Community struggles - campaign strategies - developing networks
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. The full principles and more about the Gatherings at http://grassroots.pageabode.com
If this sounds interesting, please get involved and help us make it happen! We're going to need practical help on the weekend (food, childcare, beds etc.); workshops; one-off things like poster design and fundraising help; and you might just want to be kept up-to-date. For any of these please email firstname.lastname@example.org (facebook coming)