St-Imer International Gathering: Who's participating? Who's Going?

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syndicalist
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Nov 9 2011 04:14
St-Imer International Gathering: Who's participating? Who's Going?

HWSA is talking about this conference at the moment. It would be great and helpful if we could get a sense of the participating groups & countries. Will just be mainly anarkismo type groups? IFA? IWA? Red & Black Coordination? Everyone?

Additional off-list stuff can be sent to the WSA Corresponding Secretary: wsa.corresponding.secretary@gmail.com

Quote:
International gathering on anarchism
> 9-12 August 2012 St-Imier (Switzerland)
>
> To celebrate the 140th year of the Saint-Imier congress which founded the
> anti-authoritarian International, the French Anarchist Federation (member
> of the International of the Anachist Federations) and the Libertarian
> Federation of the Mountains (OSL) invite all groups, collectives,
> individuals who claim social anarchism to participate in the international
> gathering on anarchism in August 2012 in the village of St-Imier.
> More informations can be found on the website concerning the the content
> and spirit of these meetings www.anarchisme2012.ch
>
> Programme of the gathering :
> 1) The International gathering will be organized around three central
> moments :
> - An opening meeting on the Jura Federation which opened a century ago new
> fields for anarchism. What are the prospects now?
> - A Closing meeting on « the Revolution and Bakunin ». Perhaps a
> collective resolution.
> - A final banquet with songs, choirs.
> 2) In addition to the lectures and workshops, there will be three « round
> tables » :
> - The polical innovations of anarchism.
> - The anarchist organizations. Their projects and practices.
> - The new territories of anarchism.
> 3) Conferences / Workshops / discussions :
> Each group, association, individual can offer conferences, workshops.
> 4) Anarchist Bookfair :
> We would like as many publishers as possible from all countries to be
> present. We will request a participation to fund the International
> gathering.
> 5) Entertainment-concerts:
> In order to give a friendly and festive character to this gathering, a
> series of concerts are planned (5 per day).
> We also plan theater performances, revolutionary choirs, exhibitions,
> films, etc.
> 6) Food, lodging, camping:
> We expect nearly 3,000 people who will have to be fed and accommodated.
> For this, we will need a lot of people to help, equipment, etc. There will
> be gymnasiums where it will be possible to sleep. We plan to organize a
> libertarian campground.
> 7) Others:
> For the gathering to take place in the best possible conditions, other
> services will be organized: child care, stewards, medical team, etc.
> For all this, we will set up teams which it will be possible to join by
> filling out the volunteer file available on the website.
>
> To join the community of organizations.
> We wish to invite all international anarchist organizations that are part
> of the IFA (International of Anarchist Federations), Anarkismo network,
> coordination of red and black unions, IWA and other networks (Anarchist
> Black Cross , CIRA, Food Not Bombs, etc.).. We hope that all groups can
> work in harmony for the success of this event and provide opportunities
> for social anarchism.
> To cover the costs, we will ask membership to organizations that wish to
> invest in the organization of these meetings according to their means. Of
> course, this membership will only be requested from organizations that
> can afford the cost. We want every organization to be represented and
> participate in the various highlights of these meetings.
> Thank you to register in the organization of these meetings and make it a
> success.
>
> Relations internationales de la Fédération anarchiste
> relations-internationales@federation-anarchiste.org
nastyned
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Nov 9 2011 09:30

As far as I'm aware it's being organised by IFA. It will certainly include an IFA congress as part of the event.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Nov 14 2011 09:49

I'm going.

Anyone up for making sure there is a meeting on international supply chain organising?

It seems that an international event is the perfect opportunity to discuss the possibilities.

syndicalist
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Nov 14 2011 23:48

I gather that some of the Italian and French anarchist-communists will be meeting with some of the conference organizers soon. It would be good to get an anarcho-syndicalist aspect participating as well (and engaged in workshop formulation). Well, it would make it that much easier having both class struggle tendencies involved from our point of view....and will help with sending someone over there a bit easier to try and raise funds, etc.

I dunno, maybe I'm so out of it these days, but it might present a decent non-sectarian format for the presentation of class struggle anarchist and anarcho-syndiclaist perspective. Perhaps a bit of networking as well. Perhaps a bit naive thinking on my part. You know, the First International, the beginings of working class anarchism, things we seem to all have some historical ties too...but, hey, just my whacky thinking.

