it was recommended that this space can develop a
concrete recommendation to take to the plenary to make it easier for the
- Another proprosal from many people that we should try to look at the content
and concrete things that should be decided first as otherwise it is empty,
and especially since all (even EuroDusnie) are okay with using consensus
for this meeting.
- Concrete Proposal: first do a quick round of how we make decisions here,
go over concrete points, and then decision making in final plenary.
- Facilitator pointed out that all here have already stated that we agree
with consensus, there was a test to see if anyone disagrees, one person
- Then it was proposed that we try to have consenus on proposals, but we
take all proposals to the final plenary – even the ones that we did
not have consensus on. This was consensed!!!!!!!!
- Facilitator proposed to talk first about decentralisation, and then the
20 minute coffee break
- Presntation of the idea – structure pga within europe in muh the
same way that it broken up with world regional areas – like pga eastern
europe, western europe, etc
- Thinks it looks more like centralisation rather than decentralisation,
as it limits the individual’s contact with other people from other
regions outside of one’s own.
- Clarification that MRG’s proposal was just a guide for discussion
and it does not have to be this way exactly, but the ideas was to divide
europe into 3 zones with convenors in each zone but with only one role to
distribute and circulate the information. The other idea is that these would
be a contact point to facilitate circulation of information. MRG believes
that this would allow us to reach to more people locally. There would also
still be a European convenor. But each region and even sub-regions would
have contact people. Meetings – is there a meeting in each regions?
- Other idea is two european convenors one to be a contact point and one
to organise the meetings
- What can people spread and why contact points if we dont know how visible
pga can be?
- L- what kind of structures to hook up with the network do we create and
what kind of visibility do we give to solve these problems that were critiqued
over the last year (more can be found in conference paper debates…)
It seems that anti authoritarian groups have used to deal with this problem
is either no one speaks for the network or everyone can speak for the network
in relation to some specific agreed upon points. It seems that in creating
local points we want to make pga clearly more visible, so what If we start
giving pga more visibility it will could to create problems with bureaucracy
and repression – we should really discuss this.
- What is the point about visibility as to him it seems like it is rather
this is an issue of dynamics.
- Wants to sepparate visibility and legitisimation – they are not
- Regional proposal – point of it would be to get regions more close
and to coordinate in campaign ways across regions (for example the issue
of water) Practically, some regions have the capacity to create a local
contact points, ect, but not all regions do. So why cant we let the regions
that do have the desire to do so, do it, and those that can’t or don’t
want to, dont have to.
- In Switzerland they already are delegated regionally – for example
from one area they sent delegates to this meeting that they decided upon
themselves, so it does not make sense to over structure this regional structure
as they already have it themsleves.
- Thought that maybe there should be national convenor groups
- It is important that often we confuse visibility with a name, what is
important about pga is a way of working and reaching out to society. If
we do that within our own communities then that is creating visibility.
- It is true that maybe you can focus on your own region, but pga is based
upon interest points and the manifesto which bring us together in a way
that we have not come together before. If s(he) were to organise pga regionally
then it would not do this due to regional political boundaries and only
certain groups would get involved. But with a non labled pga the way it
is now that does not have a formalised political structure, then it has
the chance to bring together people that would not normally talk together
in their own region. The example of Italy was discussed.
- We could have pga contact groups (collectives or individuals) serving
as only an info point. They should never speak about pga but only pass info
like the hallmarks. If it were this way, he would have no problem with lots
of pga contact points.
- We cannot decide this for everyone as in some areas people cannot or do
not want to regionalise, but maybe we can say that if regionalisation is
appropriate for the area they can do so as desired
- People want more visibility and contact points, but they don’t want
more structures. So he thinks this would mean that people would do their
own work but sometime do pga things – like they could have a pga regional
meeting but with no decision making status. The local contact points can
serve as a part of the support groups. Because what the convenors have experienced
is that you can organise a conference, but it is very hard to contact people
across Europe on the local level. On the MRG proposal point 2, rather than
divide europe into 3 regions and say that we have to regionalise these areas,
you can chose to regionalise discussons if you want, but without representation.
- Clarification that we really need to find a way to incorporate local groups
that would like to be a part of pga but cannot travel to an international
conference in order to get involved.
- It is not only a question of what kind of convenorship we are establishing,
but we find a way to develop structures that can strengthen us with our
campaigns. This is more important than regionalisation. It should be issues
that are visible and not the structures.
- Feels like proposed changes suggested we have already been doing. We should
NOT to use the pga label in work we do at home in terms of political positions,
and we should NOT use the pga label in terms of action (unless there are
campaigns that are speacifically endorsed by all of pga.) But we can use
the pga label to organise local or regional meetings and we can use the
pga label when you are acting as a contact point for pga. We can, in these
cases, speak about pga in reference to its manifeto, hallmarks, history,
and outcomes of conferences.
- Do we even want pga to call for actions and campaigns?
Working Toward a Proposal for Decentralisation
- Local contact points but they work in their own name not pga as the label
of ‘a pga group’ (ie EuroDusnie does work for pga, but not only
- They could organise regional meetings but there is no representative structure
coming from these meetings
- It would function to spread information, to discuss proposals of other
groups in relation to European Conference, and to formulate proposals that
can be discussed at the European Conference. But these
- In order to be PGA info points they just have to say so and do so autonomously
(and be in line with pga hallmarks and manifesto), they do not have be chosen
by the pga plenary. But the groups that are info point should be transparent
and at the conferences there should be a meeting of info points and groups
interested in becoming info points.
