Documentation of the PGA-Europe Wintermeeting, 12 - 15 Feb 2005 in Linz
This report was made in a collaborative work... Due to anti-spam reasons
names are not mentioned - (editorial website).
It was a lot of work to synthesise and make it readable and understandablefor
other people. It's aimed it helping people to get involved in theprocess, understand
it and it should be used (as well as the belgrade'sspokes council reports),
as a base for Tuebingen and next PGA processmeetings.
Hopefully, missing part of the discussions (as the one about the
asianprocess and nepal will be sent soon...)
It would help a lot if people can take the time to print it for tuebingenmeetings,
as well as in the various pga linked groups and infopoints.
So please all of you, take a bit of time to read it!
1. PGA process:
problems and possible solutions.
hey ! PGA Europe is
in trouble : formulating problems and looking for solutions...
This part comes from a discussion about PGA process. This discussion
was born from a general feeling of disapointment about the lack of involvment
of more people into this winter meeting and into part of the projects
coming from the belgrade spokes council. It was in the end pretty much constructive
and we hope it can help the network to go further with more understanding and
more involvment. We splitted ourselves in two groups to discuss the issue and
did a bit of synthesis work afterwards. Some people were very new to the network,
thers knew it quite well. We haven't bee trying to find consensus and part of
these points are contradictory with others. The idea was to give visibility
to various problems seen by various people participating to the meeting and
to discuss it a bit together... Enjoy !
1.1. Theoretical discussion on PGA
A. Participative approach: responsibility/consumption
PGA , as an anti-authoritarian networking tool, has only quite simple and minimal
specific structures (lists, newsletter, website, infopoints) that shouldn't
need too much work to be run. But it sometimes look as if the anti-autoritarian
principle that "no one represent PGA" turns into no one feeling responsible
Everybody taking part in the events of a network should feel concerned and
at least give a little bit of his/her time to support the structures of the
network and not only to consume the events organized by the network.
Conference visitors, who do not care for the network, adopt consumerist attitude
and do not participate in network processes
B. Relations with outside: invisibility/involvement
PGA seemed like an attempt to build an alternative anti-authoritarian network
that would be different than the more lobby orientated / institutions / mass
consumerism big networks such as Social Forums. It can look paradoxical that
part of the people supposedly involved in this network sometimes seem to spend
more time and energy into building things around such events as Social Forums
(using PGA as a kind radical credibility public relation card) than to give
involvement in their own autonomous structures.
Does that happen because it is simply easier to take part in and more visible
on the «big» political/media scene or is it because it's seen as
the better way to break out of the activist ghetto? Are we more interested to
go to the things that already exist or to build our own stuff?
On the other side of it, it's quite obvious that if we don't devote time and
energy to autonomous structures, more and more people new to activism will rather
go to more institutionnal events.
D. Geographical and cultural differencies: local activity / global solidarity
E. Internal communication
F. About PGA process in Russia
(as there were two people from russia present at this meeting, they took the
time to report a bit more specifically about the process in russia)
In regard to process in Russia: there is no such thing as a PGA process in
ex-USSR. People of Ukraine and Russia who participated in Geneva (Rainbow Keepers)
have been keeping some kind of contact till cocha bomba where some of them have
gone. These people somehow became less involved with the movement and the link
to the global process was lost. Some people from Russia and Ukraine (8 of them)
came to Belgrade to try to renew the links between PGA and collectives in ex-USSR
countries. Some people have translated part of the newsletter and reports of
the conference and published them in "Autonomous Action" magazine as well as
in indymedia Russia. It was nevertheless still difficult to create involvement
and to bring people to Linz but they're just at the beginning of things. People
from Ukraine thought about doing some kind of international meeting in Ukraine.
There's more generally a problem with the process in Russia being quite isolated.
Some of the Russian campaigns would really need some international support
like the campaign of HIV-positives that has just started by the new network
called Frontaids and based in several locations. They protests are really linked
to the WTO since if Russia enters into the WTO, the medecine for HIV treatment
will become even more unaccessible. After the G8 meeting in the UK, there will
be a G8 meeting in Russia in 2006. People are preparing for the future protests
in Moscow and will do a first discussion on this issue this month . Some coalition
of radical/anarchist collectives and more NGO-type environnmental networks also
want to do a campaign next summer against the development of the sea shore destroying
the black sea.
