People's Assemblies Network

March – May

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Please distribute widely 

MAYDAY! MAYDAY!
It is obvious we are headed for disaster unless we change course drastically, and we don’t have a lot of time. A project is being discussed internationally in the Occupy movement – Global Strike May 2012. What we are proposing is a continuous strike, a permanent withdrawal from the current system, a signal for all those who feel their work to be meaningless and unsatisfying, to switch to alternative means which are beneficial to the whole community, to support themselves and their families. In order to make this feasible this alternative system needs to be up and running by May 2012. Outrageous! Impossible! I agree with you. Nevertheless it has to happen if we are serious about moving from this morally bankrupt and physically damaging path we are on, to a sustainable system that puts people before profit. Join us on Take the Squares Network https://n-1.cc/pg/groups/1010883/15m-global-strike/. and please pass around to friends and colleagues.

 
 
- The OLSX General Assembly has recently endorsed the call for UK and wider European day(s) of action in March
- There are call from the wider Occupy movement for a world strike in May
 
Some of the thinking behind the March call:
 
- The Occupy Movement is looking to find ways to work constructively in partnership with unions and student campaigners, and with faith and local community groups
 
- Individuals from a number of London Occupy working-groups are proposing a March pan-European strike, ideally to be called and organised by a  partnership of Occupy, unions and others

- It is therefore provisionally proposed the call would be for an unprecedented national and international mobilisation ‘against cuts / austerity and job losses’ and ‘for new models of democracy  and a social europe’ involving unions and Occupy and other local movements together from the start
 
- The need to strategically nationalise and internationalise the struggle against the global forces of capital (eg debt/bond market) has never been more urgent
- Europe and the UK with their increasingly technocratic / neo-liberal governance and crippling levels of debt are now shaping up to be key global battlegrounds in the fight for real democracy
- If unions, student campaigners, faith and local community groups and Occupy joined forces what we could achieve in terms of social change would be phenomenal   
 
- The days of action currently being proposed are for Friday 23rd March, followed by a new wave of newly purposeful camps and occupations being set up on Saturday March 24th and 25th ( all out against the cuts, for a 3 day weekend and a new model of democracy…)
 
- Our hope is that with a big day of action immediately after budget day, to unite unions, student and other community groups around a common agenda we can effectively begin the process of re-founding the UK and  Europe around a common agenda for workers, the precarious and unemployed, and provide a springboard to the global strike in May.
 
- The lead up to the days of action could perhaps involve ‘thematic’ assemblies across the country in workplaces, neighbourhoods and educational establishments ( co facilitated by Occupy, unions and others) in order to speak and listen together about the real issues and to discover alternatives. As Giles Fraser’s article puts it today on the need for a widespread conversation on the issues: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/12/occupy-starfish-regenerate-protest?newsfeed=true 
 
[March 21st is budget day, March 26th is exactly one year on from 'March for the Alternative' and March 25th is both the Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which founded modern Europe and of the British Parliamentary abolition of the slave trade. The week March 21st-March 28th also has Christian significance (the Annunciation) and marks the beginning of the year in the northern hemisphere (Spring Solstice).]

["The diminutive Cognac salesman and planner Jean Monnet was a brilliant man. Driven and focused, he was clear what he wanted from the beginning — a single Europe, planned and governed by supranational institutions. And he had an eye-catching term to describe his political strategy. Neo-functionalism, he termed it.

Neo-functionalism sees one European project leading to another, as "spillover" effects make it clear that one piece of integration requires another. And step by step, Monnet’s vision would become reality.

It would be entirely appropriate to describe what is now happening in Europe as a crisis of neo-functionalism. It has become obvious that the euro cannot succeed without fiscal union and that fiscal union requires political union, exactly as Monnet would have seen it. But political union is so unpopular that it is almost impossible to achieve without strife — a crisis of neofunctionalism.

