PGA process, structures and projects - Conference 2006 Report
What was discussed and decided during dijon's spokes council
PROPOSALS TO THE PGA PROCESS DISCUSSIONS You'll find a lot of information about the PGA process structures in the “Plaisantation”. At the end of this document there is also a note on "What is a spokes council?".
(0) INTRODUCTION: NOTATION USED ETC.
We attempted to discuss possible futures/directions/actions/structures for PGA europe through a spokescouncil (big assembly where people are divided in affinity groups and intervene and react through a spokeperson. You'll find at the end of this text an explanation of the way the spokes council worked). The content for discussion was generated by earlier discussions in working groups that put together each of the sections of this text. The content was first discussed in affinity group and then in general assembly. Around 200 people participated (at least at the beginning and less in the afternoon), and it took the whole day, with a big break in the middle. This document is the combined result of feedback from working groups and comments/decisions from spokescouncil.
(I)nformation These things came out of different working groups during the rest of the conference and have mainly been announced and hardly been debated.
(P)eople are needed for this proposal
(D)ecision Points marked with D should be debated and decided upon in the spokescouncil.
(C)omments Comments that came up during the Spokes Council
(A) TOOLS FOR NETWORKING: IMPROVING THEM, GETTING INVOLVED, CREATING NETWORK STUCTURES
1) About PGA
infopoints, general things:
(I) we decided to make available the various infopoint documents and infopoint kit on a specific infopoint page on the pgaconference.org website, with a link on the agp.org website
(I) the infopoint webpage would also contain an updated and more detailed list of infopoints, as well as survey
(I)(P) the infopoints Kit on the webpage should contain:
a document & survey about how to become an infopoint - english, translation needed
- plaisantation, a document about pga history and structures, in french and english
- translation needed in spanish, german, russian...
- pga reader from the france 2006 conference in french, english and spanish
- translation needed in other languages
- a booklet of presentation about the pga global process in french
- translation needed in english, spanish, german, russian.
- a compilation of recent texts about the pga process in english
- translation needed
- the practical guide of the france 2006 conference in french and english
- the final newspaper of accounts about the france 2006 conference in french and english
- need translation
- the plaisantation should be updated after this conference
- all the new usefull pga related texts for infopoints and translation of existing texts should be sent to pga-infopoints(at)pgaconference.org
- All documents should be available both in text and pdf
most of these docs are already available on http://pgaconference.org/en/2006/materials
- the various pictures used for pga infopoints documents should be available on the infopoint webpage as well
(C)There is a part on consensus building and meetings skills on the practical guide. it could be extracted from it and available on the infopoint kit.
(C)A group of people proposed to do a short presentation of pga and hallmarks with pictures and in comic style. Contacts : ?
communication between infopoint and tools of coordination
(I) we thought that the pga_europe_process(at)squat.net and pga_europe_resistance(at)squat.net lists should remain the main communication tools for infopoints and other people involved with the pga network.
(C) infopoints should all be subscribed to the process list.
(I) pga-discussion(at)squat.net list will be destroyed, some lists will be renamed from "stamp-" to "pga-", and descriptions of the email lists will be added on the website.
(I) Email lists and their functions:
- pga_europe_process(at)squat.net for discussions on the PGA Europe process.
- pga-resistance(at)squat.net for announcements about actions.
- pga-announce(at)pgaconference.org to be invited to next conference and other bigger events.
- globalaction(at)lists.riseup.net for global process.
(C)' there will be a clarification on the use of every list on the website
(C) we decided to have a regular rotating on the administration of lists
(I) we'll create an email adress for the administration of infopoints: pga-infopoints(at)pgaconference.org. This email address will be administrated by a group of people. It will be used for various infopoint administrative tasks, for new infopoints who want to be listed, for old infopoints who want to update their survey, and to send the various documents and translations that should be added to the infopoint webpage. The admins inform the process list and will attempt to contact infopoints to get a better understanding of the group. There is a 3 week reaction period. Afterwards the new infopoint will be added to the homepage.
