5th Peoples' Global Action Gathering in Europe – North Greece 18th / 25th of August 2008
An evaluation of the european PGA conference 2008 as an experience of self-organisation.
The conference happened in the city of Alexandroupoli (end of summer 2008) at a university. A day before the start some people occupied the university. In Greece the constitution says that the police cannot enter in the university, only in the worst circumstances. This is a legacy of the revolts that were instrumental in bringing down the fascist dictatorship in 1987. Therefore, the squatting went without much difficulty and all through the conference we managed to maintain a friendly relationship with the workers at the university: the security guard, the cleaning ladies, etc. Finally we had many spaces, and luxury like projectors and air conditioning. As you can imagine, all this was very funny and strange for most people not from Greece.
But how we arrived to that point? The organisation process was ridden with complexities, restarts and changes of plans. However, it was at least transparent in a way, since most twists and turns were made public on the process list ( email@example.com) which was different from the last conference in Dijon, where francophone people had their own communication infrastructure in place. The collective who finally took on the responsibility of hosting the conference was from Komotini, a smaller city near Alexandropouli. There were only a few people on the ground who really knew the local situation which lead to numerous problems. For example it took us some days to understand what was going on with some punks who were also using the university grounds and with whom we had conflicts all the time. We couldn’t make out clearly if people from Alexandroupoli supported or denounced a guy who was acting like an asshole from this other group.
Apart from the lack of local support the chaotic organisation process resulted in two drawbacks which lead to lower turnup at the conference: firstly, mainly due to the lack of international support some people who wanted to attend the conference did not get visa (see report about Visa Support Group later on) and secondly, because of the changes in date and place some other people did not come.
Finally, since there was little prefabricated framework of self-organisation (that we had in the previous European PGAs), and also because there was — fortunately — a lot of people who were new to the kind of spontaneous, organic self-organisation that the situation required, it did not go smoothly. For instance in the first days there were problems with the quantity and quality of food, and until the last days some people felt that cleaning was not sufficient or that it had to be taken care of by a small number of dedicated volunteers all the time. Having said that, things improved a lot during our stay.
As will also be detailed in the PGA process section the difficulties had the positive side-effect that more people took responsibilities and got involved in the shaping of the process, because specialised roles were either nonexistent or fell apart facing the day-to-day practical difficulties.
Here is the collection of reports that was sent in. About the demonstration on the last day to raise awareness about local politics, the plan to build a pipeline in the area. About the workshops of the conference. More insight in the organisation process with infotours. And some small notes on decisions from the meetings.
Report from the demonstration on the final day of the conference
On 24.08.2008, in the greek city of Alexandropolis, there has been a demonstration against the planned oil pipe-line Burgas-Alexandropolis and the gold-mine construction project. The main organizers were the autonomous groups “AnarchistResistance” (Sofia), Utopia A.D. (Komotini), as well as some activists from Turkish collectives.
The demonstration was organized here, despite the fact that none of the collectives is from the city, for the following reasons.
Firstly, the oil pipe-line will end precisely in this city, therefore it will be the one that would be affected mostly, from the negative effects of the project. Secondly, the anarchist movement in Alexandropolis is very weak in the city, and with one demonstration we can support it. Lastly, the the meeting of the global activist network – PGA had just ended in the same city, so we decided that some of the remaining foreign activists will be able to attend the demo.
Now we would have to pinpoint what links the already mentioned collectives, and why they are the organizers of the demo. It is true that some of us are directly affected from the pipe-line and gold-mine projects, such as Utopia A.D. (Komotini is in the vicinity of Alexandropolis), but more importantly it is the closesness of the political and practical understandings among the collectives. We think, that all social struggles are interlinked, in one way or another, and it is of immense importance that we help with each other, even if we are not directly affected. Let’s stop repeating words like “solidarity” and “internationalism”, as if they were some kind of a mantra/spell, and to put them into practice instead. We have to acknowledge the fact that we have good mutual relation and that with we trust each other. We met the people from Komotini in person this week, but our communication with them pre-dates this meeting, thanks to the PGA mailing lists. We have known some of our turkish comrades in person for quite some time now, much before this meeting now. Nearly an year ago, they helped us make a turkish-language section in our web-site.
