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Interlude for second inner spaces exploration...

Dinner and then Taran’s film about Mumbai WSF''

Next morning: Discussion of Taran’s and Guiuseppe’s papers. Discussants and authors go off together again. Summary, Giuseppe on Taran: beautiful writing – embodied experience of networking, emotion. Addresses reflexivity and the film maker who often tends to speak on behalf of people through film. Relationship between technology and politics. Taran critiques the notion of brother/sisterhood within the forum. Relationship between filming and the forum. Something specific about how the activist is filming his/herself – beyond objective reporter. Making space for faith based mobilisation. Jeff: shocking that a politics of secularism makes it so difficult. What is an authentic encounter? Forum as strategic political intervention – clashes with this deeper sense of networking. Paper could have been more challenging in its discussion on layers of being.

Why do we have to’embody’ the identities that have been forged to explain our world in order to explain who I am and where I come from?

Giuseppe would have liked the paper to tease out more how the types of encounters that Taran describes can formulate a different, more relational identity rather than just Indian Muslim woman meeting Brazilian indigenous man. Taran: Fleeting encounters as ephemeral and connecting. Farcicle nature of forum as pageant of the representative. The spectacle of the forum is not going to remake the world as the boy in the paper fears. Treating people as spectacle – film maker – wants to get beyond the activist formula of situadedness and perspective, voice of filmmaker.

__

2 things I am taking away from the encounter in particular: space is the wrong conceptualisation – relational conflict as necessary and productive __

Further discussion: Freedom as constant process of liberating, never a state in itself Giuseppe: would it be better to talk about ‘free’ space rather than ‘open’ space? As space is never ‘open’.

Can we develop guideliness or codes of practice for our politics?

Debrief on Feb 1st: Film: Taran will communicate the outline once she starts with post production. Review: each person should write a few words on what happened at INTEGRIA and/or EIOS 2 sessions. Rapport: everyone to type up their notes – Geoffrey and Emma to formulate questions so we can put something together that’s more coherent and can go public (style: academic, matter of fact, literal and experimental) Chloe and Jai will do the official report for funders Copyright – urgent task: Rodrigo to find out about laws on copyright of the journal. Chloe to ask contributors whether they want to be on the website.

Debrief EIOS 2 (mixed with further comments on the nature of the group and future work/process): Geoffrey: - always have to be careful of group dynamic - we were really effective as group - amazing - building a base

Subbu: - can’t really dissect thoughts yet - came with idea that idea of open space was a myth, now in retrospect understands the usefulness of myth creation for reality production – relationship between the two

Taran: - too much repetition in EIOS 2 - Were the people who were not us at the sessions just friends or ‘real’ new people - How many people actually ‘picked’ our session?

Michal: - phenomenal process - learnt about the importance of publicity - questions about usefulness of workshops at the forum: - made some contacts but frustrated about where the discussion got to – is it useful even to try to have ‘deeper’ discussions at the forum? – sessions have not been getting anyway we haven’t been already – don’t like the open space name anymore

Rodrigo: - couldn’t really participate much, difficult to make sense of it - open space is to open a concept to do any more with it than we have already done - usefulness of the forum questionable - thinks this was his last forum

Anila: - dissapointed with the WSF - done with ‘going to Disney Land’ - would like to have forum-like discussions at the University and interact more with people who are not already politicised. Maybe I am too one-track minded and am missing something, have also tried to be skeptical about my own skepticism. Has felt negative but now wants to find a way that is useful to her and explore this. Does not want to be a professional activist. Need to be careful not to collapse the academic and the activist – wants to be an academic (as opposed to an academic).

Jeff: - any term you beat to death, as we have done, you get tired of it. - Thea was effective outreach, so was Tibo. - Sense that the forum is tired. How do we take all of the things that we do there with us? - Specific debates are less important than what we are doing, this broader ‘thing’. - Really liked session on creative commons, was refreshing to be presented to. - Need to start diffusing outward

Jai: - we did not achieve intellectual depth - we should not be fetishist about being unconventional - open space opened up a lot: now has much more of an understanding of relational aspects of open space - feels changed - autonomous space: very interested - needed to do more publicity - we did not go to the indigenous space, nor the quilimbos space - locked into ‘who are my people’! - if you do organise a session, don’t have it on the first day – no time to outreach!