There is a another reason that this is the perfect term: its sheer bureaucratic absurdity. Nothing could better illuminate that what is taking place is unfolding far from the voters of Europe and the democratic mandates of member states. It is taking power from the people and handing it to unelected people who use words such as neofunctionalism at dinner parties.

It was inevitable that the crisis in the eurozone would result in the creation of an inner group that would try to solve the crisis. And so it has. The Groupe de Francfort has come together to unite the President of France, the Chancellor of Germany, the president of the Euro Group, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, the president of the European Central Bank, the President of the European Commission, the president of the European Council and the managing director of the IMF.

Three things are striking about this Groupe. The first is that of its eight members only three are democratically elected. And one of these holds the mighty office of Prime Minister of Luxembourg. The President of France has the most impressive mandate, but is among the least important members of the committee except to himself.

The second is that while the Groupe consists mainly of technocrats who think their challenge is technocratic, its task is actually profoundly political. In the past week the eurozone crisis has hastened the fall of two governments. In Greece, anti-German feeling is on the rise as the Greeks attempt to blame the Germans for the need for an austerity programme. However absurd it may be for Greece, which chose both membership of the euro and its deficit level, to blame anyone but themselves, such tension is inevitable if people feel they have no control over their own destiny.

The Groupe needs to understand that any mechanism they create to increase the responsibility one set of European taxpayers has for another, needs to be accompanied by similarly strong political institutions.

The third striking thing about the Groupe is that its members are all from eurozone countries. This is natural if its work is restricted to solving the immediate euro crisis. But it is likely that soon it will see its task as broader than that and begin to discuss longer term institutional reform. President Sarkozy has begun to talk of a two-speed Europe, Angela Merkel of treaty changes.

It is essential that countries outside the core of the eurozone or outside the eurozone altogether do not find themselves outside these discussions and outmanoeuvred. The tension between the eurozone countries and those outside is already palpable in EU meetings, and increasing divergence is now inevitable. Britain must organise to ensure that it has a strong hand in the negotiations that are bound to come." (taken from a recent Times Editorial) ]

3 Comments

  1. Global Strike May 2012. This is not a strike in the way it is usually meant of withdrawing labour in order to pressure bosses for increase in wages or better working conditions. What we are proposing is a continuous strike, a permanent withdrawal from the current system and switching to an alternative one. In order to make this feasible, the alternative system needs to be up and running by May next year. Outrageous! Impossible! Yes. I agree with you. Nevertheless it has to happen if we are serious about moving from this morally bankrupt and physically damaging path we are on, to a sustainable system that puts people before profit.

    We need to become aware of our part in maintaining the system. Everytime we use money to make a transaction, but more than that, actually our whole culture is predicated on the system continuing. We are trapped in it and though we know it is leading to our self-destruction, we cannot get out of it, EXCEPT by creating the alternative. We are putting our energy into demos, protests, sit-ins, temporary strikes of 1 day or 3 days, which are supposed to gather momentum, spread the word, show our power to the 1%, and at the same time we are totally comitted to maintaining the system in our daily lives, a system which separates us and disempowers us. If our energies were concentrating on developing a system that serves the people, not in theory, but in actuality we would overcome our isolation and empower ourselves. Very much as Transition Towns have been doing.
    GlobalStrike 2012 is not a call to get masses out on the streets, it is a clarion call to stop colluding with the system, while at the same time trying to fight it. That schizophrenia has to be replaced by the singular intention of withdrawing from the present morally bankrupt and physically damaging system, and together building a new one.
    Maybe you want to know what it is going to be like – this new system- before you commit yourself. Sorry, the commitment comes first. That’s asking a lot. Yes, it is asking for everything you got. Remember what is at stake here is the continuation of human existence. But I’m a father with three kids. Yes and this is the best way to serve the real interests of your kids.

