The future of the Grassroots Gathering and the new website

Anyone who attended one of my North American talks or who has followed my articles will have heard me mention the 'Grassroots Gathering' on more than one occasion.  This is/was a network of conferences held in Ireland from 2001 which served to bring everyone with libertarian politics together for the weekend and out of which a number of initiatives flowed.

The Gatherings stalled in 2005 (partly because the Rossport Solidarity Camp replaced it for a number of years) but was resurrected last June when the 11th one took place in Dublin.  And in the Autumn the 12th took part in Cork.  However the informal nature of the organisation has meant that the documentation of the gatherings is scattered over half a dozen web site (and quite a bit had vanished off the 'live web') and there are several email lists set up from various gatherings, some of which have no traffic.

In general the initiative has stalled once more since the Cork gathering and my attempt to convince WSM national conference that we should take the lead in re-starting it (or a similar process) was voted down. I'd unsuccesfully proposed our position paper on the Capitalist Crisis would include the following "Therefore at the regional level we will call organising meetings for the local anti-authoritarian movement by early June at the latest.  We will try and get organisations and individuals to sign a call out for such meetings to be circulated in advance of the meetings so that there are not simply WSM events.  In regions where we do not yet have branches we will encourage members and contacts to take a similar step.  In Dublin we will take the initative of calling a national gathering most probably under the Grassroots Gathering label."

Generally it was felt there were not much propect outside of Dublin for such an initiative.  In Dublin we are pursuing it through putting together a joint meeting to launch a network with the Revolutionary Anarchist Feminist Group (RAG).  It's early days with this initiative but hopefully there will be some public circulation available soon that details it.

Prior to all this I had started to put together a Drupal site to bring together all the Grassroots documentation and to create discussion forums which might improve communication.  I'd hoped to recruit admins for this from the organisers of previous gathering but with one or two exceptions none of those I contacted were interested in doing work on the site.  I decided to go ahead and launch it anyway, the archive will be useful and in the next weeks we'll see if the forum/communication end of it sinks or swims.  Below is the text I've been circulating.

Part of my motivation in putting together the site was to improve my Drupal skills and in particular test out some of the communication modules like Advanced Forum and Newsletter.  So even if none of this takes off (which is possible) I know now a lot more about this then I had previously which is a gain.  Anyway here is the text, check out the site.

Since 2001 there have been 12 Grassroots Gatherings In Ireland with most of the big cities seeing at least one.  Probably 1000 people have attended at least one but we've had a problem keeping contact with each other between gatherings.  There are a scattering of email lists and web site from the different gatherings, some active and some silent.  Now there is a new hub site http://grassroots.pageabode.com which attempts to gather all this in one place to improve communication.

The material from the previous gatherings and from groups like DGN and GNAW had become scattered over at least half a dozen web site and some material had vanished from the 'live' web all together.  I've recovered most of this and posted it all onto this single site to make finding 'historic' material easier.

In addition I've created forums so that the amount of discussion can be greatly increased without driving people off this list because of limited access to email.  I've created a set of forum rules  to try and avoid the usual nasty behaviour that can happen on forums.

As users sign up they are opted in to a newsletter which means we can send them occasional emails when particularly important information is to be transmitted (eg the announcement for GG13)

I'm referring to the site as experimental as beside the archive I'm not sure how much real interest there will be in it.  If it takes off then the forums etc will be maintained, otherwise at least this site will exist as a single archive of GG material

If you haven't received an invitation you can manually sign up at http://grassroots.pageabode.com/user/register

  


Like what you are reading?  Get a notification whenever we post a new article to

Anarchist Writers via Facebook or Twitter

where you can also like and comment on our articles