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In Greece, as the state collapses, the neighborhoods organize – An interview with a member of the Athenian assembly movement

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Libcom.org has translated (in December 2014) an interview with a participant the Greek assembly movement first published in 2013, providing details concerning the methods employed by the movement and the obstacles that it has encountered since its rise in 2008. (Here is the original in Spanish, published in the Spanish journal, Argelaga, No. 5, Fall 2014). Originally has been published in French, under the title, “L’etat s’effondre, les quartiers s’organisent”. Retour sur le mouvement des assemblées de quartier. La revue Z, No. 7, 2013. Dossier Grèce: Thessalonique dans la dépression européenne. Bricolages quotidiens et résistances insolvables.

In Greece, as the State Collapses, the Neighborhoods Organize – An Interview with a Member of the Assembly Movement

[Introductory note added by the editors of Argelaga: An interview conducted for issue no. 7 [2013] of the French journal, Z, which perfectly illustrates the process of autonomous organization of the population in the face of the decomposition and collapse of the State apparatus. The example is valid for any other European country; the difference is only one of degree. Let us recapitulate some of the difficulties that stand in the way of autonomy: the inertia of a life subject to the commodity, the habit of appealing to the State for help, egoism, the rise of fascism, police repression, weariness in the face of constant sacrifices, etc. A life of freedom is not an easy road, but a life of slavery is not easy, either.]

Where did the neighborhood assembly movement originate?

I must point out that the movement is quite varied, that it has passed through various stages and for that reason it can be described in a thousand different ways. The idea of neighborhood assemblies spread massively after December 2008. The death of Alexis and the weeks of revolt, confrontations and occupations that followed, as well as the acid attack on the transit worker, Konstantina Kuneva, were the events that really shook society. The broad characteristics of that revolt are, on the one hand, the absence of any demands or petitions for reforms and, on the other hand, the aspect of decentralization in all the neighborhoods of Athens and, immediately thereafter, in the whole country. After December 2008, the dynamic of the actions and confrontations in the city centers reached its limit and then shifted to the neighborhoods. With the assemblies, the idea at first consisted in obtaining places for meetings, without having anything particular in mind, except the will to engage in collective inquiry. It was a way to prolong the relations that had been created during the revolt. Many of the assemblies were formed at that time, but only four of them continued to function continuously. The others reappeared when the social movement broke out again, as is taking place today or as happened in 2011, when there were approximately forty assemblies in Athens.

Can you tell us about the assembly in your neighborhood?

The assembly of Vyronas, Kaisariani, Pangrati (VKP) was formed in neighborhoods that have a long history of popular revolt: one of them was the old red neighborhood during the Resistance, the neighborhood that the Nazis were never able to conquer. This tradition was interrupted with the passage of the years as a result of the bourgeoisification of the population, but also because the State built a barracks there for armed police. Today these three neighborhoods have a heterogeneous population, but in general they are rather well-off districts. There were assemblies in VKP before 2008, created amidst struggles over public space. The first one was formed to oppose the project to construct a theater in the middle of a park. Besides the paving and cement this implied—Athens is one of the cities in Europe with the fewest green spaces—the inhabitants knew that the theater would be rented to private companies that would raise the price of tickets through the roof. Thanks to this mobilization, the project was cancelled and the assembly continued to exist, and even still exists today, organizing activities for children, basketball tournaments and a free café in the park on the first Sunday of each month. It is also very active in participating in the life of the neighborhood, distributing militant propaganda in the schools, organizing open festivals with the immigrants and also engaging in solidarity actions with people who were arrested in the demonstrations during the general strikes. And there was another struggle that attracted a lot of people: the opposition to the tunnel and highway overpass project that was slated to destroy part of the Hymettus mountain, one of the last green spaces in the city, located to the east of the city center. There were many demonstrations in the vicinity of the mountain, blockades of the highway bypasses, and actions at the toll booths, which caused the project to be abandoned. In VKP the people had these experiences as a starting point. Later, during the revolts of December 2008, they occupied a municipal youth center for a few days and rapidly convoked the assembly. After the weekly assemblies in the three neighborhoods, the people decided to rent a place to meet. At this time about thirty persons participate in the assemblies, a figure that has remained more or less stable to this day.

