Friday, 11 December 2009
SLLU has evolved since the end of 2006 from a small, but effective, core group in rl and sl that decided and implemented actions - into an umbrella group for left interest groups organised in the affinity group method first envisaged when core meetings started to take place in the rented room on one of the Scotland sims.
We have a good RL web presence as well as a name that is reasonably well known in SL itself. People seek us out when they join SL as their research has led them to the only umbrella group for left anti-capitalists.
SLLU, at it’s height, numbered 500 – all of whom were active in some way. The group has diminished as inactive avatars are culled from it’s numbers to ensure we have an accurate picture of how many people are involved in the group. At the moment this is around the 350 mark – how this is ascertained is by the method agreed two years ago at an open meeting – ie. by shedding avatars that have been inactive for more than a year.
SLLU has land. It has parcels in the Flagg sim and also owns a Linden acknowledged train stop – SL Unity Station (the use of which will be the subject of a meeting in early 2010).
We have been involved in many SL actions that have gone beyond the grid – and many actions that have brought people to activism both in SL and RL. I will not list these – they are easily found on this blog (though go into some detail about one defining one, later), and also by talking to active SLLU members.
There have been many suggestions for things we need to do in the coming months. How these are prioritised depends on our members taking charge of them.
Already, some members have come forward to re-create our freebie shop on Flagg. This is important. This shop will not only give away goods that will help encourage the gift economy, but it will also be a place where many anti-capitalist groups can advertise their own existence – so SLLU members can find other groups to help refine their activism both in SL and RL.
Events have restarted in the Flagg parcel – the recent 16 Days of Activism meant lots of anti capitalists used the parcel for meeting up for discussion and planning – and it also played host to the wonderful radical poetry evening hosted by our active member – Zoe Parness and also the chillout vibe of Wildo Hoffman. The SLLU Feminist Network has also restarted it’s weekly meetings there – and seeing how effective their organising has been – I feel the group as a whole, has a lot to learn from them. I cannot over emphasise how fantastically effectively this affinity group has organised. There are quite a few effective organisers involved in this – but Ledoof Constantineau has been key in bringing this group together and in helping organise the 16 Days of Activism (I hope members of the Feminist Network will write about their experiences during these inspiring actions and post on this site). Women make up a huge proportion of Second Life “Citizens,” so it is imperative we support this network in the outreach and activist work they have been involved with.
Wider Meetings and Events
It has been suggested that SLLU has a regular political discussion meeting – perhaps once a week, hosted by a different SLLU member on a different topic every week. This would also, perhaps at the beginning or end of the meeting, be a forum to quickly have organisational chats – a decision making body who will decide use of funds/ lands/ activity etc. It has also been suggested we hold more music and poetry events.
SLLU also has an anti fascist affinity group which has set up a twitter account - @slluantifa and a weblog - http://slluantifa.blogspot.com/. The current suggested approach is to tweet/ blog and use SL to help in education that counters the spurious claims made by ultra right fascist groups across the Globe. European examples of these fascist groups are– BNP in UK, NPD in Germany; Dutch Freedom Party; AUSTRIA - Freedom Party, Hungarian Jobbik party, the Italian Northern League. Left people in all of these countries and others across the world can use the facilities we aim to produce for education and for an internet fight back.
Our work, and at times emphasis of this work is not surprising given that shortly after the group was formed we managed to rally SL citizens (and encourage anti-fascist individuals and groups into SL) who then forced the French Front National out of the Grid by publicising actions in rl newspapers across the real world with which we had links. This has had the effect of ensuring no extreme right group has organised in such an open and large scale since – though our members – and members of other antifa groups with links to SLLU, remain vigilant. I make no bones about the fact that we kicked this action off, and other groups were made aware of the presence of the FN by us. Other groups formed because of our actions – and because of some people deciding they wanted to fight the fascists, but did not want to be part of an anti-capitalist group. An umbrella group was formed for those of us who wanted to fight side by side with those who do not have our vision of a world free from the inequalities of capitalism – AntiFN. We fought happily side by side with, and indeed in these groups, and still come together, happily with those who are not anti-capitalist when the fight requires it. The whole way through this struggle, SLLU made decisions based on what French members wanted. We had three French core members who were extremely active in this struggle, and who led actions effectively and were extremely effective in bringing different French sl and rl groups into the fight and into SLLU. This is important in everything we do that is connected with RL actions – we need to ensure we are consulting with people who are effected by events etc… this happened effectively when we helped with the IBM strike, and also the Griots (the Greek riots and schools occupations last year).
Let’s not be too self congratulatory. There have been times when members have not consulted widely within SLLU/SL or with RL groups involved in actions, and this has led to rifts and ineffectiveness –I would mark the Palestinian solidarity actions at the beginning of 2009 as one of these (and there have been a few others through the past 3 ¼ years– when rather than finding what we could all agree on and act accordingly, some decided to do their own thing(sometimes individuals/ sometimes small groupings of 2/3/4 people). This action got off to a good, united start, though some then decided to place their “line” as a correct one that SLLU should take and condemn members who did not share their pov. It can sometimes prove impossible to act together on points of principle– sometimes it is more comradely for people to act together when they can, but under other group names, do what their line allows. This, though, leads – and did lead – to a fractious approach, and in the Palestinian case, managed to alienate a lot of good SLLU members.
More active members have said they will be writing for the blog www.slleftunity.com. Hopefully the fruits of this willingness to write will be seen soon.
In February, we are planning to have our usual SLLU Birthday Party. It seems this party is getting later each year, but this is only because of commitments in actions such as last years Griots and this years 16 Days of Activism. If you have suggestions for good, Left Wing SL entertainers, please let us know!
Our funds are slightly in excess of L$103,000. We pay for listings of our builds (totalling L$100 pm– soon to rise to L$150 or L$200 because of the freebie shop).
Lastly, I feel it is also important for members to continue the links with other left groups in SL who are perhaps not openly anti-capitalist (though can contain anti-capitalists)– pressure groups such as Amnesty and Greenpeace – and SL organisations such as “The Rings Discussion,” “Four Bridges” etc and of course, it is important we continue our links with groups such as CPSL, International Socialists, Green groups in SL, etc.
SLLU is maintaining effectiveness beyond its numbers – but it is extremely important YOU get involved.
Please contact me Plot Tracer, Ledoof Constantineau, Smoke Wijaya, Zoe Parness or Aeris Betsen (who is helping with the Birthday Party) to find out how.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
Below is a selection of photos from the past few days of activism in SL. These include images from events from the "16 Days of Activism" (and I purposely begin with a photo of the great SLLU Feminist Network organiser, Ledoof Constantineau!), No Berlusconi day, the poetry and "Wildo Hoffman's Chillout session" and others. Literally thousands of RL people logged in for interesting talks/discussions and demonstrations. This is Active Learning in Action!