G. Feedback from Wob Marley (winter meeting organizing groupe)
will be posted as an open letter to the pga-process mailinglist
1.2. What can we do?
A. Things that had been decided to be done but that are not getting done
(we did a presentation of these various stuffs and tried to sort it out afterwards...)
B. A brain storming about other possible solutions
(it was a first list of ideas proposed by the second working group, but we couldn't
really take the time to rediscuss it together. So take it as it is : a bit of
brillant ideas and chaos...)
C. What will we do ? (Help is needed for all these tasks, so you're all greatly
welcome to contact the people and join teams)
The brainstorming/discussions from the day before raising problems within the
PGA and possible solutions were printed out and passed around the meeting for
comments. Some suggestions for revamping the report were raised eg:label problems
then give a concrete example for clarity. Wob Marley convenors will write separate
texts on their experiences of organising Linz conference,
B. from wob marley will communicate with the pag web people about it.
The proposal of Serge..
1) I want to do something with accesibilities and abilities.
So my proposals are:
* the accessebilities and abilities subject is an integral part of the
preparations so the locations are accessible for a bigger group of people.
* more tabacco and drankfree zones. Including all conference areas
(places where workshops are given), part of the eating space and a
part of the campsite. Also it will be symphatic as a part of the cultural
program in the evening is tabacco and drank free.
* Workshops about abilities and accessibilities to put that subject
on the agenda in several groups and eventually self-help workshops.
It should be nice that people who doesn't fit into the mainstream
abilities visits the PGA conference. Being blind / deaf, sitting in
a wheelchair of having psycho-social limitations doesn't affect the
capebility to think independedly.
2) I want to discuss to setup a site based on a Content Management
System in the future, so more people can edit and work on the site.
* I should be nice every PGA conference finds it's home at http://www.pgaconference.org
and not only the European ones. I couldn't realise this functionality
at this moment. (Lack of information)
* For migrating the site to a dynamic CMS (Content Management System)
Based site I need webspace with at least one empty MYSQL database,
PHP and some people who has more experience with CMS then me. A CMS
makes it possible more people are working on a site respecting without
changing the layout and structure of the site. (Preventing the site
is becoming a mass.) But it always needs good appointments who is
doing what. I think only that a group of international editorials
can work on the site and we got regulary IRC chat meetings to discuss
several things on the site.
* I think it is good to organise a webmeeting later on, when agreed
on the proposals to move to CMS to do and to discuss the technical
part. This will be a hardcore Linux meeeting. I think we should use
a well documented open source management system and NOT MIR. (Indymedia)
Eurodusnie has been stopping MIR, due to poor documentation and bad
extensibility. Only some nerds can make modifications on the CMS.
The PGA CMS should be multilangual. I think this must be held in a
environment with a lot of Linux PC, like an alternative internet cafe.
If we are working it is also handy to make a flexible subscription
script for subscribing a conference. When in a database it could be
querried on several ways things can be placed in a wordprocessor document
like OpenOffice.org. It saves a lot of work processing e-mails into
* Also the pgaconference.org site NEEDS translaters who can be called
or mailed easily and can translate text for the website in a reasonable
time. If you look at the PGAconference site of Belgrade you see a
lot of things were not translated.
* Even the languages of the PGAconference site should be choosen.
Now it is (English, Serbo-croat(current convenor), Russian, French,
German and Spanish. I think the chosen languages should have a translator.
- Serbo-Croat should be changed into the language of the new convenor.
* I think a complete overhaul of the http://www.agp.org site isn't
a bad idea, but to be honest this decission should be taken at the
world PGA meeting in Nepal. I think it is important people everywhere
on the world on an internet cafe can add some stuff on the page. So
a CMS can do a great job. Also that page should be visible on every
browser including Lynx and Arachne (Simple text browser) - That doesn't
mean that the page can nicely degrade to older browsers. We should
bring access to the site also to more poor collectives.
3) About the evaluation.
