This weekend HUB Meeting Milan took place in different social centers round the city. The first edition was held in Barcelona, September 2011.
Friday morning activists from various european countries (Spain, Italy, Holland, Netherlands, France, Morocco, UK, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Belgium and Sweden) sheared their situation and experiences concerning democracy, immigrants’ problems, European Welfare, commons and austerity policies.
In the afternoon all participated in a demostration organised by diffent italian collectives and unions. Protest was against the debt situation, financial powers and the latest proposal for labour reforms. The meeting point was in Piazza Medaglie d’Oro and the peacefull parade arrived to Piazza Affari, where poeple from the different collectives talked about the main issues, asking for the writing off of debt, halt to social cuts and end of corruption. People from Anti-TAV movement called for solidarity with the difficult situation of the protesters in Susa Valley, trying to stop the unsustainble construction of the high speed train.
Saturday meeting was held in the occupied social center Casa Morigi. The main issues discussed were GlobalMay mobilizations May 12-15th (http://www.globalmay.org/) and Blockupy Frankfurt May 16-19th (http://www.european-resistance.org/es/international ). Cities made reports on the projects, ideas and situation up to the date. Work is in progress.
A skype call with an Occupy Wall Street New York activist also took place, who gave updates on activities and mobilisations programmed in the United States, that will concentrate on May 1st Mayday.
A call for actions and assemblies, with or without camps, from 1st to 15th May will be made in the next days. Countries present want to use the two weeks from May 1st and assemblies to build up to 12th and 15th May and discuss where to go from there at a local and international level.
Audiovisuals of the meetings:
http://bambuser.com/v/2518829 (1/4) 1/2 Cities feedback http://bambuser.com/v/2519084 (1/4) 2/2 Building up the Global May http://bambuser.com/v/2516045 (31/3)
1st April pm. Break up in two groups to work on Global May 1st, 12th & 15th and Blockupy Frankfurt May 16th to 19th.
(Spain) International communication strategies and tools are being developed through international collaboration. On a state level we’ve been taking themes down to our assemblies: education, healthcare, etc.We think this can be translated to international level, because we have seen movements touching on the same themes. We should include them in meetings. Every Friday international communication meeting is held, we will send you an email with all the tools and dates. There is a webpage created constructed by all of us where we can add all our demands and actions. Please send all your logos, information so we can load them all there. There is a group called translations brigades, so we can all work in different languages. We will also send you a link to them. There is also a newsletter, next one comes out next Monday. There is a list of countries reached out to. Its very important we include Africa, South America and Asia. If you have any contacts you feel are missing, add them there. We already have contacts with Australia, China, South America, etc. There will be an assembly dedicated just to use of Twitter and deciding on hashtags. The web is open (www.globalmay.org), everyone can participate and help to build it, actually more participation is needed. There is a map where we can add all the cities involved and participating.
You will receive an email with all of today’s contacts, including the mumble tool, calendar, website, information on N-1, newswire, filming of this event and minutes. An email will be made available for questions you may have about anything.
(Italy) We need more things connected to reality. We think we need a logo, call, concrete things because text is important.
(Spain) All this is being discussed in these assemblies, we will talk about demands next.
(Italy) Also for our website, we know from experience that actions and mobilisation come from specific websites, not one single website. Also community, organisation etc.
(Spain) The website created is for coordination, each country does its own actions.
(Italy) How effective has the global call for action been and do we need another one?
(Spain) There is a Facebook event, but there still has not been an international global call.
(Italy) Important to explain how Mumble works.
(Spain) Tutorial being sent by email, its really simple (3 minute video).
(Italy) Is there control over what is being published?
(Spain) There is a space where things are put into consensus. Things are still under construction as there has not been a global call.
International coordination has been working since January and is being built up.
(Italy) The approval process is not clear for these demands. Also the software.
(Spain) It is impossible to have a single logo, call or manifesto. So right now we are collecting all ideas.