(I)(P) A working group (re)organising the translation infrastructure has been formed. Translations site might be merged with indymedia translations (http://translations.indymedia.org/). The PGA conference 06 translations list will be used until another solution has been found. Admins are needed. Necessary translation work for PGA can be announced here.
(C)There was a strong concern that it might be confusing and generally not a good idea to mix the indymedia translation tools and the pga one. Various groups were concerned with creating a clear specific tool of translation for the pga network. But it was left to the group presently working on translation tool to propose solution and decide till the next pga process meeting.
(I)Proposal to have a part of the website dedicated to translation.
(P) We recommend the usage of 3 working languages posts to the process list: spanish, french, english. It would be nice to have at least translations of short summaries. The idea is that people can use the translation list to make their messages on the process list being translated. But messages don't have to be translated before to be sent on the process list.
(I)There is the idea of infopoints translating the newsletter or the infopoint materials into their local languages.
(C) Infopoints classified list and how to register as an infopoint needs to be translated.
Infopoints classified list and how to register as infopoint
(I) there was a general agreement on the fact that we shouldn't take decisions about pga structures and projects anymore when there are no people clearly responsible to work on the task and make the decision happen.
(I) we decided to create a survey on the website for collectives who want to be added on the list of infopoints. These infopoints list will be also classified relating to their various activites, structures and issues in order to have both a general list and some classified lists (eg: to make it easier for people who want to know the infopoinst that are working on gender issues or collective cooking structure or autonomous server...)
(I) This survey will be available on the website. It will also be passed around during the centralised meeting, you can fill it in and give it back to the infopoint of Dijon's conference or send it back to pga-infopoints(at)pgaconference.org. Infopoint adress administrators will also check if the old infpoints still want to be on the list and if they can fill the new survey.
(C) We decided to update the infopoints database during every conferences which was done during this conference (please fill the survey)
(C) There should be a section added on the infopoint survey for groups who don't have acess to digital and printing tools to say so and for groups who are ok to support an infopoint.
(I) apart from the list of infopoints, a need was felt for a broader database of activist contacts, the kind of which is repeatedly being built for/during events such as PGA conferences. Proposals ranged from merging with already existing projects, such as the Anarchist Yellow Pages, to compiling a list of such databases (there's lots of regional & thematic ones already), mentionning their degree of update & accuracy. This has started on http://stamp.poivron.org/MeetingNotes/ContactLists
(P) Reports: working about the outcomes of the conference, rep newspaper and information spreading. Movie projects about this conference...
(P) A long newspaper reporting on contents and projects coming out the decentralised gatherings has been edited during the conference and is available on the website. The first newsletter after the conference will be a compilation of articles and reports from the centralised gathering. There's an already existing working group. Deadline : Send your reports to stamp-journal(at)pgaconference.org
(I) PGA newsletter: it was discussed many times to recreate a PGA newsletter that could give informations about pga related groups and actions, be printed and given to people by groups involved and especially the infopoints. We discussed that again. People said it was politically really tricky to have a group of people deciding on the contents of a "pga" newsletter and about which struggles would get or not visibility through this information tool. Two possibilities came up as a result:
- no pga newsletter;
- a newsletter done each time by a different infopoint;
(C)We propose to try again to have an « inspired by pga » newsletter that could be distributed over europe and be available as a part of the infopoint kit on the webpage.
(C)the idea is to have it done each time by a new pga infopoint. The group doing it should try to find the next group, both through the pga-process list and using directly personal pressure. There should be a rotation of groups doing the newsletter at least at the beginning to see if there is a dynamic about this newsletter, we can feedback about this dynamic during a future pga process meeting (winter meeting or whatever type of process meeetings) and use such meetings to pass a relay if it doesn't happen otherwise.
(C)It should be clearly stated that the newsletter is titled as inspired by pga europe and not related to the global network.