The preparation for the demo started several days in advance. We collectively put down some money for printing of the propaganda. We started with the details. One day before the demo a group of six people was formed – two from Bulgaria, two from turkey, a boy from France, and a woman from Greece. They stuck posters informing about the coming event, all over the main street, and handed our small leaflets. Under the poster text, the names of the collectives organizing the event were put down. We had put several hundreds posters and we handed out more leaflets.
The demo started 7 p.m. We never asked anyone for a permission. We were around 50 people. Apart from the already mentioned 3 countries, there were people from Germany, France, Lithuania and so on. We carried flags, as well as a banner saying – “Oil, State, Death” in Bulgarian, Turkish, and Greek. Apart from that we handed a newly made leaflet, explaining the problems in detail. We stayed near the light-house for about an hour. During this time lots of TV camera-men came to film. The Greek comrades told them directly that they can film only the banner and that if they see that their faces had been filmed on tv, the next day they will be infront of the TV station and the people that were filming will be in some trouble. Soon we realized that a police van had parked down a block nearby, 6 policemen in uniforms were outside, possibly inside there were more. They never intervened during the evening, only some civil cops that were hanging around were recognized. After this around 100 military passed by us, training for an army parade. We met them with raised flags and laughter. Around 8pm we decided to start the actual demo on the main pedestrian street. It went on for an hour. We chanted many slogans, mainly in greek and english: “Build more hospitals, because cancer comes from the mines”, “Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prisons”, “No Oil, No Gold – our lives cannot be sold”. The most important english language slogan was – “No pipeline, no gold-mine, its a crime, don’t be blind”. The people from Greece said there were many turkish and bulgarian speaking people in town, as well as a lot of russion tourists, who understand the bulgarian words. This was confirmed when an aged couple (woman and a man) stoped us and started speaking Bulgarian. We explained them shortly, what the problem is.
For us from “Anarchist Resistance”, this demo is effective in every respect – accumulated international experience is always useful. Officially we never took responsibility for the international event – the No Border between Greece and Bulgaria in 2005. On the Greek side it was possible to see some disappointment. The demo was small for the greek standards, but historically it is the largest anarchist event in in Alexandropolis. But this is not improtant and it is not this that disappointed the people from Greece. 50 or 500 does not matter, as much as a few Greek anarchists were from Alexandropolis itself. Apparently until the people from the city do not solve their internal problems, for which we found out in the final days, it will not be easy to strengthen the movement. Nevertheless there is optimism – the town people around were really interested in the problems arising from the development projects. For example when were were at the light-house many cars pulled over to ask us for a leaflet. Many young people and kids saw living anarchists for first time, and who knows, they might get interested in our ways of direct action.
We are certain that this will not be our final joined action with our friends from Turkey and Greece, and we are already considering new ideas. Our struggle is common and we are firmly decided to stick with it.
Practical outcomes and projects inspired by PGA
Visa Support Group
Call out for the International Visa Support Network
The idea of this project came out on the first day of the PGA conference in Alexandroupolis when we found out that around 20-30 people from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine could not come for the event only because of the visa problems. They were actually excluded because of bureaucratic shit. And that is not the responsibility of local organizers who were overloaded with work and did their best to make this conference to happen, but all of us.
We see the whole visa system as repression and manifestations of racism. Many people can hardly afford traveling because of the money, arbitrary rule of officials and structural violence. For instance, to get a travel passport in Russia and Turkey you should serve the army if you are a male, or in Brazil you should prove that you voted, which is mandatory there.
As a practical solution we came with the idea of establishing a network of people who can provide visa support for international activist events and radical exchange as well as for activists traveling in general. We are for freedom of movement for everyone and we would like to connect this project with migration related struggle later, but initially this network is created as an activist travel support to avoid an exclusion of people at international activist events in future, to challenge global apartheid policy and to strengthen our networks of solidarity.
The project is consisted of two basic parts:
- practical manuals how to get visas, cross the borders and so on (for self-empowering) * building a network of individuals and collectives who could provide invitations for visas
- It is not only for entering/undermining Fortress Europe but also for traveling outside the EU and in other parts of the world.