What kind of actions are you organizing?

We are involved in two types of action: on the one hand, we are defending ourselves against the attacks of the system and, on the other hand, we are elaborating projects and ways of life that seem desirable to us. For example, in 2010 there was an initial attempt to coordinate with other assemblies and libertarian collectives that participated in the struggles in their neighborhoods against the fare increases in public transport. We arranged for each assembly to simultaneously organize demonstrations in the subway and bus stations. Pamphlets were distributed, the ticket machines were vandalized, and we proposed self-reductions in order to question the discourse of the authorities, which consisted in saying that public transport was just another commodity that had to be profitable. We made an attempt to link up with the workers in public transport, but this was difficult. The people from Golden Dawn—the Greek neo-Nazi party—have a lot of influence among the bus drivers trade union. Later, we participated in all the general strikes since 2010, which were severely repressed. During the course of one of these strikes, the pigs attacked the march of the neighborhood assemblies, sending one person to the hospital in a coma, who almost died, and others were seriously injured. These experiences brought us together and strengthened our determination. We blockaded the supermarkets and shopping centers of the neighborhood in order to turn the strike into a real strike, so that no one would be able to consume. We also attempted to encircle the Greek Parliament when the deputies were voting on the second round of austerity measures. The neighborhood assemblies played an important role in this demonstration. We also tried to maintain a permanent presence in the neighborhood, organizing demonstrations and a collective kitchen and cultivating an occupied garden for the purpose of attaining food self-sufficiency. We also hold a barter market once a month in different squares. We also have a meeting hall with a library that is open to the neighborhood, in which we organize various activities, debates and talks.

All these actions are undertaken for the purpose of breaking with the individualism and the pessimism that have seized Greece with the onset of the crisis, to fight against the social cannibalism that the State is indirectly promoting as a solution to the crisis. By way of these practices, we are attempting to encourage the development of relations based on equality and solidarity. The neighborhood is a very fertile space for this, all the more so insofar as in Athens the city districts are still socially quite mixed, which allows us to establish unexpected relations.

How do you propose to deal with the problem of food?

We had to deal with this problem ever since we opened the collective kitchens. We made contact with the other assemblies that had similar problems and, during that time, a large area in an adjacent neighborhood was occupied: a villa with cultivable land. We decided to convoke a new assembly entirely dedicated to this question. This same assembly is now responsible for cultivating the land for the purpose of supplying the collective kitchens of the four neighborhoods that are cooperating on this project. We are still a long way from being self-sufficient with regard to food, but it is a first step. Having said this, the garden is being threatened with eviction. Expulsions from the occupied spaces, such as, for example, at Villa Amalias and Skaramagas, have multiplied in Athens since the beginning of 2013.

We have heard a lot about the polarization of Greek society. Have you noticed this in your assembly?

Certain people have spoken at the assembly to express their view that there are too many immigrants in the neighborhoods and that something must be done about this. This is a risk we have to take when participating in open movements. Sometimes there are even outbursts of sexism during actions. The only way to fight against this is by talking to people. Usually, they understand, and if not, they go away. Once, however, at a neighborhood assembly convened to oppose the construction of cell phone towers, two fascists showed up without saying that they belonged to Golden Dawn. But we knew about them because in a small neighborhood everyone knows everything. The only thing we could do was to tell them that they were not welcome.

Do you have a lot of run-ins with Golden Dawn?

