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Cork Grassroots Gathering report

category national | anti-capitalism | news report author Sunday November 16, 2008 20:08author by Andrew - WSM (personal capacity) Report this post to the editors

What was probably the 12th Grassroots Gathering took place in Cork this weekend with sessions covering everything from the crisis of capitalism and our response to Energy & food politics. through to Islam and feminism.

I just attended on the Saturday when at least 80 people were present. This is the Second Grassroots Gathering of 2008 following the long break after the Gathering in Rossport in 2005.

After the meetings on Saturday there was a meal and then a excellent cabaret and then an afters party that ended around 5am. Audio recording of one of the meetings and part of the cabaret to follow.





author by Andrewpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 09:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This audio is the opening contributions (Andrew Flood & James McBarron from the The Moment that We are In ' kicking capitalism while its down discussion. It's about 25 minutes in length. I'd my mic set to the wrong sensitivity so it didn't pick up the rest with enough clarity to use.

Kicking capitalism when its down
audio Kicking capitalism when its down 12.14 Mb

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This audio is from the Chaos Cabaret on Saturday night when various people got up to do their piece. I missed some and not all worked in terms of recording (eg the mime based a round having an enormous lump of modelling clay on your head, see image). But here are some songs, instrumentals and even poetry to give you a sense of things. Someone local might be able to identify the different performers, I didn't want to post an incomplete list based on the ones I recognised.

Chaos Cabaret at the Cork Grassroots Gathering
audio Chaos Cabaret at the Cork Grassroots Gathering 18.36 Mb

author by Independent Socialistpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I listened to the audio on kicking capitalism when it is down with interest. Financial capitalism is tearing at the seems. I think we can agree on that. However, I have one genuine question:

How do you propose to take advantage of this period of weakness without utilising the state?

Are political projects such as introducing publicly controlled credit insitutions, universal health coverage, complete public funding of education, adequate social housing, universal social wage, meaningful job creation, increased taxation on wealth irrelevant to anarchist strategy? If so, how do you represent or propose to represent the interests of the working class. None of these things can be introduced without utlising the state. Whats wrong with using power for the working class? Power will be taken by somebody, so is it defeatist to avoid the state as a tool for political change?

Now, if you tell me that such short term gain is not a preference in anarchist strategy, and that you are happy to wait another 100-200 years to make any systemic difference without the state then the question is answered already. It is bizzare but it makes logical sense for me then.

However, I sense from the audio, and from discussions I have had with anarchists that you do want to take advantage of this down turn now which begs the question:


author by Andrewpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you look at 'other articles from the same author' you'll see we don't quite to see the 'contradiction' in demanding better healthcare or defending free access to education that you seem to think we should. Most on the left don't have a problem demanding a wage rise without feeling that the best strategy for doing so is to become a factory owner, anarchists have a similar approach to placing demands on the state.

Actually there is a debate about just how this should be done over on Anarchist Black Cat - as you'll see there is some pretty strong disagreements on aspects of this (although some of those who disagree the most with putting particular demands on the state are actually Marxists). The related link below will take you to that

Related Link: http://www.anarchistblackcat.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1989
author by Carl - Cork WSMpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 22:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Grassroots gathering Cork
GG 08.
Well done to all involved with putting together the Cork GG 2008






author by Carl - Cork WSMpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

more pics






author by Ronpublication date Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great report and great photos.

But a fair question was asked and it was not answered.

Anarchists are poor at engaging with this question, which is often put. Instead of answers, we get terse responses delivered in a huffy manner.

I am none the wiser about how you change all the these things without using state power. There may be a way-lets hear it.

author by Andrewpublication date Tue Nov 18, 2008 14:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I did reply but maybe I wasn't obvious enough.

It all comes down to what you mean by 'use state power'. From the context the original questioner appeared to suggest this meant you should take state power (through election or revolution). So I pointed out that seeing as we don't apply this logic to wage demands why would we apply it to healthcare or education. In other words just as in a struggle over wages we put demands on the source of the problem rather than seeking to become the problem.

author by Scullypublication date Tue Nov 18, 2008 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey I had a great weekend, thanks to all for the hard work. Can we get Diarmuid the poet to come to Dublin? He was amazing.

