East Anglian Social Forum - Report From

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rich
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May 10 2004 11:36
East Anglian Social Forum - Report From

East Anglian Social Forum:

Report Back from the "Ideas, Education & Goals" Workshop

This was quite a wide ranging talk - it was a talk about ideas, practicalities, all kinds of things really, and so it is quite hard to pull it all together.

The goal of the ESF and all the groups within it was a better world.

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*** Areas of Discussion in Workshop ***

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** Education **

* Important General Points

- We need to set our own agenda, (rather than being reactive)

- It's important that we do something... rather than just talk about it!

*Our Children

- http://www.geocities.com/iantisdale2000/ is a summary of Ian's (an ex-headmaster) ideas for education

- There is a very real difference between "education" and "schooling".

- The education system as it stands is there to produce model citizens from the point of view of employers (capital), rather than self-reliant critical thinkers.

- Schools are prisons for children

- There is a necessity for some level of compulsory education, but that is very minimal, and if education was more voluntaristic, it would encourage participation rather than now where not-participating is more fun.

- We need to change the role of the adult in education, more to the role of a facilitator than a master

- There are inadvertant spaces in the education system that are still valuable (for example university with its relative freedom to explore the libraries and learn for yourself rather than forced attendance of things you're not interested in).

- We need to re-establish communities - many people don't know their neighbours...

*Ourselves

- We need to learn from each other to be more effective in our goal of changing society for the better

- The most used sources of information at present are the media, which is hideously biased - what can we do about it? (see below)

*Outreach

- Surprising how little people know about world affairs i.e. US backing of Saddamm

- People don't seem to see beyond the confines of society as it is (we need to convince them that another world is possible!)

- There is no such thing as unbiased information, though there are certain things that are facts (though there is bias in which ones you present)

Presentation/Tactics

- We neet to pitch our outreach at ordinary people, rather than people who are already politicised

- We discussed loaded language (e.g. freedom fighter/terrorist), points were made that this alienates, instantly those who believe one or the other, however plain language is more involving - it lets people make up their own mind

- We can pose questions, use discussion documents - which is more likely to get people thinking than a proposal (though proposals are also important)

- We need to be quick and to the point e.g. use bullet points

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** Ideas **

- We need to challenge the existing ideas that underpin the current disorder, for example the idea of private property

- Also we need to be creative in our ideas for them to be inclusive - for example a traditional anarchist approach of "No Gods No Masters" is alienating to the vast majority of people worldwide who worship Gods. For example the use of the idea that "we are all one" which is a fairly universal spiritual insight. (Which has its atheistic parallel in humanism).

- Children's representation

- Education is the questioning of assumptions

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** What We're Going To Do **

- Media Ideas

-Subverts, for example leaflets that we slip inside rightwing press that explain the misinformation

-Promoting our own media, SchNews, Indymedia et al.

-Videos being great (cheap, get good speakers!)

- The Eastern Social Forum Education tour

(possibly called "Education, Society & The Future"?)

The idea is that it is a tour of East Anglia where we hold discussions on Education

- To fill a gap - genuine uncensored public debate/to "create a space"

- To promote the EASF, ESF & WSF

- So we are presenting a program (or a direction) of how we want to change the world, we are not just anti-

- Education is directly relevant to everyone

- We will try and get guest speaker(s) (to help get people involved and interested), but in a different format to the usual: a) Guest Speaker Talks b) Questions c) Guest replies. We see this as not really representing a debate. We didn't come up with a concrete formulation. However perhaps if the guest gives some kind of introduction to the issues under discussion, then participates as an equal in debate - we didn't have much time left to discuss this.

* This is still to be organised *

I think this covers most of it - don't hesitate to make any additions.

Rich (Norwich Anarchists)