[ssf] Re: [g8-sheffield] An active week in Sheffield, and thoughts for the future

Chris chris at aktivix.org
Sun Jun 19 13:02:33 BST 2005


Great write up, how about posting it to Indymedia?

Regarding the meeting today to discuss the future of the
space Indymedia people did plan to have a meeting to
discuss this but it never happened in a formal way,
however people are all keen on having an Indymdia space.

Also it would be good to have a space for a hacklab
(this could be the same space as the Indymedia space), for
more on hacklabs see:


I can't make it to the meeting today, I hope it goes well.


PS In a while (mirrors have to update...) Sheffield will
   be the top story on the global Indymedia web site:


On Sun 19-Jun-2005 at 12:47:05AM +0000, Benjamin Major wrote:
> Saturday June 18^th,
> ^^ 
> The end of a long, active week. I can t believe a week has passed since I was
> scurrying around the General Cemetery for Peace in the Park making sure that
> there were enough folk wandering around with yellow jackets and collecting
> buckets. Since then, so many people have placed so much of their energy into
> working towards our shared beliefs, and I would first like to thank them all
> here for that.
> I have barely heard a negative comment for Peace in the Park this year.
> Miraculously, it all came together and provided a perfect starting point for
> our mobilisations against the G8 in Sheffield. Wednesday saw a demo which saw
> us progress further into the town centre than we had initially hoped. Thursday
> saw us eating rice in the park, at least until things turned brutal for some.
> Friday, some of us took an unanticipated walk with others in a solemn, gagged
> procession though town in our orange Guantomano bay suits, with bewildered
> stares directed at us from all directions. Everything finished off by a huge
> party in our beautiful convergence space which went way beyond my expectations.
> Aside from demos and peaceful protests, which are of course only a part of our
> movement, another important aspect is the searching for alternatives- and in
> this regard some workshops did materialise, and not to forget the more informal
> conversations that must have passed in-between people throughout the days of
> action. But more still needs to be done here, and I will speak more of this
> shortly.
> There was a little bit of talk about a proper revitalization for the social
> forum shortly before G8 impact. I don t know what the feelings of people are
> about this now, I myself was not around at the social forum s conception (haven
>  t been back in Sheffield for very long) and only finally managed to make a
> showing at what has been the forum s last facilitating space to date- the open
> meeting back in March, from which grew the nucleus for the Sheffield Against
> the G8 group. But this is for me in miniature a perfect example of a social
> forum at work- a collective of people whose motivations might be quite diverse
> but whose aims have an inevitable affinity. Without overarching agenda, this
> forum should have a rhyzomic form which builds it s roots amongst the many
> people who live in Sheffield who strive hard for very good causes and which
> produces its visible shoots, it s practical action, at the very nodes which
> concern us all, such as the arrival of undemocratic and uninvited visitors into
> out town. The reason why political parties with strict agendas should be remote
> but not estranged from our engagements is because the realm of politics is one
> of constant compromise, yet our forum is not of one of compromise but of
> seeking out the best of many possible worlds, or the best of many possible
> Burngreaves etc  We work in the spaces, we work on the outside and in-between
> and then it is left for some of us to try and push those  possibles  into the
> spheres of existing non-radical politics in whatever way we can. No one should
> worry about the non-rigid structure of the social forum. It s not supposed to
> be that way. Rather than having a meeting twice a month, fewer but wider, more
> open meetings like the one in March would perhaps be a good way to go- then
> when a particular issue does require a exceptional convergence of attention
> then further discussions, finer roots, can be extended out in more focused
> meetings.
> What was most interesting to me about the counter-G8 actions over the last few
> days was the varied assemblages of people who turned out to make their voices
> heard. From filthy dirty autonomist radicals, families sporting Make Poverty
> History sashes, the socialist choir, the newly sprung Independent Socialist
> Youth Forum, and our amazing little anarchist punks who took it upon themselves
> to start up a separatist sit in on the road at the Rice for Dinner event.
> Though I declined to join the latter on their ill-fated (but worthwhile)
> venture I do nevertheless think their show of rebellion was remarkable and is
> an energy to be harnessed. It has been a while since such collective shows of
> defiance against authority has emerged in Sheffield against such young people.
> I am in my early Twenties and I cannot remember there being such a politically
> motivated mobilisation with which to put all my passion and rage into when I
> was at school or college in the working class northern estates of Sheffield in
> which I grew up (that s maybe why I sent those years beating myself up
> instead). Though I don t subscribe to the ACAB school of political philosophy
> in any shape or form, I nevertheless felt that what these kids were doing was
> partially exciting- true, out there on the front line of the demo, so to speak,
> any distinct notions of world peace and justice might have escaped their heads
> to be replaced by a  us and them  mentality, but just some of those kids might
> just have the potential some day to be fully equipped fighters for the global
> justice movement, and for local issues too. This doesn t necessarily imply a  
> mass mobilisation of working class people  as it may have done before, but
> merely a chance to join us all in a social space where they can share
> experiences and ideas with long time campaigners (helping to locate those nodes
> in the political and cultural space which are looking fucked) in the way they
> have been able to at the convergence space in the last few days. At least until
> the call from their mum that dinner s on the table.
> All of this leads me to the final big paragraph for the day! Our lovely
> building which served us so well for days of converging might well provide us
> with a social centre for Sheffield- something my mind has kept drifting towards
> since I ve been back in Sheffield (nearly one year now). A meeting on Sunday
> afternoon will provide us with an opportunity to discuss the possibilities for
> this space in the future. Gigs, flims, meetings are all things which of course
> can be facilitated by such a space. But just as important are the provision of
> workshops and seminars, which I am very interested in pursuing, which encourage
> the critical examination of perspectives on the kinds of issues that have been
> filling out heads all week, the kinds of issues that the G8 ministers came here
> to discuss in the first place, in a non-hierarchical and co-operative fashion.
> It has not been lost on me, the amount of creativity and imagination that has
> been spurred by our affinitive distrust for our unelected global
> agenda-setters, from the smallest of banners to the organisation of colourful
> festivals and rice meals. Why not try and keep this alive? Peace in the Park
> could have a year-round presence in the form of creative workshops at the
> social centre which start off with a quote, a film or something revealing or
> encapsulating some kind of social injustice and would then continue with
> painting, music-making, dancing which centres on that theme. Indymedia
> workshops too- with an effort to reach out to members of the community who want
> to write about some other local issue other then  that great protest they
> attended yesterday - I mean it can t be only us activists who are sick to death
> of the mainstream media, can it?
> So many uses for a social centre. Not to mention very occasional parties to
> celebrate our own humanity 
> But above let s keep the momentum going. The G8 coming to Sheffield could be a
> waking call for lots of young people in Sheffield who could provide an
> assemblage of new, fresh, exciting multiplicities of  other worlds  which are
> possible.
> Sheffield, again, well done. Let s keep our minds on it,
> Yeah, we re everywhere.
> Complexitybenjamin, a quiet activist.

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