chain-refl-action / estafette

ESTAFETTE-chain-refl-action PROJECTS

Global Estafette (now know as chain refl-action)

We need new forms of actions. Actions that will inspire and develop the struggle in new directions. We came up with the concept of Global Estafette as a possible manifestation of this.

R : A spokesperson expresses his concern over a problem of language in the estafette. Somebody clarifies that the Global Estafette is only a method and that there is no political content in the term.

N : a new meeting happened about this project during the ESF in london , it changed of name and is now knowned as Chain Refl-action


To stimulate communication between local campaigns within the network. To bring life to the exchange of ideas, experiences, analysis and reports of local actions and campaigns between local groups. In this manner the visibility of groups within the network and collective learning will be encouraged. This is to aim for more sustainable campaigns and actions and to connect groups working on, or interested in, a certain theme.



Instead of reaction to events that the powerful are initiating, we want to create our own reasons for actions and campaigns. So instead of, for example, demonstrating during a certain summit (e.g. G8, EU, WTO), we call for a Global Day of Action with our own theme and motivation.

The them Taking it Back can include many things and can therefore be adapted on a local level. Taking it Back is a different word for "reclaiming" and "reappropriation". The "it" in the Taking it Back could be for example: the commons, public space, housing, land, workplaces, water, etc.

R :A spokesperson doesn't like the theme of the Global Estafette: "Taking it Back". This is not very 'sexy'. "Reclaim" was mentioned but is overused as a theme. We should find a new word which hasn't been found so far...


Visualisation of the Global Estafette: Passing on a "torch of rebellion". Local groups will pass on their plans, reports, analysis and evaluations of their local Taking it Back actions, to the next local group on the estafette list.


The Global Estafette will find its kickioff in a Global Launch. This launch will be initiated by a network that came into existence in the PGA process meeting actions and campaigns. A date for this launch will not coincide with other action days. After this launch, local groups will take over the initiative and make their own actions and campaigns concerning the theme. In other words, after tha launch, actions will "spiral" locally around the theme of Taking it Back. On a wiki-website (here! ), managed by the same network mentionned above, each local group will fix a date for its action.

C :A wikipage will only reach groups with access to the internet. There need to be other ways of distributing the knowledge as well. There should be other forms of communication than just the internet.Land !

P:a) Wiki-use is difficult. There should be guidelines to post on wiki. b) Make links on the PGA page. After the action each local group will post its reports, analysis and evaluations of the action on the website and send it to the next local group in the estafette. This is to stimulate the exchange of ideas around one theme, and to increase possibilities for closer cooperation and communication between local groups.

P:There should ideally be a physical (as opposed as only virtual) preparation meeting, with the group who organized the last estafette action and the group who will organize the next one, for each action in the estafette so groups meet face to face.

- The aim is to have such an estafette-action in some local community every month. Through the website, these actions will be coordinated globally.

C: The Estafette should go from continent to continent

R : Some group was not sure about the point of an estafette of local actions and thought that Global actions had more effect. Some other groups raised that the communication/linking groups aspect of the proposal was really good.

P : One of the question raised was about how to make sure the estafette doesn't get 'broken'? What to do in case of a 'weak link', for example a group that creates problems? One of the proposal was to have a coordinating group that takes care of the long term perspective (and make sure to restart it if it gets broken) and about the coherence of the various organized actions

W : The question was raised if a group of people wanted to commit themselves to start it. It was answered that the people that worked on this proposal had committed themselves to realizing it.

you can join these weirdos on the list they've just created ( about it and get informations through the Chain-refl-action wiki (

pga_chain_reflaction at this is the list presently used to organise the chain refl-action. You can subscribe at



Reclaiming our commons! Our rights to water!

Public spaces


Reconnecting electricity

Yomango! Land reform! A desalambrar!

Reappropriating public services !

[I imagine this (I am zero at layouts) maybe as a spiral of words, examples, (maybe even of city names, later on) maybe combined with a collage of images from around the world, anyhow, a spiral in three dimensions that kind of jumps out at you and is coiled around the title ( To suggest the chain reaction effect)]

[Here would come a text developing the theme with examples, etc. ...]

Chain Refl-Action?

Why propose a new form of common action-reflection?

Global Days of Action was the form of action that created this movement. In 1998 or 2000, knowing that people around the world were mobilising the same day on the same subject impowered millions. But today we can take that form of action a little for granted. Now PGA isn't the only source of calls and people will be in the streets anyhow, although this may still be an important form of action for many.

