- Category: Occupy
- Created on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:56
- Written by Liam Wright
by Liam Wright (of the Kasama Project and Seattle's Red Spark collective)
This festival was conceived of as a cross-fertilization and engagement between the radical sections of the Occupy movement with creative sections of the communist, anarchist, and other revolutionary movements.
When the weekend was done, it had been a major success in many ways.
This weekend, about 200-250 attended the first day. People attended from about 10-12 different cities, coming from as far away as New York and Florida. There were 26 workshops, including report backs from struggles and revolutions, debates within queer politics, strategy for Black liberation, debates within the Occupy movement, the sharing of experiences of facing up against state repression, art and cultural workshops, and a lot more. Almost all the workshops that happened were well attended. Several spilled out of their defined space.
Ten different artists performed throughout the festival, ranging from hip-hop, to electronic, to folk, though unfortunately the musical performances were under-attended, largely due to problems with the way scheduling was organized (something we’ll learn from).
On day two the closing plenary's topic of discussion was on Strategy and Revolution had about 220 people in attendance. The speakers for it were
- Kali Akuno (Malcolm X Grassroots Movement)
- Mike Ely (Kasama Project)
- Geoff Mc (formerly Bring the Ruckus)
- Shemon Salam (formerly Unity and Struggle)
- Sopiko Teona (Atlanta's Take Back the Block)
Their talks dealt with key controversies surrounding revolutionary strategy, and contained critical reflection on both today's regroupment of communists and past revolutionary projects. Their presentations were sharp and sometimes controversial in the discussion that followed.
One sister coming out of the Occupy movement remarked that she had always cringed when people discussed militancy and revolution before this festival, but that the closing plenary led her to see it differently.
This weekend was also the first time some of the radical strains had met and engaged one another (if only in a very beginning and brief way).
It's my opinion that there needs to be much more engagement with the many issues raised. And we hope to help that by making audio of this plenary available shortly.
The closing dance party and documentary put on by local insurrectionary anarchists was also well attended with about 50-80 people there throughout the evening.
We hope to spread the gains and lessons from this experience as much as possible. In many ways, this event was a sort of pilot project, and we are excited to see the new forms and engagement among revolutionaries and radicals which may come out of it. Letters of praise, thanks, and critique are being received regularly.