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PGA conference in Europe organization summary

by PGA in Europe conf. prep. - 17.07.2004 13:20

DRAFT for the practical guide

yo, this is a document that aims at helping people involved with the conference organisation and participants to know about the organisational process, important decisions that were taken (and why) and to make it easier to get involved and make it evolute if needed.
 

It is meant to improve concrete self-management and participative horizontal structures, and everybody who'll join the conference should carefully read this. Especially people who are now in the middle of the conference organization or just joined. People should especially check if we don't mention here things that were decided and dreamed of during the organisational process but that won't happen or be available because of a lack of time, technical facilities or because of yet having no people to prepare it.

In a same idea to push direct democracy and understanding of the conference structures by the participants, it appeared to me that most of these informations (maybe with some written in a nicer and sometimes summarized way and with a better english) should appear in the conference practical guide.

I would propose that once the things here have been reread by a few people involved and put in a kind of practical guide, we can send it by email to make people know about main stuff a bit in advance, we could also put it on the website and then wait for a few days before the conference to have all the final information, decisions (especially about the decision making structure) and then do the final writing, editing and photocopies of the practical guide.


Make it quickly known if you find some mistakes or part of it unclear

In Italics (not visible here) in this text, you'll find technical or more detailed comments, or things with decision not taken yet but that will have to be decided before the conference.
Some of these italic informations seemed quite important but might be unnecessary to be included in the general practical guide.

nicolu with the help of ikkyu //

- introduction
- Preparation process of the conference
- Organisational structure and participation to the conference
There are still no people to coordinate/take responsabilities for these various important tasks before and during the conference
Coordination group for the conference
Decision making process
Invitation to the conference
Call for the conference and contact work
LIST OF MATERIAL NEEDED (TO COMPLETED BY VARIOUS LOGISTIC GROUPS..)
Application for participation and workshops
The week before the conference and volunteers arriving in advance
Content and program
Gender issue specific debates and decisions
Outreach with local people before and during the conference
cultural program
Opening event in Belgrade
Embedded meetings during the conference
Translation
Contacts
Locations
Camp organisation and structures
The various spaces of the conference
taking care of the conference spaces
Toilets, showers
Waste
Sleeping, lodging
Food
Ecorating
Bar
Multimedia center
Video and screenings
Conference daily newsletter
Kid's space

- Conflicts and agressions resolution / threats on the conference

Legal assistance

Selling things or not selling

Visibility through mainstream medias

Sound system & radio station broadcasting

Office for coordination

Finances
Individual financial participation for the conference
Insurances
Visas

Actions following the conference ?
A few informations about DSM and other collectives around belgrade
A few words about various places where part of the conference could take place

things missing :
- things about meetings techniques (handsigns, facilitation, reports...)
- updated flowchart
- maps and how to go there
- contacts for the conference
- legal informations
- more infos about DSM and locations
- a few infos about serbia and the present situation
- cyrillic alphabet
- some medical advisory stuffs

Preparation process of the conference

The conference was organised through collaboration between groups and individuals involved in the pga process and local belgrade convenors "DSM". Important decision about the conference structure and organisation were taken during open preparatory meetings. This preparatory process started in june 2003 in belgrade. 4 of these meetings happened in belgrade and the final one in london in may 2004.

All decision were taken through consensus and with horizontal practices (didn't mean that it was perfect but that we tried to do it that way...). Everybody was offered to participate and take responsibilities for the various needed tasks. ..and to be transparent on the way they would take on these tasks.
You can find detailed reports of the various meeting on the  http://www.pgaconference.org

General information about the conference

we'll have a meeting of five days with one day before for arrival, meeting with people, visiting locals and one extra day in the end to have a collective deconstruction of the camp and
conference structures.

we'll have different kind of times and meetings, specifically announced as either workshops, presentations, working group on a practical project, debates...

we'll announce that if people want to build sustainable anticapitalist self-made structures ( such as self-made toilets or showers or energy system they're invited to do it, but thateverybody doesn't have to get involved with the building of these self-made structures.

* we'll announce that the camp will also be a kind of open space / laboratory to bring and have workshops on any sustainable technologies such as windcraft, solar panels and such things.


Organisational structure and participation to the conference

The conference is organized through various working groups / teams (see the flowchart for all details).

During the conference, we'll try to push collective self-management an open participation on everything, following more or less leiden system of different pool and teams in wich people can get involved such as translation, facilitation, newspaper, cooking, cleaning welcoming, infos, computers and media...

we'll to try to push the involvment of people in daily practical basic matters such as cleaning and cooking, washing dishes...

we'll try to create clear organsationnal structures, explained and organized before the conference so that people can easily know how to get involved and that it doesn't take all week to be understood and work (which doesn't mean that nothing can change once the conference has started.

People will be asked on the application form what they want to volunteer on..

* We don't want specific people to be just volunteers and to have on the other side some consumers of the conference, but rather to push everybody who will come to the conference to volunteer and share the various responsibilities, in a spirit of avoiding too much specialisations.

Wherever possible for the practicalities of the camp, we'll work with non-profit collectives and volunteer based solutions. For large tasks we'll use collectives that agree with the ethics of the pga. When not possible we'll ask collectives that are as close as possible from the pga principles.

