The first Grassroots Gathering

Saturday Nov 24 2001; Teachers Club - (reg 11.00sharp)

The first Grassroots Gathering took place in Dublin, Sat 24th Nov 2001. About 80 people attended and amongst other things decided to hold an anti-war demonstration at Shannon airport and that the next Gathering would bein Cork over Easter.Below is the page that was set up to advertise it, for an account of what happened scroll further down the page.

Invite to the Gathering [PDF file of the invite]

People endorsing the 1st Gathering

PDF file of a poster advertising the gathering
{print it out and display it locally}

The fish

Timetable for Grassroots Gathering

Our gathering will take place over two days, the first to becomprised of general discussions between those who attend as belowand the second, for those interested in ensuring this processcontinues, to set up some form of formal co-ordination structure.

Agenda - Day 1 Saturday Nov 24 2001 &endash; Teachers Club - (reg.11.00 sharp)

Three sessions each of which will comprise a very shortintroduction followed by small group facilitated discussions of thetopic with key points being noted and displayed around the venue forpeople in the other groups. This method has been used with somesuccess at similar gatherings internationally

11.00 &endash; Registration starts
It is VERY important to arrive well before the start of the firstsession at 11.30 so that you can register and so that we can dividepeople into discussion groups.

Session 1 - (Introduction Nick Jones) 11.30 - 1.00
Who are we and why have we come here

Session 2 - (Introduction by Eoin Ó Broin) 14.00 -15.30
The what, why and when of bottom up organisation

Session 3 (Introduction by Laurence Cox) 15.45 - 17.00
What can we do together in the future

Sunday Nov 25th Spacecraft (North wall, more details and map available Saturday)

The Sunday meeting is for people who agree with the gathering statement, see end of post.

Starting at 11.30 to end around 15.00. People need to bring their own lunch.


A network which would

- Be based on the principle that people should controltheir own lives and work together as equals, as part of how we workas well as what we are working towards.

- Within the network this means rejecting top-down andstate-centred forms of organisation (hierarchical, authoritarian,expert-based, Leninist etc.) We need a network that's open,decentralised, and really democratic.

- Call for solutions that involve ordinary people controllingtheir own lives and having the resources to do so: the abolition, notreform, of global bodies like the World Bank and WTO, and a challengeto underlying structures of power and inequality.

- Organise for the control of the workplace by those who workthere.

- Call for the control of communities by the people who livethere.

- Argue for a sustainable environmental, economic and socialsystem, agreed by the people of the planet.

- Working together in ways which are accessible to ordinarypeople, particularly women and working-class people, rather thanreproducing feelings of disempowerment and alienation within our own network.

Grassroots Gathering - The Important first Steps

On the 24th and 25th of November an important event took place called the Grassroots Gathering in Dublin. Individual activists called for this meeting from the following organisations - Irish Mexico Group, Gluaiseacht, Workers Solidarity Movement, Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation, and the Alliance of Cork Anarchists.

As I arrived at about 10.30 on Saturday morning I was impressed with the numbers of people walking in and signing the registration forms. All in all almost 100 people registered over the course of the day. We all had come to the gathering from all over the island as activists to try and set up a new network based on the principals that people should be in charge of their own lives.

We wanted to reject the top down organisational model for one that's open and truly democratic. People had come from various backgrounds with different concerns - but we were in that gathering to work together to find a means to working towards some solutions that would bring about empowerment to those effected.

The first day was divided into 3 separate sessions and small work groups were set up. A good idea was that the workgroups were set up randomly (i.e. in an attempt to put people together who hadn't met before) and we each addressed the topics. Why we were there ? How to organise from the bottom up ? What could we do in the future?

From a personal perspective I found the 3 sessions very refreshing and though provoking. People attending were all coming from an activist background - and we could all learn from our different experiences. There was also a good display of mutual respect for differing opinions and tactics. We came up with some ideas of trying to spread knowledge on the various issues we were all working on. Nobody was there to specifically sell a line - convince you to buy a paper or join The Party. This led to a productive day were we agreed to work more closely in the future on specific agreed issues.

The second day we met up in Spacecraft (a warehouse) and the people there tried to come up with what could be done in the future. A planned national anti-war demonstration at Shannon - was organised from this meeting and that duly took place on the 15th of December. We also plan to involve more people - swap information about what the various groups are up to - and we plan to have another gathering - in Cork at Easter.

I found the whole experience very inspiring - and was impressed to see so many motivated activists who are not only yearn for a better world - but are intent and prepared to work towards it.

Dermot Sreenan