This year’s CrimethInc. Convergence is a mere three weeks away. In Pittsburgh we are busy stock-piling foodstuffs and getting together a child-care collective, amongst other numerous tasks, but we wanted to announce a few things we’ve got in store for this year; rest assured that these are just the beginnings of the mad schemes and maniac plots we’re devising for the end of July. Our aim is that this year’s convergence opens up the space for new and exciting experiences, inspiring conversations, and connections with new and old friends alike. To facilitate this environment, we have a schedule of workshops and events, to which much more will be added in the coming weeks. Of course, every one of these workshops and events is contingent upon the active participation of those who attend.
Anyone with questions about what they need to bring or what items could be useful to our organizing can consult the list here, and those who want to share ideas beforehand or are looking for rides can coordinate on the Convergence forums. Any queries, concerns about the accessibility of the space, or offers of help can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website will be updated frequently in the next three weeks.
What follows is a initial list of some of the workshops that will be offered this year. Don’t think this gets you off the hook. We ask that everyone who plans to attend, in fact we demand, that each and every beautiful and unique individual coming to Pittsburgh doesn’t sit passively listening to others talk or perform; we couldn’t bear not being graced with your exceptional talents or insights as well.The convergence is like a giant potluck of epic proportions, and it requires that every single person bring something to share. If you are used to talking a lot in front of crowds and being in charge, challenge yourself further by supporting the efforts of others, or even presenting or performing something that goes beyond the limits of what you’ve done in the past. If you have a workshop to present please post on the forums or e-mail email@example.com.
Pittsburgh Organizing Group’s Tactical Trainings A locally based anarchist group will offer a series of workshops from their “tactical training initiative,” including Participating in a Mass Action 101, Lockboxes and Lockdown Devices, Beyond the Boardroom: A Workshop on Strategic Corporate Research, Working With The Media (for Anarchists), and An Introduction to the Global Political and Economic Frameworks. More info here.
The Organization and Benefits of Freeschools to Small Communities An open discussion on Free Schools compared to other methods of organizing with a focus on small communities.
The GnuRadicals will offer a series of workshops on computer security, including: An “Introduction To Free Software,” which details the theory and history of Free Software and what that means for anarchists; a “Digital Security” workshop that outlines the state of the art in digital security, evading electronic surveillance, and communicating anonymously; an “Install-Fest” that walks participants through installing the necessary software on their computers; and a “Wireless Games” workshop that instructs participants on how to crack encrypted wireless networks, followed by a city-wide effort to crack and map as many as possible. All convergence attendees should bring their laptops if they have one and would like to participate.
Squat 2 Own
A workshop about political squatting, experiences organizing around housing issues in the South and how these topics relate to homeless solidarity, foreclosures, big banks, human rights, etc. A documentary may be shown if facilities are available, and more info can be found here.
Urban Permaculture/Guerrilla Gardening
Examining the concepts and principles of permaculture and its application to an urban setting. Hands on projects will be part of the workshop, as well as an exploration of the theme of blending anarchist direct action with permaculture. Depending on supplies and proximity to appropriate spaces, guerrilla planting, mushroom log placing and rainwater barrels can happen after the workshop takes place.
Story-Games: Collaborative Creativity, Entertaining Each Other & Abandoning the Media Machine.
What are Story-Games? They look like a handful of people sitting around talking. Some have you inventing the next part of the story, some have you speaking for one of the characters in the fiction. First we’ll have a guided discussion about story in our lives, then a very accessable lecture on Story-Jamming, learning to say Yes, and How To Make It Up As You Go Along. Then we’ll play a few story-games. It will be easy and fun.
Carnival of Solidarity: Tapping into the Radical Potential of New Orleans Mardi Gras
Next Year’s Olympic protests in Vancouver (Feb 10-15) will be happening at the same time as the culmination of Carnival in New Orleans. We are considering the possibilities of organizing solidarity actions in New Orleans during that timeframe. Also, there is discussion of staging radical actions/ outreach amidst the backdrop of Carnival/Mardi Gras every year from now on. This idea is still in the beginning stages; so, the workshop will be partially a brainstorm/thinktank session.
Intro to Botany and Plant Morphology
We will examine evolutionary development of vascular plants, plant nutrient uptake/nutrient deficiencies, some plant propagation, and maybe if time allows looking into flowers/seeds and a quick tutorial on plant breeding and germination. A plant walk in a nearby forested area will follow, if time allows, or be a separate additional workshop.
