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welcome pack

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alegria
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Jan 3 2007 19:20
welcome pack

what needs to go in it? some ideas:

intro
brief "what is anarchism"??
past campaigns/actions (that we're proud of)
brief history of norwich/norfolk
history - when NA set up
links/affiliations to other groups (that we're proud of ;-D )
how structured/organised
how decisions are made
ongoing/ foreseen campaigns/events
how to get involved - meetings, when/where
contact details, email, website etc

rich
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Jan 4 2007 03:32

and the constitution

I'll start writing bits of this up once this latest benefit gig is done and dusted. I still plan to have it sorted for the next meeting.

alegria
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Jan 4 2007 10:24

well, im happy to assist. my course doesnt kick back in until jan 15th, so before then im up for writing stuff. i canny do the history bits really, but the other bits i can.

rich
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Jan 4 2007 11:45

ok I'll do the history type bits before I do any of the other bits

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pak choi
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Jan 10 2007 18:32

Should we do bits like what is anarchism together?
I'm willing toat least start that bit, but i think it's the one that'll go thru the group most.
Can't do it for next meeting but feb i can.

alegria
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Jan 10 2007 21:20

we should probably set an agreed maximum length for this; dont wanna make it an unending tome.

pak choi: agreed that 'political' bits should be edited/proofread by the whole group. if its fairly short and broadly written enough im not sure its necessary to actually write it together? we're not a politically homogenous group- what group is- and im sure nobody would try to represent us as such according to their own political strands. we can also refer to what we agreed at the 'future of NA' meeting, wherever the minutes are for that too. what do you think?

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pak choi
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Jan 12 2007 09:46

Yeah i think I have those minutes somewhere, so i'll look that up.
If i can't find them i'll let you know.

rich
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Jan 18 2007 06:58

About Norwich Anarchists
We've been calling this thing the "welcome pack" amongst ourselves (wouldn't be surprised if it was me that coined the name) but I reckon something like "About Norwich Anarchists" is a little less weird.

Additionally I think it would be good if we could have a page in this thing which has got a few press cuttings and stuff in it. If anyone has any kicking around that would be cool.

Comments and suggestions on the text/content welcome from anyone - but if you want to start some long discussion of our membership structure, history or something like that, please start a new thread and link to it. Ta.

History

Norwich Anarchists emerged with the creation of local anarchist newspaper Now or Never in 2003. Although the paper was titled “Newspaper of Norwich Anarchists” when it first appeared, no such group existed. A group coalesced around the paper. It spawned a student group based at UEA and was involved primarily in protests, stalls and fundraising for and selling its paper. The largest single project undertaken was the Norwich Anarchist Bookfair, which occurred annually from 2004-6. Other activities include the Free Shop started in 2004, setting up The Great Commotion in 2005, the End Fuel Poverty campaign in 2006 and Righteous Promotions in 2006.

In 2006, Now or Never and Norwich Anarchists became two distinct (yet amicable!) entities. Since then Norwich Anarchists have made efforts to create a formal structure, and focus on positive projects that have relevance to people’s lives such as the End Fuel Poverty Campaign.

Links/Affiliations

Norwich Anarchists is an open organisation and is informally linked with lots of different organisations and groupings in the area. The most intimate links are with Norwich Social Centre Group, The Great Commotion, Now or Never, Earth First, East Anglian Animal Rights Coalition, Norwich Class War and the East Anglia Social Forum. However, Norwich Anarchists has no formal links or ties to any organisation.

How Decisions Are Made

If something is a decision for the whole group we use the following process:

1) We aim for consensus of all present. (read: agreement)
2) If we fail to reach a consensus we go for a consensus of the people on our official decision making list (read: the membership)
3) If that fails then a vote of the decision makers.

NOTE: Most decisions don’t need this formal process, as they are mainly what individuals want to do. In addition, most projects or activities that Norwich Anarchists set up are in fact independent entities.

Decision Making List

To get on the list requires full acceptance of all the people currently on the list.

Meetings

Our regular organising meetings take place on the second Wednesday of the month at Keir Hardy Hall (Norwich Workingmens Club). The meeting runs from 7PM til 8PM. We meet up before at 6:30 in the bar below, and most often end up in there afterwards.

We use a facilitator – someone who makes sure that everyone gets a chance to speak. We also take minutes for each meeting, which are emailed around our internal email list after each meeting.

