This is a space to share tools, valuable ideas, concepts and strategies between the different grass-root social movements
1. The use of pads like this is useful to make collaborative work of any kind – also to work on translations in an open source way
2. Solidarity is always the best tool. This can’t be stressed enough. An attack to one is an attack to everyone
3. Mumble is an extraordinary tool to organize and build new ideas. However, as it is only a voice conference chat, and our face aren’t seen, it is not really suitable for large groups. For that, we lately use open space on mumble (I need to explain this further).
4. To get Mumble assemblies multilingual, the Translator Brigades have been in the months previous to May12, translating online virtual assemblies in Spanish – English. If this was needed, as most translators are amateur and unable to make simultaneous translation, the easiest way to make it is, instead of interrupting people every 10 seconds, to let them talk, and take notes of what they are saying, in a pad like this. His or her intervention will be written down in the pad, and the translator can translate it from the pad in an easy way.
5. We meet in the quartiers weekly, in different quartiers of the city. Then we meet back together in the central square of the city every 2 or 4 weeks. The Open Space Technology was used in 12m15m in a very sucessful way, since it allows to manage big numbers of people willing to talk, and to manage diversity and decision-making very effectively
6. www.legal15m.blogspot.com is a group of lawyers in the movement who give free assesment to anyone involved in legal problems derived from their activism. It is an extremely useful tool, since they give strategical information to the movement about what we can and cannot do and/or demand
7. www.occupywallst.org is a centralized OWS blog which has been translated by the Translator Brigades into Spanish since the very begining. 15-M, OR, and every movement could copy that iniciative and have always such a powerful speaker within the movement, and also outside the country (we can even think of translating each others blogs, once we’re ready).
8. The Peaceful Methodology, Active Nonviolence group has develop dozens of valuable technics to protect peaceful protesters in demonstrations, such as the use of White Blocks and more.
9. The Conflict Mediation team facilitates the nonviolent processes in demonstrations, mediate with the police and, increasingly, also, mediate in inner conflicts in the movement. Unlike capitalists, who have a very clear, shared goal (maximizing profit) social movements depend upon consensus to move forward, and that process, made of words and dialogue, is a complex one. A team of mediators is an excellent way to develop nonviolent communication skills and to actively move toward consensus
10. Translator Brigades has been translating also global calls to action, such as 29october.net, 10december.net, may12.net, etc, also adbusters.org, the mentioned occupywallst.org blog and live assemblies. There is a growing website of the group at www.translatorbrigades.org. It would be wonderful to tighten bonds with our Russian comrades and form joint groups of translators
11. The Equipo Te (Team T) is in charge of all the technological side of Democracia Real Ya. They keep innovating and tackling technological problems. They are geographically dispersed so they work thorugh mumble
12. Livestream is a powerful tool the comrades from Occupy have been using extensively with outstanding results. It is like the “people’s tv” of the future, an effective way to overcome corporate media information monopoly. They use 4th generation cell phones for that, have something like professionalized journalist-activists and thorugh channels like www.livestream.com/globalrevolution they connect live with Barcelona, Athens, Moscow, wherever.
13. The 15-M movement in Spain runs practically without money. Money is usually seen with suspition, in the sense they can be an attempt to co-opt the movement. For specific projects, a crowd-founding online tool like www.goteo.org is being used sometimes (small, anonymous donations to specific projects).
14. Many of us dislike Facebook for different reasons: it is a corporate big brother machine in which the product eing sold is ourselves and our private information. It can be very powerful to spread messages and to “reach out” in general terms, but to organzie, to debate ideas, to push forward important projects, it has important limitations. There is an active search for alternatives, like N – 1 , or maybe the son coming www.wlfriends.org , www.rev-earth.org or www.tgs.org, also www.riseup.net
15. OWS comrades use www.reddit.com a lot as an organizing tool
16. www.roarmag.org, www.adbusters.org are interesting, though-provoking magazines which have inspired the movement. http://takethesquare.net/ is an international website an network with people from the movements from all around the world. It has news from the movements and interesting resources. The website http://howtocamp.takethesquare.net/ has a frankly broad range of resources made by grass-root activists around the world, with plenty of useful advice.