Since they obtained seats in Parliament, and thanks to the support they have received as a result, Golden Dawn has opened offices throughout Greece. Whenever they open a new office, protests and demonstrations are held that often result in confrontations with the police. Without police protection, the fascists would not be able to maintain a presence in the neighborhoods. Fortunately, at least for now, they only have two really active neighborhood committees in Athens. In some working class neighborhoods such as those in western Athens, near the Piraeus, they have a certain amount of influence. In those districts, however, the neighborhood assemblies openly confront them. In our neighborhood there is neither a fascist presence nor any immigrant hunting, but this is due, in part, to our presence and constant vigilance. In my opinion, the antifascist struggle consists more in building our own structures and the kind of world we want—which is basically antifascist in essence—than in denouncing them with speeches.

You mentioned the first wave of assemblies after December 2008. What other initiatives for common action have taken place in the neighborhoods?

In May 2011, following in the footsteps of the movement of the indignados and the occupation of Syntagma Square, there was a second wave of assemblies in Athens. In our neighborhood, militants from one part of the radical left called for the creation of another assembly in which we also participated. Soon, however, major differences arose among us. If you want to create a space for dialogue with people who act in a paternalistic and condescending way, like leaders, you will necessarily have conflicts. During this period the assemblies were inundated with demands such as a proposal to nationalize the Bank of Greece. People who wanted an open debate soon lost interest and this second wave did not last very long. The assemblies controlled by the leftists could not, or did not want to, propose concrete demands concerning health, education or food security. In short, they did not try to promote another way of life, beyond the capitalist system which is collapsing all around us. Do we need to nationalize the Bank? This is not the correct question, in my view. A third wave of assemblies took place when the State implemented a special extra tax on everyone’s electricity bills: “those who do not pay the tax, will have their electricity cut off”. The tax and the attempts to fight against it have accentuated the differences between the assemblies. Some of them were composed of people who were concerned about having their electricity cut off and simply asked the more politically active participants to solve the problem for them. Some accepted this role, although this implied the abandonment of horizontal organization in favor of the logic of delegation.

Our assembly also issued an appeal to organize around the issue of these special taxes. It is very dynamic and is actually quite radical: our neighborhoods do not have to undergo electricity cut-offs, whether because of non-payment of the tax or for any other reason. For us, electricity is a vital good.

The assembly went to the tax offices and forced the company that was contracted to implement the electricity cut-offs to leave the neighborhood. Later, we went to the local headquarters of the electricity company to cut off its electricity. Today, we have established neighborhood patrols to prevent the technicians from the electric company from cutting off our electricity. At the present time, along with the antifascist struggle, this is the main fight that the assemblies are waging.

Can you tell us about the movements that have influenced you?

The assembly movement owes a great deal to what took place in Argentina. Although there is no direct connection, the influence is real. During the first general strikes, we were inspired by the Argentinian experience, and later also by the Tunisian and Egyptian events. Another important influence was the self-reduction movements in Italy during the seventies: groups organized to not pay rents, electric bills or transport fares. In our assembly, particularly, many people were inspired by the Zapatista struggle in Mexico and its quest for autonomy. We participate in solidarity actions with these struggles in our neighborhood.

One factor that all these different sources of inspiration have in common, which is present in the assemblies, is the will to organize horizontally, without political parties: although there are party militants in the assemblies, they only participate in the assemblies as individuals, without labels. The political foundations of the assemblies are autonomy and the will to create structures outside capitalism, based on sharing and solidarity. In our assembly, there are basic positions that have been arrived at after long discussions. We are always seeking a consensus in order to find a way to move forward together.

In Greece, there is much less belief in institutions, in the idea of the social contract and representation, than in France. It is fertile ground both for anti-authoritarian ideas as well as for hyper-authoritarian ideas. Here, it is much easier than it is in France to associate on common bases with people from diverse political backgrounds. On the other hand, however, the danger of becoming a closed group also exists: finding a way to keep the assemblies open to recent arrivals is a never-ending task.

What is your overall assessment of the four years of existence of your assembly? And what is your assessment of the neighborhood assemblies, generally speaking?

