Solidarity Network – Supporting grassroots struggles and connecting autonomous struggles in solidarity

Supporters of IOPS, Anti-Capitalist Initiative, Occupy London and others held their third cross-movement assembly this year entitled “Becoming Catalysts for a Radical Social Movement in 2013,” on 19 March at SOAS.

The assembly was well attended by a broad range of people from both organisations and also many independent individuals wishing to find out about, and become engaged in, struggles with social movements. Our conversation focused on community engagement, local assemblies and direct action. Initially, participants involved in various campaigns including Save Leyton Marshes, the Connaught House eviction protest, the Friern Barnet Library and others reported back on their experiences of these campaigns.

Together, we explored lessons learned, possible strengths and weaknesses of different campaigns, their potential, and how they fit into wider revolutionary struggle. Crucially, we explored the importance of beginning campaigns early, when there is still time to sway decisions – rather than constantly trying to firefight.

The people’s assembly model for organising and decision making was discussed. Most participants felt that the people’s assembly model could help to facilitate new forms of social relations and organising. But, it was also pointed out that assemblies may not always be appropriate, for example when working in communities with already established processes of their own. Here, some thought, perhaps introducing participatory / horizontal processes gradually into already existing community forums may be a more conducive way of engaging practically and effectively in grassroots struggles without fetishising certain methods of coming to decisions.

This led to participants questioning what practical outcomes could emerge from the “Becoming Catalysts” assemblies space. After several proposals and much deliberation, we reached strong agreement that the “Becoming Catalysts” assemblies had the potential to bring different groups together, share information on lessons learned, and organise support for local action, among other things. From this, it was suggested that one concrete outcome of the assemblies could be to work towards building a “Solidarity Network” in London.

This proposal received great support. Consensus was reached on the idea of building a “Solidarity Network” in London, together with a wide group of groups, organisations and individuals. We also decided that the next assembly would focus on what exactly such a solidarity network might look like, and the practicalities of how we could make this happen.

We’re excited about the prospect of having a “Solidarity Network” in London so that we can more effectively support grassroots struggles and connect autonomous struggles in solidarity with each other, while having an open space for facilitating discussion and action.

If you’re excited by the prospect of developing a “Solidarity Network” in London, we hope you will join us at the next Becoming Catalysts assembly to be held on Thursday 25 April at from 7pm – 9pm at SOAS! The Facebook event page is available here:

You can also post your thoughts and ideas in advance on this blog!