  2. Posted from Niel:

    Practical guide to understand the 15M Global Transition Strike, here the
    local/global agenda for the next six months:
    https://n-1.cc/pg/pages/edit/1072753, please don’t hesitate to put
    comments, to correct the orthography or to propose more links and content.

    1/ BACKGROUND AND GEOGRAPHIC EXPANSION

    1.1 Arab Spring: One goal, One strategy

    The Arab Spring was sparked by the first protests that occurred in Tunisia
    on 18 December 2010 following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in
    protest of police corruption and ill treatment. With the success of the
    protests in Tunisia, a wave of unrest sparked by the Tunisian “Burning
    Man” struck Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, then spread to other
    Arab countries.
    Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14
    January following the Tunisian revolution protests. In Egypt, President
    Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011 after 18 days of massive
    protests, ending his 30-year presidency.

    A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world has been “ash-shab
    yurid isqat an-nizam” (“the people want to bring down the regime”) and
    they did it in Tunisia and Egypt with a sustained campaigns or “non-stop
    protest” involving strikes, demonstrations, marches, occupations…

    Note:
    We can also include in our background the Icelandic rejection of the debt
    and the Greek mobilizations against austerity plans but also the coming of
    the new technologies with the uprising of movement like Anonymous,
    Zeitgeist, Wikileaks, Democracy Now, Reoppen911 or Yes men… as part of
    the evolution.

    1.2 Real Democracy Now, birth of a new movement

    During all this winter 2010 the collective “Democracia Real Ya!” (DRY)
    associated with approximately 200 smaller organizations was preparing a
    huge demonstration for a real democracy in Spain. The protest movement
    gained momentum on May 15 with a camping occupation in Madrid’s main
    square, the Puerta del Sol, spreading to squares in 57 other major and
    smaller cities in Spain, and then to Spanish embassies all around the
    world.
    Via is Spanish server tomalaplaza and its international version
    Takethesquare, the renamed 15M movement (also called “indignados” by the
    media) became a transnational movement exploiting in Greece ten days after
    (on May 25) and at a lower level in France, Italy, Portugal or Ireland
    with a culmination point on June 19 when “indignants” took the street in
    hundreds of cities around the world to support this first global day
    (3.000.000 just in Spain).

    In opposition to the Arab spring, 15M don’t fight to ending a regime but
    have an holistic objective, it reclaim a Real Democracy, not just a
    revolution but an Evolution. The organization denounces the way big
    businesses and banks dominate the political and economic sphere and aims
    to propose a series of solutions to these problems through grassroots
    participatory democracy, which is based on people’s assemblies and
    consensus decision making. It maintains no affiliation with any political
    party or labor union and has not appointed any single leader or is
    unwilling to join any of the existing political bodies. It also promote
    the non-violent protest.

    1.3 15O Road to dignity, Occupy the world

    In the middle of June, Takethesquare network and the international DRY
    platform started to work together on a global day for October 15 with as
    first objective the exportation of the movement (assemblies and possible
    camps) in a maximum of cities around the world.
    The first international meeting took place in Lisbon the 10 and 11 of July
    with participants from Iceland, Greece, Spain, Italy…
    Israel social justice protest rise up on July 14 with hundreds thousand of
    people mobilized in the different protest camps all around the country.
    During this time 8 marches started form the different cardinal points of
    Spain to walk to Madrid starting people’s assemblies in every village they
    crossed and was organizing the second international meeting (one week
    social forum) on July 23 in Madrid.
    A new march left Madrid to walk to Brussels quickly joined by six others
    European marches to Brussels (from Barcelona, Saragossa, Toulouse,
    Sicilia, Berlin, Amsterdam) they stopped in Paris the 17 of September for
    the Global Anti-Bankster Day organized to test the international
    coordination before the 15O.
    This day took place the third international meeting (AgoraParis) with
    actions against the financial dictatorship in a lot of cities like the
    occupation of stock markets and central banks in Barcelona, Athens, Tel
    Aviv but also in New York or Mexico…
    In September was also organized the first Hub meeting in Barcelona, a
    working area focused on a concrete project but opening to a maximum of
    collectives, this one was focused on the coordination of the 15O Global
    Day.
    The 8 of October started the fourth international meeting (AgoraBrussels)
    until the 15O Global Day where millions of people took the street in quasi
    1000 cities around the world, starting General Assemblies and Occupations.
    Nothing comparable to Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece and Israel but with a
    presence in all the continents and in 82 countries.