Chloe: - 3rd EIOS 2 session was not good, we talked about networking without doing it - found many sessions already using similar formats to us, although still too many panels - our structure was not as innovative as it could have been – need to take this forward - we failed in having a strategic presence at the forum - language

Geoffrey: - we need to think how to really include new people – not just invite them

Michal: - we should finish this bit of the project as ‘us’ - should write something – another ‘call for papers’ focussing on what we’ve learnt at INTEGRIA and the WSF – conflicts, tensions and limits - we could even try this as collective editors - let’s try to articulate a series of questions on this

Emma: - finish this bit as we are and then develop a call for papers as a way of inviting new people in

Jeff: - can we widen it to ‘space’ – rather than ‘open space’?

Michal: - we shouldn’t depart from what we brought people together on – also, there is whole literature on space that already exists – can circulate some articles - also, we can frame it as ‘people who are writing after the WSF 2005, where open space was a seriously contested issue’

Jai: - G19 – opportunity to think strategically about intervening with our open space stuff - we really need ot follow the political climate inside the WSF in the next few months

Michal: - open space has been brought up in so many visceral ways – caracol, g-19, rape and theft at youth camp, relationships between people

Jai: Let’s put the docs of the g-19 up there and generate discussion on openspaceforum.net – ic meeting in amsterdam at the end of march; at caracol moema said that open space meetings are open to observers…members however are for life – ic member on record as having said that they didn’t want ic meetings to be open because that means you can’t speak freely

Emma: Sian and Steffen have taped the caracol session – Teivo, Thomas Ponniah and Rodrigo are going to write a report Where the Women at this year’s forum? Emma and to put some questions up on the WIKI on women and the wsf.

Michal to do something on the indigenous peoples. Giuseppe and Isabelle on the IC Dalit will be using the webspace Let’s create one for ic: ‘eyeseewatch.net’

Assembly of Social Movements was scary – someone recorded as saying, ‘without discipline there will never be socialism’ – all shouting ‘viva socialism’, woman singing some heart wrenching song at end, everyone elated and waving flags, nature of the declarations was aggressive – hardly any women. Assembly of social movements was an frightening assembly of trotskist parties and trade unions using the name social movements to take the moral highground – ATTAC noted by its absence.

Isabelle: if anone wants to write for the Human Development Journal – between 7 000 and 20 000 characters.

__Deadline for first round of work to be completed, March 30th 2005. __

- -

Open Space Notes

Sessions at INTEGRIA

Arrival of Michal, Rodrigo, Taran, Asad and myself during lunch break. Reconvene together – after a short brief on the morning’s session, we continue discussions. Already there is a sense of disorientation after the arrival of a new group.

Brief from the morning: - discussion of definitions and vocabulary, identity: who are we as knowledge and resource holders? - What is our goal? To influence the WSF? - Paper discussions should focus on key points and explore these through the papers, rather than exploring the papers as separate from each other – key theme already emerging: marginalisation and exclusion and unintendedness – presences/absences in movements and in the forum - Building a collective experience - Forum: need to make it popular