(C)the newsletter focus would be the activities of the network (conferences and pga process) + presentation of infopoints and activities of groups inspired by the pga network. The texts sent on pga-announce list would appear as well. It should be really clear that the newsletter doesn't reflect « what pga thinks ». It's a bit like a forum of discusion and of presentation of pga related groups. The content of the newsletter would be groups talking about the struggles, projects and actions they're actually involved with. There could be an international news sections, but it should be made of groups from other continents writing about what they do and being translated.
(C)There should be no fixed size for the newsletter.the newspaper.
(C)All articles should be sent to the process list, so that people can react if they think that anything is really bad.
(C)newsletter contributions need to be forwarded to translations list
(P) riot.boogie(at)gmx.net from budapest said he would ask his group if they wanted to do the next newsletter. If another group already wants to take responsability for the next one, it would be great.
3) Digital tools
(C) Various concerns given during the spokes council
there was a concern about potential sabotages on the wiki. we need to clarify the difference between the tools of the network and the work we actually do there were various concerns about not relying too much on digital tools. One group said they would work on proposing various solution for non digital tools of communication. There should be a series of proposals for groups who don't work with the internet.
(I) List-administration: organizing this PGA conference involved creating & using a series of mailing-lists, which were reviewed, some tagged for destruction, some for continuation and broader use:
stamp-ds(at)pgaconference.org should allow participants to the “digital struggles” topic to communicate further; pga-announce(at)pgaconference.org will hopefully be put to more use, as an announcement list on events & news related to the PGA network; pga-www(at)pgaconference.org is used by the pgaconference.org webmasters to continue collaborative work on the websites; pga-i18n(at)pgaconference.org is maintained as a resource for coordinating translations related to the PGA or associated groups; it took a while to setup such a thing, which is highly valuable to our activisms, but often lacking.
- PGA chat: an Internet Relay Chat channel was created on irc.indymedia.org for easing communication in between distant members of the STAMP collective. It has been put to extensive use during the “Digital Struggles” focus in the decentralized conference in Dijon, allowing interested parties to follow some of the discussions. There's no reason to get rid of it!
(I) Websites: the main PGA-related websites were collectively reviewed:
http://pgaconference.org/ was initially created by Eurodusnie for the Leiden conference in 2002, but recently taken over & restarted from scratch by the STAMP collective. The following propositions were made:
- keep pgaconference.org as a central website for informations about PGA encounters and their contents;
- Links to other conferences will be put on pgaconference.org but it should be made clear that pgaconference.org still is a european project.
- In the future it could be openning up to non-european PGA conferences: while the name “pgaconference.org” is generic, all content is related to European conferences. The website could offer to host sections for non-european PGA conferences as well, which organizers of these events could fill-in themselves. This could turn pgaconference.org into a hosting platform for PGA conferences and meetings world-wide, helping convenors to self-manage their own section of the website.
- this years's PGA conference organisation has made extensive use of digital tools; it should be documented, as to remember the lessons of this experiment, and allow others to benefit from it.
linking with other projects coming out of this conference (the moving europe caravan, projects on squat.net & autonomous spaces database, autonomous server network created during the conference, etc.)
- there should be dedicated sections to include the output from wintermeetings as well.
- should projects coming out of the conference have dedicated sections on the website that they would manage (like the sustained campaigns from Leiden)? Problem: some ideas might be turning into projects we don't want to identify with, and hosting projects as the PGA would somehow contradict the "inspired by PGA" policy. Solution: link from the conference website to projects' site, as to show the practical output of a conference, without necessarily endorsing it as the PGA.
