Programme 2013

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS

SATURDAY

1 MINUTE OF INFAMY AND SAFER SPACES POLICY

In one minute tell everyone about yourself. Then we’ll tell you about our Safer Spaces policy.

BUILDING FOR REVOLUTION

Capitalism is in trouble! The debt crisis continues to get worse, while peaking resources and climate chaos mean the system’s ability to deliver will only continue to decline. The conditions are ripe for both fascism and revolution. How can we ready ourselves to deal with the threats and seize the opportunities? A short presentation on the situation and some ideas for moving forward, followed by a discussion around strategy.

THE MOST IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN IN THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW?

Come and hear from Traditional Custodian Rodney Augustine, Susannah Augustine, and Nicola Paris, recently returned from working on the campaign to defend Walmadan (James Price Point) from Woodside’s proposed gas plant.

Rodney will share stories of his country and culture and Nicola will be presenting research from Broome locals, including traditional custodians on ‘taking the next step’… how and why people were radicalised and chose to be arrested in defence of country and culture.

REAL DEMOCRACY NOW!

Our current democracy is a sham. Is there a better way to decide who gets what, when and how? Or is any form of democracy – even a radical participatory democracy – incompatible with basic anarchist principles?

‘WATERMELONS ARE WEAPONS’

An open discussion on the potentials, difficulties and importance of building alliances between the environment and union movements. This workshop will explore historical examples and recent experiences, with the intention of furthering future possibilities. With Jim and Dan

CLIMATE ACTION: SOCIAL REVOLUTION NOT LIFESTYLE CHANGE

A discussion about the strategical challenges facing anarchists in the contemporary climate movement. Some of the questions explored will be: How should anarchists engage with reformism and ‘green’ capitalist attempts to co-opt the climate movement? How can we promote collective, anti-statist, anti-capitalist strategies to preventing catastrophic global warming?

WHY A FEDERATION?

An open discussion on the aims and purpose of an Anarchist federation.

SUNDAY

THE STATE OF THE UNION MOVEMENT IN AUSTRALIA

This workshop will encourage debate and will give an overview of the current state of the organised union movement in Australia. Facilitators and participants will evaluate recent industrial action including the public sector actions in Queensland and New South Wales, action by teachers in Victoria, and action by construction workers at the Grocon site in Melbourne. We will look at the far left’s contributions to these struggles and will argue that Anarchists should be active in unions. We will discuss what the far left and Anarchists can be doing about workers struggle in the current political context and will discuss greater possibilities for workers struggle under an Abbott government.

ISLAMOPHOBIA: WAR-MONGERING RACIST HYSTERIA!

With xenophobia and anti-Muslim vitriol spreading across the West and Australia, how should the left confront the issue of religion whilst fighting religious hate and racism against minorities?

KIDS AND PARENTS IN RADICAL SPACES

Growing a supportive and inclusive movement. Whether it is a picket line or an anarchist gathering, how do we organise to include parents and children? Are we losing committed activists as they become parents, and why? How can non-parents provide support and solidarity? Can we empower our children to take more active roles in radical spaces?

An open discussion facilitated by Liz Shield, activist and community cook expecting her first child, Jane, activist and mother of three, Caleb, 10 years old, actively involved in Swan Island Peace Convergence and No Maccas in Tecoma campaigns (and son of Jane) and Shane, activist and father of two.

WHO ARE THE STREET MEDICS?

Since the Civil Rights Struggles of the Sixties to the Occupy Movements of 2011, collectives of individuals have taken to the streets to provide medical support to protesters. Today: “Street Medics” continue to support activists by challenging the current hierarchical healthcare system with new Radical Health models of looking at health.

This workshop by MelbSMC (Melbourne Street Medic Collective) examines the history of Street Medicine and contains interactive sections on: “Practical Suggestions on how to prepare for a Demonstration”, “Building your own first aid kit” and “How to treat pepper spray/tear gas injuries.”