If you would like to contribute your personal experience for manuals or to be a part of the network providing invitations, please contact us by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Balkan Decentralised Network
Radical X Change
The Idea: No more boring debates about ‘networking’ but a real exchange between real people and collectives. An exchange of activists and people who want to get to know other activists political everydaylife. A possibility to learn as a project from the view of outsiders. An open network open also for new interested people and smaller collectives. A possibility to travel from one PGA-friendly project to the next. It was joined in Dijon (PGA Europe 2006), discussed in Maribor (prepmeeting for the next PGA Europe) and developed in Alexandroupoli (PGA Europe 2008).
The Invitation: Describe your local conditions, what you can provide and what you expect from the people you invite! Are you active in a small group of activists somewhere in the countryside? Are you preparing an event like a protestcamp where you want to include people from abroad? Do you live in a big city with a broad political scene, consisting of a lot of small groups, ignoring each other? Each situation is different. What can you offer? Where will people stay? What about food? What do you want to do together? Perhaps you want to say what kind of people you need (for example someone with electric engineering skills). Finally, how long do you want them to stay? Two weeks, two months, for an undefined period or until the end of the protest camp?
During the discussion we decided that we want to promote Radical X Change not as a structure or network but as a practice. For example, Food Not Bombs is not a structure that you can join but a practice that you can do. Let Radical X Change stand for this habit of autonomous projects to invite publicly invididuals who are interested in working and sharing their life with them! However, this approach does not mean that we leave the idea alone, but to promote it in another way: first by practicing it and issueing invitations and second by forming Fan Clubs. What is a Fan Club? A Fan Club is just a fan club: people who are enthusiastic about something and they gather information and write and speak about it, help where they can. So to support the idea without taking any kind of ownership we decided to form a Random rXc Fanclub. Of course an activist project is nothing without a mailing list and a website, but we don’t have it at the moment. :)
We will try to create an extensive overview of police and state repression in different countries. As a start we have a basic list of questions you can answer for the country you know about and help getting the information out.
We ask people to write an overview of the attacks to political spaces, erosion of freedoms, and repression, that have happened in their countries over the past decades. We are therefore looking for analyses of legal changes and strategies of repression of grassroots activism in your city or country. We would like to know how has repression and social control increased in your country over the past five to ten years? In which ways does your government try to suppress the discontents (e.g. harsher accusations, easier convictions, higher sentences, more state violence at demonstrations and public spaces to intimidate, high claims for damage, use of surveillance, etc.)?
If you want to join, please contact email@example.com. Use encryption if you can. Here is our PGP key:
Other important discussions
There were some discussions that did not result in new projects or practical outcomes (as far as we know) but which were nontheless significant and inspiring:
Since we were not present here we cannot really report, please somebody who was there write a wrap-up!
Radical Feminist Meeting
no report was published about this.
There was workshop about antisemitism. Together we established a structure of three blocks to discuss.
- History of Modern Antisemitism. History of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
- Structural Antisemitism: anticapitalism with antisemitic argumentations.
- Reports from the different Nations of the participants.
This is only a short summary of what was discussed, deeper explanations can follow if necessary.
1. A short history of "modern" Antisemitism was presented. “Modern” Antisemitism is different than the religious hate towards jews before. It was established in the 19th century and is based on the theory of races. The "modern" antisemites claim to speak with empiric and scientific evidence and give themselves a rational appearance. The peak/result of "modern" antisemitism was the german national socialism with the Holocaust.
Whilst discussing the Israel/Palestine conflict a debate came up about the legitimation of using the word “genocide” when refering to the actions of Israel. The person arguing for this term then went on to the term “racist mass murder” and argued that the artillery shooting on Gaza was in his view connected to racist lobbies in Israel. Some people saw strong points against these theories and argued that there is no state will to eliminate the palestinian people, so the term is completly inapprobiate. Also the point that there is a war going on between Israel and palestinian Organisations was brought up as an explanation for the actions of the israeli army.
2. A short presentation was made about the analysis of Antisemitism from Theodor Adorno and Moishe Postone. This is very relevant in analysing ideological argumentations that want to analyse capitalism but end up with structurally antisemitic ideas. After the conference a text about these theories was emailed over the european pga list.