http://stamp.poivron.org/ is a wiki (freely editable website), which worked alongside with the website. It worked as an online document folder, allowing the STAMP collective to share, edit & design texts easily. It has been proposed to move all STAMP/PGA06-related contents to a dedicated section, rename it to wiki.pgaconference.org and allow future PGA-conferences to use it. http://www.agp.org/ has been the official website for the PGA since years, and has grown big and quite complex, with translations in many languages. It contains some 35.000 pages, with just 3 people working on them, who have asked for some help in the past. A few remarks were made, though time lacked to properly dive into the subject:
readability: some mentionned the website lacked a coherent & visible structure, making it hard to find its way through it;
- relation with pgaconference.org: it was suggested to move contents related to the PGA conferences to pgaconference.org, and to clarify which contents should go on either site, as to have a coherent communication infrastructure, with complementary websites;
contents: it was pointed out that agp.org contained some problematic materials that don't represent the PGA, since they express some very precise and particular political views. For instance, this can leed to the false impression that PGA is taking a precise stand in some of the most tense internal conflicts within radical movements, when a series of pages about the G8 summit in Genoa document the death of Carlo Giuliani in conspiracy theory fashion, and focus on the supposed police infiltration of the black bloc, which has fueled a lot of anti black bloc political stances since 2001. The proposal carried by the working group is to move these contents to personal websites, and to exclusively leave documents that have a direct relation to PGA supported campaigns & actions.
all4all.org is an archive for social movements, that is built upon that agp.org website, and links to its contents. It is used by agp.org's webmasters to find their way through agp.org. It uses Indymedia software (MIR) and has a clear structure based upon a topical & regional division of information.
'Note:' a working group meeting comprised of website and list administrator volunteers took place the day before the spokes council. They came to some consensus on what they were willing to do and prepared the proposals for the spokes council. Some of these proposals were not properly conveyed in the spokecoucil handout but verbally conveyed to the meeting:
(D): the current agp.org contents will be merged with all4all.org, which will be "inspired by PGA", thus no longer the "official" representation of PGA on the Internet.
(D): a new website for the PGA will be created: peoplesglobalaction.org. It will be very succinct, and will just carry the hallmarks in different languages, as well as links towards other PGA-related websites, such as pgaconference.org, all4all.org, etc.
(I): people involved in the PGA process in the Balkans have asked for a homepage, ideally that is part of an existing structure.
(I): the new peoplesglobalaction.org domain opens up the possibility of hosting sub-projects, such as balkans.peoplesglobalaction.org, etc.
(D): www.agp.org is an alias, that currently points towards http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/. The working group proposes that it should then point towards peoplesglobalaction.org. A decision on this should be taken at a more global level.
(D): Nadir has not received enough financial contribution for hosting the PGA website for years. Part of the leftover money from the conference should be used for that.
(I): a "globalblog" has been created on http://deletetheborder.org/en/pga. Instead of chatting discussions should be put on the blog so we have an archive of it. It's still in the process of being approved. Feedback appreciated.
(B) TOWARDS A NEW CONFERENCE
1) Continuity and Skill Sharing
(D) Continuation of the various thematic groups started during this conference: how to have more people taking part in the preparation of the issues for next PGA events and keeping issues working groups in between conference? Discussions about keeping or creating pga thematic lists that were created to organize this conference in between conference.
(I) It was proposed in belgrade to organize some PGA-process skill-sharing and to write a "PGA organization practical guide".
(I) Stamp people have been starting to work on a tool-text/book about the way this conference was organized to pass knowledges
(P) Need to try to keep usefull logistic contacts for the organization of next conferences and to ask already before the end of this one...
how to share the knowledge of things we have learnt and done during the conference (stamp collective discussed) on a minimal basis stamp has written a feedback and we wish for this to be more collective, and this will be logistic and the politics behind the conference one of these days we will discuss how we want to pass this onto the next convenor all written documents and technical tools will be gathered and made available to the next groups convening the conference to involve more people in the preparation in the coming conference, we need to think of a clear method to do things on time and list all the things that need to be done. before a new conference we need to organise a skill exchange between PGA 2006 convenors and future convenors it would be really good if some organisers were involved in some of the issues
who will collect the logistic contacts, for example the kitchen collective
2) Winter meeting, next convenor
(P) Are there already groups who think about organizing a next conference ?
