The Grassroots Gatherings Networking a “movement of movements”
Cox, Laurence (2007) The Grassroots Gatherings Networking a “movement of movements”. Red and Black Revolution, 12 . pp. 17-21.
The worldwide “movement of movements”, which has brought together individual movements fighting neo-liberal capitalism and the “New World Order” since the late 1990s, is a strange kind of animal. Some might say it is less of a single species and more of a symbiotic relationship between several species, or even a mini-ecosystem making its way through the cracks of the world the powerful created. Metaphors aside, the “movement of movements” consists of several very different kinds of things. It includes a multitude of local campaigns, sometimes organised into large-scale movements around specific issues (opposition to “war on terror”, fighting resource extraction companies, workplace organising, struggles over women’s rights over their own bodies, movements of peasants and small farmers, intellectual property campaigns, opposition to racism… the list goes on and on). It includes the high-profile summit protests where the ritual meetings of our rulers are disrupted by direct action, delegitimated by mass demonstrations, critiqued in counter-summits and forced to hide in remote rural areas, dictatorships where protests are banned, behind massive walls or shielded by armies and surface-to-air missiles. And it includes the long, slow process of creating continuity between summit protests, networking between different movements and campaigns, building trust or at least cooperation between different political (and anti-political) traditions: learning to have confidence in ourselves across a whole society or a whole world. The Grassroots Gatherings, which have been running in Ireland for the last five years, fit in here: a space to meet each other and learn to work together; a place to dance, learn juggling, fall in love and practice for street fighting; a place to work on the issues that divide us and identify what we have in common; a very temporary autonomous zone where the phrase “another world is under construction” is more than just a neat slogan.
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