Grassroots Gathering 5 - the birth of a movement


The Grassroots Gathering is a weekend series of meetings and social events which brings together anti-authoritarian left wing activists. This summer saw the fifth one in two years and with over 165 people registering for this one (27th-29th June, Dublin) we can finally say that there is a movement of libertarian activists, a movement that has rejected hierarchical ways of organising. The previous Gathering had happened in Limerick in the middle of the fight against the war and suffered as a consequence.

This time the Gathering was organised by an independent group in Dublin and was very successful. The idea of the Gathering is to create a space where activists who are opposed to neo-liberalism (or what most of us recognise as capitalism) can come together and meet, discuss ideas and suggest actions. The GNAW (grassroots network against the war) came from one of the previous Gatherings, and it established itself as one of the few groups prepared to use direct action to confront the refueling of US bombers in Shannon.

What is very noticeable about the Gatherings is the fact that there is a healthy respect for the differing views present. We are coming from different perspectives but it is not a talking shop. You know that the people who attend are intent on making a difference and are actively trying to do that. The non-hierarchical libertarian nature of this event really makes it a wonderful starting point for someone who is interested in finding out more about what they can do if they want to change this world and at the same time don't feel it's necessary to join a Party with an all-knowing leadership.

The Gathering got off to a flying start with a puppet show explaining the complex history of struggle in Argentina. Yes, quite a few were skeptical upon first hearing about it, but it turned out to be an excellent way of letting us know what's going on half way around the world. This was followed up by a question and answer session in which Argentinean activist, Graciela Monteagudo, said that solidarity was well and good but if you are fighting capitalism the best thing that we can do is build the movement at home.

To give a full detailed report on everything that happened would take too long but there were 6 plenary sessions, twenty workshops, a video room, social activities such as soccer and Indian head massage, and a gig on the Saturday night. This event is a social one as well as an educational one. Importantly, we also build for the future and there were many working groups set up to deal with the planned but now cancelled visit of our invisible rulers known as the World Economic Forum.

At the end of the weekend I walked out of this gathering knowing that we were beginning to build the movement here. We came out of this weekend stronger and will hopefully go on from here so that the growth of the Grassroots movement continues. The next GG goes West, Galway in the Autumn.

Dermot Sreenan

See also


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This edition is No76 published in August 2003

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