Agora 99

Magdalena Abakanowicz ‘Agora’ (2006) in Grant Park, Chicago. Photo by JCTRambler

November 2

Dear people,

Three times already I have witnessed an international meeting under the name of ‘Agora’. First in Brussels, then in Rome and finally in Athens. All three of them coincided with the arrival of international marches, and to put it very mildly, none of them changed the world.

This weekend, activists from all over Europe have gathered in Madrid for the Agora 99 meeting on Debt, Democracy and Rights. The meeting was called for by Blockupy Frankfurt last spring. In three different social centres, today and tomorrow, workshops are planned on the aforementioned topics. I’m not going to follow all of it, I don’t have the patience. I’ll wait for the recap in Sunday’s general assembly in Sol.

A couple of things I can say, though, comparing this meeting to the other agora’s I’ve been to. First, it is shorter, much more concentrated, much better organised. Second, there are many very bright people present from different backgrounds. People with valuable experiences and ideas to share. That’s what this is all about. It’s an excellent occasion to create connections.

In this sense, the first workshop was particularly interesting. It was about the wonderful world of live streaming and advanced tactical media. I’ve been digging in to this subject for a while now, and this technology will go a long way. We are creating an army, worldwide, and we have only just started. We will rock the boat in the years to come.

One fine example of popular media is, online 24 hours a day since September 17, 2011, the day Wall Street was occupied. During the acampada in Sol, I was already fantasising about the possibilities of grass roots news coverage. I envisioned collaborative national and international news channels. And not just me. Comrades Jack and Vicky of the Audiovisual commission had been actively developing the tools which would make it possible.

But one thing is to create the channel. Another thing, even harder, is to keep it going. Together with dozens of editors worldwide, they succeeded. Last October 13, in occasion of Global Noise, they also launched a national channel, Revolution is becoming a brand.

Over the last 18 months, only a few of our news sources have managed to continue disseminating news about the movement consistently, on a daily basis. One of those is the International Commission of the Acampada Barcelona. It has been a pleasure to meet them once again, as it has been on various other occasions. They too have been doing an outstanding job.

The official program of the first full day of Agora has ended with the screening of a recent Mexican-Spanish documentary about the 15M movement. As far as I know, it’s the second documentary on the subject, next to the beautiful chronicle that was launched right after the end of the acampada. If you have an hour’s time to spend, and you don’t have any trouble understanding Spanish, it’s definitely worth the watch…


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