2008 Convergence Questions

After months of informal discussion, the general consensus seems to be that there should be a CrimethInc. convergence this summer, but no community has offered to host it. Perhaps the convergence is a victim of its own success, in that it seems like such a massive undertaking that no one feels ready to take it on; this summer is going to be an especially busy one for many anarchists, and time and energy will be stretched thin in some circles.

We’re eager to hear your input: Should there be a convergence this summer? If so, where, when, and how? Are you interested in helping make it happen?

There are many factors to take into account when considering how and whether to organize a convergence in 2008, largely stemming from the fact that the Democratic and Republican National Conventions will be occurring this summer as well. Anarchists in Minnesota and Colorado will have their hands full leading up to the conventions, as will many other anarchists around the country; numerous consultas, action camps, and tours are already planned in the buildup to the convention protests. Additionally, federal funding for repressive measures will potentially be higher this summer than it has been for the past three convergences, so it will be especially important that if there is a convergence it is organized with experience and care. We’ve come a long way since the convergences of 2003 and 2004 were disturbed by police provocations, and we should be careful never to let them get away with that again.

One approach would be simply to let 2008 pass without a convergence, shifting the focus to other events and taking some time to consider how to experiment with the convergence format. As some participants in the 2007 convergence felt it was such a success that it was time to try something new, this could be a good time to take a step back.

On the other hand, if handled right, a convergence could contribute momentum to other events this summer. To anarchists who are not interested in the convention protests, it would seem ridiculous and exclusive for all other anarchist projects to be put on hold until the conventions are over—that would confirm the argument that mass mobilizations detract energy from other activities. Likewise, if the organizing towards the convention protests brings new participants into anarchist networks, but there are no events that focus on more general anarchist ideas, desires, and experiments in the way earlier CrimethInc. convergences have, that will be a tremendous missed opportunity.

If there is to be a convergence, it seems clear it will have to be spatially and temporally distant from the conventions. And the basic information about it will have to come together soon, so there is time to promote it. Hosting a CrimethInc. convergence requires no special skills or powers, simply a little determination and reliability—there is a national network ready to fill in the rest.

If you want to bottomline an organizational role, such as hosting the event in your area or providing food or other resources, or if you have questions for other potential organizers, email crimethincbooking@yahoo.com.
If you care to contribute to the public discussion of how and whether to organize a 2008 convergence, please post comments here. Feel free to specify whether you’ve ever been to a previous convergence and what roles you’ve played in the past, so others will have some context for your remarks.

For an extensive meditation on last summer’s convergence, consult the discussion questions released last September in lieu of a full report.

18 thoughts on “2008 Convergence Questions

  1. COME TO CALIFORNIA, MEET OUR GOVERNATOR!!!!!!!!!!

    I live in the SF bay area (more specifically Berkeley) and it would be a perfect place to host a convergence given what is going on in the area right now (tree-sit, new animal testing facilities, BP cutting a deal with UC berkeley)

    I have never been to a convergence before, so i would like to use the convergence as a chance to travel. But if you need a place that is sure to draw a huge crowd and not have a lack of excitement, berkeley is the place.

    Most of all i think the convergence should happen where ever it does happen, it will give people a chance to get jazzed about the DNC and RNC and bring people together in another horrible election year.

  2. About the March protests: is there anything planned for that? and blocs or other tactics in the works?

  3. Ive never been to one of these, but I think Austin, TX wouldn’t be a horrible place to have it. I will be squatting there come summer.

  4. How about having it in Denver the week before the DNC? This would provide a great opportunity to get prepared. Or a week before the RNC in the twin cities area?
    Comrade RK

  5. yo, i know that with records and shit it might be hard for a lt of people to get across the border, but what about somewhere in southern ontario??

  6. Come to CT, the richest state in the Union. My brother tells me that the high school kids he teaches there complain that there’s nothing to do, that it’s so boring they could die, blah blah blah. Why not give them something to do?
    Also, it’s just about an equal distance to Boston and New York City, so it would be easy and cheap to carpool from there. If it’s in/near New Haven, it would be easy to get to by train or plane.

  7. Anti-RNC people were turned back at the Canadian borders already. As much as I’d love to visit Canada again, any known or suspected connections to anti-RNC and anti-DNC demonstrations and also people with records will definitely face more possible problems.

    Having it in a RNC or DNC “city” could be a good or bad thing. If those people follow up and participate in those demonstrations, it might give them a more familiar network and awareness of the areas and yes give the whole thing more momentum. However, at the same time, it could make them stand out as marks if there is pre-emptive police action and infilitration.

    Simultaneously with that, I also feel that perhaps the next convergence shouldn’t revolve around the DNC and RNC fiascos. fr them to be the complete or a cnter focus of 2008 convergence might feel a little of the same and a little less of something new.

    I’d myself like at least one focus in a convergence of how one lives as a lifelong committed revolutionary and help people expand their imagination before hierichal society’s bogeymen of “you are getting older, you must lose your soul and conform” starts dragging people down and out.

  8. How about an ode to Eugene’s “8 weeks of Anarchy” in the lead up to WTO ’99 and we have 8 days of anarchy, so that it streches across both the DNC and RNC , so that people not going to the conventions can also show the capitalists what anarchy really looks like with Food Not Bombs gatherings, Really Really Free markets, skill shares, and maybe some direct action/street parties.