It’s hard to say. After the revolt of 2008-2009 we were continuously trying to keep abreast of what was happening. What the neighborhood assemblies have once again contributed, as a possibility, was precisely not to restrict our demands to things that were taken away from us and instead to move towards the world we want to create. But the obstacles are numerous and the repression suffered by the political militants, the rise of Golden Dawn, the explosion of unemployment and the constant violence against immigrants prevent us from devoting ourselves to a program as if nothing else was happening.

One of the weak points of the movement is the fact that the moments of resurgence have never obtained any concrete results. The general assembly of the neighborhood assemblies was one of those moments. In November 2011 all the existing assemblies convened in one assembly: forty in Athens, with four hundred representatives and a good dynamic. But it quickly ran out of steam. It obtained no concrete victories and this was a source of discouragement, creating a feeling of defeat that is very acute at the present time. This feeling is also in part caused by the fact that the neighborhood assemblies do not appear to be viable solutions for the organization of everyday life.

The will to create structures based on self-organization and autonomy poses numerous questions: how can they be built while simultaneously going beyond the logic of charity and philanthropy? How can we create our own autonomy in an environment in which everything has been stolen, where we cannot produce anything for ourselves, especially in the urban setting? What do we have to do to get people to really participate? When we organize collective kitchens or barter markets, we have to constantly explain that they are not ordinary distribution services. I do not think there is a really convincing answer to these problems, we have to be patient. The way I see it, in the very large assemblies people are inclined to delegate tasks to others and to accept the representation of a small group, whereas when there are more personal relations and more contacts, there is correspondingly greater equality in participation. It is a question of relations. There are not many people who think that we can live without anyone’s help, without a basis of consensus and dialogue, and that we can reclaim our lives on an individual basis.

I get the impression, however, that, as the State and the economic system decline and fall, more “grey zones” will arise and other modes of organization and relations will become possible. The role of the assemblies will be crucial in this. Not only do we have to keep the home fires burning, but we also have to make the fire last longer. New structures appear in Greece with each passing month. From this perspective, the movement is on the right path.

2013

 

#Greece: coverage of the September 26 General Strike

Huge protests occurred yesterday in Athens, flooding the streets of the city with rage and anger. Around 100.000 marched against austerity cuts, and their deprivation of democratic rights, by the EU-backed regime.

At 10:30pm people started converging at the Archeological Museum. Meanwhile, in Gardenia Square of Zografou district in Athens around 50 strikers gathered in order to proceed to the central gathering point at the Museum. The police denied their access and without reason attacked them and detained more than 25 people.

Around 1pm the main march started, towards Patision Ave and Zografou, Dafni and Pagrati districts. A lot of demonstrators were marching behind the banner of the municipality workers’ union. A triple police cordon secured the entrances of luxurious hotels in Syntagma and the Parliament building. Along Patision and Akadimias streets there was huge police presence. A water cannon appeared for the first time, parked next to the parliament in Syntagma.

At 1:30pm the first tension in front of the metal fence in the House of Parliament appeared, as protesters tried to bring down the metal fences. Police responded with large amounts of  tear gas bombs which were thrown amid demonstrators in Syntagama. The crowds attempted to disperse the armed forces, using Molotov cocktails and stones.

At around 3pm mass use of chemicals by the police on Ermou street was reported, while in Athens’ central park several trees caught fire due to the excessive amount of tear gas used by the police, which resulted to ignition.

Mass police offensive on Amalias street while the march continues, and all streets of central Athens were occupied by strikers. Brutal police beatings and arrests took place, a few minutes later, in front of the parliament as the police was pushing against demonstrators away from the parliament.

Meanwhile, the neighbourhood assemblies called for a new gathering at the University Refectory in order to march anew towards the police headquarters in solidarity to the twenty demonstrators who had been detained. Later on, the popular assemblies’ blocks were chased down to Omonoia square by DELTA motorcycle security forces who, also, invaded the entrance of the subway metro station and threw stun grenades inside.

