Grassroots Gathering held in Cork - Organising In Challenging Times


The Grassroots Gathering is a twice-yearly coming together of anarchists and libertarian socialists who are active in political groups and campaigns up and down the island of Ireland. The second of 2008's Gatherings was held in Cork on 14th-16th November. The 90 or so attending, combined with the quality of the discussions, left its organisers very pleased with the weekend. It showed that there's a lot of life left in the Grassroots Gathering as a show-case for trends and thinking among Ireland's libertarian left.

The big issue was the attack on the working class currently happening world-wide. The workshop titled 'Kicking Capitalism While It's Down - Responses To The Recession' was a particular highlight of the Saturday time-table, with almost the whole attendance engaged intensely in a discussion of activities and strategies our class might use to fight back against the designs of the rich, as the crisis in the capitalist economy unfolds. Thanks are due to the Cork branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement for helping organise that part of the weekend's programme, and also to Cork-based socialist activists from other left organisations and traditions for organising or participating in many of the weekend's activities.

An important part of all the Grassroots Gatherings to date has been the invitation to local campaign groups in the host community to showcase their struggles and talk about their community's engagement with political ideas through struggle. Cork this November was no different, with members of groups as diverse as Cork Women's Right to Choose, Traveller and Settled Solidarity, Niger Delta Awareness and Cork Harbour for a Safe Environment among those participating over the weekend. The dialogue between all was sometimes heart-rending, occasionally sharp, but always constructive. Information, photo displays and book stalls were there too, from a range of interests and campaigns from Palestine Solidarity to the Revolutionary Anarchafeminist Group to Shell to Sea to swap shops and foods.

While the Gathering is an occasion for friends and comrades to meet for serious talk about serious things, there's always time for conviviality and craic, with the pinnacle of entertaining Anarchy being Saturday night's Cabaret Éclectique - a “participatory revue” with everything you would expect: from boos and cat-calls to calls for encores!

This article is from Workers Solidarity 107 Jan/Feb 2009

You can read WS107 online or download the PDF file