A personal account.
The Foot & Mouth festival came to a quiet but productive conclusion on Sunday night. The 'Mouth Off!' event has been hailed as a great success with many very productive discussions taking place around an exceptionally wide range of issues. Around 150 people participated in discussions over the two days and while this is a healthy number (the whole Foot & Mouth festival representing the biggest non-authoritarian radical happenings in Edinburgh since the time of the poll tax), we had hoped more people might have been involved. However, this was the only disappointment. Almost every workshop appears to have encouraged valuable discussions, with participation not just resulting from objective interest, but from a belief in our ability to make a difference, and a new enthusiasm to work together to build alternatives to the current system. Dave Morris and Dave Douglass were both brilliant, providing inspiring talks that have provoked ongoing discussions. However, it would be wrong to pick out particular highlights from two days which I hope have excited others as much as they have me. Last thing on the Sunday, one of the workshops was on the establishment of a new 'Edinburgh network'. Although things had quietened down quite a bit, this workshop was attended by around 15 people and it symbolised the optimistic, forward looking emphasis of the two days. The new network will meet for the first time at the Communication Workers' Union on 15 Brunswick St. (off London Road) at 7.30pm on Wednesday the 8th of August (more details will follow later). I would strongly encourage people to get involved with this, even if you don't have much time, it is only one meeting a month. I think this broad network is a great step forward but it will need support and help to get it established.
It's funny, I moaned for weeks about the amount of work involved in organising Foot & Mouth and how I couldn't wait for it to be over so I could put my feet up. Now, the day after, I'm already looking forward to the meeting of the Edinburgh network. For me, there was so much inspiring and encouraging during Foot & Mouth that it has encouraged me towards increased activity. I am very optimistic about the future.
One thing I must mention is the murder of a comrade in Genoa. 'Mouth Off!' was specifically designed to coincide with the G8 summit in Genoa and I think I can speak on behalf of the collective in expressing my sadness at the murder and at the many serious beatings and hospitalisations endured by activists in Italy after the violent clashes during the summit- no justice, no peace. As a visual manifestation of our disgust and resentment for the police assassins and the authority they protect, on Saturday night around 35 people visited the Italian Consulate in Edinburgh for a spontaneous demonstration. We painted slogans against the police assassins, against murder and left banners demanding justice for our dead comrade. We dispersed before the police arrived. It is important to make clear that scores of people have been murdered for opposing the institutions of global capital, it's just that most of them have been shot in poorer countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia etc.). We don't hear much about that because the powers that be want to pretend their institutions are only hated by a few extremists in rich countries and because they give even less of a fuck about some troublesome Colombian than they do about a brave homeless Italian. At the Italian consulate we remembered all those killed in the struggles against exploitation and oppression. The movements for freedom and equality have too many martyrs.
On a happier note, reflecting on the F & M festival, I am very satisfied. Every event has passed off successfully- the street action, the critical mass cycle ride, the social night and the visit to the Italian consulate. Most importantly, I do not think the momentum will fade, I hope we will continue to work together in our diverse campaigns, accepting our diverse tactics, supporting each other and growing stronger together. I would like to thank everyone who participated in any of the events for making them happen, and for providing a workaholic anarchist with great hope for the future. We must do this more often,
Love and solidarity,
p.s. these are my reflections on Foot & Mouth, if you participated in any
of the events (or didn't for a particular reason) we'd like to hear your reflections.
We hope to produce a simple booklet on peoples' thoughts and experiences of
F&M, to help us improve in the future. Both practical and theoretical stuff
is welcome, comradely but critical stuff is especially appreciated. Send your
And stay in touch and involved!
The event went well and was enjoyed. The creche was well used and appreciated.
A weekend gathering
A festival with discussions, films, talks and a bar
Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd July 2001
@ Studio 24 (the venue formerly known as Calton Studios)
24 Calton Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8DP
11am - 5pm both days, or drop in
No age restrictions, everyone supportive is welcome
Crèche provided (must be booked as spaces limited but still available)
more detailed decriptions.
more on Mouth
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