At around 4pm clashes between the police forces and angry protesters took place in the Exarcheia district, which lasted for approximately 30 minutes. The crowds were dispersed and for about 2 hours Athens’ main streets were almost occupied by huge police forces.

Minutes for the People’s Assembly in Gillet Square 22th August 2011

An assembly of 35-45 people took place yesterday, 22 August, 3.30pm – 5.30pm in Gillet square Tottenham consisting of the Spanish 15M group, British, Greek and other activists of diverse nationalities. The issues discussed were as follows:

Overview of the general situation:
-In Spain general elections took place but the results do not mean anything. The politicians don’t listen to the people. They only do what is good for big business. We are trying to find solutions together. Everything started when a group of Spaniards set up assemblies outside the Spanish Embassy in London. Everyday, everyone had the chance to speak about ideas, communities.
-The Olympic games will not create any job at all. Nobody listens to us
-The whole problem is the system. From here to America and all over the world. Money is destructive. We need to believe that we change the system.
-There are deeper reasons that caused the riots. Protests are taking place everywhere. We have to go to different areas and talk to the people. Got involved also in anti-cuts campaign.
– We should start getting focused on the anti-cuts campaign and provide ideas about how to change the whole system.
-There is extreme alienation in this community. The political system is corrupt. Police and media have been involved in massive scandals. If there is one thing that united people, this was the hatred against media and police. They call it violence but Britain has created wars.
-We can stop the cuts. Cuts have strong relationship with these riots. I live in an area where many people have been affected by the cuts. We must be focused on what we can do to change this situation.
-We have to fight capitalism but we have to create situations.
-The problem is not just economic. It is political. Capitalism sets as and its imaginary (accumulation of wealth, the extreme adherence to production and unlimited growth) has created such terrible problems. We need a system that promotes other values, most of all, political participation and egalitarianism.
-What we see nowadays is the criminalisation of poverty and an attempt to scapegoat populations. Violence is not useful and of course doesn’t achieve anything. The problem is not only capitalism but this particular capitalism. I call it existential capitalism but I believe that there is no perfect system. There is no absolute solution, no blue print. That’s why we have to sit down and discuss. Neoliberalism has created this massive alienation, this is a proof of its failure…
-The problem is both political and economical. The austerity package has been imposed by the politicians that promote their neoliberal plan.

Discussions regarding how can we organise assemblies:
– We need to speak with other people, handout leaflets, spread information, use a strategic such like a normal event
There was a debate about the issue whether we should move from place to place or stay in the same area, integrate with the community and later on expand it.
-We should get in contact with local communities, with different ethnic communities. But for the moment it is a good idea to carry out here.
-We have to stay in a place because the problem is not only how to understand capitalism but to understand also the local problems and their relation with capitalism. We need to speak more about how to find ways to act (peacefully). We need to invite more people.
-We should imitate Athens. We spend too much time in theoretical analysis which is good, but we need more action.
-We need to organise a campaign via poetry, art and images. Explain the people what is the benefit of the assemblies. We need to go to council estates areas also.
-We need structure. We must go to different events and talk to people. Musicians can spread the word.

Proposals:
1) Meet here for at least 2 weeks (voted yes)
2) Getting involved in council estates and talk with the residents.
-Possible solutions and not just discussions
-We need a calendar so people would know that every Sunday we will have an assembly.
-Use social networks. Prepare a specific manifesto. The Real Democracy manifesto was simple and easy to understand. That’s why they succeed…

There was some more discussion regarding the manifesto:
-It should be focused on how it could rise awareness and direct peaceful action
-We need some anti-globalisation from a humanistic perspective
-We need to say that we don’t have the absolute solutions to the problems but we need to sit down and discuss about that.
-Everyone should be included in this assemblies
-Corporations and banks have to work for their own. People’s assemblies need to set up their own institutions.
-The problem is not the economy but the institutions of the society.

