Dear friends

We are preparing an autonomous space ?autonomous playground? near the 4th European forum and we are interested in emphasizing on LGBT and gender issues. That is because within Greek movement these issues are very underestimated. There is no wide discussion and very limited action. So we ask you to help us open up, on a larger scale, discussions that will advance the political importance that sexuality and gender have for the understanding of our societies.   


Invitation for the creation of an autonomous space during the 4th European Social Forum (Spring, 2006, Athens)

This spring, the 4th European Social Forum will take place in  Athens. Thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of people from all  around Europe, from an entire galaxy of social and political  movements, organizations and collectives, will meet in our city to  get to know each other, to exchange views and practices, to  strengthen and extend the networks of resistance and creation, or even build new ones.  These meetings were born by the explosion of the so-called anti- globalization movement: that is the source of their massive, rich  and diverse character. Our collective has been a child of this  movement and we participated with great interest in the three   previous meetings: in Florence, Paris and in London, but also  during other European activists gatherings (like the People's   Global Action in Belgrade - summer of 2004). We discovered that   despite the distance there are many things that unite us with  collectives and people from other countries. We got ideas and  inspiration, new viewpoints and practices, and we also tried to  spread our own experience. We made fruitful contacts that may   become more fruitful in the future. We went down to the streets, we  acted, played and enjoyed ourselves like a multitude without borders.  We think that the next meeting in Athens can be a very good  opportunity to broaden and enrich these relations.Since the event   will take place in our city, we have to (and we'll be glad to) take  on practical responsibilities around it, in return to the  hospitality and hard work of previous meetings. And we want to do   this with other collectives and people from all over Greece who   want to participate in a productive and cheerful gathering, osmosis, networking procedure... in a big activist playground!

Sounds good, but how are we going to do it? And what does  autonomous space mean? Our experience from the previous meetings, tells us that European  Forums are giant organizations, with many different levels and  agendas. Lots of people will participate, act and interact during these days. People who travelled from the other side of Europe, even  on their own or representing local collectives and small  experimental networks. But also representatives from trade unions,  political parties and organizations with tens of thousands members. All of them at the same time but with different viewpoints, aims and ranges, and therefore different organizational needs.

We want to be a part of this activist galaxy but we want to choose  the ways to organize and correlate. We want our bodies to shape the matter and atmosphere of the space that will host the multitude we  are very interested to meet: Collectives and people who act directly, both in their political practice (direct action,  activism) as well as in their views of social change (the world  won't change with the revolution, we change the world around us now  and every day). Those who struggle to build horizontal collective processes, based on consensus and solidarity that recognize and  try to pull down the existing discriminations of race, gender, age,   class or sexual orientation. Those who don't come with settled  political agendas and out-of-the-box solutions, but are willing to experiment with their eyes wide open to reality, who see the entire  society as a possible participant and co-organizator of their practices - not as the other that has to be convinced. These people exist in the movement and need their space. Not in  order to get into their shells, neither to denounce anybody. But to  discuss, create relations, build networks on their terms and  communicate with the rest of the movement on equal ground. Many  collectives from all over Europe and Greece cannot and do not want  to get involved with centralized and often bureaucratic    procedures. The most radical and innovative views are often   marginalized by these structures. It would be senseless to ask from   the forum's central structure to take organizational decisions by  consensus of 40000 people. Just as senseless as expecting that the   forum's centralized procedures can organize the space described   above. This need has been expressed in the three previous forums    with the creation of various autonomous spaces. We were in Euro Hub  in  Florence, in Glad -Paris- and in London's autonomous spaces, we    were also in some big seminars and central manifestations in the  official Forums there. And we took something from all these.

We propose an autonomous space like this: self-organized and  tailored to our needs. Small scale and open to all directions for   direct participation. In order to talk freely about our action  experiences, about what excites us and what troubles us. And we   invite you to form it with us, away of inside or outside divisive viewpoints. We are not interested in this dilemma,
it's the   possibility of a lively and creative meeting that motivates us.

And what's on the menu? Whatever we fancy for! The Virus collective mostly focuses on practices of civil disobedience and direct action, on culture    jamming, urban intervention. So we will organize workshops, discussions and actions of this kind and we will invite European    collectives with similar interests. Likewise, every collective or individual that would like to participate, can propose and organize events in the space, related    to their actions. They could also motivate other groups and individuals from all over Europe (and of course Greece) to participate.

Alright, since this is an invitation, let's give some ideas of other topics that we find very interesting (the order is random and    the list is not limiting): 

At the same time, we could organize discussions on issues that run through all topics, such as the problems that we face with direct-  democracy procedures or even more general theoretical issues.

Apart from workshops and discussions, it would be great if we had permanent exhibitions, projections, bar and collective cuisine. We  could also organize some actions altogether in the city. And of course a party for every night!

As at this first step we are addressing this message to those collectives that had organized or contributed to the organization of autonomous spaces in the past, it would be very helpful if you could provide as the links of those groups that you know that will be interested for this kind of effort.

Virus Collective