* A few days before the conference Nolly has taken over making the Dailies
from me, because I was unable to handle the chaotic situation @ the
PGA office in Jajinci. - Also I stopped updating the webpage till after
the conference due to the same reasons. This is that I have an ability
problem that I cannot handle stress and chaotic situations. I will collapse
and cannot do anything anymore. - When possible I think the editorial
should have their own office, seperated from the people who are typing
reports or do any other PGA related typingwork. - For getting rest during
the conference I had also "private" accomodation in the city
of Belgrade due to my ability problem. I was the nearly the whole month
of July in Belgrade for helping setup the conference.
4) PGA World.
* So far I can see at the date of 17 - 21 September 2005 it is difficult
for us to go to the PGA World. For us a few month later is better
I think. But the opinion of ONE or FEW collective(s) is NO reason
to change the date of a meeting. It will differ if many (substantial
number of) collectives has problems with that date. If this date is
good for other collectives this date must be accorded so the preparation
of the meeting in Nepal can continue.
2. Proposal of convenorship
2.1.Proposal of convenorship for the next european pga conference
We, (a group of people from the French-speaking area, involved in the "Sans
Titre" Network), decided to propose ourselves as convenors for the next PGAe
Sans-titre is a network of groups and individuals involved in autonomy/alternatives
building (both in squatted urban areas or rurals farms and projects...), aniticapitalist
and anti-authoritarian struggles.
We have sans-titre meetings every two months since the intercontinental caravan
in 99. During these meetings, we spend 4/5 days together in a different place
each time both to make friends, develop action or autonomy building projects,
have in-depth theoritical discussions and funny games, exchange about our lives
and communities and publishing a bi-monthly bulletin. Sans-titre meetings have
from 10 to 50 people depending on issues, places, times and individuals. It
has no memberships or reprenstatives but hallmarks (you'll find a translation
of these hallmarks a the end of this text). Through Sans-titre, some people
have been linked with the PGA network and close to its hallmarks since its beginning.
Through Sans-titre some people have been involved with various projects such
as global days of action, anticapitalist caravan, no border camp in Strasbourg,
permanent caravan, intersquat support initiatives and various kind of more locally
orientated actions, projects and friendships.
Here are some of the concerns that "we" (this group of people but not all the
Sans-titre) want to raise if we become the convenor of the next PGAe conference.
- Additional information: "Sans-titre" network hallmarks
2-2- Reformulations, comments and decision during the meeting
about above (PROPOSAL)
A- Some questions and limits adding to the proposal above
Organising such conferences can also turn into a risky process for collectives:
it means a lot of time and energy during a long period and consequently less
times to work on local issues and other kinds of actions and projects. It can
both bring energy to collectives and weaken them depending on how they feel
isolated or supported in the process of preparation. That's why it seems really
necessary to us that we maintain a process of cooperation and of international
preparation of such conference (and also because it is more interesting like
that and make the interactive spirit of the network exist outside conferences...).
It needed to be the case with the belgrade preparation process as local people
were asking for it and had a lack of infrastructures and experience, but we
want it to be the case for us as well, whatever people could presume of our
supposed experience or infrastructures...
We know that if we want to help the involvment of east european groups in the
process we have to work on it well in advance and to be able to invite people
and pay for travel costs. Indeed, there are a few things that we feel confident
in doing, but for example big foundraising is something that is not really usual
for us and that we're quite bad at it (except for small scale benefit events
that mostly hardly support our usual local projects...). So if some collectives
and people who have more experience in this could either teach us/help us with
that, it would be great.
B- Discussion about the proposal
After the exposition of the above proposal there were some comments, precisions
and a debate on some of the issues.
The prospective convernors want to focus on organising in a way of direct democracy
and open structures during the conference and therefore break down power structures
within the conference:
Comments: Someone raised the point if the participatory principle would be
just the convenors' organising principle or if workshops would actually be introduced
about skill-sharing and different approaches about breaking structure. The answer
was that this second is the case based on a way of organising that can work
in practice and not only as a theoretical wish.
However, we should not forget that this is not only an abstract ideology but
the practice of many existing groups inside the pga network. Someone, however,
emphasised that despite this has been talked about for years somehow it is not
always in people's consciousness and there is a problem about hidden hierarchies
and developing specialisation. So the situation arise where people doing specialised
tasks (like computer people) are not expected to be in non specialised areas
(like cleaning toilets). So everybody should on one hand encouraged to do the
non-specialised tasks while on the same time everybody should be given confidence
to be part of specialised activities.