3) The next european conference
These points have been moved here from the discussion about the next global conference. Both took place in one session so they kind of mixed. But these points here are focusing on the european conference:
(C): We're not to take a decision as to which form the next PGA
- conference should endorse, which is left to the next convenors; however, suggestions can be made as to what participants consider could be interesting directions for the PGA to take; it should be noted that the decentralisation was generally higly appreciated, while most people felt that the two week duration was too long.
(C): In order to further root the PGA within local contexts, there can
- be regional PGA encounters, independently of european conferences, provided they are communicated to the infopoints and through the PGA network; it should be possible to get some feedback to european gatherings, and decisions on process should be taken during european meetings;
(C): Though some skepticism about it was expressed, it was decided to
- have a winter-meeting, as a space to reflect on the forms of organizing a PGA conference can endorse, and possibly to define new convenors. A call-out for hosting a winter-meeting is to be written by a collective from Madrid (contact missing here, please help!).
(C): In the perspective of an evaluation & perspective building moment
- within a winter-meeting, the STAMP collective is to evaluate the decentralisation experience it initiated, while other collectives and
individuals are invited to send feeback & write down proposals on decentralised vs centralised models, regional vs topical approaches.
4) next global conference
(I)We cannot propose another global conference now. First we must see some results of the process proposed and see also their pertinence for the South. Local, Regional, Continental Gatherings:
- We felt that the model of decentralized gatherings and more time was a positive thing
- it builds and strengthens network connections locally
- it allows themes to be discussed in depth
- it gives time/space for issues and campaigns to be developed. Taking this logic a step further, such regional conferences could be used as stepping stones toward a global conferences.
(D)Proposed concrete involvements for all groups:
- Participate in the proposed international discussion (which must also happen locally if it is to be a discussion between collectives! )
- Making new contacts, with a particular effort for Africa and Middle East. These can be announced and/or subscribed to the global action list.
- Specifically, make local and international contacts for the G8 theme days
- Translation help
- Propose ressources / knowhows
- Updating your infopoints in this process
(C)POSSIBLE CAMPAIGNS & ACTIONS
Parts 1-2-3 are a text coming from a working group that met around this issue the day before the spokes council. Part 4 gives a few comments and consensus araising from the discussions around thoses issues during the spokes council.
'''1)''' Actions and PGA network
(I) In order to inform what sort of campaigns and actions a peoples global action network could be necessary or useful for, the working group asks and proposes answers to the following questions: )What are the objectives of the PGA network? The objective of the PGA is to support and further the hallmark principals (summary: reject destructive systems of domination and discrimination, use a confrontational attitude and direct action tactics, construct local alternatives to global capitalism, organise through decentralisation and autonomy.) )In what ways can a PGA network be used to meet these objectives?
- Create concrete links between local and global struggles, furthering the awareness of global power structure behind local problems.
- Share experiences of autonomous spaces and exchange practical skills through working together on alternatives to capitalist and other destructive systems.
- Have an exchange about the effectiveness or relavency of past and present forms of action and reflect about which strategies to continue, abandon, change or invent.
)What are the capacities of the PGA that make it unique from other networks? What makes its additional existence necessary and helpful in meeting its objectives? The PGA is much broader than other existing networks as it is trans-national, trans-lingual, trans-thematical, and includes a diversity of action methods. In connecting these diverse groups the PGA has a capacity to facilitate a unique exchange of information and a unique scale of action coordination.
'''2)''' In argument for proposals
It is the opinion of the working group that while it is good to share ideas and experiences, there are other adequate places to do this and so this does not justify the existence of the PGA if that is its only accomplishment. The working group felt that there was a relatively low ratio of action proposals compared to experience sharing this year and that the PGA is at risk of becoming an entity whose main accomplishment is reproducing itself rather than creating and continuing effective actions towards the change it desires in the world.
The working group concludes that the PGA is useful only as long as it births and informs projects that work towards its hallmarks, and suggests that this be a criteria by which to judge the necessity of its continued existence.