Further discussion on Inclusion/Marginality: - Certain beliefs are pre-given at the forum, others feel unwelcome - Secularisation as a form of fudamentalism (understood as basing what you do or say as unquestionable truth) - What is one’s situatedness? E.g: difference between coming to the forum as Muslim or being a Muslim at the Forum/Is the intention to come to the Forum to assert differences? - Why mobilise for the Forum – does the Forum have to be universal – uniting everyone in their struggles? - Open Space: Who opened it up – intentional and unintentioal exclusion - Why have people started with the ESF? - Identity as construed from a position of ‘normality’ to then think ‘who’ needs to be ‘included’ – maybe we should think in terms of specifity rather than singularity – problem of how subjectivities are formed within the Forum – some people are there to represent a subjectivity and others allowed to be themselves - Isabelle: At the forum you can be whatever you want – you can have mulitiple identities - Is the Forum about the process of becoming something else – is it relational in this sense? - Is there a space outside of locatedness? - Emma: relations versus space: the question of marginality is about relations between people! - Michal: wishes to address the question of transforming systems of governance through new culture of politics - How does this relate to ‘civil society’ evolution, international organisations, the UN? - Giuseppe: Conflict management as hegemonic practice - Mary: Changes in the social production of scientific knowledge, transformation of public commons to private spaces - Jeff: Conflict as mechanism for network building – i.e. mechanism through which networks are built – ‘we are becoming blind to the debris the Forum is leaving behind’, also: dialogue can be confrontational rather than forgeing new relations - Lynn Mario: over time we become different subjects - Anila: The WSF as space of differences is not good enough – where do we see the successes and failures of the Forum – urgency! - Jeff: so much of the Forum is also about feeling - it’s also an image event which is good – notion of spectacle too. - Michal: overarching questions: what is the political effectivity? What is successful? What are our strategies? What is our measurement? How do we see effectiveness in the quotidien? Let’s not create too rigid a boundary between these things and the formal/old politics of policy - Rodrigo: Complexity cannot be situated. Certainty of impossibility relies on a belief that is impossible to justify based on this premise - Jai: You can’t lay down effectivity

...Explorations of Inner Space...

After dinner we reconvene with those who want to work on re-organising the programme, as it has transpired that this is necessary because for the first half of the day some people’s papers could not be discussed because they were not there and we also realise that there is not enough time for planning EIOS 2. Furthermore, we want to re-organise the discussions around key concepts and issues for discussion and have the papers feed into these discussions. One of biggest dicussion points is whether to discuss all papers altogether or different ones in different break out groups – people divided. Programme is restructured with a small group (without me as I go to bed).

Next morning –start the day off with group dynamic exercise. first paper to be discussed is mine and Vanessa’s with Isabelle’s– we are trying the variant method of discussants and authors going through the papers together to prepare short presentations and the others reading or relaxing. We then come together to report back and then break out into smaller groups again to discuss in more depth. One thing I keep mentioning about Isabelle’s paper that I keep coming back to is the discourses and modes of political participation found in global governance structures (‘formal ‘ structures) and the world socia lforum/activists processes (informal) – what’s the relationship between these two spheres and are they two responses to globalisation that are interdependent – how is one influencing the other – how does the wsf stand in relation to global governance structures – both conceptually and practically. How does the discourse of ‘participation’ relate to existing power structures and institutions?

Discussion of my and Vanessa’s paper:

