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Update: EASF

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Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
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Jan 11 2005 13:14
Update: EASF

K I know most people have basically disregarded the EASF as an irrelevance by now, and TBH I agree with you all, in its current form it is providing no function. This next one in Cambridge will almost certainly be my last if it goes badly.

However the concept, of bringing together and starting a community of like-minded/allied people, is something I assume we all agree with, or none of us would have shown up in the first place. On those grounds I'd like to take one more crack at it, but in name only. I think the entire organisation and structure is not working. Everyone I've spoken with has thought likewise. It needs tearing down and starting again.

Below is an alternative agenda I've been discussing with Hamish and Tim from Indymedia, who are setting up the next meeting for either late this month or early next. I'll post it on the website as well, and I'm pleading with people, PUT IN YOUR VIEWS. They may be shot down or picked up, but what is needed most of all is people's views, otherwise this is just guesswork about what you all want.

Simon

--------------------

* Sign-in and intro.

Could be an introduction of what we're trying to achieve, and talking about outstanding issues - quick summation of what EASF are doing, and what the major issues are in each county atm (to be submitted beforehand by interested parties) with reference to any delegates or individuals who know a bit about it.

* One hour social.

With an emphasis on including new members, if anyone new is standing around alone, people should go up to them and see if they have any questions, explain who they are/their main political interest at the moment.

* Talk by invited expert on a single subject

Could be on travellers, green issues, local trade union issues, East Anglian housing, NHS, Education etc etc. People who are already clued up on the subject/uninterested can go to an alternative workshop? Gives people a solid reason to go (i.e to learn more about their community and what's going on in it). SHORT Q&A afterwards.

* Half hour social

Primarily so people can talk through what they've just been told and ask questions of the expert (but also a coffee break).

* 'New learning' workshops

Would consist of two/three discussion and mutual learning sessions on local/national issues, pre-advertised, which people could bring their ideas and expertise to. For preference, experts to be on hand for each. General idea is to provide a self-education aspect for the forum. These could also be used to generate ideas for campaign strategy etc. Also, specific education classes (e.g. I and the Indymedia folks could do a joint one on media production) so people can walk away from the forum with new skills - giving the whole thing that function if nothing else.

* Half hour social

Exchange interesting info/ideas coming out of workshops with each other.

* Closing comments

Regarding anything which has happened during the day. Group/individual announcements regarding anything not covered in the main event/during socials. Followed by:

* EASF organisational meeting

Feedback session, where people can say how they think the forum's structure can be improved. All welcome but importantly, it's placed AFTER the useful stuff. Includes organisation of alternative media, EASF initiatives etc (so the workshops would be just a teaching thing rather than a planning thing).

I reckon including run-overs that'd clear five hours absolute maximum and more likely four, .

---------------------------

The purpose of the social periods would be to create a community atmosphere, and as has been said many times before they're always the most productive point of any gathering. Bringing in a dedicated speaker garuntees that new people are learning rather than passively watching people who have been activists for a while talking about convoluted topics without explaining them.

The workshops would again hopefully do this, but would, equally importantly, help generate the alternative ideas that Colin is talking about for us to put forward.

Simon

tumble-weed
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Jan 11 2005 23:04

I like the idea of socials, but I and nearly all of the people i know (excluding you dear) are almost certianly going to stick in their own little cliques and be to scared/pretentious to go and speak to people htey dont know. The only way i can think to comabt this is by making groups make bridges out of toilet roll or something equally as vile; cos its proper hard to just go hello im so and so form so and so or praps im in the minority?

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Rob Ray
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Jan 13 2005 08:01

Not true at all, if someone is new and without a group I'll always go up to them and have a quick chat.

But I'm also not talking about doing the tradition of sitting around in the pub/caff not talking to anyone else that has grown up in Britain. It would be part of the ethos that you talk to new people, much like the 'if it's your first time in Fight Club you have to fight' thing.

I think that could apply to old hands who have been to the easf before that they should be expected to talk to new faces and get to know them. That's the only way we can expect to get people feeling included enough to want to take part.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jan 17 2005 22:54

clearly this calls for marxist karaoke, and thats my contribution

No seriously we had some ideas. They basically revolve around the fact that the EASF has already brought together anti-capitalist groups and individuals from around east anglia, so now the EASF needs overall aims and it needs a community base.