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sabot
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Nov 15 2011 00:10

Well if I happen to be in Switzerland around that time, I might end up going. I've been wanting to attend something like this for a while (even if everyone speaks french/italian or whatever).

nastyned
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Nov 15 2011 12:48
syndicalist wrote:
It would be good to get an anarcho-syndicalist aspect participating as well (and engaged in workshop formulation). Well, it would make it that much easier having both class struggle tendencies involved from our point of view....and will help with sending someone over there a bit easier to try and raise funds, etc.

There'll be plenty of people from the IFA federations that are involved in anarcho-syndicalist unions.

nastyned
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Nov 15 2011 12:49

Previous IFA congresses I've been to had simultaneous translation into English from French, Spanish and Italian.

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JHadfield
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Mar 31 2012 21:51

I think people are going to need and co-ordinate the travelling there from the UK groups, I wouldn't mind going with Solfed .... or AFED .... Libcom.org ....

What do we need to book for transport ....

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JHadfield
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Mar 31 2012 22:03

I think some of this may have been answered on another post .... Doesn't matter had a busy week.

syndicalist
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Jun 30 2012 19:48

Bump

syndicalist
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Jul 2 2012 14:25

In addition to anarchist-communists,IFAers, will there be any IWA-tyoe and anarcho-syndicalist comrades there? We'll be there. OK to PM me on this.

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georgestapleton
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Jul 2 2012 22:18

I'm going as are two or three other people from Ireland. I'm really looking forward to it. I think it'll be the best bit of my summer.

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ocelot
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Jul 3 2012 20:54

It'll be the fecking driest bit, at this rate. angry

syndicalist
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Aug 8 2012 04:52

It'd be great if anyone who's there and is wired can send in dispatches. And if you're there reading this email, send our best regards to the WSA comrade!

syndicalist
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Aug 10 2012 04:59

BUMP----

syndicalist wrote:
It'd be great if anyone who's there and is wired can send in dispatches. And if you're there reading this email, send our best regards to the WSA comrade!

syndicalist
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Aug 13 2012 15:13

Nothing? I guess no one was wired to the internet at the conference.

OK, signing off on this one. Be very interested in hearing reports at some point.

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arminius
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Aug 13 2012 16:55

It really is frustrating how little feedback we get on events afterward. It really would be a great help to all of us, to learn from whatever mistakes, or even (gasp!) successes folks have experienced. Instead, it all just disappears into the aether. Ffs people, if you put the announcement in, and you're at the event, tell us something about it after! If you're not there, obviously you have a good excuse, but someone should pick up the slack! And that's for ALL events, not just this one...
[Rant over.]

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 13 2012 16:58

The WSM were live tweeting it.

syndicalist
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Aug 13 2012 17:24

The WSM tweet says that the Anarkismo folks are drafting their own statement. The IFA also their own. OK, I guess I have an idea that two seperate statements mean two different "opinons"

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flaneur
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Aug 13 2012 18:04
Quote:
Workers Solidarity ‏@WSMIreland

Vegans now making statement about direct action against BBQ at social center - eating meat is violent blah blah blah

akai
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Aug 13 2012 21:14

Yes, I saw the separate statements. Guess they aren't translated yet. There were a few disturbing events around the conference which also caused the different groups to publish separately. I don't know if it's open info, but in any case, serious enough. Don't wanna get into though as I am sure they all would prefer to remember the positive things. In my opinion, the decision to make separate statements was one of the positive things of the event where several groups attempted in various strange ways to make unity statements. For example, a supposed "debate" on strategy anarchosyndicalist groups, instead of discussing anything at all, consisted of a round of autopresentation and then followed by a bizaare statement that it is good that we agree on a unity of action. I had to protest this as there had been absolutely no discussion and, besides that, people attended randomly, not as delegates with mandates of their organization, to a meeting which hadn't been scheduled and had not been proceeded by any discussion within organizations. (Perhaps some of the organizations present had these discussions on the local level, but certainly not the majority present.)

I'm hardly in a position to give any report though as mostly I was in closed or impromptu meetings and only attended one scheduled event.

In general, I am not a big fan of such events as I have no use for a synthetic anarchist movement dominated by people just hanging out. Much prefer working meetings; we have an urgent need to get organized. And I tried to spend my time that way. The anarchist carnival atmosphere was distracting and I sort of ignored much of it.