There is also a welcome group for people who are coming in new to the dynamics. A lot will be explained there.
b. Build up towards May, narrative and actions:
(Paris) We talk about global revolution. I think there are two very important points that everyone keeps in mind. These events have to be nationally coordinated. Example 15 May Democracia Real Ya (Spain) worked really hard for doing something all over Spain and helped to create the movement. Really important to make this big impact. International meetings like this are real virtual. Real power to destroy is at state level. Good national coordination will have a real impact.
Second point, create non-stop protest. One day alone will not create the results you desire. Maybe start a camp. For these two things, the main axis is communication. If you want to continue non-stop protest you need to reach a lot of people to secure a place. The more people there are, whatever the action, the more people will secure the place and the day after. Power relations, relations of force with the police, will work for you. Communication to reach maximum of people and make it work nationally.
(Rome) Building up the process. Building national links between the movements. Here in Italy we have been talking about it for weeks. In order not to do everything together but also not work against each other. Create some occasions to meet all together.
(London) We are in a phase in which Occupy London has shrunk a bit. We are planning a series of meetings where we will invite other activist groups, explain what our plans are but then allow them to take actions on that day, those dates, autonomously. Inviting supporters we may have lost on the way, have each working group say what they have been doing all these months.
15th April, six months anniversary, we are planning actions, something soft to attract media attention. We started now designing flyers, posters, stickers, just to say May is happening. Will get more specific. 21st and 22nd of April weekend, skill sharing, training for facilitation, DA etc.
In London we have the misfortune and the opportunity to have some of the biggest multinationals and corporations on our doorsteps. We will invite people to pay them a visit on 12th May. We need to get the message across as clearly as possible if we are talking about a global movement. That is why October 15th worked so well.
(Netherlands) I would like to summarise things since Tahrir square. First message, it is possible, even the Arab people can mobilise and overthrow a dictator. May 15th in Spain, take the square was burned into our memories. Then we saw the spread to the US, another least expected place, in OWS. This call was made by Adbusters. Got grassroots response. No media attention but everyone got the message. OWS spread through the media was what made October 15th so big. Was the case at least in the Netherlands. We spent a lot of energy on the camps, duplicated OWS and Spain but did not know what to do afterwards. We need a call to start something as magnificent as OWS, this can be something creative, e.g. Occupation of Frankfurt, 1st of May we can link already existing labour struggles to already existing mobilisations in May. Let´s call for May 1st. This can then contribute to 12th and 15th May and occupation of Frankfurt.
(London) To add to this, Occupy London is thinking of an occupation.
We have to use this assembly like a megaphone. Use 1st of May to arrive at 15th of May. We have to write a text today. Use 1st May as day of call. Something like arise.
(Barcelona) There is a lot of work done out there by many more people than are present in these assemblies. I do not think that a text coming out of 30 people here will be representative of the assemblies.
15th October will be international day for writing off the debt. There is already work being done on that by 11 countries.
(Madrid) Good idea. Make a small group, three or four people, because more is complicated, working on a text. And come back. We will take it to Global Assembly.
(Paris) May 1st will be the day of the workers, it will be the day to unite. I think we can all agree at this meeting to unite the 99% on that day.
(London) I think it would be a disaster to try and write the text now, it would take us days. If we agree to feed back to our movements that on May 1st we are occupying for a specific period of time leading to 15th May and then each movement can put a call out in each country and each movement puts together their own text. So agree on the tactic, as opposed to working on the text.
(Barcelona) We can include an open collaborative pad in the email we will send, so we can work online.
(Paris) But we agree that 1st May is crucial step to build up for 15th May.
(London) I think we have to acknowledge that there are many different platforms on Occupy and no one is more important than the other. What we can say in this meeting is that we are giving a call of action for May. I don´t think that even a pirate pad is more inclusive. We can´t expect that all will use the same tactic.