One asked if there are any specific groups within the 'Sans Titre' network
that want to be convenors. The answer was that this is not yet the case but
they would be found if there was a request to host the next pga europe conference.
There are in fact alreadz 10/15 people within the network "sans titre" that
are committed to do it and hopefully more people will join if they will be convenors
as others have express the willingness to support the specific parts of the
organisation but without taking the global responsibility for it. It might be
possible for them to involve at least 50 people. It has not been decided yet
where the conference would be held and if it will be only in one place or in
C- Decision about the new Convenors
The day after it presentation, Marcelle printed another draft of the proposal
from some people involved in the Sans Titre network who were offering to be
the next convenors and wanted to know what the meeting thought. They also feel
as really important that any groups from Eastern Europe who would want to organise
the next conference are supported and they would be willing to step aside and
to help out if needed. They would like to organise the first preparation meeting.
We went around the table and gave our views. Nico put forward his reservations
on the amount of work involved and the fact that organizing the conference can
both bring dynamic but also take their network and local dynamics out of their
current actions and projects. They (Sans Titre) also said that they would need
help with fundraising . Nico & Marcelle will discuss the reservations further
and amend the proposal to incorporate them.
We agreed with the proposal but there is only one proposal so maybe that's
why everybody agrees. It can be positive to confront it as well. Marcelle asked
if people at the meeting could give their point of view about a good time for
a first international preparation meeting, for Sans Titre to begin organising
it. Suggestion that its good enough for now to say it should be around autumn
2005 (with the next conference planne daround summer 2006) and then clarify
it later on.
Barbara offered the venue of the winter meeting in Linz as a possible
place for organising other pga meetings because it can offer a very good
structure for this sort of thing.
Zhenya suggested the ukraine to organize one preparation meeting in the east,
although there may be problems with visas??? we said it should be thought about.
3- Feedback & projects
A- Feedback WSF, Belgrade reflection
26-31st of january porto allegre - pga meeting happened there; no proper call
before the meeting of pga - so people have not been that aware of it.
focus of the meeting: trying to get links with different part of the world
(pga asia, pga north america, pga europe...)
PGA Asia : before the conference they sent the information
that the next global conferencewill be in september. important was, to talk
to PGA Asia about the global conference. There was one guy from PGA Asia but
he got lost actually (he was from Nepal) - guy from indymedia sao paolo -
Latin America: in latin america there is a big interest of
a PGA network (up to geneva there was a network, but it went down) - there were
problems in this network before; also people from nort-america (before wsf meeting
in ny where there is a official infopoint now) - also montreal people want to
make an infopoint. also philadelphia wants to make an infopoint, ca is quiet,
North Carolina but they are not really interested.
Africa : woman from south africa - she couldn't make it to
the meeting. email contact is here. - Major problem: if we want to be a global
network how we link between various areas of the world ? fe. in africa
the grassroot movements are organised differently (also areas like middle east...)
- hard in some parts of the world to find groups who are not working together
with governments... Problem how to find out whats happening...finding groups
PGA meeting in WSF : generally globally it was quite good
covered - people from mexico, brazil, argentina, peru, united states, europe,
---> all together 30-40 people. problem: meeting started late; esp. in the
evening a lot of things started happening there...; (whole wsf: 150.000 people!)
reports started (there are minutes!) - first there were reports from the different
parts (PGA Europe...); venezuela fe. they had a very successful action in october
(columbus day). in latin-america not so much happened and tehy want to start
the network again but different than before (smaller, autonomus organisations
and not so much the big ones).