PLATFORMISM – TIME TO ORGANISE!

Platformism is a current within anarchism which highlights the importance of well-organised explicitly anarchist groups that have a shared theoretical and strategical basis, emphasise collective responsibility and operate on federalist lines. Members of Anarchist Affinity, a new anarchist group in Melbourne, will explore the history of platformist ideas and their practical relevance to anarchist organising in Australia in 2013. Some of the questions we will explore are: How can we create revolutionary anarchist organisations that actively engage in social movements? What are the limitations of informal networks for organising?

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Conflict Resolution… Conflict is natural and healthy, and as anarchists or activists we often seek change – knowing it will involve conflict. But we are often crap at dealing with conflict in our home and community spaces – a workshop and discussion on how we might do this better.

SILENT NO LONGER – CONFRONTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE

In this workshop we will discuss practical strategies for confronting sexual violence in our communities – ways we can support survivors, methods of holding perpetrators accountable and ideas about how we can make the fight against rape culture an essential element of anarchist political practice.

LATIN AMERICAN POPULAR STRUGGLES

Latin American grassroots organisations, together with indigenous people, are organising and fighting for their land, their rivers, their clean air, and are fighting against multinational corporations that have taken their territories and are bringing misery and dispossession for the majority of its people.

Our workshop will explore and share ideas of those movements that are building better conditions for the people’s well-being, from Mexico asking freedom for Zapatistas political prisoners to the south of Chile-Argentina where Mapuche indigenous people are fighting
for autonomy and self-determination. Also we will explore and discuss the interaction of autonomous, anarchists and Marxists organisations in these struggles. Hope we will have fun.

ANTI-MINING: THE STRUGGLE OF FARMERS AND WORKERS IN INDONESIA

Indonesia’s ever expanding mining industry is currently the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal. This expansion results in high revenue for the government but creates significant harm to the environment and the well being of local communities. Opposition to mining is often met with physical threats and criminalisation. Fortunately, today there is a growing momentum for the opposition as farmers, workers and anarchists are working side by side with greater organisation and mobility. The recent farmers congress that had been co-organised by the local anarchists is an example of such initiative. What is the struggle like in Indonesia? What are the roles of the local anarchists? And what have we done (and can do) in Australia?

DISSONANCE: HOW CAN WE MAKE SURE WE HAVE A CULTURE OF FREE THINKING AND RIGOROUS DEBATE IN THE ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN LEFT?

A space for discussion about the way we argue and the way we develop our ideas, our critiques and our strategies. How can we make it ok to admit mistakes? What happens when we disagree: are we pushed out, character assassinated, labelled a racist/sexist/classist/homophobe?

MONDAY

ABORIGINAL STRUGGLES

‘Marjorie Thorpe is from the Gunnai and Maar nations of Southern Victoria. She was a director of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and Coordinator of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care. She was also Victorian Co-Commissioner for the Stolen Generations Inquiry and an organiser of the Black GST campaign to protest the 2006 ‘Stolenwealth Games’.’

ANARCHIST INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY: DOING IT RIGHT?

How do anarchists articulate solidarity with struggles around the globe, and navigate their political and cultural differences? This discussion is aimed at interrogating how and why solidarity is articulated on a conditional basis and why some struggles are ‘sexier’ than others. National liberation, Indigenous struggle, cultural relativism and Black Bloc Egypt will all get a look in.

THE POLITICS OF SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS STRUGGLES IN SOUTHEAST AUSTRALIA

Talk and discussion with Clare Land, whose PhD about the politics of solidarity with land rights, sovereignty and black power struggles in southeast Australia was based on interviews with 24 people involved in these struggles, as well as her own sense of this politics drawn from her activist experiences and commitments, and guided by a critical reference group: Tony Birch, Gary Foley and Marjorie Thorpe.

ACTIVISM IN A SECURITY CULTURE

Police, intelligence, oppression, new media and manipulation. Working as an activist in the modern age.