Proposal: out of this Hub meeting, send another global call for actions on the dates of 1st, 12th and 15th May.
() But this call for actions is already out, that is why we are here now. Becoming more specific might be useful in terms of mobilisation.
(Naples) I think that in any case after this meeting, we need to highlight some points for the call of Mayday, 1st of May because that is a very important day. Here in Italy we have a long tradition of alternative Mayday activities. We have to connect all these specificities. We need to exit this meeting with something.
(Rome) The global call is written on a pad on the globalmay.org since the beginning. There is a working group on it. Maybe we can add something to this rather than make a new document.
(Paris) I think it is really important to keep maybe three or four lines of the global call but add a few lines to connect to local affairs in your country. Adapt to local situations.
(London) Two points. The most important thing to do now is send out the callout with a clear indication of what platforms we are now using. Second, I do not think we need to worry too much about getting a statement out of this meeting, it will take four or five hours. For people who come from assemblies, we cannot endorse a statement for Occupy London, we are here as individuals to share information.
We can, as individuals, suggest something to our movement and see how it goes. I think that bringing together all the events happening in all different countries is really important. I would like to propose a two-week occupation starting on 1st May and leading to 15th. Something to take back as a proposal. Do people here agree on a call-out from this meeting?
(Barcelona) An impression from Spain. I think the idea of camping together all over the world is nice but May 1st is not so strong in Spain. If we do camp, it will probably be from the 12-15th and if it comes it will be spontaneous.
(Belgium) It is a good way of raising public consciousness.
() To call a 15-day long occupation, what happens after the 15th? Is this like a 15-day protest? Or a strike.
() It is not a strike, it is an occupation.
(London) I would like to propose an amendment. A two-week occupation in May, that way would accommodate also Spain.
(Netherlands) We can suggest something while everybody is here. This is something getting clear. We can call for an international occupation in Europe to support May 1st strike in United States, to link with that. Frankfurt can be a good counterpart of OWS. Occupation in one country locally but international participation. In the Netherlands it cannot be national reoccupation of everything, same in Spain. Linking labour issue and financial dictatorship. Your reaction was, it should be linked to the labour issue.
(Paris) The revolution will happen by the people who maintain the system. The system is not afraid by us, because they do not need us. They need the people who are working.
(Netherlands) Can you identify a concrete target?
(Paris) The 99%?
() We have two proposals now. Making a call-out to occupy public space on May 1st for 2 weeks and what is the other?
() Every country can use this occupation to highlight their issues. I do not think we are in a position to impose a narrative for every country.
(Naples) It is a good proposal but you have to think there are different situations where such a proposal cannot be realised. For example, in Italy we already have a lot of occupied spaces and have problems to keep them free. We have to be more flexible, focus on the idea that 1st May is labour day. We have to link to it and organise alternative actions, maybe only for one day. Each country does what is possible. Because this is not an invisible meeting we have to say that people gathering here calling for a May mobilisation starting May 1st, then Frankfurt days. That is all. Then each country, platform, group, can add some specificity related to the situation. That is very free and very open.
(London) I see more risk having a call for camps, it may not happen. 15th October we did not know how hard it was going to be with camps. In this call out we say, occupations around the world will be creating new camps, doing this, that, the other actions, so this can get people excited.
(Netherlands) We heard that in some countries unions, NGOs, occupy and other movements are trying to converge. This is a very painful process. There was as a communication the idea of supporting the grassroots citizen assemblies by this process, as a methodology, decision-making process. Maybe instead of a camp, we can start assemblies every day the 1st of May to expand and include rank and file and share our methodology with them while showing support.
(Paris) Attended a meeting with 200 organisations and unions who wanted to link more with the Indignados and they are part and participants of Blockupy Frankfurt. There is a proposal fot the implementation of unitary citizen committees in all cities in order to resist European Union attacks, and show solidarity with Greece. They are planning to implement platforms of coordination open to all people, syndicates and maybe political parties to start campaigning against the European Treaty of Austerity.
