Friday, 27 March 2015

Grassroots 2015 callout and registration




Grassroots Gathering 2015
Joining the dots between grassroots movements, communities, campaigns...
Call for contributions and registration info
St. John Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh, Dublin

Friday April 17 (evening) - Sunday April 19th (afternoon)
We are coordinating with local water charges groups so as to fit in with the Burn the Bills demo.

A grassroots gathering is a one-off event run by a local group bringing together people involved in different community campaigns and social movements to learn from each other's experiences, talk about what works and what doesn't, develop networks and make alliances. Joining the dots - imagines a raising of awareness, a politicisation leading to radical transformation, it may also envision a strategic connection between diverse campaigns and collective actions in order to advance, strengthen, consolidate and collaborate in struggle with unity and purpose.

There have been over a dozen of these gatherings in different parts of the country over the last eleven years and they have helped support all sorts of different campaigns and movements – campaigning against the water charges, resisting Shell in Erris, campaigning against cuts, supporting women's right to choose, advocating for housing rights and resisting evictions, challenging neo-liberalism in the EU, campaigning against deportation and the direct provision system, creating free space for young people, fighting for environmental justice, highlighting US military use of Shannon, challenging racism and more.

We’re looking for contributions – offers to host workshops or even just to give a short talk, as well as artistic and children’s events. Please let us know by Tuesday April 7th (just after the Easter bank holiday) if you would like to do something so we can finalise a programme. You can email us at grassrootsgathering2015@gmail.com or find us at https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootsGathering.

A good workshop for this gathering has any speakers talking for just 5 or max 10 minutes each to get a discussion going - remember most other people there are also activists. A really good workshop has people from different movements giving 5-minute intros about the same kind of practical problem from their own experiences and then a discussion. We aren't looking for events which are mostly made up of one person talking or which are mostly about trying to sell other people on a specific issue. So please let us know if you’d like to do a short intro or organise a whole workshop!

Typical sessions might include:
- How to organise, strategy and tactics, direct action, dealing with police...
- getting people involved, mobilising communities, media of all kinds, politicisation...
- education, understanding the issues, working together against austerity...
- arts workshops, film showing, children's activities, outdoors activities...

It's not for profit (and we all get to muck in with washing up, passing the hat and generally helping out), it isn't run by any political party and nobody will try to recruit anyone.

Over the last few years more and more people have seen just how corrupt the system is and how little faith we can have in the people who claim to represent us and "see us right". For this reason the Gatherings aren't for people who want to make a name for themselves, make a career out of other people's activism, get a leg up politically, make money out of campaigning, appear on TV etc.

More formally we have the "Grassroots Principles" which say that we want to work together as equals, run things in an open and democratic way and try not to talk down to each other or over each other's heads. Rather than rebuild the old mess we believe in communities being able to decide for themselves, workplaces controlled by the people who actually work in them, a sustainable economy and an end to neoliberal bodies like the IMF and World Bank which have helped to create the crisis. The full principles and more about the Gatherings at http://grassroots.pageabode.com

The venue is 20 minutes from Dublin city centre on the red Luas line, just opposite the Drimnagh Luas stop. We'll be having evening events on Friday, all day and evening events on Saturday (coordinating with local water charges groups to fit in with the Burn the Bills demo) and Sunday morning and afternoon - more details TBA.

If this sounds interesting, please get involved and help us make it happen! If you’d like to offer a workshop or suggest one which you’d like to see, please email grassrootsgathering2015@gmail.com. We're also going to need practical help on the weekend (food, childcare, beds etc.); one-off things like poster design and fundraising help; and you might just want to be kept up-to-date. For any of these please email us or check our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootsGathering)

To register (free), please email grassrootsgathering2015@gmail.com and let us know:

-        Your name
-        Your campaign / group / movement / community / whatever
-        Your email address (obviously)
-        If you need a bed or if you can offer a bed
-        If you can run a children’s event or if you’re hoping to come with children (if so, what age?)

And do think about doing a workshop / 5-minute intro / other event and let us know…

Thanks!

Co-organised by the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (Maynooth) (http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie)
Supported by Gluaiseacht for Global Justice (www.gluaiseacht.ie) and Workers Solidarity Movement (www.wsm.ie)
Thanks to the St John Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh (www.thebosco.ie)

Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Social Movements and Collective Agency seminar



Seminar: Social Movements and Collective Agency
Maynooth, Tuesday 21st April


This seminar showcases the social movements research of two recent PhD graduates in the Dept of Sociology, Maynooth.

Dr Terry Dunne will be speaking on his research on collective agency and economic change in early-nineteenth-century Ireland, the impact of social conflict within the agricultural sector on social structure, and the associated cultural formation of a sense of agency.

Dr Ania Szolucha will be speaking on her research on direct democracy in the Occupy movement in Ireland and the United States, its social relevance in the context of the history of democracy, and her new project about grassroots renewable energy initiatives.

Both speakers will also offer some insight into the final processes of PhD study which may be useful to others about to be in a similar situation.