* They're will not be reduced donations for people who want to volunteer. (nobody is more volunteer than others and we don't want to resolve money inequalities through having some people working and some not)

There are still no people to coordinate/take responsabilities for these various important tasks before and during the conference

organizing facilitation, minutes taking and reports during the conference
press team
medical team
legal team
electricity
insurances
telephone and internet connection
sleeping spaces at locals
visa work
hardware/equipment
and surely others...

Coordination group for the conference

The coordination group is made of 4 coordination teams of two people each coordinating the work of the various teams . These coordination group will have to organise through meetings, mails or irc meetings.

The 4 coordination team groups:

a programm group that makes sure that everything goes together in a coherent program / applications

a communication group : website, application for participants , infopoint, contact, newsletter, radio, press communication / negociation with the authorities / contact with local people.

a logistic group : location, venues, campsite, translation, videowork, internetcafe/office, projection, logging, sanitation/ water, food. / kids group / security (bertha)

a finance group : participation, foundraising, travel help?.

There will be one people from DSM and one people from abroad in each coordination team.

These people need to make sure that the work is done and to ease the coordination and information flow between the various subgroups.

Decision making process

THIS PART IS ONLY A REPORT FROM THE LAST MEETING AND A PROPOSAL. IT HAS TO BE DEBATED AND DECIDED ON THE WEEK BEFORE THE CONFERENCE.

PROPOSAL FOR THE VARIOUS DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES DURING THE CONFERENCE

I was supposed to work with nina on an explanation of the various words and meeting techniques that needs to be explained (plenary, affinity groups, spoke's council, consensus, facilitation, handsigns...) but we kind of had our communication cut. So if she doesn't have enough time to do it, I'll send a compilation of all these explanations myself in the next days.
I wanted this proposal to be more detailed but as we're already totally late with this proposal I wanted to make sure to offer at least a basis of debate on the list before to leave so that it can be collectively completed in the next days.

We also wanted to give a general overview of the pga structures and latest internal debates in the network and try to define a first list of questions and issues that people would have debate and decide about. I'll try to do a first proposal about it before to leave.

Following the london's meeting report, I would propose that we have a meeting to decide on all this on 19th or 20th of august so to make sure that we can add it in
the final practical guide.

Please give quick feedbacks to this.

bisous / nicolu

RECALL FROM THE LAST MEETING

Discussions were really interesting, but we didn't reach a final decision (one of the reason being that all these pga things about plenary or not ?, spokes councils, small groups, consensus decision making, pga structures problematics, and other marvelous creatures were quite new to some people from belgrade and others and that they wanted more time for explanations and thinking about it).

nicolu made an attempt to regroup some of the ideas and to formulate a proposal. It was decided that skrati and nicolu would rework on this proposal and add to it explanations about the various terms used and detail a bit more the issues that would have to be discussed about the pga network.This document should include the issues that need to be decided upon, in a clear manner that explains the political implications and main arguments. It would also need to be translated.

A collective decision about the decision making structure will then be taken the week before with both people from belgrade and other people coming in advance to help with the organisation.


JUST A REALLY SMALL BASIC THINGS TO HELP THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS BEFORE MORE DETAILED EXPLANATIONS :

CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING is when everybody in a group has the same power to decide and that you try to debate until you find a common agreement about a project or a common solution to a problem, instead of taking a decision by a vote.

A PLENARY is when everybody meet in the same room and try to take decision together

A SPOKES COUNCIL is when various groups meet in the same space. They stay together as a group (the division into group can be made following affinity criterias or not).
A problem, or situation, or project on which people have to decide is first explained to everybody at the same time so that everybody share the same informations.
If proposals have been made by the various groups before the spokes council, they are also presented to everybody.

Then the various groups meet together on a limited time to try to find proposals and consensus.

After the time is passed they all send a delegate in the center of the space to report about their proposals and consensus.

The various delegates have then a limited time to try to find a common consensus between all proposals

They then go back to their group to report and see if this consensus can be agreed on by their group.

These various steps are repeated until a common consensus between each group is found.

Following the same process and alternate times between group meetings and delegates meetings, the various groups then have to make sure that people are found to endorse the various tasks needed to make the consensus work.

The delegates don't have to be the same people during the whole spokes council process.


1) FOR WHAT DO WE NEED COLLECTIVE DECISION MAKING STRUCTURES DURING THIS CONFERENCE ?

It would be better to agree on clear decision making structures before the conference. These decision making structures concern various situations and various issues :

a) for logistics and organization just before and during the conference. General decisions, links between the various workings groups, ways to open it to new people...

b) for discussions about the pga network future, structures and evolutions and the decision that have to be taken about it.
It concerns for example (and not only) :
- the various lists
- the pga website
- the organisation of the next conference
- any other project that we would collectively decide to organize as pga
- links with other continental pga
- decision about which collective will be the next convenor
- feedbacks and future of the infopoints structures
- feedback on this conference organizational process and thoughts about the next one
- strategic debate about the aim and future of the pga network (one of the question thrown at the dijon's winter pga meeting being if pga was only an networking tool for the anti-authoritarian anticapitalist movement through infopoints, conferences, website and lists or a network that could also endorse actions and campaings in the name of pga.)

c) for emergency collective decisions that could need to be taken during the conference

2) DEBATES AND PROPOSALS

I try to give here a feedback about the discussions we had n these issues at the last london international preparatory meeting and then a proposal.

a ) decision making about the logistic and organization of the conferences.