17. http://agorasolradio.blogspot.com.es/ is a proeminent radio of the movement. They interview different people, make debates, spread ideas, empower the vice of activists and regular citizens
18. Reflectantes – creative activism. Usually the media tries to silence our movement. However, when violent incidents (this is, property destruction) arises, they get crazy about it, they love to portray activists as violent marginals. A way to move forward out of this is creative activism: thorugh the use of imagination, theatrics, art, activists can break the rules of the game in nonviolent ways, confuse policemen, protect activists and attrack positive media attention. Check www.comoacabarconelmal.net or http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/laughriot.html
19. Self-managed social centers: in differetn quartiers along the cities of the country, citizens are moving from indignation to action, occupying (releasing) old buildings misused for speculative purposes. In some of them, self-managed social centers (with community libraries, movie theatre, forums of discussion, kindergarten, etc) are built. Also, the hotels 15-O in Madrid and Barcelona served to host a considerable number of families who had seen their houses foreclosed.
20. In Catalunya recently the local government launched a website were the police puts pictures of activists supposedly involved in violent actions, and ask the citizenship to help to identify them (www.foroseguridad.net). As police brutality soars, citizens could very well build a similar website, where the police brutality, arbitrary arrests and violence is systematically exposed. This website should be translated in the languages the inmigrants and other minorities speak, so they can fully empower themselves against security State harassments
21. We try by all means to remain open , horizontal, confident, fearless. In spite of the fact that policemen are infliltrated in the movement. we know it. We know we ŕe being vigilated. They want to intimidate us and, over all, to make us suspect from our neighbour, from our comrade, will he or she be an infiltrated cop? Interestingly enough, instead of provoking fear and keeping people at home, this often has a rebound effect. in the sense normal people react with extraordinary dignity and determination. the single best chance and hope from our oppresors is to insuse fear in our hearts and minds. and they are failing to do so.
Our best tool is and will always be courage, solidarity among equals and the fact that a fundamental truth is on our side: that a 1% of the population cannot exploit and degrade the rest of the 99% unless they resign to let that happen. Horizontality, too, guarantees that the movement cannot be “beheaded” We assembly in public spaces, we share the minutes with everyone in highly visible websites (www.tomalaplaza.net) and yet, we frustrate their desire to lead us to self-repress ourselves, we haven’t changed, for we have nothing to hide. Their Panopticon, their Big Brothers seems not to be working any more.
The squares, our groups, bonds, our space, the movement as a whole, is an inmense laboratory of freedom. In the misdt of the crisis, where many people restort out of desperation to strong political figures which tell us “You must feel fear, but I will be your saviour”, we say “The people is not the problem, nor the solutions are the banks. The people is the solution. We gather in the squares, assume our freedom and responsibility and start an egalitarian and inclusive dialogue in the search for a society made by and for the people. We are free and we are not scared of using our freedom. We learn to use it by using it. We are bulding together the world of tomorrow”. These grass-roots movements have a historical mission, for their very existence reminds us that history is an open book, and the people has decided to grab the pencil and dare to write by ourselves our own collective story.
22. The nature of the movement changes very much depending on the goals of the movement itself. A movement like that in Tahrir was born with a very specific goal: Mubarak must go. Also the Chilean students: free education for all, or Island, we don’t pay the debt. However, 15M and Occupy were born with broader, less tight objectives, so the process of the making of the political goals was kinda like when someone goes to the psychoanalist: he or she knows he feels a pain, but ignores why. This making of the agenda is a dialogical process. As much as it is important to know what we do NOT want, as times goes by and broad consensus are reached, knowing what we DO want is important. It may not be an inmediate process. In the may15 movement, which for the last year strongly rejected to embrace any specific cause or demand (apart from rejection of corruption and reform of the electoral law) more recently 5 basic claims arise, which are the result of long struggles, and also broad discussions
The main concept is “Citizen bailout” as opposed to “bank bailout”. As austerity measures are bringing our country down to hell, the concept “rescue the people, not the banks”, strongly appeals to many of us. The five main points of this people bailout includes:
- Guranteed dign housing for all
- Public and quality healthcare and education
- No more money for bailing out the banks
- Decent jobs for all, no to labour precaritization
- Transparency, civil and virtual liberties, network online democracy
The difficulty of knowing what we want is that we don’t know who “we”, exactly, are, what “we” means, and the process of making that “we” was and is a dialogic one for us. The challenge of saying what we do want, is the risk of not being inclusive, of detaching the claims of the 99% from those of a specifical political minority. Inclusion and diversity are of core importance. In the making of these agenda of claims, it was pretty much taken into account what the strongest struggles had already been, sheltering all of them below the all-comprehensive umbrella of the 15-M lable