Report on the 3rd GG in Belfast October 2003

The third Grassroots Gathering was held in Belfast held over the weekend of October 26th – 27th 2002, it brought together over one hundred grassroots activists, environmentalists, union members, feminists, working people, anarchists, children and other assorted troublemakers from across the island and beyond. There were almost 20 different workshops on a wide variety of topics including Gender, Direct Action, Social Centres, Opposing US Military Use of Shannon Air, Workers Control, Reclaim the Streets, Confronting Sectarianism, and Forest Gardens.

It took place in Giros, which was a democratically managed social centre in Belfast, with gigs, meetings, a cafe, a darkroom, a library, and much more.

Given the international situation, unsurprisingly talk about the war took up a lot of time. One excellent workshop was introduced by the Shannon plane spotters of Refuelling Peace. The discussion following this was mostly about schemes to establish a peace camp at Shannon, creating a democratic anti–war network and a call for a further demonstration at Shannon warport. These proposals were then taken to the Morning meeting, i.e. to all folk at Grassroots, not just attendees at one workshop.

Many concrete plans and ideas emerged from the many workshops during the two days, including the formation of a grassroots network against the war, the staging of Reclaim The Streets, and the suggestion to host a People's Global Action conference in Ireland. In fact the only problem that seemed to occur was that of two or more interesting workshops coinciding and the sheer lack of time to attend everything. A special word of thanks has to go out to the Belfast crew for all their hard work and the organisation of this Grassroots Gathering. It was a roaring success thanks to their hospitality and meticulous attention to detail!