Busy right now but i'll go into more detail in a bit

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Rob Ray
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Jan 20 2005 16:08

K in case anyone hasn't read the EASF's website (www. easf.org.uk):

The next East Anglia Social Forum will be in Cambridge Saturday the 29th of January from 1 - 5pm.

Friends Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Cambridge.(On the corner of Jesus Lane and Park Lane).

The layout of the day is completely different (i.e it's organised), and Hamish wants people to send suggestions for what sort of talk can be held, and for two workshops. Go check out the article on the website for details.

Hopefully it'll be as much a good social thing as a political talk.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 1 2005 14:28

The EASF took place at the friends meeting house in cambridge on Saturday.

Numbers were down on the last couple of meetings, though all four East Anglian counties continued to be represented.

Numbers were low enough that there was no point in splitting the group off into workshops, but nevertheless a great deal of ground was covered.

Jim Jepps, who has extensive experience in defending council housing from sell-offs, gave a useful talk on the subject, which was followed by a break, then an update on traveller legislation. After another break a talk was given by a founding member of the new national Venezuelan union the UNT.

Discussion on future EASF-related projects, such as organising for the G8 and the creation of a cambridge phone network to support the local travellers there was left until the end, allowing the bulk of the day to be taken up with the educational talks and some highly useful networking.

In general, the people who made it to this EASF came away with a positive outlook, and it was certainly an improvement on the previous structure. The self-educational aspect of it went particularly well.

possible intiatives coming out of the meeting included:

- Using the EASF newswire as a precursor to an Indymedia expansion, so if it is well enough used, indymedia cambridge will consider expanding the work they do on their website to accomodate the increased area of newsgathering.

- Organising a coach to take interested parties from around the region to the G8. although it was acknowledged that some wont want to come, it was pointed out that for those who do, organising a breakdown of costs needs to happen now, along with building a list of people able to go.

- Depending on the movements of the BNP in the near future, organising a series of awareness-raising actions and an East-Anglia wide network of people able to commit to anti-fascist actions.

- Ipswich will be the next venue, venue/time TBA.

NB// That's just the stuff I was involved in/chatted about, please feel free to add anything I may have missed.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 9 2005 15:20

Does anyone have any objections to putting April 2nd as next EASF? That gives us plenty of time to badger trade unions, local social centres, campaigning groups etc? Robert's looking into getting the friends meeting house again (where would we be without god wink). Does it clash with anything?

tumble-weed
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Feb 10 2005 15:10

Shouldnt this stuff be up on the EASF website?

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Rob Ray
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Feb 11 2005 09:08

I've been posting things like the reports, wasn't gonna post up the next one until it's actually booked.

tumble-weed
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Feb 11 2005 22:35

I "really" wanna write about why its still not right to ask if anyone objects on here but i have to be up in a couple of hours.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 12 2005 10:02

Actually that's a good point, and Gemma has subsequently solved that problem by posting on the easf-anounce lists smile

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Rob Ray
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Feb 14 2005 10:13

Apparently they're booked every Saturday until May eek but Sunday was free so can do that instead. Seems to be a good week for it, nothing is on the Schnews listings for then.

tumble-weed
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Feb 14 2005 15:15

But it was agreed in Norwich that sundays were bad as it makes it a lot harder for people to get to places cos of public transport etc. We could look for an alternative venue...

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Rob Ray
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Feb 14 2005 15:41

Could have a word with the T&G acutally, they've got a big building I dunno if they have a specific meeting room though. library might be a possible too. I'll ask tomorrow or wednesday. Robert has booked it preliminary for Sunday just in case though. We can't really do any other weekends without either getting too early to properly sort out advertising or leaving it too long between meetings.

verdandi
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Feb 22 2005 16:23

I went to CAB today and got an application form for their meeting room, since its only 11 pounds (yes folks thats eleven pounds) a session. Theres a dirt cheap venue for you all. we wont know if its not booked for 4th april till i actually ring the building administrator - or hand in the form to him.

I personally want to get people from the Boston Womens Collective over for the next easf meeting to talk about feminist health, but alas, that may be impossible due to lack of funding.