(Rome) What is important for now is, regarding each country, to build up a place to discuss the actions for Global May, if this does not exist already. To improve the international document with the results of this workshop.
(Barcelona) Proposal: make a call to have actions and assemblies, with or without camps, from 1st to 15th May. We want to use these two weeks and these assemblies to build up to 12th and 15th May and discuss where to go from there.
Also take local discussion to Frankfurt at an international level, about where to go from May, mid-long term strategies, not only actions and mobilisations. I envision May not as the moment things will change but the moment where more people will rise and join the movements.
() Probably for us it is quite clear but it lacks the sense, that is to say, why do we need to do something on those days. A little, two words about the why.
() Mention the birth of the acampadas? Introduce this in the document? Introduce an explanatory element?
Disagreement – We should keep things international, no longer national level.
(Paris) 15th May 2011 was the beginning of a new movement for real democracy. Action planned against Goldman Sachs on the 18th.
(London) I think going into more details at this stage would take us hours. I think the best thing to do is to keep the proposal as simple as possible, as it is now, and individual movements in different countries can focus on different things. Italy can focus on workers situation, England and London more on the financial side of things. Let us use this proposal as an invitation of the movements around Europe to feed into and mobilise
(Lubliana) When you talk about direct democracy and assembly democracy, there is an assembly that is built, and one that comes together. This is an assembly of people who discuss topics related to 1st, 12th, 15th May and Frankfurt. Let us do something to reflect the reasons why we are here.
Come together of both groups:
(Berlin) Blockupy Frankfurt work group feedback:
Decentralised, local mobilisation efforts that will also be taking place in different European cities. Communication structures: we will make sure that all of the information regarding when events are taking place as well as the details of arrival in Frankfurt etc. are communicated through the Interbloccupy mailing list. We talked a bit about the situation in specific places, then about the logistics of the blockade, how the finger concept works, legal help to be provided, newsletters to be sent out, how we expect the police situation to be. We also spoke about the link to the G8 and Nato meetings, protests in the US on the same weekend. Frankfurt is happening in this context. At the end, we talked about the split between 12th and 15th May and Frankfurt, we saw it is a geographical split, Spain and UK were here, Slovenia was split, a bit disappointing. This is not politically conflicting, these are all things that build on each other, are collaborative and can be built up on one another. Let us try and bring these together more.
(London) The action that is happening in Frankfurt requires that people move to Frankfurt, so as national movements we try to find ways to mobilise our own people and supporters. It is unrealistic for the Indignados and Occupy movement to call for their supporters to move to Frankfurt. We can organise things at a national level but we cannot ask people to move around.
(London) I think it is amazing what Frankfurt is proposing but the way I am perceiving it is as an action that is proposed and is being asked to be endorsed, advertised etc. while the call for action for May I perceived it much more as 15th October, with people organising autonomously. I do not consider this a country split but they are two different approaches. They are two different concepts about how we go about mobilising people.
(Barcelona) I agree, we have a dynamic of being more inclusive. There has been a lot of work done by assemblies on 12-15 May since January. I personally really like your plans about Frankfurt and would like to be there. We will take the message to Spain because it has not really penetrated in the country. They are 100% into 12th and 15th May, now we have received more news, I will definitely take it back to assemblies. It is a good opportunity as you said before, if we will be having general assemblies, to talk about mid and long-term strategies (debt, housing, the commons…) not just actions. I see the two as complementary.
() Occupation or real democracy or direct democracy, from my experience, is to rebuild our world anew from below. We cannot act as if we represent something because we are against representative democracy. These meetings should lead to exchange of experiences and support and upon this to find commonalities. The idea of rebuilding the world from below means we have to discuss and then come up with common call or proposal for actions. Otherwise, we start to formalise everything. This Hub meeting happening here is as important as OWS or Occupy London. We have to get engaged and listen to each other and find commonalities. It is not easy, will change from one situation to another but that is direct democracy, an open-ended process.