Fair play to all in cork. Good to yis again.

author by Ray - gg08corcaigh (pers cap)publication date Thu Nov 20, 2008 23:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All of us involved in the organising of last weekend's event will be getting together soon over beverages and sticky buns etc. to reflect on all that happened at gg08corcaigh - the very good indeed, the merely good and the little bit of bad. We just about covered our organising expenses, and everyone got home hale, happy, sweating and energised (I hope!). We're going to have a good natter and review, and then we'll write the report/review of gg08corcaigh it deserves. In the aftermath of such a successful gathering, I feel that it would be very useful to have a record or report of the event from its inside, both the event itself and the organising effort that went into it; this could be very useful for new groups putting together future Grassroots Gatherings, for both inspiration and guidance.

I must express my gratitude to all my fellow-organisers for this gg08corcaigh for a job excellently done, to all workshop speakers/facilitators for making their topics interesting and accessible, to all performers at a most enjoyable cabaret eclectique, to the kids for being their beautiful selves, and to all who attended gg08corcaigh and made it all come alive with their infectious energy and enthusiasm. We'll see you all back here in a year or two at another Grassroots Gathering maybe?

We were flahed tired after it all for a few days, but the memories from the whole weekend will remain to enchant us long after the tiredness goes. there's a lot of life in the Grassroots Gathering yet!!

Fri. night get-together
Fri. night get-together

Kids zone. Kids rock!
Kids zone. Kids rock!

Gathering  - Sat. afternoon
Gathering - Sat. afternoon

Cabaret - visiting poets
Cabaret - visiting poets

Cabaret - clay-headed man
Cabaret - clay-headed man

author by Ray - gg08corcaigh (pers cap)publication date Thu Nov 20, 2008 23:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Magic weekend - the response blew me away. let's make that magic transform the world!

Cabaret - Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh declaiming
Cabaret - Diarmuid Ó Dálaigh declaiming

Cabaret - gg08corcaigh participant sings and plays
Cabaret - gg08corcaigh participant sings and plays

Gathering, Sun. - sharing stories 1
Gathering, Sun. - sharing stories 1

Gathering, Sun. - sharing stories 2
Gathering, Sun. - sharing stories 2

gg08corcaigh legacy - urban garden on leeside courtesy of gg guerilla gardeners. Magic!
gg08corcaigh legacy - urban garden on leeside courtesy of gg guerilla gardeners. Magic!

author by simonpublication date Fri Dec 12, 2008 20:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First Andrew - I don't define class in terms of wage alone. While I consider class in terms of education, wealth and lifestyle it remains rooted in material condition - the base determines the superstructure not the other way around (sorry weber). I think class can be measured by degrees of social power ie the level of control one has over ones own life condition - or indeed over the lives of others. Naturally social power is relative to the specific society so although a supermarket floor worker in Ireland may get paid more than a manager in Somalia, the manager occupies a higher social station relative to his own society.

Status is key - Capitalism requires that people define themselves according to their degree of power in order to preserve the economic base. Commodities take on a new dimension apart from function or ‘’use value‘’, they become material manifestations of the social hierarchy. Acquisition of (specific) goods and services become the main drive in that people (define) themselves in relation to there position - ever aspiring towards power by accumulation of (social capital). Commodity fetishism ect are protected by the countervailing idealogical hegemony.

Andrew the ruling elite have a reasonable understanding of class dynamics. Social mobility and wage protections are tools used to reduce class antagonisms. Preservation of the middle class by way of controlled concessions ensure the unification of labor/socialism remains beyond reach. Social democratic policy ensures the survival of capitalism and is ''in reality'' the most right wing approach going.

Again I ask you - why would the upper or middle class participate in the dismantlement of the hierarchy that they define themselves with ?

Sorry for putting this in the wrong place - is there somewhere we can continue on here ? BTW - Im an anarchist Im just skeptical of the WSM - they seem a little reformist or something, spending disproportionate amounts of time on single issue camps - symptoms rather than the cause. Then again Im not completely aware of your work - its just what iv seen and heard personally so I could be wrong (hopefully i am).

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