    Note: Under the strong cultural and mass-media influence of New York,
    movements in a lot of cities changed their name to “Occupy” and focused
    their action in denouncing the “1%” with anti-capitalist actions like the
    5th. of November Bank Transfer Day, the RobinHood Tax March or the G20
    counter summit and other occupation of stock markets and banks in London,
    Zurich, Frankfurt…

    2/ PRINCIPLES AND DEMANDS, AIMS OF THE MOVEMENT

    2.1 Who we are at a local and global level?
    Regarding our background we can conclude that we are:

    a) Non-stop protests maintaining occupations, strikes, direct actions,
    information campaigns day after day to put a real pressure on institutions
    (political, financial, military, environmental…) we want to reform or
    rebuild.

    b) Communities including camps, squats, itinerant walkers, neighborhoods,
    eco-villages, cooperatives and alternative projects… self-managed in
    what we all recognize as the only one real democratic process (horizontal,
    open to everybody, non-partisan, transparent, non-violent, inclusive…)
    throw the General Assembly.

    c) Working groups of people co-operating on specific projects
    (communication, direct action, outreach, international, economy…) all
    rotating around
    - a nucleus of full time “focused” people responsible of the reaching of
    the specific objectives of
    - a “working group” who work and meet regularly in the specific assembly
    of the group sometime joined by
    - “occasional” people who cannot assist to all the process but can
    contribute and execute specific tasks of projects made for the
    - “interested” people who will be present the day of the action/activity
    or will profit to the service made by the group but who don’t have the
    time to participate to the work (maybe “focused” in another group).

    2.2 What we want at a local and global level?

    - The first and maybe only thing we all want is “the real democracy” and
    because since the beginning of this movement we always practiced and
    improved this process, now we know what real democracy looks like because
    we are this process and we recognize that only this process can secure the
    real democracy. So as a movement we want to expend this process in a
    maximum of places around the world (15O plan or geographic expension)
    creating and connecting a maximum of communities working with this
    process.
    - We all agree that our methodology of assembly/consensus is the way to
    organize our communities and all the institutions who rules our lives
    (political, economical, educational, environmental…) so one part want to
    reform this institutions and make them adopt our process when other start
    to create new ones, own ones, but all the members of our movement want and
    recognize the same process (15M plan or systemic expansion).

    2.3 What are our next concrete objectives at a local and global level?

    a) Generalization of the non-stop protests:
    After the first phase of local convergence of fights or “outreach”
    missions we (will) see possible the second phase, the coordination of
    fights to a sustained and general action which can be global.
    So our direct action groups have first of all to generalize the action and
    in collaboration with outreach groups make that a maximum of different
    actors of the society (farmers, students, immigrants, workers, retired…)
    start to coordinate direct actions.

    b) Generalization of the communities:
    After the first phase of linking/supporting/creating local co-operatives
    we (will) see possible the coordination of this alternative projects in
    holistic co-operatives which can also be global or regional.
    So our different public services and alternative projects have to
    collaborate in holistic platform to answer to a maximum needs of our
    communities (education, health, food, transport, culture…)

    3/ 15M GLOBAL STRIKE AND SYSTEMIC EXPANSION

    Because the working groups will do the concrete tasks of this project and
    not the assemblies or the communities we have to divide the work in 4
    steps representing the four elements of each working groups.
    And because we need responsible people to secure the reaching of the
    objectives we always start by the focused people.