A workshop on gender as a social construction, transgender issues with healthcare, trans involvement in the LGBT community as a whole, and looking at ways to generally promote the visibility of the trans community.
Urban Hunting and Gathering
How to acquire and encourage wild and feral foods in an urban setting. We will cover animal processing (field dressing, using all parts of an animal, hide tanning, meat preservation), basic hunting and trapping strategies, medicinal and edible plants commonly found in urban areas, and whatever else folks want to discuss.
Herbalist Q & A
Come ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them! Anything from abortions to headaches to medicine making.
Basic Medical Training
A workshop on basic emergency medicine, covering chemical burns, infection prevention, reduction of dislocations, blunt trauma and broken bones. Perspectives from alternative/holistic approaches will be given as well as from an experienced EMT.
Anti-Semitism in the Anarchist Millieu
Exploring and exposing the unfortunate propensity for anti-semitism in the anarchist milieu - presenting a few tenuous proposals for attacking this with more than just good intentions.
Convergence Reading Group
A contemporary yet classic anarchist text will be distributed to anyone interested at the beginning of the Convergence and near the end we will facilitate a discussion based on our reading. Feeling limited by the workshop format, this will be an attempt to give participants a common thread that extends beyond the alloted time. A discussion about people’s successes and failures in starting and continuing anarchist reading groups in their local communities will follow, or be a separate workshop altogether.
Community Autonomy: Building Networks and Infrastructure
A collective brainstorm on how we can build a network of communities that identify with the movement toward radical sustainability, and how we can build new infrastructure, both physical and social, that can move us toward greater autonomy from oppressive institutions. More info about the presenters here.
Musical Instrument Skillshare and Construction
A positive and encouraging space will be facilitated for folks to learn how to play instruments the want to learn about and teach about ones they know about. This workshop will also aim to create a marching band out of interested attendees to perform later on during the week.
Radical History Bike Tour
Local Pittsburghers will lead a bike tour through the city, visiting the many points of intense radical history that touched these streets. From the site of the Homestead strikes, to the tunnel that Emma Goldman and her comrades tried digging into the prison, to the armory that William Weisiss tried to raid, to the place where the knife that Alexander Berkman tried to stab Frick with is kept. We will have some bikes on hand, but please bring a bike with you if possible.
We’ve also got folks planning discussions on disability issues bringing their personals experiences, a Graffiti Walk, morning yoga, rewilding skills like sling-making, a workshop on basic vehicle mechanics, and a facilitated discussion on writing and editing.
In addition to the workshops there will be evening fun playing urban capture the flag, a radio powered treasure hunt adventure, an epic dance party, a puppet show, spontaneous games of all stripes and an inventive Hat Band that can hopefully expand upon this longstanding international tradition. Since we’ve chosen an urban location this year we’re planning a short swimming retreat out of town, and on Saturday July 25th the Convergence will help boost Pittsburgh’s new monthly Really Really Free Market (bring anything you can to give away!). Ambitious plotting is in the works for other activities, but remember that these can only succeed with the self-motivation and self-direction of the attendees. And so that is what we ask you to bring to Pittsburgh in three weeks time; we can hardly wait to see what you have in store.
Remember, meet at the Northside Commons (W. North Ave. and Brighton) by the pond, on Monday, July 20, anytime between 12 pm and sundown.
Next time, we’ll be able to announce more workshops!
Appendix: Another Tour to the Convergence
Froseph is going on yet another tour revolving around this summer’s convergence. The Wild Nettle Bookmobile, Winona, Minnesota’s anarchist literature distributer will also be along for the ride. Check out their new website! Along with the usual goods, The Wild Nettle Bookmobile hopes to raise some much needed legal funds for the RNC 8, the MKE 3 and Bash Back!. The dates are listed below. The ones marked “(help!)” are not confirmed. If you live in or around those places and would like to host this tour, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
23-Madison, WI at the Lothlorien Coop w/Thistle
26-Detroit, MI at the Trumbellplex w/Ghost Mice and Heathers
27-Ann Arbor, MI (help!)
1-Dayton, OH (help!)
2-Athens, OH at Brown Town
5-9-Philadelphia July 5-9 (help!)
9-13-Punxsutawney, PA July 9-13
13-27-Pittsburgh, PA CrimethInc. Convergence
29-Lexington, KY benefit for Hugh
30-Louisville, KY (help!)
31-Bloomington, IN (help!)
2-St. Louis, MO (help!)
3-Kansas City, MO (help!) 4-Lawrence, KS (help!)
5-Omaha, NE (help!)
6-Des Moines, IA