In the following debate after this presentation different approaches to remain able to fight capitalism without fixing a critique to good and bad capitalists were discussed. We see no good capitalism, so there is no radical perspective in distinguishing between good and bad capitalists. It’s necessary to criticise this system and show the people what harms them when they are harmed (like all the time…). People also argued that the discurses are mainly about power, and the way to attack the power is to interfer in these discourses. Also the idea of social struggles per se was discussed, because it seems necessary to analyse what happens inside them: What the people are asking for and who they adress with this. The radical way is to show the people “why” they struggle.
3. There were participants from greece, bulgaria, belarus, london, brasil, germany, lithuania, hungary, finnland, switzerland. We made a round where some people tried to summ up the situation with regard to antisemitism in their country. In Germany and Lithuania: mostly Secondary Antisemitism, meaning question of guilt gets a racist dimension. e.g. prejudices against jewish community selling land/houses that they get back. Poland: same situation, hate towards “russians, germans, jews” Greece: tradition of antisemitic conspiracy theories, even in the macedonia-conflict Bulgaria: not so deeply rooted. today popular conspiracy theories, books are getting translated. racism mostly against gypsis, blacks, arabs. Antisemitism being one of many prejudices. historically more guilt free, in their history only communist jews were deported to germany. switzerland: open common thing (for example in housing: swiss for swiss, and then the argumentation of jewish being somehow different and not having this spirit). the underdogs more keep the basic racism alive, not a special antisemitic argumentation.
PGA process discussions and decisions
Reflections on the rationale behind the PGA network
There was a debate about the alterglobalisation movement. Did it come to an end after 9/11 and the war on terror ? For sure the enormous protests against Iraq war did not stop the USA in the same way that countersummits flanked the IMF, G8 and World Bank. We are not winning. (Editor’s note: that was before the high point of the financial crisis and maybe we could make a different analysis now.)
Anyway, many people retreated to their local scenes and focused on local projects instead of global networking. Can PGA be relevant in this situation? Is this really what we need? No really striking answers to this question. At least PGA is almost the only general grassroots-horizontal global political network. Its uniqueness lies in the ability to go beyond single-issue activities and also have the potential to work on a global scale, but in reality this rarely happens: there are various specialised discussions and the global outreach is not achieved. What is more widely implemented is the idea to have large or middle-scale activist meetings in a positive and constructive setting, as opposed to the stressed and antagonistic siege situations of countersummits and No Border or Climate Camps. So how can it be really useful for European activists to participate?
One idea advocated by people from Berlin was to be more visible on other major mobilisations like those mentioned before and try to connect these struggles and integrate more closely with them.
Reflection on the dynamics of the PGA network
It was noted that many key people stopped being active in the PGA network and in general the European activist scene is experiencing a low tide. Also while on previous PGAs many collectives sent spokespersons now there were few people who came as messengers of their collectives and more came only as individuals no matter if they were part of a collective or not. This “invididualisation effect” led to a difficulty in making decisions and planning common projects. However, the positive side is that on this very PGA there were many new faces and some fresh energy.
There was a shift of focus compared to previous conferences away from discussion towards action, so many sessions concentrated on concrete ideas rather than evergreen topics. Thus many practical outcomes were produced — of course to see them realised is a complete different thing. Judging from the online activity after the conference most of these will take a long time to take up or simply forgotten, as it happens.
Also, the two infotours of the Balkans and the preparation meetings were very successful in making new contacts and connecting people. Many people heard about PGA for the first time, and some of them met each other several times before coming to the conference itself, so we had a confortable trust level already in the beginning. Note that this was different from the PGA European gathering in Belgrade 2004 where not so many came from the area and the conference did not really have a lasting effect. At last we had an impression that the Balkans could be covered by PGA, also because of the talk about Balkand Decentralised Network (see practical outcomes section).
One more positive element in the dynamics — unseen in the last European PGAs — was that more people took ownership of PGA than usual and participated in the process discussions, also making practical commitments for the continuation. For example, many people came from Berlin to the conference and they offered to look into the possibility of organising the next PGA Europe in their city. Sofia and Leiden looked like a good place to organise the wintermeeting. More individuals were interested in organising smaller and more spontaneuos PGA meetings in the next years. All in all there was more enthusiasm and identification with the PGA idea then previous conferences.