- Moved to later - All of these local points together
would be the European support groups, and open transfer between these groups
would be through an email list.
- It is not that these info points have the only right to use pga name,
but they would facilitate the exchange of information of all people identifying
themselves in an area as pga.
- What is the relationship between these meetings and the european conference,
and maybe this links to how we can get rid of the plenary oranisation in
- The point of support groups being formed only by all info points seems
to still allow the current organisation problems with support groups.
- It could happen that info points will not say that they want to be info
points here and then we will end up with the same old hidden structure and
can have groups that represent themselves as info points but do not opperate
according to pga hallmarks– response that there is responsibility
locally that groups that know each other can say that this group who has
exclaimed itself as an info point is not in accord with pga hallmarks. Another
response is that which groups are info point should be transparent and at
the conferences there should be a meeting of info points and groups interested
in becomming info points.
Agenda proposed by facilitators for 2nd session
- National regional geography of groups
- regional conference
mechanisms there are for constituting an infopoint. Rotating ? Recalling
in case of troubles ? etc
- support groups
role of convenors (not deciding who…)
- what kind of communication tools needed to do what.
Decision making process left for tomorrow ?
- Disc about eurpoean conference tomorrow
Infopoints to be defined according to the existing groups and networks already
involved in the PGA process, not a design imposed by this meeting. No predetermined
geogaphy of the infopints distribution.
Infopoint to decide if they act for one country, one region etc
We should take the dynamic of decentralisation as an experiment.
Infopoints should not necessarily based around geographical areas, but should
be more seen around political spectrums they reach.
Legitimacy of the infopints:
Infopoints can call for regional conference ???
- can use the PGA lable in order to convene a meeting
- can use the PGA label in order to network, talk about the history, the
results of the European conference, etc But non representation.
- discussion still open: which actions / campaigns can be carried out in
the name of PGA. For later on.
example of the booklet published in London a few years ago, title
“inspired by PGA” of publication to illustrate the point.
- The PGA Infopoints can give visibility to the PGA process without representing
it. They can convene regional meetings, produce articles publications, can
network and inform interested people “inspired by PGA” without
aiming to represent the network. (PGA has no membership, so the infopoints
are not members, nor representatives of PGA.)
Questions and concerns to be clarified:
- How do you become an infopint ?
- Should they be physical spaces? or just email addresses? both?
- What does the coordination look like ?
- Label “infopoint” ? is it the correct label.
- Limitations to the infopints ?
Consitution of infopoints:
European conference shouldn’t “choose” the infopoints.
- If the groups fit with the hallmarks and want to do it, they should announce
publicly that they’d like to be infopoint.
- What do we do if a group does not fit the hallmarks ? Who will decide
about ‘you can become one you cannot become one’. Can every
group anyone just declare itself supporting the hallmarks and create an
- There should be a way of recalling a problematic infoshop.
- Before constituting an infopoint there should be a regional meeting or
process first. (Problems for instance with groups that consider themselves
supporting the hallmarks but do not act accordingly) ? Italy, Ireland people
consider it as not possible.
- We shouldn’t impose the way of how these infopoints will be constituted.
Regional dynamics will know what the best ways to go about are, no matter
what the European conference decides.
- PGA has no membership.
- No one speaks in the name of PGA.
- We call everyone identifying with the hallmarks to give visibility to
the PGA process (regional gatherings, act as infopoints, produce publications…)
without representing it and without being a member.
Eurodusnie proposal plus cncers
- The European support group’s communication tool:
ED proposes to have one list to which all the technical working groups have
access, to which working groups give reports about their work. (see ED proposal).
- People joining the support work have to support and act according to the
There should be moments to physically meet when you join the support group,
ideally during the pga conference.
- We agree there should be one main list. (consensus)
- N: the convenors organise the European conference.
The convenor can call for 1,2,3 meetings where them and the people that
want to support the tasks can join. We should clarify role of convenor and
talk about sup group in relation to it.
Comment: We should know more clearly what the role of the convenor should
be and what the European meetings should be about. Given the large amount
of work we should consider lowering the role of the convenors
ED proposal (see paper) : convenors A(1+2?) stop and support convenors B(1+2?),
convenors B stop and supports new convenor C etc passing on information.
At least one.
- Co convenors along the ED - MRG model
Shouldn’t be a diffuse group but a group that clearly takes on the
- In addition to the 2 convenors, one convenor to take the role of maintenance
(website, lists….) helped by a support group
- MRG: proposal for basis for discussion without defending it to death
- convenor deals with communication of european network and orga of
- convenor to deal with the relation to the global network. One of
the reasons to
- (??convenor working on the maintainance of the network ??)
comment: leave the door open for convenors that organise the conference to
do the job with other groups if they want, need it and if it makes sense.
3 main convenor tasks – roles - needs
- Global contacts (Global networking – work with convenors from other
- organisatio of the European conference
- the European networking + the maintenance of infrastructures (including
- Convenors or international working group taking over these tasks ? Who
? Rotation ?
- We have to ensure the experience and contacts are passed on to everybody
taking on convenorship work.
- Working groups should be open and transparent
- During European conferences we should have open working groups preparing
input for the global conference.
Include in newspaper invite groups intersted to take over tasks to come
to the meeting tomorrow.
Other points and questions to discuss, clarify:
And finally a note from the note-taker - as the meeting lasted for three
hours and there were a diversity of thoughts, it would be impossible for this
short summary to represent accurately what was said. Furthermore computer
problems, time constraints, and article space constraints have made this report
very short. The long version of the notes will be posted on the internet.
process menu PGA