    3.1 Focused people, from the global to the local agenda.

    LOCAL
    The first phase of the plan start from now until AgoraRoma 14-18 of January.
    The people actually reading, agreeing and feeling responsible of this plan
    (or at least of the first phase) have to focus on the first objective: The
    adaptation of the global plan to their local situation creating platforms
    for an exponential expansion of this project.
    In concrete that can be one or two or three people (the most better) in
    every city who will have to join before the 18 of January:
    1 pers. minimum focused in Direct Action
    1 pers. minimum focused in Outreach
    1 pers. minimum focused in Labor
    1 pers. minimum focused in Communication
    1 pers. minimum focused in International (can be communication)
    1 pers. minimum focused in Economic alternatives
    1 meeting minimum by week with at least this 5/6 or more people until the
    end of the second phase

    This objective reached, the focused people can desappear or organize the
    spokes council, or focus on another project or join a working group or go
    to work…

    GLOBAL
    This global plan will be presented during AgoraRoma and the participants
    will work on it, we hope a good participation of focused people there but
    also before this meeting to bring more contributions inspired by our local
    situations.
    Mailing List / N-1 / Facebook
    The sophisticated project have to be available in twenty days in a maximum
    of languages possible.
    The international work is mostly virtual and for this project it consist
    on improving the global
    - Communication, diffusion of our local information on global platforms
    and the global information on our local networks (internet, paper, TV,
    radio…)
    - Organization, or at least just a presence during the international
    meetings (AgoraRoma, Hub Meeting, Akropolis2012, also virtual)
    - Translation of our language

    Of course the responsible people of this global work can just focus on
    finding at minimum one person responsible of each task.

    3.2 Working groups, from the local agenda to concrete missions

    The second phase of this project start from AgoraRoma until the Hub
    Meeting of Bologna in march during the European action week.
    During this phase we will debate locally about the proposal in the
    different GA’s, take decisions and transform this global agenda in
    concrete local missions and working groups so the responsible of each
    sector have to create before the Hub meeting the platforms or working
    groups with the minimum people responsible of the coordination of the two
    objectives, generalization of the non-stop protests and the communities.
    Here some example but all this details have to be decided locally:
    For example from direct action you can imagine:
    1 pers. minimum focused in rural fight, industrial strike, student fight,
    involvement of retired people in direct actions, public sector…
    From economic alternatives you can imagine:
    1 pers. minimum focused on producer networks, programs of exchange
    systems, bank of time, linking of the co-operatives…
    From Outreach you can imagine:
    1 pers. minimum focused on each neighborhoods, foreigner communities,
    artists support…
    And of course one meeting minimum by week until the end of the third phase.

    This objective reached (creation of working groups on concrete missions),
    the focused of each sectors can disappear or organize the spokes council,
    or focus on another project or join a working group or go to work…

    The second Hub Meeting will take place in Bologna and will focus on the
    coordination of the 15M Global Strike. If AgoraRoma will open the
    theoretical debate, the principal goal of the Hub meeting will be the
    practical coordination of transnational actions and co-operatives around
    May 15.

    3.3 Occasional, from the working groups to concrete alternative projects

    This third phase will start from the Hub Meeting until the 1st. of May,
    helped by #Akropolis2012 from April 1 to 15 where a lot of alternative
    projects will be exposed and a lot of topics debated to learn from each
    others and take inspiration of other movements.
    During this phase every working groups will be connecting concrete
    alternative projects in holistic co-operatives and concrete actions in
    general non-stop protest, involving occasional people.
    It’s an interesting phase because we cannot imagine how will be the local
    or global situation but if we make of our best we will have for the first
    time concrete weapons against the 1% and concrete solutions for the 99%.
    The spring 2012 announcing big changes, the global movement will start to
    be coherent, and representing a real alternative, it will became dangerous
    for the old system and attractive for a big part of the populations.
    RevolutionS will can start…