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Mr. Jolly
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Aug 13 2012 22:25

Big piss up?

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Juan Conatz
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Aug 13 2012 22:41

So this was pretty much just a big gathering of whatever anarcho-tendency wanted to go?

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klas batalo
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Aug 13 2012 22:44

Honestly I'd hold off on these presumptions. Barely anyone has posted yet. It seem there were lots of anarchists of many tendencies who also showed up along with the more organized groups. Personally I am waiting to see these statements by IFA, Anarkismo, etc and from delegates and comrades who went.

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Iskra
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Aug 13 2012 23:01

So,will Bakunin's spirit live again in new International or there are too much hippies?

syndicalist
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Aug 14 2012 01:03

I will err on the side of caution here to the extent that this was an open conference with all the usual trappings. Look forward to additional "tendency" reports as well.

I guess I was a bit more hopeful that there would be some, even, smalltime level of unity between the organized class struggle anarchists. I had no expectation for others.

Well, the mere fact that there are two statements continues to convince me of the WSA's need to maintain an indpendent internationalist stance....with room and ability to cooperate and coordinate with folks on an at need basis. And to develop individual inter-organizational relations with those who want to develop those organization-to-organization relations. But, hey, just my own opinion and should be read and taken as such.

akai
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Aug 14 2012 06:19

What you made of it depended on you. During this there were the meetings of the organized tendencies. I don't know what the Anarkismo people were doing, but I assume they were trying to make good use of their time. IFA had a working Congress, so they were going about their business. However my impression of it was that it was not helpful for the efficiency of the work to have a Congress there since many of the people who should have been attending were off at other events.

My comment was about the population of the gathering in general, and this was dominated by the non-organized types. Because I suppose the IFA had no more than 100 people, with half that usually in attendance and I don't imagine that Anarkismo was more. So this was a small fraction of the participants.

I think another part could be considered serious anarchists, but not the kinds that are busy building the wider organizations. These must have spent their times in lectures, the bookfair etc.

If anybody speaks Spanish, there is an account with impressions here: http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/node/21744. The writer is wrong about some things, and even writes that it was the first time in history that anarchists had a gathering. But you can get an impression from it.

Among that writers' criticisms were lack of translation at many events. I heard the same and, although I only attending one scheduled event and one event organized later, this was a disaster. There seemed to be no preparation at either to provide a translation, so the first question was if anybody could translate. Many people told that they tried to attend something but had to leave because they couldn't understand a thing.

The writer also criticizes some incidents with vegans and feminists, but given the fact that there was a sexual assault during the event and that there were groups of drunk and aggressive lifestyle anarchists behaving very badly at night and given elements of gender imbalance, there may have been reasons that feminists were disquieted. I did not observe any of those incidents or meetings with feminists, so I cannot say.

We also hear that the event cost about 100,000 euros to put on and that about 8000 francs too little was collected for food.

The writer mentioned the great success of certain lectures, which had even several hundred people.

However, I would comment on this. For example, the writer of that report notes that when we organize ourselves well, we can do great things and mentions a lecture with hundreds of people translated simultaneously into several languages. Only one hall was equipped with translation equipment. Then we hear that the topic of the lecture that hundreds of people attended was "Geography and Anarchy".

Back to my old post and my feelings about such events. Sorry, but we are facing a global attack against the working class. Meetings of the organized anarchists usually were 50 people, sometimes less. A meeting of all the syndicalist tendencies, representing tens of thousands of members (literally, if not more), was also like 50 people. And hundreds of people were listening to such things as lectures on geography and anarchy.

So I am of the opinion that most anarchists are disorganized, bogged down by petit bourgeois concerns, swamped in post-modernist, individualist and crap mish-mash of ideas, some viewing anarchism more as something related to history than the future. I personally am extremely alienated by this type of movement and this is why I said I spent my time trying to have more productive networking and organizing stuff for the future.

And, oh yeah, punk is dead.

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Serge Forward
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Aug 14 2012 09:10

I returned from St Imier yesterday.

