[ from the dept. ]
This weekend the Big Blether is on in the Scottish countryside. Have been there on Tuesday, it is located in an amazing place this year, on the mountains over Loch Tay, with a stunning view over the lake.
Slight disadvantage that my exhaust fell off on the journey. Luckily enough one passenger… aehm not quite repaired it, but made the journey continuable, the exhaust is now lying in the back of the car and it is incredibly more noisy and smelly.
The venue is an embryonic community, named Culdees, however, it is less of a community as the landlady wants to make all the decisions by herself and seems to be slightly unpredictable in her decision making.It is quite odd after all this time in the autonomist/libertarian scene to come back to a hierarchical decision making, and i don’t like it that much, but hey, it is actually the first place with more than 10 people living together which is spotless tidied up and everything is in place. They are into permaculture and receyling, DIY and environmentalism, but not into shared decisionmaking.
The land is large, and they have a lot of empty stable and fields which are screaming for more animals and if it would be more autonomously organised I would be very eager to get involved and to build up something with animals.
When I arrived at the venue 2 people decided not to speak for a day, because of wanting to experience buddhist values. What also interests me is that the landlord is an Indian medic who has specialised into herbal medicines and has success stories into curing persisting and permanent deseases, such like rheuma, and similar. I would be keen to learn more about this and trying to use these methods, too.
my community psychology course is getting on well, yesterday we examined and researched Edinburghs community policy documents in regards of the communities and local people and residents views – particularly the SIP- Social Inclusion partnership areas. It was quite interesting, especially as these documents still lay the blame for poverty on the individual, rather than the system. So, e.g. one main point they make is “provide usefull labour” or something like that, from a community perspective this is again blaming the individual, but not the employers, governemt or the industries for unemployment. It also doesn’t say anything about the quality of employment, e.g. the wage, workers rights etc. Other points that were made in the document is that “the New deal should be continued to provide opportunities for individuals and lone parents” well the gist of this sentence is, like probably everybody knows, is that the New deal never provided any opportunities and that lone parents so far are NOT included in the New Deal (nice name for a shitty concept), but that there are intentions to do so. As this can be seen this is not empowering individuals but the policy makers, the people in power to continue with their fucked up “reform from the top down” strategy. Anyway, one particular sentence – would need to look it up to get it right though, was something like “the city needs to coninue to grow and flourish so that other areas(?) can benefit too” – or something like that. Basically it is a justification to say – in a government document, that they continue to support the rich getting richer at the expenses of the poor. (will dig out the exact sentence later.)
[ from the dept. ]
Have looked around a bit for events on at the ESF and found a criticism of PGA, the Peoples Global Action.
Guess usually it would always browse by myself without any further notice, but there is one political alliance very relevant to here, the Dissent! network, which is based on the PGA hallmarks.
A lot of the criticism on the PGA seems to be made on the issue of funding and how money is distributed & used for and from which sources it comes, which is always a tricky topic.
Have borrowed out another drill from another neighbour.,it is a little bit like taking part in a “Which” or “Stiftung Warentest” consumer protection and product quality research magazine.
This one is finally what I am looking for: the walls are melting like butter and have been able to fix two shelves this morning, But the cable is too short, which makes it unhandy.
[ from the dept. ]
My neighbours are moving out, and giving a lot of stuff away. So far I got a mixer, a coffee machine, a colander, a tent, a stativ and a lamp. A futon is still held in reserve and it would be good for next years big event to have some more comfy guest facilities – though it might be discussable if futons are comfy.
Also I still try to get the holes into the wall, have borrowed out my neighbours drill which is battery powered and just doesn’t really work that well, it gets stuck in the holes instead of making them deeper or larger.
Anyway have made arrangements now to go to the ESF – the European Social Forum; will probably hang out most of the time in the Autonomous Spaces such as the convergence centre Ramparts, the Indymedia centre at Camden Hall including the European Forum on Communication Rights and the Beyond ESF space. The official esf program looks a bit lame to me, with some interesting workshops such as Noborder but most workshops seem to be theoretical only and include a speaker from some socialist party frontgroup and seem to quite be far away from anything practical and empowering, rather this seems to be the forum where there are experts speaking, which doesn’t interest me much. maybe the Community Media Association will run a radio there, this would be the only thing worth going to.
[ from the dept. ]
Big weekend activist gatherings are usually a market of involuntary exchange- have lost my address book but got a new Edinburgh A-Z map back, and a leather bound drawing book with cartoons and “karikaturen” of people present at the meeting; got 10 ceramic bowls but the deck chair is missing; and found a badminton set but mislaid my drill, which is about 2 kg heavy and half a metre long, mislaying such a thing is certainly difficult and deemed impossible by me so far.
I am thinking about getting a dog, if possible one which doesn’t bark much. But first have to tidy up a little bit. Actually all activist homes I know are messy, except one, guess if you are concerned with activism the need for tidying up is a particularly low priority compared withe state of the rest of the world.
The search for a new location for ACE – the Autonomous Centre is getting more difficult. The location most favoured by the majority of the collective has suddenly – after putting in an offer – changed the estate agents, who first doubled the asking price for the rent.
So let’s wait and see what is coming out of there, too.
I am thinking about starting a food kitchen – have made a list of things needed and prices to put in for funding. Unfortunately limit for funding and list of things needed does not match. Will try nevertheless; am a bit sceptical, but who knows, maybe we might be lucky. Slight disadvantage – put it in too late to have stuff next weekend when its needed.
[ from the dept. ]
The Edinburgh Dissent gathering is over now, and it is time to relax. But there is not too much time to relax, as the Big Blether will be the next activist event in ten days, and after that there is the European Social Forum. I have so far never been to one and this year it seems mainly an overgrown “marxism 2004″- as it is heavily dominated by SWP and their front groups.
However, in the last months several interesting spaces and discussions have been planned for the Alternative or Autonomous Spaces, which seems far more interesting, so will probably go and have a look.
I look particular forward to the European Forum on Communication Rights with the Indymedia Centre.
The Dissent! gathering in Edinburgh went okay, more or less, I got lots of encouragment, but also messed up a little bit, e.g. the accomodation was difficult to arrange, and the Bilston Woods people got a big surprise when they were suddenly invaded by two dozens of activists, because the word did not get passed round enough. A laptop went missing and was luckily retrieved again, but that was another big crisis point, as well as when a closed door mysteriously locked several people’s rucksacks in and thex had to wait nearly two days to access it. I don’t kniow at all what was discussed at the meeting as I was zooming around all the time for logistics.
The soup which I tried to get on Friday evening and which was refused also appeared mysteriously on the saturday, so did lots of other eatable things which were asked for, but nobody had responded to the pledge or request, and then suddenly all these nice little things appeared, such like roasted nuts hmmmm!
The Edinburgh Chiapas Group had organised a brilliant fundraiser organised, and everybody was pretty happy apart from B,. whose dog was not allowed in. Beforehand I had said we had dogs in there before and it wasn’t a problem; unfortunately this was more an assumption than actual knowledge and the poor dog owner got into a big argument with the poor bar worker. Anyway, I was zooming around all the time organising things, but unfortunately I am not quite sure what i did in all the time.
Accomodation is definitely an issue, and i know can much more understand the poor activists in Dublin who suddenly had a similar problem. There was also a nice Indymedia Ireland activist at the gathering; so let’s hope relations improve, though I guess I have now another permanent enemy regarding the imc-network discussion about this horrible article about Blair’s daugthers suicide attempt.
Anyway, I am happy now that the weekend is over, and that now I feel so much more happy and confident in the activist scene than before, previous bad experiences have now surely been outweighed by good ones.