- Michal: Notion of ‘culture’ – can ‘culture’ function at this model? Can a network culture be transferred to the level of the state? Is there a difference between culture and ethics? Can we think of a ‘culture of politics’ rather than an open space? How can we articulate a network logic of the State? What kind of boundaries exist, e.g. who is an ‘activist’ and who isn’t? Networking model as form of organisation – Jeff: these spaces can have different logics, e.g. shared space like the Youth Camp or a hub with an empty centre where people, groups, events, initiatives can plug in to to connect with others – moment of determination: common identity/common issue. - Jeff: There’s a need for some closure - Rodrigo: We need an ethics of openness which distinguishes between open-endedness and drfit, fnding a medium between process and determination - determination and difference – an ethics of the drift rather than the undetermined – determination makes connections easier - Emma: open space is pre-determined – open space is an unhelpful concept because any ‘space’ is created by the nature of an interaction. We can’t talk about things – need to talk about processes and relations (within the space and between the supposed inside and outside, if it is even clear where a boundary lies in that sense as people can inhabit multiple spaces etc). Is space unhepful in capturing what we are trying to look at _ power, decision-making, ethics, productivity…RELATIONS - Giuseppe: is negating power relations an inherent aspect of modernity? Is going beyond modernity an attempt to solve problems of power dynamics? Removing power? What do you mean by Cartesian in your article – separation of body and mind? What would the implications of your argument be? Problem of a self-defeating strategy: producing knowledge is bad as either reproduces the system or provides an alternate reading. In trying to transcend current divisions, what is desirable? Deconstructing for the sake of deconstructing? Also, problem of our own situatedness within modernity. Foucault: reflective ethics. Going beyond respect for others…. - Michal: there is no empty container, boundaries are necessary – think of interdependence rather than autonomy Jeff: better to speak of ‘the cultural’, not ‘culture’ to emphasise it as process rather than ‘thing’, boundaries are never discrete Jeff: how do we articulate a difference between neoliberalism and left libertarianism (techniques of the self ‘exporting’ governance to the body politic) Anila: not happy with the definition of ethics in the paper – it’s positioning one identity against that of another, instead of nurturing a ‘politics of becoming’. Emma: But our understanding of the world is mediated by the boundaries between you and me – not as a fixed identitiy but as a point of reference. Rodrigo: ‘soup’ – informed matter Mary: Would Libertarianism/Anarchism lead is back to what the liberals want us to be?

Convergence in conversation – we need to articulate an understanding of ethics that does not become a fundamentalist position – perhaps a notion of differentiating between singularity = drift and specificity = multiculturalism (of identity) would help Rodrigo? Other points: We need to think more about the boundaries of open spaces Definition of ethics – use and employment Difference between ethics (an ethic?) and multiculturalism Modernity: Is there a problem with Cartesian epistemology which lies at the basis of modernity? How does participatory politics relate to existing power structures and institutions? Anila – we should not be using this kind of academic language/intellectualing in this space because it is alienating people and can be considered ‘snooty’.

Discussion of Boniface and Geoffrey’s papers:

Power: Whose open space? Who owns it? Who controls it? How are spaces created? Failure of one space allows other spaces to come in, e.g. failure of government has fostered open space/alternative spaces for politics. Boniface: ‘Open Spaces might be getting bigger, but paradoxically shrinking in diversity’ Institutionalisation/alternative forms of organising becoming that which they exist to differentiate themselves from. Both of these papers are genealogies of spaces that have become foci for a certain political action at a certain political moment. How much longer will they be able to serve the intended purpose they had? Some spaces have to diedown for others to emerge. ‘Emergence’ as a process in itself – ltd time to bubble and be effective (as opposed to institutionalisation) – we are going through a moment like this with the WSF, asking whether the focal points that brought us together are going to survive and what do we do?. Subcommandante Marcos: ‘We are new but we are the same as ever’ (Jai).

Boniface on ‘Participation’: What does real, effective participation mean? How does it not get hijacked by the powerful? Where are ‘the poor’? Geoffrey: the vast amount of time spent preparing for the social for a detracts from political action. Must recognise that social for a are an idealised model of something to strive for – hmmm, makes me think about liberalism as ideal model that no liberal claims we achieve in practice – if ‘our’ model is also ‘only’ an unachievable ideal, how does the critique of the WSF as a ‘nice idea’ differ from liberalism as a ‘nice idea’ – how are our alternative utopias better than the utopias we are opposing? What’s the point of dispute then?

What is the unifying principle of the WSF? Hegemonic practice – one way of looking at the world (e.g. secular) become ‘the’ way of looking at the world. Unifying principles lead to shrinking of spaces.

Jai disagrees that the space that is the forum is shrinking. Is the comparison between the Social Forum and the Malawi Freedom park really sustainable?

Who creates, who holds power in what space?

What are the trajectories of the open spaces or social for a that we study? Do we have, should we undertake empirical studies of the practical limits of open space models that we experience?

Discussion topic: Representation and Accountability.

