First Gathering of Libertarian Infrastructures

At the first Gathering of Libertarian Infrastructures, around 70 people from 45 different projects participated, from all the provinces of Catalunya and beyond, from city, town, and countryside. The projects present came from the fields of free education, rural self-sufficiency and ecological agriculture, free radios and dissemination, printers and publishers, self-organized medicine and healthcare, artisanal crafts, carpentry and metal workshops, liberated and open-source technology workshops, internet platforms, and more.

During two days we shared ideas, contacts, resources, and enthusiasm. We also sought to change the dominant model of a gathering; we wanted a gathering that would reflect the social relations we are building. Aside from debates, we also came together in diverse spaces: a decentralized and informal space for weaving networks, a space for workshops of artisanal and other skills, moments for communal work and moments for play and games. The activities of care—the kitchen and the children’s space—were in central, visible locations and were staffed collectively. Money was not present during the gathering; on the contrary everything was shared as a gift, and the few expenses for the preparation were assumed by everyone. There was a gifts table where people from varied projects left samples of the things they make, from books and pamphlets to homemade remedies to vegetables from the garden. After a night of healthy partying, on Sunday morning there were thirty of us working shoulder to shoulder to fix up new spaces in La Ruda (anarchist athenium in Manresa where the gathering was held) with the purpose of taking advantage of our collective force and also getting to know one another in a non-intellectual space.

There were also criticisms about manners of communication, about how to structure debates and other activities, and how to assure that the spaces for making networks would be useful for everybody. We ended up with lots of ideas for improving the second gathering…

Which will be in Lleida in April, next year!

Meanwhile, many people got to know each other and varied forms of collaboration and networking are in the works. Also, debates have been proposed to help us intensify our labors. There is a proposal for preparing debates in the form of questions and discussion points, that can be used to organize decentralized or regional debates. The goal is to generate more opportunities for seeing one another and to get deeper into the themes important to our struggles before the next gathering. Thus, we will have more time for other activities and forms of communication and we won’t have to debate complex themes in the few hours available in a gathering, in large groups of people who don’t all know each other and who haven’t previously worked on those themes together.

The proposals for debate are the following:

  • Towards a strategic autonomy, how do we understand «funding» and how do we assure the independence of our projects in a world dominated by capitalism and the State?
  • How do we break the enclosure of repression, how do we subvert the divisions between our «creative» projects and the theoretical, propagandistic, and destructive aspects of the struggle? How do we use our projects to confront repression and support repressed comrades?
  • How do we foment good security practices, what balance do we seek between dissemination and communication of projects and not creating databases or free information for the State?