As Ania is leaving to take up a research fellowship at the University of Bergen, Norway, we will be having post-seminar farewell drinks.

Where: Iontas conference room, Iontas Building, North Campus, Maynooth (https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/campus-life/campus-map)

When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday the 21st of April.

All welcome.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Scholarships available to CEESA applicants this year


Along with the usual SUSI grants etc. the following scholarships are available from Maynooth:

1. Taught Masters Alumni Scholarships: 5,000 euro scholarship towards fees. Open to graduates of Maynooth University including graduating class 2015 who are applying to undertake a Taught Masters at Maynooth in September 2015. Closing 1st June: 
www.maynoothuniversity.ie/study-maynooth/postgraduate-studies/fees-funding-scholarships/alumni-scholarships

2. 60 Taught Masters Scholarships of 2,000 euros - open to all Taught Masters applicants. First round of offers closing date is the 1st April 2015. Undergraduate students who have performed well in their penultimate summer exam results are encouraged to apply before the 1st April as their application will consider their penultimate results if they apply before 1st April. Final deadline is 1st June.
www.maynoothuniversity.ie/study-maynooth/postgraduate-studies/fees-funding-scholarships/taught-masters-scholarships



Of course none of this tackles the main issue which is state cutbacks on the grants both for fees and financial support - and the ever-increasing registration fees. But the only thing that will change that is effective popular struggle...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Grassroots Gathering - call for contributions



Grassroots Gathering 2015
Joining the dots between grassroots movements, communities, campaigns...

Preliminary announcement and call for contributions

St. John Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh, Dublin
Friday April 17 (evening) - Sunday April 19th (afternoon)

A grassroots gathering is a one-off event run by a local group bringing together people involved in different community campaigns and social movements to learn from each other's experiences, talk about what works and what doesn't, develop networks and make alliances.

Joining the dots - imagines a raising of awareness, a politicisation leading to radical transformation, it may also envision a strategic connection between diverse campaigns and collective actions in order to advance, strengthen, consolidate and collaborate in struggle with unity and purpose.

There have been over a dozen of these gatherings in different parts of the country over the last eleven years and they have helped support all sorts of different campaigns and movements – campaigning against the water charges, resisting Shell in Erris, campaigning against cuts, supporting women's right to choose, advocating for housing rights and resisting evictions, challenging neo-liberalism in the EU, campaigning against deportation and the direct provision system, creating free space for young people, fighting for environmental justice, highlighting US military use of Shannon, challenging racism and more.

A good workshop for this gathering has any speakers talking for just 5 or max 10 minutes each to get a discussion going - remember most other people there are also activists. A really good workshop has people from different movements giving 5-minute intros about the same kind of practical problem from their own experiences and then a discussion. We aren't looking for events which are mostly made up of one person talking or which are mostly about trying to sell other people on a specific issue. So please let us know if you’d like to do a short intro or organise a whole workshop!

Typical sessions might include:
- How to organise, strategy and tactics, direct action, dealing with police...
- getting people involved, mobilising communities, media of all kinds, politicisation...
- education, understanding the issues, working together against austerity...
- arts workshops, film showing, children's activities, outdoors activities...

It's not for profit (and we all get to muck in with washing up, passing the hat and generally helping out), it isn't run by any political party and nobody will try to recruit anyone.

Over the last few years more and more people have seen just how corrupt the system is and how little faith we can have in the people who claim to represent us and "see us right". For this reason the Gatherings aren't for people who want to make a name for themselves, make a career out of other people's activism, get a leg up politically, make money out of campaigning, appear on TV etc.

More formally we have the "Grassroots Principles" which say that we want to work together as equals, run things in an open and democratic way and try not to talk down to each other or over each other's heads. Rather than rebuild the old mess we believe in communities being able to decide for themselves, workplaces controlled by the people who actually work in them, a sustainable economy and an end to neoliberal bodies like the IMF and World Bank which have helped to create the crisis. The full principles and more about the Gatherings at http://grassroots.pageabode.com

The venue is 20 minutes from Dublin city centre on the red Luas line, just opposite the Drimnagh Luas stop. We'll be having evening events on Friday, all day and evening events on Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon - more details TBA.

If this sounds interesting, please get involved and help us make it happen! If you’d like to offer a workshop or suggest one which you’d like to see, please email grassrootsgathering2015@gmail.com. We're also going to need practical help on the weekend (food, childcare, beds etc.); one-off things like poster design and fundraising help; and you might just want to be kept up-to-date. For any of these please email us or check our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GrassrootsGathering)

Co-organised by the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (Maynooth) (http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie)

Supported by Gluaiseacht for Global Justice (www.gluaiseacht.ie) and Workers Solidarity Movement (www.wsm.ie)

Thanks to the St John Bosco Youth Centre, Drimnagh (www.thebosco.ie)

Address for facebook etc.: http://tinyurl.com/qx5fydq

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

MA CEESA - a masterclass in changing the world

Call-out for students for this autumn's MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at Maynooth - please circulate!
We have a lot going on at the MA - a talk next week "Gypsy rebellion? Leadership, NGOs and activism among Spanish gitanos"; in April John Holloway is giving a two-day seminar "Think Hope, Think Crisis" and not long after that we're co-organising the "Joining the dots" Grassroots Gathering in Dublin - all part of a wider Dublin Spring of resistance and creation bubbling up from below.
Now read on...