(I) Therefore the working group brainstormed about a few project to be discussed and potentially supported around the pga network.
*Do thematical global action days before the G8 in Germany (migration, agrobusiness and education).
*Create alternatives to the capitalist system during the G8 in the region, which last longer than the G8 and involve the community.
*Support the no-border camp 2007 in the Ukraine and plan an action to shut down world wide financial districts.
'''4)''' A few results of the things discussed during the spokes council
== A few general comments about actions == local groups are the building blocks of the PGA and the interchange between them need to be strengthened. one of the function of PGA is connecting groups working on similar themes thus continuing thematic-based communication is essential. just a reminder that projects such as the ones coming out of this conference excite and involve people and provide concrete opportunities to expand our vision as a network... == A few Common Points: == - action proposals of "movin' Europe" caravan (http://www.vision07.net/) and anti-G8 thematic days of actions (as the one proposed about agro-business) obviously fit in with the PGAs goals (see : http://dissentnetwork.org) - general Support of the use of thematics to organize our struggles ie continuing the thematic working groups - many felt that it is contradictory to call for global day within the european conference. - PGA is not the place to rubberstamp or approve projects, there is no logo, ''PGA is not a decision making body about action but a networking tool to help making these actions happen''.
(D) GLOBAL PROCESS
This working group addressed relationships with other continents, global solidarity, exchange campaigns, next global conference, link with the 6th declaration and proposal of new encuentro...
There is a perceived problem that globally the PGA is weak because it has lost its focus, we propose this methodology in order to find the answers
1) Relationship with other continents
We need to make a serious effort at outreach, this means both locally and globally both on and off the internet to establish/re-establish the connecting points of the PGA network (including the zapatistas).
We must revive our dialogue with allies in the South and find ways to make the PGA more relevant to specific struggles.
2) Global solidarity
(P) As part of the outreach effort, start a global Survey-Discussion to see what PGA is (or could be) to groups around the world; what resonates and what doesnt; Are there themes, or junctions of themes, that could connect groups better than just "anti-capitalist"? Which could give a new dynamic and action focus to PGA again? There is already a first list of persons who want to work on this (contact elviejo(at)greenmail.ch).
(I) Using Theme-based discussions and cross-overs to connect local, regional, global struggles. One proposal being discussed within the German G8 mobilization is using specific theme-days to connect the various global struggles to the G8 (G8 and agriculture for example)
3) Exchange campaigns
(P) Exchanges: As part of the process of our survey, we feel that there is need to seriously consider putting more effort into long term exchanges. This is especially important and proven effective in South-South relationships, and is an option taken at the last international meeting in Haridwar already being worked on in South Asian PGA.Interested persons should write to globalaction-subscribe(at)lists.riseup.net
Comments: Questions of the meaning of the term "solidarity". propopsal to discuss how we could focus on ressources sharing rather than money donation need to strengthen local networks first, before a global meeting would be useful. the idea of resource-skill sharing and activist exchanges are good but we need to first evaluate our resources.
(I) Resource Sharing: having the resources available to the network as was proposed within the decentralized gathering (legal guide; autonomous spaces database; sources of alternative technologies...) People can make suggestions for this to the webgroup stamp-www(at)pgaconference.org and/or the globalaction list. There is also a communication group. Contact them at agpcomm(at)lists.riseup.net. And a blog at deletetheborder.org/en/pga
4) next global conference
A lot of comments about the next european conference that came up in the combined session on Global Process and the next conference have been moved to 3) Towards the next Conference.
