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Starting a conversation - IOPS Welcome Event

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This blog was co-authored by Jane Howick, Jamie Richardson and Florian Zollman

Earlier this year the International Organisation for a Participatory Society (IOPS) was launched as an interim organization with the aim of propelling activism for winning a new world. IOPS is structured as a bottom-up, international organization, based on self-managing interconnected branches and local chapters.  More than 2,600 people from across the world have joined IOPS. 

As the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government continue their austerity policies in the UK, strengthening the position of ruling elites, states violently clamp down on protests from Colombia to Greece, miners in South Africa risk their lives for basic labour rights, the daily and deepening hardship of billions of people is ignored, sexual and reproductive rights are clamped down upon, and climate disaster pushes the world ecology at the brink  it becomes all the more important to create effective spaces of resistance that seek to gain immediate changes which do not only put a sticker plaster over systemic problems but build towards longer-term aims and structural changes. Joining together to construct and clarify long-term visions and goals through direct engagement and activism shaped by specific guidelines - we hope - can contribute to a deepening of understanding of what a new world might look like. IOPS seeks to create a space for this kind of engagement, with direct participation, diligence, modesty, and commitment. We hope you will join us! 


On Sunday 28th October, an IOPS Welcome Event will take place in London. We would like to invite anyone interested in finding out more about the organization! The day is structured to be participatory, with open discussions and facilitated workshops.


We hope that the Sunday 28th October event will start a conversation. A conversation about what a sustainable and peaceful world without sexism, heterosexism, racism, classism, and authoritarianism and with equity, justice, solidarity, diversity, and, in particular, self-management for all people might look like. And, a space to start thinking about how we can try to build some of the components of a future society within the present one.  


We are looking forward to meeting members in person! We hope IOPS is and will continue to develop into a fun, caring and nurturing organization and movement. The Occupy movements spontaneously created communities of support and solidarity, with direct participation and open spaces for discussion, interchange, and mutual aid in many ways. We think these bonds and associations could spark significant and positive changes in society at large. We think it is important to keep the momentum created by the Occupy movements going. With our collective engagement, IOPS could become one vehicle that brings us to another world that’s possible.So, we hope that the event on Sunday 28th October will provide a space to start making deeper connections with other members.


IOPS is an organization which is not only seeking alternatives to existing institutions, but is also interested in the lives of everyone involved. Meeting face to face allows us to come up with interesting and practical ways to develop and evolve as individuals, as well as contribute to wider society. Two of the co-authors of this blog are based in the north of England, where active membership is low and meetings difficult to arrange. The IOPS Welcome Event provides the perfect space to meet other like-minded individuals, learn more about IOPS and its guiding values.


And, we hope to start talking about what we want to be doing together locally – what projects, actions (especially in solidarity with other groups), goals and strategies we'd like to work on leading up to and following on from the future IOPS founding convention 


We think there is a need for us to form cohesively around IOPS so that it is not just a website, but an organization that offers a place for people to interact in person and be involved with work that furthers the IOPS vision and mission.  Meeting in person would hopefully lead to building caring, vibrant, and active local chapters as well as regional projects. We hope these local chapters or regional projects will allow us to work together concretely towards our vision of a better society.  And for those who are already doing that, we hope the IOPS Welcome Event will give you a chance to bring more people in to support you. 


So, join us on Sunday 28th October at the Firebox café from 11am!

Discussion 17 Comments

  • Mandy Meikle 11th Oct 2012

    Sadly, I rarely get to London & can't make this IOPS event. Hope it goes well!

    • Mark Evans 11th Oct 2012

      that is sad Mandy - are you planning on organisng anything where you are?

    • Mandy Meikle 13th Oct 2012

      I'm afraid I won't be organising anything in Scotland any time soon - involved in too much already!

    • Mark Evans 13th Oct 2012

      that is a shame - if IOPS is to get off the ground we really need members giving at least some of their activism time to building local chapters as part of National branches.

    • Preeti Kaur 11th Oct 2012

      Thank you for your well wishes Mandy!

  • 11th Oct 2012

    Maybe a north of England event would be more central for all of us in the UK in future, and much cheaper than London prices too... Would love to have come to this, but afraid London is out. Really good luck for the event though!

    • Mark Evans 11th Oct 2012

      Hi Rosi - if you are interested in organising a more central event for IOPS at some point in the future then please get in touch with your suggestions.

    • Preeti Kaur 11th Oct 2012

      Hi Rosi! Members of the Michael Albert tour project did send a newsletter asking IOPS UK members to get in touch if they wanted to organize an event closer to them. Unfortunately, no one responded! Hopefully, someone will organize a more central event next time. Thank you very much for your good luck wishes!

  • Sarah Owens 11th Oct 2012

    How was this piece published elsewhere?

    • Mark Evans 11th Oct 2012

      Sarah - I am not sure what you are asking...

    • Sarah Owens 11th Oct 2012

      Sorry. It looks like it might also be a flyer, a ZSpace post, or event entry in an Occupy webpage, &c. I am interested in collecting, plaigiarizing and stealing publicity methods for MA's North American Tour publicity, that's all.

    • Mark Evans 11th Oct 2012

      no problem - steal away!

    • Preeti Kaur 11th Oct 2012

      Yes - please steal away!

    • Sarah Owens 12th Oct 2012

      Ok! Ok! But did.you.publish.this.anywhere.else? 'cause we're all with you already!

  • John Vincent 11th Oct 2012

    Great invitation and project event, hope it goes well. I also like Firebox's stated purpose of wanting to be "a showcase for all that is best on the left" and that it creates a welcoming physical space for those on the left to safely occupy. I did notice however that Firebox's calendar of upcoming events doesn't currently list your IOPS event; is this something that is being amended?

    • Mark Evans 11th Oct 2012

      John - do us a favour, keep an eye on that and if it doesn't show as an event soon email them for us.

    • Preeti Kaur 11th Oct 2012

      Hi John, Thank you! I agree that Firebox is a great space. I've been in touch with them as regards promoting our event on their website and hope to see someone next Monday in person. I will raise it with them again then but - as Mark says - it would be wonderful if others could chase them too!