Debate : Regarding the logistical/organization decisions the week before and during the conference, some wanted to keep it under the responsibility of a small coordination group (as it was done in leiden) in order not to have too many daily meetings with too many people and not to loose to much time. Others wanted to find a way to make it a bit more open and participative.
Some also thought that during the conference it would be really important and useful to have a system of daily morning plenary (even quit short) in order to all see each other and exchange directly important informations, others thought it would be useless, tiring and an inadequate way to share informations and moreover, to take decisions.


Proposal :

As many important decisions and guidelines got debated and decided during the preparation process, the logistic just before and during the conference shouldn't create too many important new debates. But it still has to be organized, coordinated, open to new people involvement and able to deal with unexpected situation that will surely make new debates arise.

The proposal would be that the various organization/logistic groups (see the flowchart for details) could have regular open and announced meetings whenever they feel the need to in order to involve new people and to make it work.
Obviously, some groups will need to meet a lot more during the preparation week, some others more during the conference period.

There could also be a coordination group meeting everyday, open to delegates of the various organization/logistic groups (which doesn't mean that delegates of every working groups have to be present all the time on this daily meetings, but just when they want to or feel the need to). This daily meetings would aim at coordinating the work and taking decisions when it can't be taken by a working group itself or directly between two groups in agreement with the various consensus coming from the organization process.

This system could be kept during the week of the conference with, in addition, a small morning / breakfast plenary (something like 30 minutes) just to exchange important informations and calls (and not as a decisional structure)

We should remember that if we want all this not to be too heavy and to take too much time, we should give enough autonomy to the various working groups and have most of the tasks dealt by this small groups.

b) decisions making about the pga structures

debate :
Regarding the discussions and decisions about the pga network, we decided to find something else than a group of "specialist" meeting during one week and a big decisional plenary at the end as it happened in leiden (it was in my opinion a quite interesting experience but also to many people's opinion quite frustrating and not accurate to take decisions with 400 people).

If we want to make this network work, everybody feeling involved should take interest and participate by one way or another to its structures and the decisions made about it. The idea would be to have it more participative and involving more people during the time of the conference than in leiden and to find something better than a plenary to take complicated decisions with a few hundred people.


Proposal :
There could be a specific time and various specific spaces everyday for something like eight group of people to meet.
People could choose between groups that would be more affinity based and other regrouping people that don't know each other or people that are not part of the same networks or collectives.
To make it an available time for many people to join, it would be better if we don't have too many other events of the program happening at the same time of the day.
These meetings should be limited in time (something like one hour and an half for example).
These meetings should always be opened for new people to join.
The various groups should try to do daily reports about the main debates and proposals they have and make it available to the other groups.

They should try to compile a final report of their discussions and proposals before the 27th in the evening and make it available to every participants to the conference (maybe through the newspaper).

Then there should be a final spokes council of these 8 groups (always with the possibility for new people to join) on the morning or the afternoon of the 28th in order to find consensus between the various proposals and also to make sure that we have people/collectives that will take responsibility for the various tasks


c) decision making structure on emergency situations

It concerns the eventuality of emergency situations/complicated general problems or big political decisions that can not be easily handle by existing working groups/coordination team within the frame of consensus made during the preparation process.

It could concern from a state repression on the conference to big tensions arising inside, or a common pga statement that would have to be made on whatever problematic situation, or if important consensus made on the organization would appear practically unworkable ...)

It could be dealt with by first having a small plenary to give everybody common informations and then by having a spokes council to deal with it and find a common agreement.


Invitation to the conference

The participation will not be limited, but everyone will be informed about PGA principles.

It was decided that even if happening in europe, it was open to people of other continents and that it would sound less imperialist to call it "pga conference in europe" instead "european pga conference" on any future official publications.

We encourage people from anywhere in the world to come, and make it known that we can try to do the visa work but won't have much money to help them to come.

Financially speaking, we'll focus on helping people from excluded part from the European continent and areas around the meditteranean to come.


Call for the conference and contact work

The Pga hallmarks should appear on every call for the conference. Groups and individuals coming are supposed to agree and fit with the pga hallmarks, even though we don't want to create a control system to make sure that it's the case.

There should be work to contact groups that have never been involved in any PGA conference or initiative yet

A contact group has been formed, and has informed other collectives about the conference and generally spread tool of information about the conference to infopoints and people.. This contact group had the task to compile informations, distribute and make available ressources (pga presentation newspaper, call for the conference...), and to create a list of who has already been contacted...

the contact work should be done mostly in a regional and decentralized way

we should forward the call widerly than the pga list - the money is a problem for people to come and we need to deal with it for the next preparatory meeting.


LIST OF MATERIAL NEEDED (TO COMPLETED BY VARIOUS LOGISTIC GROUPS..)

big military or circus tents /smaller ones
electric cables and plugs
lots of chairs and tables
photocopy machine A4 printing paper / computer printers
small fm radios
megaphone
walkie talkies
medical kits and medical materials
wood, big tarpolin pieces, rope, metal bars, nails, screw and gnerally
building material and buildings tools
all kind of small office material as pen, papers, glue, cisors whatever...