United States/Canada: they want to pick it up again (all the
Europe: feedback about the belgrade conference, the estafette,
the caravan, about the main events (global days of actions which are coming
up); also we talked about the global conference (how we deal with it - not much
info from asia) - what are the objectives of PGA? How we deal with upcoming
It was hard to finish the meeting (everybody wanted to say something) - but
conditions were not too good. we postponed the discussion - one of the lists
shall be used for discussing how better cooperation /communication can be guaranteed;
the global action list shall get a debate structure (also for reestablishing
the communication with pga asia) --> http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/globalaction
Upcoming global days of action: 6th of july (against G8) - dissent put it forward
as a proposal - should be linked up to other mobilisations in 2005 (fe. WTO
Hong Kong, IMF in Washington....); FTAA meeting in november in argentina; idea
about two workshops (Dissent and G8) - out of that: there are people mobilising
against FTAA - lets link up together! (+ all the others) people from Washington
(against WB and IMF); second workshop was more theoretical: more like having
discussions; (how we deal with global day of actions, how to include more people
from different parts of the world, how to make a global network) - other group
on more practical issues: how to make sure that ppl know what is going on.....
call to action: more a global way of cooperation (text is vorhanden); this is
something practical - linking up the different struggles!
Caracol Intergalacitca: its the idea of having anti-authorotarian
camps - first inside and now with new projects outside WSF or ESF meetings.
so besides global day of action having those camps.
global resistance network : but there are people working on
it (in Tuebingen there are people working on it); creating of alternative open
spaces. Next year: decentralised camp structure (fe. one camp in Caracass is
happening) - to take things away from porto allegre. (at the same date); not
yet clarified where the other camps will happen.
B- About the next global conference in Nepal
an other report will be posted to the pga-process mailinglist after collecting
C- Dissent feedback
Outline given of the network's history & aims and its focus currently on
the G8 counter summit in Gleneagles this coming july 6th. Some ppl in Dissent
feel strongly linked with PGA and some ppl would prefer to keep Dissent seperate
to PGA. Meetings will now be held monthly instead of bi-monthly and the ideal
scenario will be to have meetings alternating between england & scotland.
There is a perception of uk ppl having an overpowering position. Trapeze Roadshow
travelling round country raising awareness of the G8 and Dissent. meeting held
recently in London at beyond esf and the International side started off mainly
then with lot of interest generated. International networking group focussing
on the meeting coming up in Tubingen in 2 weeks time. The organising group here
is a pga infopoint with a pga meeting on one of the days there. Dissent now
dividing into regional meetings with a s.e. regional group and regional groups
in scotland, etc., Global call to action went out from Caracol at the recent
meeting in Port Alegre in january. Serious concerns raised about pga meetings
being held in the same convergence centre in scotland. Different types of actions
being planned. No convergence centre yet, still looking. Some debate if convergence
centre a good idea as it makes you vulnerable. And where would it be plus issue
of transport on how to bring ppl from one place to another. How to get the land
and where, as not sure how big the red zone will be. Ppl are being given special
id's who live within the area. Another problem is division within social movements
with festival organised by bob geldof cooperating with the authorities. If ppl
want more info please go the this link: www.dissent.org.uk.
D- Caravan Samba climatica
Nico has contacted olivier and he said he has no clue who is doing what about
this. Caravan is trying to reestablish itself and when people talked about it
at Belgrade he said there should be a meeting late spring (May) to organise
it. Suggestion to do the meeting in Dijon. Tanneries might be a good space offer
as it is pretty easy to acccess from different parts in europe. But the meeting
itself has to be organized by people involved with caravan samba climatica.
The contact for the caravan list is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also check out link http://docs.indymedia.org/view/Local/PGASambaCaravan.
Val will chase up ppl in london ror.
Nico will send the report of the organisation of the global conference from
belgrade to the pga process list??
Have a chain reaction of action (refl-action) to pass on from group to group
from country to country. This could be something outside global day of action
that we can do within the network. First thing choose an issue ie taking back/reappropriation
of a field or a house or a street etc., and the idea is like one first group
will do an action and will pass the action to another group who can do a different
action on the same issue.
Every local group choose their own action within the issue and they find the
next group to carry on and they could have a face to face meeting with the next
group maybe to discuss the issue/actions etc, if they wanted to.
Some first people from various parts in europe said they would start the process
and rediscussed it during autonmous spaces at the esf in england, but it's still
not sure who's going to start it ans when. A list and wikipage has been created.
A complet report from the Belgrade spokes council and updates will be sent on
the process list. We're waiting fom news of people involved with it.
Some problems within PGA about funding in general. We decided as there wasn't
much time, we can raise the question about funding within pga, but cannot deal
with it and it will be passed forward to the next prep meeting.