(Naples) I do not see any kind of counter-position between 12-15th May and Frankfurt organisation. I do not see any contradiction between nationwide mobilisation and international call to get a target that is quite clear, call for a gathering of people in one place. We have to face the fact that mobilisation at country level is quite important as a process of accumulation but in the economic condition we are now, internationalisation of space, politics, economics is quite real. We also need to fight at this level, get answers and new forms of proposal from below. I think May will be very important because it will be able to combine these two aspects. May 1st day of reforms, against precarity, workers´rights. May 12th-15th spread different, flexible, different types of mobilisation at a national level. Then we need to gather in Frankfurt, this is not something that is German, it is a symbolic situation, the location of the ECB. ECB is not our direct enemy but a tool in the hands of financial powers. We need to get an answer over and above national level. The Greek experience is very strong. Pervasive struggle in each European struggle from one side and at the same time have the possibility to define an international target, I think that is a good strategy. So we have to follow both. We have to use our hearts and brains to organise the 1st May, 12th and 15th but also make a general call in Frankfurt, not to say we have to choose, that is quite masochistic.
(Berlin) I am also in favour of decentralised actions, fighting where you live and work. I think that getting in the movement at one point with a possibility to come together on a personal level, communicate and make new contacts. The perspective on the situation is different if we are just talking with ourselves about the alternatives. It is better to make it directly to the meetings, important to do this very often in the future. Some fractions to capital do not like what we do. There is still the option to play the nationalist card in full force. For example, the unemployment benefit in Germany which was right for all European citizens to get money from the state whether they are unemployed in Berlin or any other city, was cut off today. From tomorrow the unemployed non-Germans living in Germany will have no unemployment benefits. There is one solution, for them to get any job they can or go home. There will be a struggle, people will demand what they had before. We do not know how the right wing will react. This is a nationalist discourse. It is really important that we come together as Europeans.
(London) I think we all understand the importance of the action in Frankfurt. I think we need to take it further and see how we can come together with a call-out. The idea would be to come with a callout from this meeting, not the Indignados or Occupy as we cannot speak on behalf of others. Instead of going around and talking about politics maybe we can focus on the actions and come up with a callout.
(Paris) Include a callout against Goldman Sachs or ECB. Maybe you can make this kind of link more visibly.
(London) A lot of people have left and we are quite tired. All people interested in making an exact text for this callout, there is a working text (pirate pad), maybe we should put a deadline to this, next Wednesday?
(Berlin) What I meant before about the split was also a self-criticism, like you guys said earlier, a lot of the information about the planning for Frankfurt did not make it to the Indignados. I hope that from this meeting we can strengthen our communication structures between movements. I think one of the reasons that the communication up until now has not been so good is because the landscapes of activists are quite different, e.g. Indignados are more connected to Occupy London, if they would reach in Germany, they would reach out to occupations in Germany. The left radical groups are not doing a good job of reaching out to these groups. Today has been a great step. Now we have a contact information.
(Naples) I will try to make some operative conclusions. This meeting was very useful for making contacts, face-to-face can be more important. Mobilisation between south and north of Europe will now be better. There are lots of differences in practices, of course, but we need to transform these differences into richness and not a problem. From a practical way, after sharing all the information at a national level, we built up two mailing lists, first about people at this Hub meeting, second about the Frankfurt organisation. We hope that in the next days we will receive the possibility to be inscribed and start as soon as possible the sharing of ideas, proposals, documents.
Second point, we will discuss in this mailing list the sort of callout, also for our press communication. If you agree, we can call this kind of mobilisation the 20-days that will subvert Europe and the world, because there is a link with OWS and Chicago. We will discuss this callout. We will use the globalmay.org platform for this.