Individuals active in IOPS, Anti-Capitalist Initiative, Occupy London and other organisations held their third cross-movement assembly this year entitled "Becoming a Catalyst for a Radical Social Movement in 2013," on 19 March at SOAS.
The assembly was well attended by a broad range of people from organisations and also many independent individuals wishing to find out about, and become engaged in, struggles with social movements. Our conversation focused on community engagement, local assemblies, media and direct action. Initially, participants involved in various campaigns including Save Layton Marshes, the Connaught House eviction protest, the Friern Barnet Library and others reported back on their experiences of these campaigns.
Then, together, we explored the lessons learned, possible strengths and weaknesses of different campaigns, their potential, and how they fit into the wider revolutionary struggle. Crucially, we explored the importance of beginning campaigns early, when there is still time to sway decisions – rather than constantly trying to firefight.
The people's assembly model for organising and decision making was discussed. Most participants felt that the people's assembly model could help to facilitate new forms of social relations and organising. But, it was also pointed out that assemblies may not always be appropriate, for example when working in communities with already established processes of their own. Here, some thought, perhaps introducing participatory / horizontal processes gradually into already existing community forums may be a more conducive way of engaging practically and effectively in grassroots struggles without fetishizing certain methods of coming to decisions.
This led to participants questioning what practical outcomes could emerge from the “Becoming Catalysts” assemblies space.
After several proposals and much deliberation, we reached strong agreement that the "Becoming Catalysts" assemblies had the potential to bring different groups together, share information and organise support for local action. So, one concrete outcome of the assemblies could be to work towards building a "Solidarity Network" in London.
Consensus was reached on the idea of building a "Solidarity Network" in London together with a wide group of groups, organisations and individuals.
We also decided that the next assembly would focus on the practicalities of how we could make this happen.
We’re excited about the prospect of having a “Solidarity Network” in London so that we can more effectively support grassroots struggles and connect autonomous struggles in solidarity with each other.
If you’re excited too, we hope you will join us at the next Becoming Catalysts assembly to be held on Thursday 25 April from 7pm at SOAS (room to be confirmed)!
You can invite others to join on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/555861661103470/558222884200681/?notif_t=plan_mall_activity
Or on IOPS: http://www.iopsociety.org/events/solidarity-network#429
Information about previous assemblies can be found here: http://socialmovement2013.wordpress.com/