These are some facilitation guidelines that were on the old standard agenda that I made in May 2004
* Try and arrange the room so that everyone sits in a circle and make sure you are seated where you can see everyone.
* At the start of the meeting ask people for items for an agenda and then stick to that agenda. If people start speaking on topics rather then the one under discussion interrupt them politely and tell them you are adding that item to the agenda.
* Ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak:
** Generally it's a good idea to ask people to put up their hand when they want to speak and then to take a list of people waiting. In most situations its a very good idea to put people who have not yet spoken to the top of this queue.
** If the discussion is just taking place between a few people and in particular if it is just between two it is often a good idea to suggest going around the circle and giving everyone a chance to speak
** Pay attention - people who are less confident about speaking will often indicate that they want to speak in minor way (eg briefly half put up their hand). A good chair will spot this and encourage them to speak
** Control yourself - while the chair can speak in debates you should try and speak the least and always put yourself at the end of the queue. There is nothing worse then a chair who feels they are entitled to comment after every single speaker. Be very strict with yourself
** Don't allow people speaking to insult other people in the room. If they do interrupt and make it clear that this is not acceptable

* If the discussion is going around in circles with the same people making the same points again and again you should point this out and ask if people want to continue the discussion or; i) Move to a vote, ii) Postpone the discussion to later in the meeting or the next meeting.
* If there is any disagreement on what to do you should call an immediate hand vote on whether or not to continue the discussion and then on what to do with the discussion.
* If it appears a decision has been reached (ie everyone is agreeing) then write down what you think the decision is then read this back to the meeting.
* If it appears a vote is necessary then make sure the exact question to be voted on is written down and then read this question back to the meeting before taking the vote. This is very important in case there is later disagreement over what exactly was decided.

Contact Details

Email: norwichanarchists@hotmail.com
Online forum: http://libcom.org/forums/norwich-anarchists
Post: Norwich Anarchists, PO Box 487, Norwich, Norfolk, NR5 8WE.
Phone: 07941 657485

How to get involved

Come along to a meeting or contact us. Good places to find us are at our regular Free Shop on the 8th (see details), or at our regular benefit gigs on the first Friday of the month at The Cricketers Rest.

Aims and Principles
These are taken straight from the website - I feel that maybe we should change/remove the first paragraph

Norwich Anarchists is an umbrella group that seeks to promote and campaign on various political, social, economic, environmental and animal rights issues.

As a group we believe that society would be better for everyone if run along anarchist lines. In terms of organisation we wish primarily to have freedom from all imposed authority. As anarchists we are against all forms of goverrnment and wish to see local communities run by direct democracy, so that people are in control of their lives and communities.

We aim for economic as well as political change. We want freedom from economic exploitation. Under the current capitalist system, the working and middle classes do not receive the full products of our labour. The ruling class, who own the means of production, land and resources profit from our labour and our ideas. We believe this to be an unfair distribution of land and resources. We therefore support the abolition of capitalism and any other economic systems that create social classes.

We wish to create a classless society, where people interact with each other as equals, not as servants and masters. We want freedom from discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, nationality or spiritual beliefs. We support various forms of active struggle against these forms of discrimination.

We believe in unity within the anarchist movement. We wish to bring anarchists of all forms together so we can fight our common enemies. We may not agree on everything concerning what we want, or even the actions we should take to create an anarchist society, but as we are all anarchists, we have enough things in common for us to work together.

Tug
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Jan 18 2007 14:40
rich wrote:

History

Norwich Anarchists emerged with the creation of local anarchist newspaper Now or Never in 2003. Although the paper was titled “Newspaper of Norwich Anarchists” when it first appeared, no such group existed. A group coalesced around the paper. It spawned a student group based at UEA and was involved primarily in protests, stalls and fundraising for and selling its paper. The largest single project undertaken was the Norwich Anarchist Bookfair, which occurred annually from 2004-6. Other activities include the Free Shop started in 2004, setting up The Great Commotion in 2005, the End Fuel Poverty campaign in 2006 and Righteous Promotions in 2006.

In 2006, Now or Never and Norwich Anarchists became two distinct (yet amicable!) entities. Since then Norwich Anarchists have made efforts to create a formal structure, and focus on positive projects that have relevance to people’s lives such as the End Fuel Poverty Campaign.

Just a couple of points regarding the history. Norwich Anarchists was formed in 2001. NA and NoN! became separate entities in 2005. Norwich Anarchists did exist as a group before the formation of NoN!, albeit only a few friends wanting to get together. NoN! very quickly became the sole focus until many more people got involved with the paper and it was felt we wanted to widen the scope of our activities, so started having regular meetings. NA was formed by ex-members of Norwich Unemployed Action Group, a splinter group from Norwich Solidarity Federation. As both groups collapsed in 1996 a specifically anarchist void was left. The group's founding intentions were to reflect the diversity of views and strands within the anarchist movement uniting on what we had in common. As well as protests, stall and fundraising, publicity stunts and the dissemination of information were also big aspects of the group's past activities. NA had a fairly formal structure from quite early on - even if different from how it is now.