Are you

-          active in social movement struggles but need space to stand back, reflect, recharge?

-          committed to community activism  but frustrated by where the community sector  is going?

-          trying to see a way forward for radical education in a cold climate?

-          politically minded but don’t know how to turn that into an effective and radical practice?

-          involved in NGO or trade union activism but feel trapped by the structures?

-          concerned about the cooption of community and other groups and wondering how to reorganise?

-          clear that social change is central to you but unsure how to build a life around it?

-          interested in spending a year with experienced activists and community educators?

Around the world today, movements and communities are making history – or trying to. Austerity is being challenged across Europe, while Latin American movements are rewriting the rulebook and elsewhere massive popular movements are challenging the powerful from Hong Kong to Turkey to Ferguson. In Ireland too, struggles around water charges, fracking, abortion rights and direct provision are shaking the old certainties that “there is no alternative” to neoliberalism, that cosying up to state institutions is the only game in town, that we are condemned to an endless rerun of the same parties in power.

The need for change is huge and the outcome is still all to play for. We see seemingly unstoppable movements squashed - and seemingly hopeless ideas winning against all the odds. Movements seem to come out of nowhere and shake the powers that be – but then it can be hard to see a way forward. 

What makes the difference, and how can our movements really change the world?

The Masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (CEESA) at Maynooth responds to the crisis by helping us learn from each other’s struggles in dialogue between different movements, different communities and different generations. The course is not tied to any single movement and participants come from many different communities and countries. Some are experienced activists who want to go back to education; others are people who are just getting involved in movements. 

This lively mixture of ages, backgrounds, experiences and questions is an integral part of what makes the course so rewarding. Together we are building a diverse network of movement activists, radical educators and campaigners for equality and creating new alliances for change. See the video at http://tinyurl.com/ceesavideo

The course team are experienced practitioners and engaged researchers working on equality, radical education and movement struggles. The course combines political strategy, bottom-up organising methods and social analysis with a wide range of learning methods and a focus on knowledge for change, taking a practical but radical look at the problems facing movements today. Our small-group classes run one or two days a week to facilitate participants’ lives, over two 12-week terms followed by working on a project aimed at developing your own movement practice. We don’t just learn within the classroom: we do joint events with a wide range of community and movement groups in Ireland as well as running events with international activists like Hilary Wainwright, John Holloway, Selma James, John Krinsky, Jane McAlevey, Eurig Scandrett, Rhetta Moran, Firoze Manji…

Often we are told we have to choose between our politics and “real life”. This Masters shows how to integrate the two with confidence, practicality, solidarity, emotional resilience, seeing the bigger picture, taking time out to reflect and supporting each other for the long haul. Participants go back to their own movements refreshed, set up new projects, find work in movement organisations, go on to further education - and bring back what they have learned to their own struggles.

Contact the Dept of Adult and Community Education at adcomed@nuim.ie  or (01) 7083937.

Gypsy rebellion? Leadership, NGOs and activism among Spanish gitanos



Public talk by
Antonio Montañés

Gypsy rebellion? A sociocultural analysis of leadership, NGOs and activism among Spanish gitanos

Wednesday, March 11th, 5 - 6.30 pm
Room ACE 2, ground floor, Rowan House, north campus, Maynooth
(SE corner of north campus, between Education House and Auxilia building)
  
 
Why does a historically stigmatized and family-oriented ethnic minority that is pushed to the margins of social life decide to engage in politics and civil society? How do they manage to carry out such an a priori countercultural task? What kinds of cultural repertories and narratives bridge this historical gap? What challenges and paradoxes do they face and what trends do we find?

In this talk, the author will explore the impact that sociological context (such as extensive urbanization and the end of the Franco era) and external agents (such as the Catholic Church and other State-oriented institutions) had on the birth of gitano associationism and its struggle for institutional recognition. In addition, the author will   focus on the powerful and monopolistic position of NGOs on gitano civil society, the drastic reconfiguration of social leadership following decades of extreme social changes, and the recent evolution of gitano collective action, informed by the emergence of new and critical ethnic autonomous agents (feminism, LGTB).

About the author:

Antonio Montañés is FPI Junior Researcher at the Department of Sociology V of Complutense University of Madrid and Marie Curie RA at Maynooth University. He has been appointed a Visiting Scholar at the University of Saint Andrews (UK), University of Aberdeen (UK) and Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain). He has won several honourable mentions based on excellence in scholarship from the Autonomous Community of Madrid Higher Education Council and Spanish Government.

Admission free, all welcome