Application for participation and workshops

IMPORTANT ! In order to make this mess organized and workable (from translation to food, sleeping and also to have a bit of a program in advance), everyone has to fill the application form for participation and workshops proposals as soon as possible before the conference.
The week before the conference and volunteers arriving in advance

we will announce on every call for the conference that everybody can come at least one week in advance to build and prepare the infrastructures of the meeting, general oragnization and outreach with local people.
DSM will make sure that a space to camp and do the work will be available one week in advance.
people from the entire PGA network will be invited to take on the specific assignments necessary to organize the conference. (as sound, visas, finances, translation, building, newspapers.... and whatsoever)

- The volunteer camp : It's a group of around 15-30 people coming two or three days in advance to help with material practicalities and building work. It's through an organisation who organize these kind of volunteer camp on different kind of projects. They don't much relationship with the conference and will eat and live autonomously from other people arriving in advance to help as well.


Content and program

there will not be a limit to the number of workshops as we're for diversity and don't want to arbiter which proposal should be accepted or not. There will however be attempts to group similar events into one or a few.

The groups involved with the preparation of the conference wanted to create some specific focus on some issues that were discussed during the preparation process..

For each of these issues, there were people (issue coordinators) who took the responsibility to write a political text to introduce the issue.

These text can be used in the reader or newsletter of the conference, send on the lists before the conference to help people to find workshops and debates that can fit in. These texts can be used by or inspire the various people who are going to do some press work about the conference.

These texts don't give any « pga » commonly agreed political ideology, but are just texts of people or collectives who want to present roughly their problematic about an issue and put it into debate.

Therefore, these text won't be signed or presented as some "pga" texts, but simply signed by the people or collectives who wrote it. The people who took the responsibility to work on some issue had to coordinate the various workshops with each other and maybe create links between the people who want to work on the same issue.

The various issues and people responsible for it (these coordination groups are open, so please join them!) :

Gender issues: breakingthesilence (at)gendertrouble.org
* Migrations: migrativeart
* Working conditions, class, workers and non-workers struggles, labor society (that's not the final name for this issues but just words to define what we want to talk about): migrativeart + Stella and Dimitris from eurodusnie)
* Critics of industrial society, sustainable technologies: nicolu
* Critics of European integration, Balkan situation, nationalism: migrativeart
* Alternatives to capitalism: zapata
* Militarisation of politics, wars, imperialism and social control: bozavine/ javier
* Global movement : Are we a mouvement ? what next ? Going out of the ghetto ? : skrati / javier


Gender issue specific debates and decisions

! I Put this here has we had a specific decisionnal process on that issue and that I'm trying to give back here all the important decisions. But maybe part of it would more have this place in the reader than in the practical guide, or maybe in none of the two. !


During the pga winter meeting in dijon in march 2003, it was collectively decided to give concrete proposals about gender issue for the next conference.

These proposals were linked partly with reports of sexual harassment during pga linked events, but moreover because of a feeling that the gender issue was often taken a secondary issue and discriminated inside pga and anticapitalists movements.

Some people, especially women, often involved with the network since quite a long time, felt more than fed up about it and wanted to find practical ways to push a bit more the gender issue both inside anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian movement and in society in general.

Then, during the following steps of the preparation process, some of the proposals previously agreed on (having a day focused on gender issue in the middle of the conference, creating a women only space and letting the possibility for men-only workshops and discussions.) were blocked by some people who thought it was giving too much priority on one issue over others and that it was creating a segregationist poilitic. After much heated debates, explanations and texts about the reason behind these proposals and behind the block, everything was finally agreed on again.

So the final proposals were :

- to have a flyer which should be spread before the conference. This flyer would be a sort of warning on sexist attitudes, sexual abuses and harassment and ways to prevent it during the conference. It was agreed that the flyer would be included in a PGA practical guide that would be given to everybody at the conference.

- to specifically invite feminist and anti-patriarchal collectives to participate and give workshops during the conference.

- to start an open questionnary on gender/anti-patriarchy struggles inside the movement.

- to create a women only« space, where to meet for specific discussions, and also as a possible place to feel safe of sexist/sexual aggression.

- to give the possibility for anti-patriarchal men only workshops and dicussions.

- to have day only focused on gender issues during the conference.

It has to be made clear that gender workshops are not only about gender issue inside the "movement", but about gender issue in society/counter society in general and that the aim is to link as much as possible gender issues with other issues discussed during the conference.

Outreach with local people before and during the conference

Contact activities with locals before the conference is a really important job if we want to create good relations with locals and even try to involve them in part of the conference activities. It can unfortunately mostly be done by locals before the conference. we thought international participants to the conference could help developing it the week before through either open collective dinners, meetings, screenings, spreading of information about the conference...

cultural program

Some musical evenings will open and close the conference... it will be asked in the application form if people want to propose some other cultural contents.

These musical/festival events will happen at a place separated from the camp.

There will be other things organized by the culture group (exhibitions, street theatre, screenings....)

