short report from leiden pga conference from amien's and report on sans-titre non-network involvment in the pga process

-Short report from Leiden PGA conference and report on sans-titre non-network involvement in the PGA process.

The first part tries to summarise a presentation from a few individuals from different places and collectives involved by one way or another with sans-titre non-network in a meeting in amiens. We wanted to give feedback about the conference (and before all much thanks to all people involved with the preparation...and thanks for welcoming us so greatly).

We also wanted to give basic information about PGA (at least what we understood of PGA) to our friends.(in addition to all the discussion reports already available on the pga website:

We thought it might be of interest for other people and chose to translate part of it and send it on the list.

The second part tries to present a few decisions and discussions we had about sans-titre present involvement in PGA.

sorry to send all that so late but... we were waiting for feedback about this text on the internet which doesn't always work and we couldn't find neither time nor the usual people to translate it.


We started with a report on the conference by the various people who had gone there. Then we discussed it and our implication in PGA in plenary. (there was no note on our assessment, as that seems to me nevertheless interesting to share it, I tried to recall some points I remember or find important).

Introduction and return on the conference:

Various people involved in sans titre went to Leiden at the end of August for the European meeting PGA. There was about 500 people of various European countries, a lot of workshops on various topics (prone basic, preparation of actions and of campaigns...), as well as strategic debates on the future to be given to world revolution (cut out initially in 8 topics) then meetings of synthesis.

All participants were invited to take part in the conference and debates organisation (to facilitate the discussions, to take notes, to help out with food co-ordinated by the collective rempamplan, to clean, to translate, radio, logistics data processing or to write articles for the newspaper of the conference issued each morning).

The majority of the discussions were done in small groups and the only plenary meeting took place the last day. The purpose of this plenary one was to take decisions on the structuring of the PGA network and to report(without decision) strategic debates. It was the only moment when officially decisions on the structuring were made which would implicate then all PGA Europe.

So, next time hopefully...

. There was also a workgroup on the PGA functioning.

At stake: to establish the way in which an European exchange and communication network and in addition world-wide can continue to function in a not-hierarchical and decentralised manner.

To specify what was not inevitably clear about pga these last years, pga does not even aim to decide /organise action campaigns (even if meetings, structures of communication and networks of contacts that it offers can largely facilitate various concrete initiatives). PGA does not aim either at making decisions on the world strategy to follow for world revolution. Pga does not decide upon anything (except its modes of structuring and the means to be given to set up the meetings, mailing lists, web sites, etc...). Pga does not speak nor organise any action on its behalf. Pga is thus only a structure of exchange for the various groups, which recognise themselves in its guiding principles and its proclamation. These various groups are autonomous from this structure.

A certain number of actions more or less labelled PGA campaigns such as the intercontinental caravan could scramble these principles. It seemed nevertheless during this meeting that it was largely wished that PGA remained only a structure of exchange for anticapitalist-anti-autoritarian movement and collectives (see the hallmarks). This appears already extremely invaluable and allows things as significant as:

One main idea of this conference (with in particular the work contribution of the last and still present convenors eurodusnie and MRG, the open letter of sans titre as well as various other people and collectives) was pretty well carried on by the will to exceed the structures of abstract hierarchies and to create more transparent, more visible and more participating structures. Nevertheless certain people feared enormously that more formalisation (the possibility to create pga infopoints in particular) may derive towards a structure of appointed members and facilitate possible recovery by individuals, collectives and movements which would not agree with pga guiding principles. Other people feared the bureaucratic drifts that could lead to more formalisation. There was also a whole debate (actually right before the conference ) on the decision-making process between consensus and votes, plenaries or not. Lastly, we all found out that imagining transparent, not-hierarchical and decentralised structures for a network of this type, was as thrilling as difficult.

There were discussions to precise / redefine the tasks of the convenors and those of support group: to develop and gather European and worldwide contacts, to take charge of mailing lists and web sites and to organise conferences. Any group or person involved in PGA may help convenors in these tasks and to thus be part of the support group. It was decided, to underline the existence of pga and launch a more decentralised form of participation in these tasks, to create pga infopoints. They are visible and identified collectives that propose locally information on PGA and that would possibly offer logistic support for the network.

They are only infopoints and not PGA member groups since PGA does not have any. Everyone can therefore create one as long as the group agrees with PGA principles.

The various collectives involved with sans titre are thus invited to wonder whether or not they are interested in becoming an infopoint, to follow up what happens in the network and to keep interested people informed. (all that is not very precise and I thus invite you to refer to the plenarys results and the discussions on the process, as well as the infopoints debate report).

Feelings about the leiden conference expressed in amien's sans-titre meeting:

This conference brought very different opinions to the various people present involved in sans titre. I try nevertheless here to highlight some strong individual or more collectively shared expressions, with the risk to mislead me or to forget some.