I appreciate that this is only a very brief history and you're wanting to keep this as short as possible, just wanted to correct a few factual errors and have my 2 cents as someone who was involved in the formation of the group and therefore can recollect some of the earlier days.

rich
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Joined: 14-10-03
Jan 18 2007 15:15

Nice one Tug! I was going to email you the history bit for checking anyhow. Is it OK to lift most of what you just wrote?

Tug
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Jan 18 2007 15:48

Yeah go for it dude, use what I said how you see fit - maybe mention Norwich ABC?

rich
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Jan 18 2007 16:17

Cheers dude!

I always feel that a letter writing meeting is barely worth calling ABC, but yeah we should mention it somewhere in there. I think we'll probably use what you've written pretty much verbatim, then run it by you again. How many years have I been trying to extract this information from you? wink Only by printing lies and slander have I been able to draw you out!

Tug
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Jan 18 2007 17:55

Yeah I know we're probably one of the weaker ABC groups but at least we're doing something. I think we can also include Wilkinsons and the stuff we've done with O Campbell as ABC related and who knows what we'll do in the future. If it's mentioned it at least give people the opportunity to enquire and get involved.

rich
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Jan 19 2007 08:24

Here's the new version: what do you think?
-----------------------------------------------------------
History of Norwich Anarchists

Norwich Anarchists was formed in 2001. Now or Never! (the group’s newspaper) quickly became the sole focus of the group. More people got involved and widened the scope of the group’s activities and started having regular meetings. The group’s founding intentions were to reflect the diversity of views within the anarchist movement, uniting on what the group had in common. Protests, stalls, fundraising, publicity stunts and dissemination of information were the group’s main activities.

In 2003 Norwich Anarchists spawned a student group based at UEA. In 2004, Norwich Anarchists took on their largest single project, The Norwich Anarchist Bookfair, which ran from 2004 to 2006. Other activities include but aren’t limited to the Free Shop started in 2004, setting up The Great Commotion in 2005, the End Fuel Poverty campaign and Righteous Promotions in 2006.

In 2005, Now or Never and Norwich Anarchists became two distinct (yet amicable!) entities. Since then Norwich Anarchists have changed the structure of the organisation. The group has also made efforts to focus on positive projects that have relevance to people’s lives such as the End Fuel Poverty Campaign.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Yeah we'll mention the ABC stuff in the what we do bit I think. Though when you add in the Wilkos and Oliver Campbell stuff that looks fairly respectable actually. Can you remember when we started doing ABC stuff?

Is there much general anarchist history in Norwich? There was a riot in 1887, Norfolk Rebellion, Freewheel bookshop, NUAG and Solfed. But they're all things with the exception of the bread riot, where we lost, or it broke up sad

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Rob Ray
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Jan 19 2007 08:52

Yeah there were a bunch of agricultural riots which are up on the easf wiki round that way.

Tug
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Jan 20 2007 14:42

Looks good!

rich wrote:

Is there much general anarchist history in Norwich?

Some punks ran through a giant cake in 1981. It was their contribution to the celebrations surrounding the wedding of Charles and Diana. I think they were part of the Direct Action Movement (I don't think this was the only noteworthy action that they were involved with!) which I think was pretty big in Noriwch/East Anglia. I think they went onto form Norwich Solfed, which at the time was the biggest in the country. So in a round about way NA can trace it's roots back to the early eighties at least.

alegria
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Jan 20 2007 15:39

ran through a giant cake...... *scratches head*
is this just me not getting punk again...? *tongue firmly in cheek*
could we have some historical clarification here?
did the cake belong to the punks? if so, why run through it? if not, how...?

Tug
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Jan 20 2007 20:20
alegria wrote:
is this just me not getting punk again...? *tongue firmly in cheek*

No, it's you not getting humour wink

It was a huge cake that was in Gentlemen's Walk as part of a Royalist street party. Punk's can barely walk in a straight line, they are not allowed to own massive cakes.

Also trying to find a tenuous link between NA and drunken punkery was all too tempting after the whole anarchism/punk thread!

On a more serious note, there were some excellent RTS'/street parties in Norwich in the late nineties as well as a load of EF! type stuff - don't know if that's worth a mention?