  9. Juba, this I like a lot! Though it would probably be good if we did the Food Not Bombs stuff and Really Really Free Markets separately from the main demonstrations. If they are too closely linked, the media would cover only the “scary anarchists,” like back in ’99. If we can organize really really free markets etc. with some well-placed press materials, and well-spoken media liasons who will not alienate the press, we will be able to temper our image, so to speak. This will work to raise sympathy & solidarity from liberals who have frowned on the “standard” anarchist techniques of trashing, spray-painting, setting dumpsters on fire, etc. We need to also steer clear of anarchist stereotypes – the whiny, trustafarian malcontent, the phony, firebrand punk rocker, the destructive vandal. In short, yes to ‘Free markets, skill shares, Food Not Bombs, etc., but yes also to good press releases and good press liasons. The DNC/RNC is harvest time for the press. I’m not suggesting we sell out to them, but we might as well try to improve our image. Worst case scenario: people remain ignorant as usual. Best case scenario: the media’s coverage of real anarchism in action causes a complete shift in the collective unconscious; the end of ‘their’ world, the beginning of ‘ours.’

  10. disclosure-who I am-
    I am in my mid thirties, married white male, three kids, house and soul-sucking job. I live in central Florida not far from Daytona Beach.

    As a newly liberated mind (thanks to Days of war, Nights of love and more recently Expect Resistance) I like a couple of ideas batted around in a previous thread of posts and to second what troubadour-to-door has stated above me.

    The first being to have ‘regional’ convergences to make them easier to attend and local issues, would be easier to address as well as making it easier to make friends that one would stay in contact with. Maybe a ‘national’ convergence could alternate years with ‘regional ‘ ones.

    I couldn’t say if it would be best to have a convergence this year or not.

    Another issue I have been dwelling on is the unpermited parade (obnoxious takeover if you’re a local) in the host city. There may be other ways to include people in the movement of the (r)evolution of the mind then pissing them off. Ask for help with first aid seminars, herb gardening, etc. This way people are asked in and participate willingly , so they are able to see CWC and the likeminded are not wingnuts and trouble makers for the sake of just starting trouble, but that ‘we’ have an agenda to include, not exclude people.

    A good group of people to want to include would be the migrant worker (I have tried commuinication on a small level and I am trying to get my wife to translate Fighting For Our Lives into Spanish). I see Mexicans taken advantage of and used as a commodity more than any other group of people around me. A good outreach to the youger laborers would make a solid support base. Politics and philosophy are usually the farthest thing from their minds (I know I talk to them the best I can). But with the right coordination the gansta bullshit a lot of these kids hold onto could be replaced with much more productive thought and actions, like helping others out instead of marking their turf and drug dealing as a way to sticking it to the man by sticking it to each other.

    My post is now turning into ramblings.

    Love is the best insurgency.

    P.S. I am starting a poets workshop called Poetry as Insurgent Art in my area, if anyone around here is interested email me at sw5446@hotmail.com. I also would like to meet those already in action.

  11. “If we can organize really really free markets etc. with some well-placed press materials, and well-spoken media liasons who will not alienate the press, we will be able to temper our image, so to speak.”

    I would hope that any gathering we undertake would be about developing relationships with each other, not reducing ourselves to a living press release.

  12. Sorry if I offend, xdx. Of course, any gathering would have aims of its own, and I would not want to detract from that. All I’m saying is, in addition to “developing relationships with each other,” it would be a good time to dispel some of the bad press & negative stereotypes that seem to cling to the word “anarchist” these days. The press seems to want to keep these stereotypes going because it is in their interest to do so; they are just another thing to inspire needless fear in American hearts and minds. I enjoy being feared sometimes, but if we can be shrugged off like that, we will be silenced.

  13. FYI, The Eugene 9 Week Revolt was held AFTER the WTO, in 2000, not before it.

  14. If it’s held in Eugene alot of people currently participating and knowledgeable about the movement could actually partake in the event. There’s plenty of people in Portland who lack the funds to travel to any event more then two states away. Most of us are young twenty-something year olds, and frugal bastards.

  15. Sorry, maybe i should clarify. I mean have a local or even regional events like Food Not Bombs, RRFM, skillshares etc that co-incide with the dates of the DNC/RNC and call it “11 Days of Anarchy” (so that covers the days of both conventions and the 2 day gap btwn them). It seems like most people on the west coast will go to DNC and midwest folks to Rnc. and that both places are too far to travel for most East Coast and Southern folks. Instead of traveling 1000s of miles, people should organize their local area, instead of begging crimethinc insiders to come to their neighborhood.

  16. The problem is, juba, that anything that comes into conflict with the social order is threat and is therefore scary to the social order. Attempting to honestly portray ourselves by means which are inherently opposed to everything we stand for should be an obvious loosing battle. Creating a singular public representation of anarchy is not even worth attempting.

    Creating a distinction between good the bad and the ugly of the anarchists, is not productive for us and especially not for those who are much more threatened by this devision who do seek a more conflictual relationship with what restrains us.

  17. Franklin county in Pennsylvania. tons of fields/farms and until the recent housing debacle there was a large push for land development so now there are empty built houses perfect for squatting. its rural but most of the population are politically apathetic, except it is home to the Chambersburg Liberty Dollar. and the central dauphin SDS is one of the strongest

  18. News on the convergence front: it looks like the next convergence will be in Wisconsin in July, following a series of hosting offers and discussions. The question is, when in July? The Earth First! rendezvous is the first week of July, so that’s a bad time.

    What other events are due to occur in July, that we should be careful not to double-book with? Are dates set for the national SDS convention yet? Everyone’s assistance and input about this would be really helpful.

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