Is the WSF a politics for and of the Middle Classes? Is this wrong? After all, the middle classes (i.e. us) have a role and a situatedness in which and from which to act and influence the spheres they/we have access to. Anila: the problem is the middle classes w/out a ‘base’ who speak on behalf of the poor (!!!???) Rodrigo – this phenomenon is a function of late capitalism, which has brought about the hypermobility of the middle classes. What is needed is a self-consciousness of our own position – an ethics of imperceptibility (connecting whilst being aware of your own position)

Is counterhegemony what we want? Is hegemony necessarily a bad thing?

Giuseppe: let’s not forget the progressive role of the middle classes throughout history. Rodrigo: Resistance is everywhere – s/he resists from wherever s/he is – connections.

We have second inner spaces exploration. This time with a partner whom we tell a personal problem to. Then we are to ask inner animal what to do about the problem, whilst visualising and holding hands. I’m with Isabelle – again I have trouble visualising, but the weirdest thing is that I see her animal in my visualisation – without having known (although when she tells me I remember) what it was - a fox just walks round the cave on the path and disappears again. I can’t consult my animal and am in my grandparent’s house as Isabelle’s problem is to do with her mother’s illness:schizophrenia. I give her advice based on my rationality. In the evening we watch Taran’s film and another one – everyone is quite knackered and the discussion afterwards deteriorates into us messing about. Anila tells us off for singing.

Next morning: Already problems are coming to the surface as Michal runs off crying after hearing her name mentioned as someone who is ‘hijacking’ the space. Discussion of Taran’s and Guiuseppe’s papers. Discussants and authors go off together again. Summary, Giuseppe on Taran: beautiful writing – embodied experience of networking, emotion. Addresses reflexivity and the film maker who often tends to speak on behalf of people through film. Relationship between technology and politics. Taran critiques the notion of brother/sisterhood within the forum. Relationship between filming and the forum. Something specific about how the activist is filming his/herself – beyond objective reporter. Making space for faith based mobilisation. Jeff: shocking that a politics of secularism makes it so difficult. What is an authentic encounter? Forum as strategic political intervention – clashes with this deeper sense of networking. Paper could have been more challenging in its discussion on layers of being.

Why do we have to’embody’ the identities that have been forged to explain our world in order to explain who I am and where I come from?

Giuseppe would have liked the paper to tease out more how the types of encounters that Taran describes can formulate a different, more relational identity rather than just Indian Muslim woman meeting Brazilian indigenous man. Taran: Fleeting encounters as ephemeral and connecting. Farcicle nature of forum as pageant of the representative. The spectacle of the forum is not going to remake the world as the boy in the paper fears. Treating people as spectacle – film maker – wants to get beyond the activist formula of situadedness and perspective, voice of filmmaker.

2 things I am taking away from the encounter in particular: space is the wrong conceptualisation – relational conflict as necessary and productive

Further discussion: Freedom as constant process of liberating, never a state in itself Giuseppe: would it be better to talk about ‘free’ space rather than ‘open’ space? As space is never ‘open’.

Can we develop guideliness or codes of practice for our politics?

__ Debrief on Feb 1st__

Film: Taran will communicate the outline once she starts with post production. Review: each person should write a few words on what happened at INTEGRIA and/or EIOS 2 sessions. Rapport: everyone to type up their notes – Geoffrey and Emma to formulate questions so we can put something together that’s more coherent and can go public (style: academic, matter of fact, literal and experimental) Chloe and Jai will do the official report for funders Copyright – urgent task: Rodrigo to find out about laws on copyright of the journal. Chloe to ask contributors whether they want to be on the website.

Debrief EIOS 2 and the group process as a whole, as well as future work

Geoffrey: - always have to be careful of group dynamic - we were really effective as group - amazing - building a base

Subbu: - can’t really dissect thoughts yet - came with idea that idea of open space was a myth, now in retrospect understands the usefulness of myth creation for reality production – relationship between the two

Taran: - too much repetition in EIOS 2 - Were the people who were not us at the sessions just friends or ‘real’ new people - How many people actually ‘picked’ our session?