    3.4 Interested, involving the 99%

    This ultimate phase will start the 1st. of May for the international May
    Day but without end time. To integrate the interested people and catch the
    attention of the non interested, it will be synchronized in four steps,
    (of course all the information available on this document are extracted
    from the actual global agenda and everybody is free to create more
    meetings and actions locally and to propose it at a global level) :

    May 1: General Assembly
    The major unions and political parties will meet during the morning and we
    cannot perturb this traditional ritual (partisan, vertical, opaque…) but
    we cannot loose this occasion to give back this symbolic day to the 99%,
    making everybody converge in a big consensus about the next days of
    action.
    So it will be part of our strategy to call to the General Assembly of the
    99% (horizontal, transparent, open…) at the end of the day to see how we
    continue the fight together, with for sure a big support (especially from
    the anarchists and radical left unions) because the main announce of the
    day expected by everybody will be the local/global plan for the 15M Global
    Strike and we will send a strong signal to the old politic: Or you support
    the politician gathering or the people assembly…
    This assembly will start with the process and it will be important to
    explain to everybody why we need self-management (to organize the fight,
    to coordinate alternatives, to take part of the decisions…) and how we
    practice the real democracy. The working groups feedback which be the
    occasion to present the movement, its cooperative projects and action
    plans, inviting people to join a group. (May 5, 12, 15…)
    It will be useful to start a project from this symbolic assembly, for
    example the redaction of a common statement, the decentralization to
    neighborhood assemblies, a self-managed found for the strike, creation of
    a central info point, marches to the occupation of working areas…

    May 5: General Bank Transfer
    To continue and rhythm this non-stop protest, the proposal is to start an
    international campaign for everybody to take their money out of the
    commercial banks and pass it to ethic banks (bank account), credit unions
    (savings), or invest it in ethic or alternative economy, or build their
    own financial institution, we can also promote the strike found.
    This action coordinate by “economic alternatives” but also
    “communication”, “direct action” will have two fronts: take the money out
    from the banksters elites, and also put more money available for
    sustainable projects who will contribute to everybody and help to heal the
    world.
    It will consist on a big campaign of information (texts, videos,
    conferences, actions showing what the traditional banks are doing with our
    money but also promoting the financial alternatives and the projects they
    finance. We invite all the communities to open the debate locally, to
    share this materials and create new ones adapted to their local
    situations.

    May 12: General Occupation
    Because everybody cannot strike, people added the 12 of May to the next
    global day of action for both strikers and supporters. The global movement
    will re-take the central squares, the best way to mobilize massively for
    the big Transition, opening platform of coordination of fights and
    cooperatives.
    Because we need a maximum of participation during the demonstration and
    the General Assembly to secur a good occupation of the squares, we
    recommend to reserve all the other occupations for the night, or for the
    days before and after.
    It’s important to organize the infrastructure and the action/resistance
    plan before the gathering but if you didn’t succeed in your occupation
    during this day, it doesn’t matter because the global non-stop protest
    make that everything can be reported to the next day…

    May 15: General Strike
    Starting of the transition Strike, a permanent flow or exodus from one
    side to the other where the people who was maintaining the system will
    stop to do it and decide to put their energy in alternatives projects. It
    is necessary the intensification of non-stop coordinated actions from one
    part and of the promotion of co-operative projects from another.
    Anti-authoritarian schools, people’s kitchen, kitchen gardens,
    cooperatives of credit, sovereign assemblies, self-managed factories, free
    shops/services, alternative medias…
    On the agenda: expropriation of public spaces, of means of production, of
    natural resources, of free energy, of everything the people will need to
    start and prolong this global change.
    It’s important to organize the infrastructure and the coordination of this
    exodus but if you didn’t succeed in your big transition during this day,
    it doesn’t matter because the global non-stop protest make that everything
    can be reported to the next day…
    So for one day, one week, one summer or for the rest of your life: Stop
    the world, another war is possible.

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