It would be good to try to involve the groups/bands/cultural actors/actresses in some workshops and political activities of the conference as a way to prevent a big division between culture and politics.

The problem of alcohol and drugs atmosphere during gigs can easilly help violence racist/sexist/homophobic attitudes to arise. We should therefore talk very seriously about the ways to prevent all that.

Visibility day in Belgrade

Sava Center is a big institutional place in Belgrade where a big public opening event to present pga will be organised. We could invite various groups even from elsewhere that Europe to come and present their struggles.

There were debates about the use of the sava as it is the most expensive
building in belgrade and that some people were not pleased with the way it would make the conference look like.

A pga conference is quite different from a social forum because it's more participative, organised horizontally and autonomously from state institutions, try to break leaders system and to have workshops and debates done by grassroots activists and not professional politicians or universitarian ideologists. We should therefore be careful on the kind of dynamic this more massive, media-looking visibility day can give to the conference, and that it doesn't look like a social forum but shows a more accurate pictures of a pga conference.

We agreed to have this visibility day at the sava center on various conditions : :
it will be taken if it's for free

it's seen as reproducing the conference in another place

we'll try to have not only presentation/speeches but participative
structures and things that can represent the way pga conference works

we'll try not to have only a few spokepersons to present their movement
and pga but to show a larger diversity of people talking

if the sava center conference happen, maybe we'll be able to find extra-money to invite a few people from other continents for the conference
in general.

it can be used for cultural things / exhibition as well

it could be linked with other visibility activities in belgrade in the
streets the same day.


Embedded meetings during the conference

People involved with No border network are organizing an action caravn in eastern europe that going to reach belgrade conference, where they're going to have a no border network meeting.

People from eastern european countries working with social forums and trying make it more horizontal and self-managed will also have a meeting during the pga conference.

Abolishing the borders from below, an anarchist networking magazine from eastern europe will have a magazine coordination meeting during the pga conference.

We should ask all the embedded meetings if it's only internal meetings or if they also want to propose more open/public debate workshops The embedded meetings should fill the application forms for their workshops and precise if it will be public or closed to people of their network.

Translation

A system of simultaneous translation with small radio transmitters will be experienced

We'll try to do this with the help of the Babel network (a network of translators who do volunteer work for big social forums but are also ready to work with more radical structures)

Participants to the conference are encouraged to bring very small radios with earphones and to specify the languages they need in their application form.

Contacts

we would need here contacts of the offices + infopoints + legal assistance... + maybe others

Locations

(we need here basic informations and even more details about jajinci + rakovica + maps and some public transport How to go informations

the participants of the conference agreed to choose a place that would not be in the middle of nowhere and isolated from people. A place where we could meet and make links with local people and struggles"

* it was agreed to use a combination of solid housing (schools, squats, ?) and camp(s).

Camp organisation and structures

For all of the logistic groups there was a decision to first look at ecological / Do It Yourself solutions to build/find stuffs needed and in last resort to buy or rent capitalist Industrial / chemichal shits. This mandate will have then to be taken into account and discussed for each specific point.


The various spaces of the conference

a camp
an eating and cooking place for rad service and collective kitchens cooking
medical space
info point + legal assistance space
press points
kids space
women-only space
office
computer /indymedia centre
bar
newspaper room
video room
+ 8 different places to have from small workshops to big debates at the same time

It would therefore make around 18 rooms/tents/spaces needed

taking care of the conference spaces

there should always be someone taking care of the place before, during after. so that it would be open, available and clean afterwards.

There is a possibility to build the same type of dome than the one used for the NoBorder camp in Strasbourg. If people of Belgrade find a wood factory where we can buy the various pieces of wood needed (it's only two very simple and usually very cheap wood sticks).
Toilets, showers
we'll build ecological toilets and not rent chemical ones There's also the possibility to build showers in the school (debate about that and alternative possibilities)
Waste
Participants to the conference are asked to produce the less waste possible because it's shit and because there's no recycling system in Serbia.

We would like to find ways to recycle/ reuse/give what we use during the conference. We'll have to find something for plastics bottles and metal bottles.
Sleeping, lodging
Part of the sleeping will be in arranged through camping on a field. Therefore everybody is welcomed to bring tents and sleeping bags.

There will be also specific sleeping spaces for people with medical disabilities, and others who can't sleep in camps.

There will be also some possibility, for people who ask for it, to be welcomed by belgraders, resnikers or jajincers and to sleep at local peoples houses.


Sleeping and meetings area should be separated.

Food

Food was a big debate ; There was the possibility to invite the dutch anarchist cooking collective rempanplan. But it would have cost much money for the transport and logistical infrastructures they need.

There was the possibility to invite various smaller autonomous cooking collectives, coming from nearer or with less expensive structures and without paying for their transport. But we weren't sure that enough of those kitchens would come.

Their was also the possibility to ask one professional cooking enterprise from belgrade. But some were strongly opposed to the use of paid - wage based structures for such basic things of the conference as food (especially as cooking is something that people can quite easily do by themselves.)

It was finally decided to both ask and pay an enterprise called Rad to cook for the conference and also to have some self-managed volunteer-based smaller cooking collectives.