Contact with other continents
The previous convenors did not focus on this topic and apparently the dynamics of the PGA went down in most other continents not just in Europe, so basically our process lost contact with the movements on other continents. At least at the conference many people were interested about the situation outside, but almost nobody had information, so nothing significant could be discussed. Some invididuals initiated attempts to search out our comrades, and they will publish results when they have something. Contact: elviejo at greenmail.ch
State of the infrastructure
There was a central debate about the state of the infrastructure and the general accessibility and openness of the PGA network as it is now. The key concept that gained surprising popularity in the next days to describe PGA was “mess”. The general impression of the newcomer is that PGA is built on a vague concept and its communication channels are unpenetrable. It often happens that organisations with a complicated and long history become difficult to understand and the entry level of participation becomes too high. For example in order to take part in the PGA process discussions you have to read through dozens of pages of bureacratic descriptions of propositions, comments and analysis, trying to understand what people were up to in the past and in other places, and understand the structure and working logic of the PGA process. This can discourage many people from taking part in the discussion and taking ownership of PGA, and encourages a view that PGA is just some big abstract umbrella that does all these things.
The practical answer to these concerns was to try adapting a more minimalistic style of PGA communications. Firstly, there was the idea to write the ultimate “short and sweet” introduction to PGA that is clear, inviting and concise. So far nobody dared to attempt to realise this ideal. Secondly, as discussed also in the Dijon conference in 2006, there was concensus about an urgent need to streamline the digital communication tools of the network such as mailing lists and websites. The mailing lists are overgrown in number and topics (mostly because of historical reasons) and therefore it’s impossible to really follow what is going on in PGA and very difficult to decide which lists to subsribe. The diversity of lists also separates a lot of people in this network where there are already too few active people. The diversity of websites presents a chaotic and unpenetrable picture of the PGA, which is actually not far from reality but this is exactly what we want to change! As seen in the next section there were some constructive proposals about changing the online presence of PGA. (Editor’s note: these proposals were since introduced on firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list and blocked by some people so the process if stalled again.)
At the PGA European gathering in Dijon (2006) a need for a non-digital communication tool was mentioned. There was an idea to refresh a printed newsletter. We would like to continue the project with this call. Our aim is to continue using this newsletter as forum of debates, different project, actions and struggles of collectives, related to PGA. The newsletter does not speak in the name of the network, but is inspired by PGA.
Therefore it will continue to be an autonomous project with subjective views, but can only work through the participation of various collectives and single persons in the network. This project should be an open process and different workgroups should take the responsibility for each issue.
The group working on the next issue, announces their idea for next issue and sets a deadline for articles (both on the list email@example.com). After layouting and publishing it’s also helpful if the workgroup cares for skill-sharing with the next group (which means to present the tools used for the newsletter). The final printing and distribution, like the creation of articles, is the responsibility of all the collectives and individuals in the network. Here are the newsletters published since 2006:
For printing: http://aresistance.net/data/pgaNewsletterForPrint.pdf
Whether it belongs to infrastructure or not, one definite conclusion was that infotours are a very effective way of involving and connecting people, much more than leaflets and Internet. The infotours were also significant in networking people from adjacent cities, because sometimes even the people who live near each other do not know about each other. Moreover, since these people met each other during the infotours, at the conference there was more trust and understanding of the basics.
Reports from the previous infotours
In order to organize a successful meeting, two infotours have organized in Balkans and eastern Europe. Both of the infotours were successful and quite productive for making new contacts as well as for making the perspective of a decentralized network visible. The general impression we got by organizing the infotours is f that for the Balkan activists the visibility and solidarity are main issues in order to go forward with their local process. Generally Balkans is a really poor region with its nations to try to survive with only few euros per month. The first infotour took place at September of 2007 and visit Greece , Turkey , Bulgaria , Romania , Hungary , Slovakia , Slovenia. That infotour organized by two activists from Greece and UK. The second one organized by Nirdala collective and visit the post Yugoslavian region. If we try to summarize how many people attended in the meetings , perhaps the answer is more 300 activists. Bellow is a brief report from the infotours as they described from the people who coordinate the projects.