However, other ideas proposed for talks/workshops on monday were to do with 'how to's, ie. how to set up a coop (housing/wrkers/food)/ethical business, since there are people in the area having done just such a thing. it might be cool to combine this with the theme of alternative liuving, sicne ive recently been enthused by visiting travellers sites; the housing coop in cambridge, and im gonig to see the east bergholt comune in a bit...we could draft people from these places to the meeting, get them to extol merits.

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Rob Ray
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Feb 22 2005 16:34

Fantastic, might want to try 2nd April first though as 4th is the monday wink.

Stephen
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Feb 25 2005 14:12

Sad I might be but social as described would encourage me not to attend

It is like some management game

Meeting and talking to people happens via a shared activity

but unlike the toilet roll idea it has to be meaningful

A meeting that shares ideas

but doesn't expect us to agree all the time and leads to shared action

is what I would be interested in

red n black star

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Rob Ray
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Mar 1 2005 14:03

Um, what part of the current plan stops you doing all of the list below precisely? The point of having social periods is that it encourages people to come to a shared activity meeting people with similar views. The educational aspect, getting in people who know what they're talking about to explain current affairs and issues in the region allows for shared ideas, as do subsequent workshops afterwards. As it is a forum and not a decision making body, no-one is expected to do anything which they don't have to, but shared actions have already been organised through these means.

In summary Stephen, what the hell are you talking about confused.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 10 2005 22:35

This is to let you all know we've sorted out the next EASF.

Alongside the usual Leftie socialising, networking and workshops we have managed to get Roger Mackay, the head of Ipswich TUC, to give a talk about the pensions crisis in the run up to their ballot for nationwide strike action. If successful, it will be the biggest strike in over a decade.

We're also working on getting someone to talk about tenant housing co-operatives, which can run more cheaply, efficiently and safely than their public or private equivalents. I'll let you know how we get on with that.

The time: Saturday the 2nd of April from 1.30 - 5.30pm.

The venue: Ipswich Citizen's advice bureau, 19 Tower St, Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 3BE. A map can be found online at

[url]http://www.streetmap.co.uk/newmap.srf?x=616388&y=244755&z=1&sv=Tower+St&st=6&tl=Tower+Street,+Ipswich,+IP1&searchp=newsearch.srf&mapp=newmap.srf [/url]

Phone: the CAB number is 01473 219777 if you get lost on the day or need someone to meet you at the station.

For those of you who don't know, the East Anglian Social Forum (EASF) is a local response to our problems, based on the World and European social forums. Although not a decision-making body in itself, it aims to act as both a networking and learning resource for East Anglia.

It's free entry and everyone is welcome, so bring along as many people as you can.

Looking forward to seeing you all smile.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 11 2005 20:25

Update: We've now got the speaker from the Nautia housing co-op too, and a Pdf has been designed (email or PM me a request if you have space for a 400kb file).

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 11 2005 20:46

Oh man this doesn't sound too bad. Pity I have work. tongue

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Rob Ray
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Mar 11 2005 20:50

On a Saturday? Loser angry.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 11 2005 20:59
Saii wrote:
Loser

You mean economically pressured, alienated, exploited but faithful member of the revolutionary proleteriat?? Well that I am...

Earliest I can get to Ipswich is for about 3. Worth it?

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Rob Ray
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Mar 12 2005 16:11

You'd probly miss the best bits arriving at that time and we'd be onto the follow-up workshops, so I guess not.

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cantdocartwheels
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Mar 12 2005 16:18

hey, you done the leaflet yet? If you're in a rush i'll do it if you send me the details.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 12 2005 22:43

Leaflet is done, just needs putting up on the website or emailing round to people who want it. Tis 400kb, A5 (X2 on an A4 sheet) pdf file.

Pepe
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Mar 21 2005 20:16

Cool, definately up for this. I'll drag some more Colchester people along too.

What discussions etc are planned?

I'm currently really interested in the Crays Hill travellers site that's all over the media and it'd be mega if someone has a contact with them, or similar. Also, antifa election stuff.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 21 2005 21:09

Colchester people are going. I'm seeing Converge the night before and then going into work for 7.30am so I dunno if I'll make it.

Pepe
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Mar 21 2005 22:28

Yeah but you might get sacked.