Michal: - phenomenal process - learnt about the importance of publicity - questions about usefulness of workshops at the forum: - made some contacts but frustrated about where the discussion got to – is it useful even to try to have ‘deeper’ discussions at the forum? – sessions have not been getting anyway we haven’t been already – don’t like the open space name anymore

Rodrigo: - couldn’t really participate much, difficult to make sense of it - open space is to open a concept to do any more with it than we have already done - usefulness of the forum questionable - thinks this was his last forum

Anila: - dissapointed with the WSF - done with ‘going to Disney Land’ - would like to have forum-like discussions at the University and interact more with people who are not already politicised. Maybe I am too one-track minded and am missing something, have also tried to be skeptical about my own skepticism. Has felt negative but now wants to find a way that is useful to her and explore this. Does not want to be a professional activist. Need to be careful not to collapse the academic and the activist – wants to be an academic (as opposed to an academic).

Jeff; - any term you beat to death, as we have done, you get tired of it. - Thea was effective outreach, so was Tibo. - Sense that the forum is tired. How do we take all of the things that we do there with us? - Specific debates are less important than what we are doing, this broader ‘thing’. - Really liked session on creative commons, was refreshing to be presented to. - Need to start diffusing outward

Jai: - we did not achieve intellectual depth - we should not be fetishist about being unconventional - open space opened up a lot: now has much more of an understanding of relational aspects of open space - feels changed - autonomous space: very interested - needed to do more publicity - we did not go to the indigenous space, nor the quilimbos space - locked into ‘who are my people’! - if you do organise a session, don’t have it on the first day – no time to outreach!

Chloe: - 3rd EIOS 2 session was not good, we talked about networking without doing it - found many sessions already using similar formats to us, although still too many panels - our structure was not as innovative as it could have been – need to take this forward - we failed in having a strategic presence at the forum - language

Geoffrey: - we need to think how to really include new people – not just invite them

Michal: - we should finish this bit of the project as ‘us’ - should write something – another ‘call for papers’ focussing on what we’ve learnt at INTEGRIA and the WSF – conflicts, tensions and limits - we could even try this as collective editors - let’s try to articulate a series of questions on this

Emma: - finish this bit as we are and then develop a call for papers as a way of inviting new people in

Jeff: - can we widen it to ‘space’ – rather than ‘open space’?

Michal: - we shouldn’t depart from what we brought people together on – also, there is whole literature on space that already exists – can circulate some articles - also, we can frame it as ‘people who are writing after the WSF 2005, where open space was a seriously contested issue’

Jai: - G19 – opportunity to think strategically about intervening with our open space stuff - we really need ot follow the political climate inside the WSF in the next few months

Michal: - open space has been brought up in so many visceral ways – caracol, g-19, rape and theft at youth camp, relationships between people

Jai: Let’s put the docs of the g-19 up there and generate discussion on openspaceforum.net – ic meeting in amsterdam at the end of march; at caracol moema said that open space meetings are open to observers…members however are for life – ic member on record as having said that they didn’t want ic meetings to be open because that means you can’t speak freely

Emma: Sian and Steffen have taped the caracol session – Teivo, Thomas Ponniah and Rodrigo are going to write a report Where the Women at this year’s forum? Emma and to put some questions up on the WIKI on women and the wsf.

Michal to do something on the indigenous peoples. Giuseppe and Isabelle on the IC Dalit will be using the webspace Let’s create one for ic: ‘eyeseewatch.net’

Assembly of Social Movements was scary – someone recorded as saying, ‘without discipline there will never be socialism’ – all shouting ‘viva socialism’, woman singing some heart wrenching song at end, everyone elated and waving flags, nature of the declarations was aggressive – hardly any women. Assembly of social movements was an frightening assembly of trotskist parties and trade unions using the name social movements to take the moral highground – ATTAC noted by its absence.

Isabelle: if anone wants to write for the Human Development Journal – between 7 000 and 20 000 characters.

- -

::



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Page last modified on Thursday 26 of May, 2005 06:02:16 IST by emma.

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