Rad is a food enterprise/ex-socialist coop from belgrade and under urgent threat of privatisation. They often help other workers in struggles and were interested with the conference in itself). For the pga conference job, there will be equal wages for everybody in Rad from cleaner to cooker.
Rad will cook and bring their field kitchen to serve on site .
They will not do breakfast.

We plan to organize food for around 600 everyday. Once we'll know for how many people the other cooking collectives want to cook, we'll ask rad to cook for the rest and make them know in advance for how many it will be. People linked with cooking collectives have to give answers about that as soon as possible.

Once we have ordered a specific daily numbers of dinner to rad, we have to make sure that enough people will eat at Rad and so to give a kind of priority : when people will come to register to the conference, we'll first ask them if they're ok to eat with Rad and therefore to take food tickets for Rad . Once we have reached the number of people needed for Rad, the other will be invited to eat at other collectives kitchens.

There should be help so that people who don't have much money can also eat 'Rad' food.

Everybody is going to eat at the same place. There's a possibility to help Rad with recipes and experience of vegetarian cooking collectives. Seeds (at)gn.apc.org will do it and come in advance.

We need people from belgrade to check about where to find and buy food for the various cooking collectives

Ecorating

Ecorating an alternative money exchange system that give an higher value to poor country money and a lesser value to rich country money). As it unfortunately doesn't solve discriminations on a national level and not include the fact that you can also have low wages or no wages in rich countries it won't be a rule but only a guideline for things that need to be sold like beers.
Bar

There will be a drug free and alcohol free area clearly indicated in the campsite. We're ok to organize a bar

There should be one bar in a building and outside the camp area and a bar located in a space outside that could be more quiet and close earlier.

Donations and any benefit will go to the global organization of the pga conference.
we need people to organize it and there's nobody yet.
Multimedia center

Computers have already been brought by eurodusnie but other equipments are needed.
The main thing is to try to find a good connection. We also need a group to carry and bring computers and to build the network
Video and screenings
There will be a video room and video material available for people who want to offer screenings.
Conference daily newsletter

we agreed on having a daily printed newsletter during the conference that will give daily reports of workshops, debates and other important things

a) printing plans :
there might a mobile printing structure from germany coming (seeds is the contact person for them) - there might a printing cooperative from belgrade that could print the daily newspaper, but we also thought that it might be easier and cheaper to just photocopy it in a copy shop every morning.

b) language of the newspaper :
there should be ideally three languages : english, serbo-croeatian and russian. But it will depend if anybody wants to do this translation work everyday. People of the editorial team will try to do their best.

c) we'll give a call to find a team of people who would like to work on it (articles writing, editing, layout, translation) as there was nobody at the preparation meeting who wanted to take responsibility for it.
Kid's space

Children are welcome in this conference as on the camp. There is a special place
for children and a daily programme will be decided during the morning kids
assembly. Children from the camp and from the village are mixed as much as
possible. Workshops will be run by volunteers who will be participating in the
rest of the conference.

Thus they sure will need you to join them as volunteer
for a workshop, translation, or to introduce them an issue, a debate or a
workshop of the conference, or even to facilitate their participation in the
meetings, wether you are parents or not

Please let us know as soon as possible
how many kids are coming and how old they are. Whatever you come to the
conference for, if you have any activities for children you wish to offer,
please get in touch. Parents stay responsible for the children they bring.
.
Conflicts and agressions resolution / threats on the conference

It is difficult to estimate the security problems that might arise but 600 people coming for one week in a poor suburb can bring/create tensions depending on the way we behave and prepare it + the fact that there are
quite a few active nationalist extreme right group and quite strong feeling of nationalism in part of the population as well as a police and government now driven by nationalist extreme-right parties.

pass : It has been agreed that people will be given a pass for the camp / living space area when they register and this space should be reserved to those people (knowing that on the other hand, we won't create strict "border check control" for the camp)

workshops and debates will be opened to everyone without pass

safe area for things: there will be an area that can be locked for expensive stuffs with a ticket system.

we'll let the people coming to help preparing the conference the week before decide if we need a kind of fence or not around the camp in order to protect it from various kind of annoyance and attacks. (from police to fascist or various kind of aggressive idiots). There was a big debate about this kind of difficult issue

we will have a group of pga conference participants who volunteer everyday (10 people with a mix of local and internationals who turn every 6 hours, not the same people everyday) to resolve conflict, and a group of people who coordinate it and think about it in advance.

trainings : a 1 hour training period should be organised to explain what is expected from people (in particular that they don't act as a militia)

we don't want any specific organised militia for emergency situation, but a good emergency call system

people can subscribe for it when they register to the conference

we will try to avoid panic reactions and rumours

* as we strongly criticize jails, punishment and in general the state justice and its securitarian and punitive system, we'll try at the most to solve any problem within ourselves and to use police/state/justice system in the last resort and hopefully not
at all.

* about the festival : we'll ask the culture group people to organize a
specific team for that, a team that could be opened to participants to the
pga conference.