It was many things, from the sublime to the ridiculous and Akai makes some good points. I'll add more detailed comments later in order to build up a suitable amount of tension on this thread grin

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Aug 14 2012 10:39

I can imagine how chaotic these events are, but I'm interested in IWA related discussions... where they useful? I've talked with anarcho-syndicalist comrade who was there and she had good impression (she said good stuff about CNT's (Spain) and FAU's presentations), but I'd also like to hear impressions from other people. Usually, these events are more of "festival style" (i.e. they are more about hanging out and making contacts then having serious discussions), but sometimes some interesting discussions can come up in small circles smile

akai
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Aug 14 2012 10:52

I shouldn't open this can of worms, but can't help debating with syndicalist. smile

Syndicalist, this is some degree of cooperation between different class struggle anarchists, as you call them. But, I think that it really is naive of an old man like you to think something new would appear at an event like this. What was already there, based in real experience, remained. But were there is some distance, how could one expect change if there was little debate or, simply where positions clash.

I, for example, would have been glad if there could have been some talk of more cooperation with certain organizations, but, in order for that to have happened, we would have had to receive some proposal outlining what this would look like. This would have had to go through the whole organization. On an international level, through the whole international we are part of. As an individual, I can only tentatively discuss more cooperation with groups we already agreed to cooperate with.

On the other hand, as an individual I can participate in debates. However there weren't really any in my area of interest. Only autopresentation or debates on secondary issues.

In terms of organized tendencies, I am affiliated in one. (IWA). It was approached in a very strange way, which was literally that other groups decided to organize the event and listed it as one of the tendencies it was open to. In my opinion, the correct way to invite participation is rather to contact the organization with a more concrete proposal to participate, before publishing anything, giving it a chance to ask questions and vote on it. In our case, there was no decision to participate, although individual members of some sections attended. Some were delegated, some not. So, in the latter case, even though as individuals they could go and speak at events, it was not like they were representing any decisions of their organizations.

If organized tendencies want to cooperate with each other, then I really think a better way to approach it is to make some proposal about the cooperation, having time for debate, questions and positions. If there is then a meeting, it should be focused on that and the people attending should be representing the clear positions of their organizations. Going to some tiny workshop during chaos days will not make much progress in this area.

Finally, there is the issue of the sticky issues which create dissent and which in essence made it clear there would be no final common statement of some organizations. In particular, a sticky issue is the relation with the state. (As some of you may know, in my country we have people related to the movement who even run in elections. During my stay in St. Imier I got information again that members of the Anarchist Federation declared they would like to run in elections.)

An issue which was not told to many participants in the event revolved around the relation of one guy to the state, in particular to the police state. Because, among his various objectionable positions, as close as 5 years ago he was employed as a deputy to the head of police. There was perhaps a discrete meeting about this (although some people already put stuff on the internet). And, in a situation where many anarchists are quite uncomfortable with the pro-statist and reformist practices of some of the others, to sit and listen to people bagatelize this matter proved to be too much for some. As a matter of fact, a couple of people I spoke to, who before this did not have any hard negative judgments about certain tendencies, developed a few when faced with this situation and the fact that such people can play an important role in certain organizations.

Given those additional circumstances, I'd say that the people who expressed disgust really saved the honor of the anarchist movement.

Furthermore, I'd say that if people had left this meeting with a stance to be "all-united" and not to pay attention to "minor differences", like working for the state repressive apparatus, being financially dependant on the state or state corporate schemes, etc., etc., then we would have had two historic meetings in St. Imier: the first one where anarchists stood up for principles and thus split from more authoritarian tendencies, and a second one where anarchists could have resigned from principles and united with more authoritarian tendencies.

Glad that the second didn't really happen.

But yeah, I would have liked to have had more opportunity to work on common areas with those anarchists who aren't so shady.

akai
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Aug 14 2012 11:03

To Kontr:

Yes, your comrade is right. In what was supposed to be a debate about syndicalist strategy, which had NO DEBATE, just some autopresentation or some ideological speeches, only the comrades from CNT and FAU (in my opinion) contributed anything concrete. Just some small bits, since the autopresentations were short. I didn't even try since I was suspicious about the event where none of the vertical or alternative syndicalists said anything at all about strategy, so it was clear for me they were not there to debate. In such a context, I had no reason to tell them too much.

Although the IWA was not a participant in the event, we met informally with comrades and tried to do as much positive networking, planning and talking as we could under the circumstances (ie, most of us were there just as individuals). I personally think the discussions in small circles were quite good and quite concrete, but, as you might understand, I can't really give a public account. If your friends want to tell you about them privately, I am certainly not against.

Anyway, it is good to know that the comrades found it interesting and I will tell the people who spoke about it. I am sure they will be happy that they were not just talking to the air.