archivos de los protestos globales

report from london
up from febr 28

this is a quite personal report/ evaluation - I did cut some very personal comments ... [A.R.]

Dear all,

Here is a report/evaluation of the london part of the tour.

Firstly, we had originally thought that people were coming for about 4 days to london, but...somehow, in reality it was about 13 days, so this was interesting....

Generally we were very happy with the tour, though there were of course some problems.

The first bit was very well organised, as it had been plannned, the second more spontaneous bit was pretty chaotic.

In the first days there were a mix of meetings: a meeting with Action Aid (NGO), who also had a farmer from Pakistan over as part of an anti monsanto campaign. Apparently it was very interesting. Meeting with the Colombian Refugee Association. There was also a meeting with the existing groups doing stuff on Colombia. Later that day there was a very good public meeting, meal and informal exchange, where about 80 people came. This was in a squatted nursery in hackney. The nursery had been closed as part of government cuts (The area is bankrupt, and everything is being privatised...), and it has been turned into a community centre. So, for me this was a perfect example of linking the struggle in colombia to issues in europe. There was also a bit of discussion about the issue of autonomous spaces, and the idea that struggles for land are happening in cities in britain. This evening was also a fundraiser, though no good news in terms of the flights, see below for more on this.

After the shock of dutch anarchist punk gigs, we took them to a PGA benefit evening in a pub...which I have to say was some seriously ugly noise......all part of the cultural exchange. Other meetings-large meeting with migrant domestic workers-mainly from the phillipines and other asian countries. Mama Cuama and Daris talked a lot about the situation of women in colombia, and the issue of rural-urban displacement that the war is causing, and the social uprooting this causes-including the issue of domestic labourers. This meeting was a few hours long, and mama cuama said she would have liked it to be several days, it seemed to go very well. And the domestic workers were keen to follow it up.

Other meetings-a meeting with a black community group, and an african liberation group. Okay, but a bit of a dogmatic, group, preaching pan africanism, and "the total revolutionary liberation of africa, comrade". They don't seem to worship Trotsky, but Nkrumah, a ghanain revolutionary.hmmm...
Meeting with RTS which apparently went well. Meeting with ABC, which is the main NGO coalition doing stuff on Colombia here (Oxfam, Christian Aid etc), and a meeting with War on Want, which is one of the better NGOs, with strong links to trade unions here. Through this meeting we learnt there will be a trade union/MP delegation of about 15 people to colombia in may.

other events, an attempt to make a little film about struggles here, so that people can take it back to colombia, to show people in communities there. Interesting idea, but needs further developing. Early stages. Daris interviewed by CNN, apparently went very well. Also went to BP headquarters to demand a meeting with them, at some point in the future.

Tourist aside-went to see karl marx's tomb, (their suggestion, not ours....). cemetery was closed, so we had to climb over the fences to get a look at the bearded wonder. Curiously, there were fresh flowers on the grave when we arrived....quite interesting. It is a nice grave yard, full of dead revolutionaries from around the world....

Also, throughout all this, there was very good personal contact, with good exchange about the situations in colombia and here. Very intersesting, and very fun, if a bit exhausting....also, very good politicial discussiuon, about issues of long term collaboration, autonomous spaces etc. some good exchanges over difficult issues, including differences in opinion with regard to the gue rr illa, and dealing with the issue of antisemitism. Invariably these went into the very small hours of the night...and were intermingled with gorgeious colombian food.

Now onto the negative sides...and there were many....first of all, our finances have been a disaster (currently we have no money to bring to milan)-because they were here so much longer than expected (due to italian groups not being ready to receive them on the date originally arranged), and london is an ugly expensive city....our costs were immense, beyond belief. Actually, we have quite big debts here still. Also, there was a mountain of chaos, about whether belen from belgium would come over to the UK (in the end she was unable to, it seems BP have ensured she is prohibited from entering the UK ever)., and this meant some very interesting possibilities, including participating in week of action against cargill in liverpool, were lost, and there was a lot of wasting time deciding what to do....Also, a lot of time was wasted by the extra days, as we were unable to arrange much of a program in these days....

Another complaint is the fact that communication with other groups in different countries seems slow-we only learnt yesterday by chance from sweden that pacho will not return to england, due to a change of dates. Ya basta have already paid for his flight to britain from italy. Apparently it has been known for several days that pachos plans changed. It would have been nice to have been told this as soon as it was known.....sorry to moan, but.....

another serious issue-in terms of how we work together-emerged in the evaluation meeting-the issue of unequal roles within the process-in terms of "organising" and "service provisions". My feeling is that this is because we failed to discuss beforehand how we all wanted to work together in this process, and all had different assumptions. At least we all acknowledged these issues in the evaluation, and hopefully we can look in more detail about why this happened. Also, relatied to this, was the issue of the difficulty of non-spanish speakers to participate and spend time getting to know the colombians personally. Some times it felt a bit like a spanish speaking clique.

Anyhow, generallly it was very goood. Anyone want to add bits I forgot, or say it differently? Also, it would be great to hear a report from manchester.

PCN Tour | Noticias Cronologicas | Plan Colombia