Comments: *Feeling that a call for a global meeting is premature now but not loose sight of the possibility of global meetings. We cant decide to have connections globally they evolve organically, thus a global conference is premature
(P)Particular job: - Constitute a global database of PGA related organisations for people to know them (volunteers?).
more groups and individuals should participate in the Global PGA list and subscribe
(E) ORIENTATION/POLITICAL DEFINITION OF A NETWORK (SUCH AS OURS)
This text is the result of a discussion in Fraysinnous
Noting an ongoing lack of involvement/enthusiasm in the PGA network as such, we tried to specify/explore what we could hope for from a European and global network (1). Redefining our motivation for having/being part of such a network seems to us a necessary precondition before people get involved in taking on work and responsibilities related to the network and the transformation of its structures. These questions might seem quite obvious to some people, but they aren't for everybody. Do we need to stick to them doggedly, to develop them and argue about them? In any case, they bear a direct relationship to questions of strategy at a global level.
Below is a proposal for a template/ templates/format for these type of meetings whether they are under the banner of PGA or not.(2)
1) In general, a network of this type could/should
At a global level
be an 'antidote' to the 'social forums' and other similar NGO and 'citizen stakeholder' initiatives, maintain a network of people who have things such as types of (direct) action and political standards (the hallmarks) in common, which allows us, without necessarily knowing people really well, to meet with other activists, in whom we can have already – a priori/ above anything else, a degree of trust and confidence, which we see as important.
provide a space for co-ordination on a global level.
From a strategic point of view
Co-ordination of struggles: finding ways to give our work a common direction; to identify the common crossover/ convergence points. Provide the means to express our respective needs to establish and develop ways of working together. Allow/facilitate us to bring our actions, methods of working (practices) and political discussions from our own groups (local, affinity) beyond individual (personal or group) positions, to a wider network (from the point of view of coordination of our struggles).
In order to facilitate common actions/action together- it is essential to create confidence and trust between us. For this to happen, we need to clarify what we don't agree on, and in a wider sense, develop the discussion on these points. This is an important precondition to good co-operation between us for an ongoing series of actions
Spice up some of our alternative practices to mix them up with the culture of direct action and proactive politics, and get them out of a culture of individualism in which they're often locked and isolated. Find new ways to engage and inform ordinary people, to get out of our isolated pockets of activism.
A need to broaden the range of things we work on
To pay some attention to the 'smaller' less discussed topics like home schooling, birth etc etc (in the sense of untangling ourselves from the control of the state) Create small working groups on these topics and to think of actions etc to continue work on them/ raising their profile..
2) Proposal for possible forms that these meetings could take, whether as part of PGA or not
Based on the impression from Fraysinnous that perhaps not enough people felt engaged by the PGA, we formulated a proposal for a meeting style/ template which corresponds more closely to the form of the meeting during this decentralized week. This proposal could potentially be taken as an idea that would replace the PGA purely and simply, if the 'defection' were confirmed on a European or global scale!. It could equally be seen as an complimentary and parallel initiative to a continuing PGA process, even as a project to be taken upby/worked on by future PGA meetings.
The principal idea is to preserve/ensure the quality of the meetings by limiting the set/number of themes (1) and their crossover convergence points(2) (as in Frayssinous, with "childhood" and "anti-industrialism")
1- Limiting/focusing themes: we can abandon the idea that every meeting concentrates all the topics together (being all things to all people?), to concentrate/focus ourselves around topics or networks and working groups which already exist (No Borders, Via Campesina, etc) and to work on creating others which don't exist yet, on the topics which are important to us (anti-industrialisme, childhood, etc). This orientation comes from the idea that this way of working and grouping together sets of themes suit the people involved better, is more condusive to the way they work on day to day basis between conferences and they will get more out of the meetings
2- Twinning themes: the idea is still based on preserving the great richness/diversity resulting from the convergence/nexus of these different strands of the struggle, by joining/mixing 2 or 3 topics/networks in same meetings. It would also be a question of preserving/ creating a format which would continue between meetings, to allow a sustainable rhythm of work that is less intense and full on ; calmer more constant, connected and complete
SPOKES COUNCIL CONCERNS: problematic- some points that appear as information that are decisions, and quite often that technical (digital) decisions are made that affect political relations/work more important work outside of the internet, there is nothing on what to do offline gender balance of spokespeople A group was uncomfortable with the spokescouncils structure in its prioritization of certain issues over other (communication tools over political orientation)
(F) WHAT IS A SPOKESCOUNCIL?