Minutes for the People’s Assembly in Trafalgar Square 24th July 2011

An assembly of 25-30 people took place yesterday, 24th July, 6.30pm – 8.30pm in Trafalgar square, London consisting of Spanish 15M group, British activists and others of diverse nationalities.

Reports from Spain, UK and Europe:

In Spain – assemblies being held every week in Madrid and at least twice/month in smaller towns and villages. Indignados just marched to Madrid from routes all over Spain arriving on 23rd July. Plaza del Sol has once again been occupied. Good atmosphere – groups from different routes told their experiences. The struggle continues. Successes in stopping housing evictions (although not successful everywhere.)

An assembly from a village in the Basque country has gained executive powers as the local mayor is accepting its decisions. Success in chasing off police racist stop and search raids in Madrid. However police repression is increasing especially in Barcelona.

UK – Last week a solidarity letter to Syntagma Sq Assembly Greece was made.
23rd Jul Solidarity March and manifestation in Trafalgar square, London took place. As did in Paris, France and other European cities – all connected in solidarity via live streaming.

Notification of events leading up to 15th October

3 wks ago, an International meeting of indignants in Lisbon. Plans and good ideas came out of it:
-March from Madrid to Brussels starting 17th Sep to arrive 15th Oct – idea to involve all Europeans.
-Idea to continue march on to London for 5th Nov.
-In USA – New York a call out to occupy Wall St, Freedom Plaza with possible camp 17th Sep.
-In UK a letter is being sent to wide range of groups inviting them to take part on Oct 15th. So far no letter yet for ordinary citizens.

15th Oct: open discussion on preparation took place

 Consensus on necessity for local assemblies (once or twice/ month). Aims: counter centralisation – local is v.important – reach out to areas where people most disenfranchised and can get support through confronting real local issues. Promote Oct 15th.
2 Suggestions – i) Local assembly in Kilburn in August. Pilar agreed to make flyers to disseminate in area.
ii)Local assembly in park in September when many returned from holidays (possibly Victoria Park) with camp Saturday and Sunday assembly – suggested by Simon Moore (peace activist.)
Both suggestions have supporters wishing to organise working groups to follow up.
-Consensus on continuing weekly Sunday Trafalgar Square assembly.

-Thursday 28th July 8pm – Online meeting for UK movement. Discuss UK situation (website and 15th Oct) – Taking place in the chat room at http://15m.speeqe.com/
-Agreement for an Open Planning Meeting for Oct 15th (indoors i.e ULU) – wide range of groups to be invited. Organisation for this will be in August assemblies or working group.
-A Facebook page connected with assembly exists in facebook. You can post comments videos there etc.

Planning for next week’s Sunday Assembly (31/07)

Agenda
i)
News from various countries and UK
ii)
Brief presentation of political, social, economic situation in the UK. (why change is needed here)
iii)
Explanation “Why we are here” (for onlookers/newcomers)
iv) Open discussion (chance for newcomers’ voices)
v) Further proposals (i.e local assemblies, Oct 15th)
vi) Prepare next week’s Agenda

A banner with the words “People’s Assembly” will be prepared. (Possibly use the one Chris & Camilla have in future)
It was agreed we’ll print leaflets to describe assembly, our collective situation in Europe/World, inviting everyone to speak/listen. Andy will write text. José will format and print. Leaflets will be handed out before assembly to people around Trflgr Sq – inviting them to participate.
Anticipating possible higher attendance important we organise well – ie moderator/facilitator/turn keeper/ minute taker etc. Arrive prompt at 6pm!!
Posters with slogans to be placed in assembly circle i.e “They don’t represent us!” “We don’t represent any group” etc.
Suggestion to have agenda on sign for all to see.
Also suggested each person invites 2 friends to come along.

Finally… A young Hungarian had questions and a debate with him took place which was cut short. It was suggested in future situations like this we could be flexible and allow this or designate a few people to explain i.e why we don’t have democracy at present.