But what's the next step forward?

What else can an international network do for you (and vice-versa), especially at a time when for many of us the priority seems to be to engage more with our local realities, break out of our "ghettos", etc.? Is there much to share about local struggles? Yes! And that might be exactly what we need to get this movement into second gear. Just sharing the fact that there were so many thousand people in so many cities is no longer enough, but we can learn and be inspired if we can share deeper and more concretely:

- Are people in other places facing the same problems?

- What tactics, what new ideas have they tried?

- How did these work out?

In fact, we know that groups everywhere are facing the same sort of problems: the need to make the link with local, concrete organising against the effects of globalisation (but without getting limited to a reformist horizon); how to relate to more mainstream organisations in a firm but non-sectarian way; how to organise ourselves in an alternative or "horizontal" way; how to deal with "anti-terrorist" repression, etc.

Of course the "circulation of struggles" has already spread many new ideas informally: street parties, affinity groups, hand signs, blockade tactics or no border villages, for example.

Our new idea for the movement is that we have to concentrate on sharing them! So we propose a :

Chain Refl-Action

The aim: to stimulate the exchange of ideas, experiences, analysis and reports of local actions and campaigns between local groups, thus improving everyone's understanding of our situation. Doing the actions one after the other will allow us to all to really pay attention to the group that is "playing" at a particular moment, to learn from their experience (and if necessary show solidarity!)

Passing on "a torch of rebellion". Local groups will pass on their plans, reports, analysis and evaluations of their local actions. Other groups will perhaps relate to the analysis of a local group's general situation. Or perhaps they may be preparing an action on the same particular theme. The important thing is that they can profit from experiences elsewhere. Some people could actually travel to bring their story or a video. Maybe a symbolic sort of gadget that could go from place to place would be fun.

A Global "Estafette" (or relay): this was our first name for this idea, because this is the opposite of the simultaneous Global Days of Action. Each place can pick up the ideas, change or add to them, try them and pass them on.

A "Chain Refl-Action" is obviously a chain of reflections and actions. But is also a kind of chain reaction, the molecular process of runaway mutual activation that produces explosions? Unlike, Global Days of Action (GDA) this doesn't have to start big. It probably won't get media attention . (Actually even GDAs haven't generally got much as such. They've been more an inspiration to the movement itself.) But if half a dozen places play the game well people all over the world will be fascinated. We need this kind of exchange ! And it could lead to very big things...

On a wiki-website (managed by a network that came into existence in the PGA process meeting), each local group will announce its action. This doesn't (in fact shouldn't really) be an action invented specially for the Chain. It would be one of the actions of re-appropriation, of reclaiming that you are involved in anyway. The special effort would be to think more about how and why you are doing it. And telling the network about it before (unless of course it's a secret!).

After the action each local group will post its reports, analysis and evaluations of the action on the website and send it to the next local group. This is to stimulate the exchange of ideas and to increase possibilities for closer cooperation and communication between local groups. People can maybe travel to meet, send a video, etc. The aim is to have such an estafette-action in some local community, say every month.

Through the website, these actions will be coordinated globally. To stimulate some common analysis, a list of possibly pertinent (or impertinent) questions has been made. Propose others!

Possibly Pertinent Questions (PPQ)

- What's the general political scene in your area? How does your group relate to it?

- What limits your effectiveness? Does this action test some new way forward? - What is, in your opinion, the 'global' aspect of your local action? - Which striking things you've learned from this action you think are important for other activists to know? Did your action attract some media-attention and if so, what were they focussing on? - Did this action help you reach out beyond the usual circle of activists and or not ? If so why? Was it the theme? the form of action or communication? the kind of preparation, contacts, etc., made before? Or what? - After this action do you feel that you will have more or less political space, freedom of action, with respect to repression? Why?

(These aren't necessarily the best questions, but...).


The following is meant as first comments on Oliviers notes from London. What is most important from my point of view is in fact the content of the whole thing.

The idea that had been presented at the spokes council in Belgrade said besides things about the method the following about the theme:

" "TAKING it BACK" - (...) The theme Taking it Back can include many things and can therefore be adapted on a local level. Taking it back is a different word for "reclaiming" and "reappropriation". The "it" in Taking it Back could be for example: the commons, public space, housing, land, workplaces, water, etc."

