[Pga_europe_process] Statement following LARC Annual General Meeting, 2.12.04

London Action Resource Centre info at londonarc.org
Fri Dec 3 11:18:17 CET 2004

Statement following LARC Annual General Meeting, 2.12.04

At this year's London Action Resource Centre (LARC) Annual General Meeting, a
decision was made (by majority vote) to exclude two individuals who had been
behaving disruptively and often abusively for some time. They are now not
welcome within the building. Their names are Fabian and Asim, part of a group
called West Essex Zapatista.

We aren't happy to have had to resort to such an emergency measure, but felt
that the long-term of survival of LARC was under threat, since people from most
of the groups currently using and maintaining the building have become so
distressed by the situation that they will stay involved only if these
individuals are no longer using it. (These groups include Queeruption, London
Indymedia, London Rising Tide, Wombles & Rhythms of Resistance.)

Both these individuals have contributed a lot of their time and energy to LARC
since they became involved but much of their political activity has consisted
of parasitical 'involvement' in other groups, creating divisions and an
atmosphere of mistrust both in the building and on a much wider scale. A
situation has been reached where they are no longer trusted by the majority of
regular users of the building. There seems to be a pattern of
destructive, duplicitous behaviour going back many, many years in the
case of Fabian, but we have decided to list examples from the last year or so,
when they both became involved with LARC:

1.) The 'Our Mayday' website, set up in part by Fabian and Asim, has published
statements and leaflets put out by the Wombles, but with several alterations so
as to libel the Wombles. Maybe the strongest example was the posting up on Our
Mayday of the Beyond ESF call to take part in an action to highlight Ken
Livingstone's involvement with the ESF and to disrupt his speech to it. Added
to this text was a further text - not written by the Wombles - which called for
Livingstone to be violently attacked, and for a fatwa to be issued from LARC.
When there was a backlash against the disruption of the ESF meeting in protest
at Livingstone, a letter of condemnation signed by several trade union and NGO
'leaders' cited this incitement as a sign of Beyond ESF and the Wombles' bad
behaviour, and as such diminished support for the action.

Further to that, it was reported that the incitatory text had been
sent from a LARC computer (thus defaming LARC), and that the
individual who had registered the computer was the same as the one
arrested at the ESF rally on the Sunday.  So he was forced to
circulate a statement disassociating himself from the actions of this
small group of people using LARC as their base.

2.) He and other individuals involved with LARC have experienced
seeing their statements, emails etc. altered in order to misrepresent their
positions and expose them to ridicule and unfounded criticisms. The use of Wiki
technology seems to have made this sort of falsification easier to carry out.

3.) The Wombles have been subjected to a campaign of false accusation which
has damaged their ability to outreach and work with others. False emails
purporting to be from the Wombles were sent out from wombles at cyber-rights.net.

4.) Peoples' Global Action (PGA): We are aware that networks like PGA
are far from perfect and can reflect many of the problems of the
misuse of power that we seek to confront and transcend in the wider
world. But nothing will improve in an atmosphere where people become
afraid to speak or act for fear of being hyper-critiqued, distorted
or even subjected to character assassination.

Several ongoing processes within PGA, for example in Asia and on gender, have
been disrupted, undermined and manipulated in various ways by these
two individuals, who actively look for (potential) problems or conflicts, in
order to exaggerate them and/or undermine other individuals involved. It
may not be worth going too deeply into the motivations for this sort
of activity, but becoming the centre of attention and occupying the
moral high ground seem to be a part of it.

There were problems at this year's PGA conference in Belgrade, the
most high-profile of which was when one of these individuals entered
a daily meeting discussing day-to-day logistical issues concerning
the conference, pulled down his trousers and pants and wiped his arse
on the document that he considered to be problematic. Several people
at this meeting, particularly those not familiar with his concerns,
were disturbed by this action.

On returning from Belgrade, controversy was whipped up over what was
presented as being an invitation extended at the conference for
fascists to attend future PGA events. On further examination of the
minutes in question, it became clear that nothing of the sort had
been said, let alone agreed on as a proposal. It was agreed, however, at the
most recent PGA London meeting that the wording was open to misinterpretation,
and a suggested clarification of those minutes is currently
being circulated in London before being sent to the PGA Europe
process email list.

One of these individuals was excluded from a meeting held at LARC to
discuss the possibility of a 'Climate Caravan' to the global PGA
conference in Nepal in 2005, and attended by people from the UK and
continental Europe. He has claimed that this was done because he is
Asian and because he regards PGA to be institutionally racist. In
fact, he was excluded because he sees PGA as 'bankrupt', and because he is not

Some people involved with LARC and PGA, reacting to the suggestion of the
individuals in question that we should review PGA's position as a
'PGA Infopoint', suggested a facilitated meeting to discuss these and
other concerns. This meeting was postponed due to lack of outside
facilitation. It also never gained the support of the larger number
of people working on the PGA process in London, for whom the
breakdown of trust was so final that any attempt to patch up
differences and move on - normally the best way of resolving strong
differences - was thought to be pointless.

Many of these issues did come up at the PGA London meeting at LARC on
26.11.04, but while it agreed to send out the Belgrade clarification,
it exacerbated tensions when Fabian cast unsubstantiated fascistic aspersions
about someone who happened, fortunately, to be in the meeting and who was able
to refute them utterly. (The minutes of this meeting are available for those
who request them.)
We are under no illusions that LARC, while being an amazing potential
and actual resource for our movements, needs more support if it is to
really thrive.

The good news is that, as well as the groups currently using the
space, there's a lot more positive stuff waiting to happen, like
groups queuing up to use the office space, a rebirth of monthly film
nights, the installation of heating and a chance to install a
printing press in the basement, to name four examples.

We hope that tonight's meeting has gone a long way towards restoring an
atmosphere of trust and mutual aid within LARC.

Thanks for reading,

The LARC Collective.

For more info on events at LARC an other related information, see
Email: info at londonarc.org
Tel: 020 7377 9088
62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES.

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