Minutes: Trafalgar Square Assembly –10th of July 2011

A small assembly of 40-50 people took place yesterday, the 10th of June, between 6.30pm and 8.15pm in Trafalgar square (central London) consisting of the Spanish and Greek Real Democracy Now teams. British activists were also present.

Below are the minutes:

It was agreed to send minutes and report what we do to www.takethesquare.com
It was reiterated who we are and what we are doing in Trafalgar Sq.
The speaker did not turn up so we decided to open a discussion on an improvised agenda.
The issue of why there are not more non-Spanish people joining us was raised. Perhaps the Trafalgar assembly name should be considered.
The proposal for the day’s agenda was to carry on the subjects suggested in the forum during the week. Greece and the Gaza flotilla. It was agreed.

The assembly was given a brief update on the situation in Greece during the previous week:
– The Sintagma Square assembly is still there, a bit reduced in numbers.
– The Greek government has announced more austerity measures, job decreases and they will apply more public services cuts. They also announced that the Greek state will hire 4000 more cops.
– Part of the flotilla left Greece (2 or 3 boats).
– On the 3rd of July they had an assembly in Athens and they made a statement about investments made in Greek services and they decided to boycott those companies. There was a proposal to stand behind this boycott to show our support to the Greeks.

The date for the next meeting of the Greek assembly was announced, and everybody was invited to assist: Tuesday the 12th at 7 PM at the Royal Festival Hall, in Southbank.

A debate was started on Greece and the possible solutions to resolve the country’s situation. Several opinions were voiced leading to a talk about the EU. The question ‘should Greece withdraw from the EU?’ was raised.

These were the opinions expressed:
– The EU is not the problem, the problem is the lack of democracy. We need to learn to build a new system to live more sustainably. All systems that have been tried before communism, capitalism, all failed. We need new ideas outside the system to build a better way of living. Exchange of things, local sustainable crops, …
– The problem being the north of Europe does not like Greeks, that would create a problem for migration.
– We need to support Syndagma Square and everything that happens there. Keep up with their news and give our support.
– There are ways around the EU we could try, for instance if you have a million signatures you can propose things to the EU.
– The EU imposes austerity measures without asking the people, they should carry out referendums.
– We have other problems besides the EU, institutions like the IMF and the World Bank imposed the same measures in South America. The important thing is to build a movement to go forwards.
– People in Greece should recover their power and be able to change the things that the EU are imposing.
– The EU at the moment is about a Central Bank controlling the periphery, countries in the periphery are all going to suffer.
-The EU was set up precisely for what they are doing now: Greece is an experiment, then Italy and Spain, Portugal… EU for citizens is a good idea but this is not what we have now.
– We need direct democracies, representative democracy does not work.

Some general ideas on the assemblies movement were also expressed:

– The cycle keeps repeating, the poor are poorer and the rich are richer. We need a movement that encourage participation.
– We should think of where are we going to, think how to get people more involved,
– Local assemblies, neighbourhood based.
– We need to set deadlines to focus and set a direction. We should think of proposals for demonstrations
– We should start thinking about the 15th of October.

Some proposals were made for the near future:
– Build a working group to find out what are the mechanisms within the existing system we could use to change things.
– Build a working group on what we can do in terms of actions.
– Build a working group to look at alternative societies.
– Build a working group to investigate Participative Democracy models that already exist.

The assembly reminded that we need to take into account the human resources we have to carry out the proposals.

It was agreed by consensus to build a working group to investigate Participative Democracy models that already exist. We have 4 volunteers for this working group, they will do research over the week and will share what they find with the assembly. However everybody should do their own research in order to gather as much information as we can. We will discuss this topic in the next assembly.

The assembly was invited to use the documents form the 15M Madrid assembly and there was a suggestion on an open source software called Piratepad (www.piratepad.net) which is a tool for text editing and sharing online.

The assembly was reminded that we need to bring banners to the Trafalgar Square assemblies.


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