In large meetings, to enable co-operation and share information between lots of different groups we will use a process called a spokescouncil.
At a spokescouncil, each affinity group delegates a 'spoke' to act as a spokesperson to the meeting. The 'spokes' can be rotated or for the duration. Often, the spokes will form a circle with the rest of the affinity group sitting behind them to simultaneously feed back info from the affinity group to the larger meeting. The responsibilities of affinity groups are to delegate a 'spoke', and through this person to articulate clear proposals to the meeting at large. The meeting could additionally be broken up into smaller groups for the more important or specific decisions to be reached inside of the different affinity groups. Sometimes, a quick spokescouncil can be called consisting of the spokes, if it takes place while lots of other things are happening. The spokescouncil method can provide an example of a flexible and inclusive decision-making structure that can function on a lerger scale than the simple meeting.
Spokescouncil cannot impose codes of behaviour on the autonomous affinity groups or make decisions on behalf of those who are not present, and groups cannot try and stack out the meetings or impose their positions on those who have different ideas about tactics or aims.
This enhances co-operation between a multitude of groups - otherwise, meetings can degenerate into groups trying to make their positions prevail.
for more information www.consensus.net
Process in Belgrade
As an example, this is the way the spokes council had been organized during the last pga conference in Belgrade (it worked more or less the same way during dijon's conference except that it lasted during the whole day)
Regarding the discussions and decisions about the PGA network, we decided to find something else than a group of "specialist" meeting during the conference week, with a big decisionnal plenery at the end, as it happened in Leiden. (it was in many ways a quite interesting experience, but also, to many people's opinion, quite frustrating and not accurate to take decisions with 400 people).
Therefore 4 PGA process groups have met everyday during the conference. They divided themselves around four main issues.
- actions and campaigns
- relations wilth other political/actvist organisations and structures uch as NGO's, trade unions, social foras, political parties.
- PGA structure
- Global process These have produces a list of proposals to be decided upon by the whole conference in a plenary session through a spokes council. An extra group during the gender day and has produced a set of proposals relating to physical and/or psychological violence during the PGA events.
Process of the spokes council (Belgrade):
(To be facilitated by a rotating group, two spotters and two minutes takers at any one time).
- between 9 and 10 a.M, people will be asked to form affinity groups preferably between 10-20 people and decide upon a spokes person (which can rotate if they wish). An affinity group is a group of people that share common ideals and affinity.
- if people do not have an existing affinity group or prefer to work with people they do not already know, some attempt will be made to create a space for forming temporary groups for the purpose of the spokes council.
- the spokes -council will then be divided into five part of forty minutes dealing with each agenda item in turn. Discussion on each item will be suspended after this time so that consensus can be reached on the uncotroversial decisions from each agenda item. Controversial decisions will be given a chance to continue at the end if there is time left. (Remmeber we do not have to have consensus on everything, sometimes it's not possible).
- within each 40 minute Agenda item, each group will have 20 minutes to discuu the proposal amongst themselves. During this time, member of the working group that produced the proposals will be available for questions and clarifications if group ask.
- after this, spokesperson from each group will be asked first if their group has any alternative proposals/amendments, secondly if there is anything that they feel they need to block. (any block will require an explanation). Any issue that is not mentioned by any group will become PGA consensus. Thirdly they will be asked if they have any new consensus on the agenda item in question.
- Discussion will then only progress on the Blocks, amendments/alternative proposals and new proposals. The spokesperson will speak for their group that will be standing around them in order to interact with them at any time. This will continue until consensus is reached or the time runs out.
The time restrictions are due to visibility day and the need to clean the conference spaces before leaving. If more time is needed consensus must be reach to continue by the spoke's council. (sorry this is the best we could do under the conditions presented to us.).
We ended with a decentralised Collective clean up of the conference by affinity groups YEAH !!!!