Presentation of the PGA balkan infotour
Following the belgrade conference in 2004 there has been great enthusiasm about the beginning of a balkan network of collectives, grassroots, antiauthoritarian, anticapitalist and other groups or individuals. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm was not fruitful enough perhaps due to the lack of concrete objectives, or even perhaps some participants sensed the traditional "networking for the networking" problem.
The idea of an infotour is not a novelty. Nonetheless, it is the first time activists from a balkan country decided to visit groups and individuals who share resembling ideas and the face similar problems.
We feel necessary to stress the following concepts about the infotour:
- Not only we begin this journey on the occasion of the PGA conference, which alone is a perfect opportunity to meet and act in solidarity in the future, but also we aim to discuss, perhaps for the first time, about tools and ideas that can give us ability to border on common grounds.
- To call anti-authoritarian, autonomous anti-capitalistic and other groups groups to assist in the shaping and the organisation of the PGA conference. 3. To discuss and exchange views on the current status in the Balkans, the rise of capitalism and the state violence, especially after the wall has fallen and a series of wars have ravaged this region. 4. Finally, we want to emphasise that our call targets on groups, collectives and individuals who act and think of themselves beyond hierarchical social structures, who struggle against dominance and capitalism without consent.
PGA inspired infotour in Post Yugoslavian region a report by Nirdala collective
We started on Sunday march 3 from nis. We traveled by night so we could be in Zagreb earlier and also to bribe the ticket boy. We were lucky, we bribed from nish to lapovo, from lapovo to Belgrade and from Belgrade to shid, it was great, the only bad thing was that we couldn’t sleep because we needed to remember the stations because there was risk of ticket control.
Croatian border was ok. We arrived in Zagreb in early afternoon. Sunny and Nataly waited for us and we went to Zboux flat to eat Stenko joined us there and we went to park and then to tourist walk around. The presentation was at mama internet caffe where people from Zagreb have subversive nights with movies discussions and stuff. Cole that organized this presentation was there, also there was our friend Deeda and some people we haven’t seen for a while. There was Marc with what are you reading distribution and cakes. Lot of people showed up, it was great, place was good. The problem was that we were very tired cause we didn’t slept whole night. So tiredness mixed with tremor made us sound very bad. We finished very fast and and discussion was very poor so we were like very sad. Maybe because it was the first or maybe because we were very tired, Zagreb presentations was the worst. Please all people we are very very sorry. We want to thank you all for organization, shelter, great food, beer, good time, hope to see you soon.
Before sleep we spent some time with Zboux , who is agronomist and has some very very interesting stories. We send him kisses now. Early in the morning we cached train for Maribor. In Zagreb we were hanging around in t-shirts on the way to border it was snowing. On border it was like little problemmy, they’ve putted my bags out and stuff but they let us trough. We arrived on the station and Joseph was waiting for us with his friend from Gratz but i cant recall her name. We went to pekarna complex. There were our friend Vlanto, then people from hungary Maxigas, Hajne and Daniel, our humble friend Sergio from Denmark in Spain, then people from Maribor Vesna, Ramiz and Mister Director, also there was our friend Raresh who is legal alien, who is Romanian in Zagreb and his companion Tatjana who is not an alien cause she is from Zagreb. After fastcore breakfast meeting started. Maxigas made a report about this already, so we wont write about it now. We had a short break for lunch that was like in hotel Yugoslavia, we want to thank two girls that cooked, it was supergreat. Meeting continued until the late in the night when i went to sleep with some portugese. Here we want to thank all the people from maribor for visas, place to stay, great food, organization, and everything. Thank you Joseph, Vesna, Mister Director, Ramiz thank you everybody.