Specific things about the eventuality of individuals victims of sexist/homophobic/racist attacks/aggression/harassment/rapes
a quiet space will be offered for victims. That space should be part of an existing space (maybe the medical tent)

we'll create a coordination of medical, legal and gender working group people to deal with it (helping the victim and finding a way to deal with it and to understand what happened). It doesn't have to be used in all cases of aggressions, it is created in case of people being harassed and not having other solution/friends to help them dealing with it.

it was asked to enlarge the text about sexual harassment that will be distributed to every participants of the conference, and to link it with other type violence such as homophobic / racist and other types of aggressions.


Legal assistance

There will a legal information space (maybe the same as the infopoint) and a team of people who are ready to do legal assistance

We'll make available a legal assistance phone number

We should have a lawyer that we could call in case of problems / trials that could'nt be dealt by the legal team.

We should have some money reserves for eventual legal problems

Some legal advise should be added in the practical guide of the conference

We'll have to think about how to bring equipment in the country and a legal body for that. Transit paper might be needed for equipment.

! There is still nobody taking responsibility to create this legal team and inquire about locals laws (the legalities about bringing equipment should be known well in advance and written publicly on the website). It would be a lot easier to have local people taking responsibility for that !

Selling things or not selling

600 hundred people, part of them coming from countries that are much richer than serbia (nevertheless how poor they may be in their own countries) will quite surely attract a lot of people trying to sell things (from food to drugs or black clothes :) ), especially with so many people unemployed and living from small street business in serbia.

We decided that we didn't want shops and things sold inside the camp space and will try to make it understood by people who would try to.
We'll try to communicate about it with people selling things.


Visibility through mainstream medias

Nobody will speak in the name of PGA network, but in their name or their collective.

After the content debate, a group will take the responsibility to write a document that explain factual things about the conference and explain the political lines that we want to push through this conference (see the content part) based on the various text about the main political issues.

A document with various introduction texts to the main issues of the conference will be used as a basis for various groups who would like to do press release work about the conference. This document will be signed by different groups, involved with the preparation of the conference and not by PGA.

Press releases will be signed by groups who do it.

There will be an international press team wich will make sure that some press releases and contacts with international medias are made and to link medias with various groups that could answer interviews. We'll have to make sure that it's different people who will talk to the medias and not always the same ones.

Coordination with local medias will be prepared by local people / there should be some press work done locally before the conference.

* There will be a mainstream press infopoint outside/at the entrance of the camp where journalist can go and maybe find people to speak with
There will be a press conference organized at the beginning of/just before the conference

* journalists are not welcomed in the camp and workshops and therefore we should make them aware of that and prevent them to come as we can.

* It's ok to invite journalist to specific bigger public events/debates and at the visibility day at the Sava centre if it happens.



Sound system & radio station broadcasting

There will be a radio during the conference time.


Office for coordination

2 offices with computers, phones, and facilities for cooking and sleeping, one in resnik and another one in belgrade, were rented since march for the conference preparation with some general conference money. They can be used before and during the conference for various office works.

Finances

Raising money for the Conference can be done through: benefit, left-funds, found rising, training..
Should money be accepted from anybody? For the last conference it was not. Still, drawing the line is hard.

It is the esponsability of every local group to raise money for the conference

It's up to their judgments where the money comes from as long as nothing is asked in return and that they do no do any publicity about sponsoring that specify the pga and conference.

If they ask something in return or publicity have to we discuss it during preparation meetings before to know if we accept it or not

We'll give priority for people who come as a group or collective and are delegated to the conference following a group decision.

we'll try to improve co-driving and free places annoucements before the meeting

Getting more people and basic infrastructures should be the first priorities (and we yet don't have much money for that) and specific projects should find extra funds as much as possible

We let final autonomy to the finance group in agreement with the rest of
the coordination group, to decide what they will finance.
Individual financial participation for the conference
(
! I'm not sure about the consensus on that point. That's what I remember from the discussion but apparently nobody took notes at the time !)

An average donation to cover the various logistical costs of the conference (and maybe also to help people from poorer countries to come) will be asked to every participants of the conference. Everybody will then have to judge how much they can participate and pay.
This average donation will have to be calculated by the finance group once they know how much foundraising has been done and how much there is left to cover divided by the number of participants that are estimated.
Insurances

we need someone to find the needed informations about it for both camps,buildings and public activities and to publish informations needed by individuals on the practical guide.

Visas

We need to put basic informations about visas and contact of local people who are taking care of it.

Actions following the conference

Even, if this conference is not an action camp, we discussed the possibility to have collectives actions in the days following the conference, if clearly separated from the conference time.

applications for the conference :

FOR THIS LAST BITS, I PUT SOME THINGS HERE BUT I THINK IT SHOULD DEFINITELY REWRITTEN TOTALLY BY LOCAL PEOPLE AND PEOPLE PRESENTLY IN BELGRADE


A few informations about DSM and other collectives around belgrade
DSM
* Block is a group who try to rethink anarchism in a renewed way and wich is orientated in theoritical work.
* Stany pany collective is a two years old collective wich started as a group of people doing illegal benefit parties. It's active in doing organisation of pga and is doing anti-war actions. They made some networking with kosovo, croeatia and network with wider collectives
* kollektiv Immigratie : it was foundating during the war in Belgium. They work on the topic of transnational identities with people from Belgium, luxembourg and Holland. They work with excluded subjects in the society (in Belgium with sans-papiers and workers from Renault villevoorde)
* Political combinate works on a theater play with excluded people in belgrade. Especially with roma people who have difficulties with school, refugees, unemployed, and Chinese. They also work a lot on printing materials.
* SUS is a youth radical left group. They're students and are involved with activities at the university. They do infrastructure job for dsm. They want to legalise marijuana and free education.
* Good will group is a student group.linked with SUS
* Biology students : Campains against vivisection, environnement.