As I said in London I would like to concentrate again on the idea, what - as I understood - was behind. Out of that reasons the possibilities Olivier set about the content are not really fitting, and I think we have to think about the first idea once again. About the method the proposal Olivier sent via that list had been a step forward from what had been said at the spokes council. I think it is really practical and well done. But as I mentioned also before the meeting in London I think there should be a combination in a call for that action between the method and a content. To refer to Oliviers possibilities concerning the content:

1) If we happened to all have the same subject on our agendas we could very well call it a "Chain Refl-Action on No-Borders" or on work conditions or public services or whatever.

I think this had not been the background when the idea came up – it had really been mixed with the thought about having something which could be a bridge between very different reappropriating struggles.

2) Or the theme could be some common aspect of our different activisms,such as : A Chain Refl-Action on breaking out of the ghetto, or organising horizontally, etc.

this is a question of the "level" – what we could reach with that actionform would possibly be one step in direction "out of the ghetto", but as the central content it is too much on the level of criticism INSIDE the network, the activist scene... the challenge would be even in the call to find references to other struggles, what means to try to mention some of them, trying to get some groups involved who have a special kind to work on different fields related to struggles which are more daily based and not so much concentrated on the own activist scene, for example this could be yomango, groups from Poland who worked about evictions of flats together with people who were affected, around the struggles against privatisation in the factories Serbia, about the appropriating moments of migration or even the squatting of land in South America... I could imagine a long list – also because the theme is really very wide. And I think the challenge would be to say some words about the (re)appropriating moments within those struggles. What would not mean to declare "braking out of the ghetto" in the title but more trying to do it via the content of a call and via trying to involve groups who have done an inspiring work about that before for a kind of launch day at the beginning. For the call I could imagine some kind of short overview (which would be for sure more a kind of spotlights than any kind of "complete" list) about ongoing struggles which we see as (re)appropriating, challenging the system...

3) At the limit, one could imagine a "Chain Refl-Action on activism " in general. The common ground of discussion would be given by the list of "possibly pertinent questions (PPQ)".

Again this is a kind of inside view – and I think to really "break the ghetto" we should not ONLY refer to an activist practise. This is a level what should be included – and therefore the questions are quite helpful. But for some possible outreach I think we should really refer to something, give it some examples...

...On "Reappropriation", "Taking it Back", "Reclaiming", "recreation"

What is missing in the notes are parts of the discussion we had about the title. Which dealt with different proposals – as the ones mentioned above. About "Reappropriation" I understood that it does not have that special meaning what the similar word "Aneignung" in german got in the last two years. So perhaps it is really not useful at the moment for an europeanwide or even global level. "Taking it Back" had been discussed in the spokes council at Belgrade as another word for it. As I understood it, it had been a new creation which should be more easy to understand for people which are not familiar with some kind of activist slang. "reclaim" was criticised as "old-fashioned" or something. In the discussion in London some people said "recreation" would be a good word for it – up to now I don't really understand it's special meaning in that context. I would really prefer to use some of the three things that were in the discussion before - also each of them has it's limitations. Perhaps someone knows another word for it which is international understandable – my english is perhaps too limited.

The date:

Later on in London at a short pga-related meeting there was an objection against the 21st of march, because it would be too close to the second antiracist action day, it was said that it should be on 23rd. For sure the date for it is the 2nd of april now. There was also something about another action-day on 19th of march – but I can't remember any more what it should be about. I think it is okay to keep the 21st – what do you think?

Launch at the beginning:

Again this includes the question if we mean it as "global" or if we more realistic choose perhaps one seize smaller like "europeanwide". What depends on the possibilities we have to reach groups for this launch-day, -week or whatever. For me it would make much more sense to concentrate for example on getting groups out of eastern europe involved than to have a second continent in it - if this means some western europeans and us-activists do it together. I don't know how realistic the idea was about "5 groups in the launch, one of each continent", that came up in the london-meeting. Out of our group we don't have such close global contacts – and I'm a bit sceptical if it is that easy as it sounded at that meeting. But perhaps others who are longer involved in the global process think the network is strong enough, this type of action would fit in the various realities for example in Asia or Africa. For me the challenge would be to really bring some groups into exchange who have different ways of dealing with those connections to (re)appropriating struggles, so that it would not be reduced on some nice squatters actions (nothing against squatting).


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