In the morning we catched a train to Ljubljana, Tine waited for us at the station, we went to Metelkova place to a infoshop. There was Majda and some girls from Belgrade to. We went to Rog for a lunch. There was Jeja with us. Then we returned and checked out the infoshop until the evening. Pera our friend came so we hanged with her for a while. In the evening people started to show up. Also Vlanto maxigas hajne Daniel and Sergio came from maribor. The meeting was ok. There were about 20 30 people. Afterwards the discussion was also ok. After the meeting we went to rog, our juggle friends from Pula organized a gig for some tukish boy that as we understood escaped from immigrand prison and wanted to go to france, but he didn’t had money or papers so he was playing his shargie to collect some. After with our new friend talija we returned to metelkova to queer party which was over, but we had fun, there was also barbra from Bratislava. Finaly we went to infoshop to sleep but Iva and Sergio started a flamenco salsa samba tango electro party. We talked Sergio and barbra to go with us to Rijeka and they said yes. Here we want to thank everybody from metelkova very much, Thank you Tine, Matej, Jeja, Pera, People from the infoshop, People from the rog, Juggulars from pula, friend with skateboard talija, thank you all very much.
It was horrible, we woke up in half past five, we were like zombies, Sergio didn’t want to wake up, Iva smashed his balls, Barbra decided not to go, it was hell, we were late, we were running for trains with 50 kilo bags, it was a nightmare but we made it. On the Croatian border there was no problem. In rijeka Leonardo and Broona came, took us to ivex to skatula infoshop. Then they all left to sabotage some nato presentation and Sergio and i were sleeping. Then Pendula came and he took us to index for meal. The wind was blowing like hell, in croatia bura meens evil sadomasochistic wind from the deepest places in hell. Later in the evening we had a meeting. We couldn’t play any movie, cause we lost it in Ljubljana, but we are really thankfull to people from metelkova, that found it and send it to us. So we presented our stuff and people were really interested, some of them wants to come to the conference and we collected bunch of mails and we talked about the anti nato campaign that they are preparing. also we talked why there are no squats in rijeka and whole croatia (it is interesting that people from Zagreb are planning to squat some house these days and also they are working on some really interesting projects, its permacultural community, we hope to visit them to). Also Sergio once again told his story about the energy and people got really interested and exchanged e mails with him. So it was really good. We want to thank leo, bruna, stela, ana, penx and the others.
Tomorrow we got to Sarajevo after traveling like 15 hours and there was a big chaos, so we couldn’t make a presentation there cause ther were some kind of demos there, but we left materials and talked with the girl and we are in contact with her so we think that we can do stuff in the future, also she can make us connected with the other people from bosnia. So thanks to alsa, boris, darko.
So the last station was skopje and it was really grate. People were really hospitable and they put really lots of effort to organize us presentation, so there were like 50 or even more people. We spoke on our bad Macedonian, but we understood each other, cause although there are borders, we don’t really feel it like “another” country. so we also collect bunch of e mails and there was good discussion going on afterwards. And we brought really lost of stuff from our distro and people took it like everything! It was a new experience for us for sure! So thanks a lot to vasko, tina, mungos, acika and the others for food, sleeping, taking care of us and all they were like really super hospitable!
General impressions: we are really satisfied with the tour. There were some bad moments, but also some really incredible moments. We think that all in all did a good job. We made conections, informed people. But you have to realize that situation in this part of balkan is specific. But we made conections and belive that things are going to get better now. Also for us personal this was a great experience, cause we met a lot of people and heard a lot of interesting stuff, and this was really great opportunity for us to come to slovenia and we are really thankfull to all the people who helped this to happen, we wont write their names, but you people know who you are, so thank you!
So now we have to go and make plans for Romania
See you at the barricades.
First PGA process meetings
Some points from my precarious memory:
- miniPGA: It’s good to come together let’s make more frequent and much smaller meetings — anybody can announce a miniPGA! * Mess: PGA grew too old which means a complicated history, an entrenched bureacracy and fucked up communication tools.
- Collectives?: Most people don’t represent collectives so it’s difficult to have momentum and make common decisions.
On the second meeting much talk revolved around the mess concept. Some ideas of a remedy came up like:
- Writing the ultimate ‘short and sweet’ intro to PGA.
- Keeping the number of digital tools small, e.g. retiring a lot of superflous/historical lists/addresses/websites, etc.
- Not producing long and bureaucratic documents like this evaluation because 10 years after Alexandroupoli people will have to read 1000 pages to tune in to a discussion...