Other groups around but not involved with the conference :
* Black block hip-hop (benefits concerts and concerts)
* AZIN : huge network / feminist collectives
* Society to fight against the society from Novisad. They're working on magazine called atheist.
* Subwar is a group of people who are doing food not bombs actions and anti war actions.
Prota contra are doing street theatre / puppet theatre to fight against joining the NATO.


A few words about various places where part of the conference could take place

Rakovica and links with factory workers

Factory is an old factory workers area, with a lot of the factory being privatised or closed. it's a place where various workers struggles are taking place. Some people in DSM have link with people of the local unions.
There is a factory with a cafeteria for 500 people that we can get for free (if we paint it). It could be interesting for debates about struggles around the working issues as well as if we need a space for a final plenary or big spokes council. No decisions was made on the factory and if we accepted to repaint the cafeteria.

Jajinci

New locations for the conference. Jajinci is another suburb not too far away from Resnik. It was finally chosen because of difficulties with Resnik local authorities and not much confirmation to get the various places.

Resnik

In Resnik live a lot of unemployed workers that hardly hitten by the measures imposed by the neoliberal-oriented government that was on power up until the parliamentary elections that took place in December 2003.
* Resnik is located 20 km from the centre of Belgrade and has solid connections with the capital city's centre in terms of public transport.
* The settlement also has a large refugee camp, as well as Albanian and Roma communities. The local group from Resnik has initiated contacts with the refugees. The minority groups are more or less normally integrated into society and there are no much racially inspired tension within the population.
- Resnik is part of Rakovica district. DSS is in power in resnik. It is the Serbian democratic party (extreme right wing).. They try to appear as democratic and European. Resnik is the poorest district of Belgrade and right wings parties had the strategy to do a lot of propaganda towards poor people. There seems to be no actively violent extreme rights groups. besides of all this poverty and rampant nationalism, there are a lot of inspiring social life habits and survival practices that can still be found in this poor districts (community life, gardening, street life, market with local producers, various skillfull ways of self-subsistence, factory struggles...).



>> ADD EXTRA INFORMATION

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

Notes on draft of conference reader
discussion 17.07.2004 18:23

DRAFT conference reader information

Preparation process of the conference

The conference was organised through collaboration between groups and
individuals involved in the pga process and local belgrade convenors
Â"DSMÂ". However there was not a geographical balance with very little
participation from Eastern Europe. Important decision about the conference
structure and organisation were taken during open preparatory meetings.
This preparatory process started in June 2003 in belgrade. 4 of these
meetings happened in Belgrade and one in Dijon. The final one in London
in May 2004.

Most decisions were taken through consensus but this broke down in two
areas: men-only meetings and the relocation from Resnik to Jajinci.
Thse problems have yet to be resolved.

Everybody was offered to participate and take responsibilities for the
various needed tasks. ..and to be transparent on the way they would take
on these tasks. You can find detailed reports of the various meeting
on the Preparation process of the conference

**

CONSENSUS DECISION MAKING is when everybody in a group has the same power
to block a decision and that you try to debate until you find a common
agreement about a project or a common solution to a problem, instead
of taking a decision by a vote.

A PLENARY is when everybody meets in the same space and take decision
together.

**
Gender issue specific debates and decisions
Delete "to give the possibility for anti-patriarchal men only workshops
and discussions."
The issue of men only meetings will be resolved at the begiinning of
the conference.


PGA Organisational Principles
another proposal 17.07.2004 18:25

A proposal: discussion on Organisational Principles of People's Global Action

Whilst they contain many wonderful ideas, there seems to have been a number of problems manifesting them our concrete behaviour. This is a concrete request that a discussion group on organisational questions is formed.

In particular:
How can we make sure that the composition of the committee organising conferences is balanced geographically and that it reflects greater diversity?

How can we ensure greater transparency, particularly as regards finances?

What measures can be taken to avoid reproducing various forms of discrimination and oppression through institutional racism and sexism?

While the PGA does focus on decentralisation and autonomy, the Organisational Principles concede that there is a need for minimal central structures.
It is necessary for those who engage in these structures - such a conference organising committees - take on board the need for collective responsibility and accountability.

At Cochabamba there was a recognition of cultural differences in the way people organise and participate in discussions and how this affects styles of presentation, decision making processas and language. These differences were understood to reflect deeper perceived power relations.

However this recognition seems to have hardly percolate across the PGA in Europe.

Perhaps we should pause to consider the differences between poor people, women, the disabled and people of colour expressing their autonomy, and the expression of autonomy by the rich, men, the able and white people. Bear in mind that the last four-five hundred years could be described as a period in which Europeans have autonomously spread their power and control across the entire globe. Any autonomy of privilege will tend to preserve privilege despite whatever good intentions individuals in that process might feel.