Something is certain, being present there enabled us to bind strong contacts with other participants and to better understand the stakes of the network. It is rather significant for us to feel part of this and we wanted to transmit that at the Amiens meeting. About our participation, we took turn as much as possible to participate to all the meetings on the process, part of the strategic debates and in a more sporadic way to some workshops. We tried to meet each other every day to make its assessment. We had chosen as a group not to hold a common and coherent position since we did not receive any mandate from sans titre or our various collectives. Our participation was rather made on a purely individual or small affinity group(formed on the spot) basis.

I think that we globally appreciated the forms of discussion set up by eurodusnie (5 days, small groups and workshops very different from the two days of plenaries in Milan), as well as many logistic aspects of the conference.

The general spirit of the discussions on the process seemed to us to take fairly good directions despite all difficulties and disagreements caused by the debates.

I personally found the strategic debates in which I took part extremely rich but I know that others found them rather hollow.

We also met lots of wonderful people within a busy atmosphere but nevertheless out-action and favourable for discussion.

However, some group and confrontational strategies had a taste of mainstream politics(a bit of tension between the two convenors for example or fears a bit conservative of old PGA activists in sight of the initiatives of change) decreased our enthusiasm a little.

In spite of a great work of facilitation, we all felt bad at the end of the final plenary which made it possible to make decisions but in an extremely shity, fragmentary and bureaucratic way and we all had desires for new proposals to overcome these moments of plenary. We were also a bit disappointed that PGA is especially a framework for super militants addicted to politics and fluent English speakers and of the elitist effect it can produce. It is a major problem.

We thought that the self-management of these meetings, the will of autonomy in the organisation, the experimentation of the direct democracy could be even greater, as well as the decentralisation possibilities of the network.

We wanted PGA conferences that could take the form of a camp and also be moments to live together and make workshops not only of discussion but also directed towards concrete practices.

We tried a little to push in this direction during debates on the process and also because we felt part amongst other things of a certain intern debate caused by sans titre last year open letter. We did not want to simply remain in the role of buggers.

We spent quite a lot of time wondering what could be PGA and the interest that we saw in it. We were far from agreeing with each other. We were also a bit under pressure because some people let us know that they would like sans titre to be one of the next convenors. Even if we knew that we could not engage sans titre on anything at this conference, that led us to ask ourselves many questions.

Discussion in plenary at the meeting of Amiens: sans titre and PGA? ?????

(few notes again (almost none), but it was a nice discussion)

For a certain number of people having taken part in the meeting of Leiden it appears that PGA is a rather invaluable structure, which offers spaces of meetings, exchanges and co-ordination.

There are various elements, which, from outside tend to be rejected by sans titre activists( support group, political delirium, activists ghetto, power games in this type of networks) but which are type of problems that we can also find in sans-titre process and within our different collectives.

Leiden participants noted an unquestionable evolution and several persons in Amiens think that sans titre participation could be interesting.

- In Leiden, there were many small discussion workshops but not enough workshops on autonomous practice. Thus an idea we had was to organise a PGA camp for example on a Permanent Autonomous Zone starting or already started. Proposal to study this possibility.

We could maybe organise a forthcoming conference in 2 years.

One of the proposals, would be : co-organising a PGA camp with epople from Freiburg, but we did not talk about it since.

Assessment of the decisions:

3 new pga mailing lists were created at the conference of leiden: one for the announcement and action report, a second for in depth discussions, a third one for the pga process and the organisation and functioning of the structures. A sans-titre collective e-mail was created to subscribe to these lists, it is also possible to personally subscribe.

Infopoints pack for those who would wish to set up PGA infopoints:

a French booklet who will be available for the various groups which would like (or not)to become infopoint.

Work on the PGA process started in Leiden will continue at a winter meeting, decide new convenors and start to plan the organisation of a new conference. One of the collectives in sans titre could possibly receive it: people from longo mai were to get information for the magnans, otherwise it could possibly be done in Dijon at the tanneries, we are discussing it.

In the last few years, the interest for pga inside sans titre was rather disparate, some of us feeling very close to this process and rather critical of its evolution, others not seeing a clear interest in it. Now, more people seem interested and the interest is more real.

We feel nevertheless the need to take time so that more people are a little more interested in it, follow discussions on the lists and possibly start to be involved gradually on precise tasks (be it creation of infopoints, participation to mailing-lists or help out with logistic stuff). This period of transition and thinking seems still necessary before a decision on a possible broader and collective implication of sans titre in the network (becoming convenors or organising a conference for instance).

In addition, we currently work on the project of a permanent caravan that will be very time and energy consuming for next year and we do not see how we could also organise a PGA conference without doing both half and badly.

During sans titre next meeting in february, we will speak again of the proposal to take one day in charge one of the roles of convenors (rather organising a PGA conference). Anyway, if we do it, it will be for a PGA conference-camp during the summer 2004 and not for next year.

There are 3 possibilities:

ok.... we'll see.
Report from nico thanx to pierre and namik translation.
ni co lu

European PGA Conference Leiden | |