Community struggles - campaign strategies - developing networks
Galway, October 12 - 14
A grassroots gathering is a one-off event run by a local group bringing together people involved in different community campaigns and social movements to learn from each other's experiences, talk about what works and what doesn't, develop networks and make alliances. There have been a dozen of these in different parts of the country over the last eleven years and they have helped support all sorts of different campaigns and movements - resisting Shell in Erris, campaigning against cuts, supporting women's right to choose, challenging neo-liberalism in the EU, creating free space for young people, opposing incinerators, community gardening, protecting natural and national heritage, highlighting US military use of Shannon, challenging racism and more. This one will have particular sessions for communities resisting fracking and drilling and for movements against austerity, as well as an open stream and other activities.
The Gathering isn't about famous speakers or Great Experts telling us how to do things - the idea is to bring together campaigners, people in communities, people organising at the base in unions, experienced activists and people just starting out to share their experiences, discuss what way they think things might go, ask questions of each other, make connections and have a good chance to chat and meet new people and old friends. It's not for profit (and we all get to muck in with washing up, passing the hat and generally helping out), it isn't run by any political party and nobody will try to recruit anyone.
Over the last few years more and more people have seen just how corrupt the system is and how little faith we can have in the people who claim to represent us and "see us right". For this reason the Gatherings aren't for people who want to make a name for themselves, make a career out of other people's activism, get a leg up politically, make money out of campaigning, appear on TV etc. More formally we have the "Grassroots Principles" which say that we want to work together as equals, run things in an open and democratic way and try not to talk down to each other or over each other's heads. Rather than rebuild the old mess we believe in communities being able to decide for themselves, workplaces controlled by the people who actually work in them, a sustainable economy and an end to neoliberal bodies like the IMF and World Bank which have helped to create the crisis. To read full principles of Grassroot and more about the gatherings go to http://grassroots.pageabode.com
Proposals and suggestions for the programme - we would like to hear from you...
Anti fracking/drilling stream
Anti austerity stream
Collective discussion space (Saturday afternoon)
If you have ideas of what we could get out of the weekend as a whole, and what could be the focus of our closing plenary session please contact us by the 1st of October.
Art, theatre, poetry, music and video
As part of the weekend of events, there will be workshops,performances and readings in art, theatre, music, poetry, writing and film taking place at the Cube theatre space in NUIG.. If you have any workshop or performance ideas related to the ethos of the grassroots gathering, or have suggestions for documentaries/films that could be screened, we would love to hear from you. We also hope to have a forum for discussion about the arts and activism and are open to your suggestions on any particular discussion topics that would be of interest. Please submit your proposals to us before October 1st.
Kids/All ages activities
We hope to have plenty of inspiring activities that will be fun for kids and adults alike running during the course of the weekend. Let us know if you have any ideas for workshops/performances/screenings in art,music, theatre, puppetry and film. As above, please let us know by October 1st.