Summer Planning at ATTAC
By: Jessie Lin
Summer has arrived (even though it took a while for the weather to catch up). The big international events that ATTAC have participated in have come to a temporary pause. The big awaited transformation of ATTAC is at last starting to take shape. Before everyone takes off for vacation in August, we’re also taking this period of time to talk about the programming that will start in September.
ATTAC has gone through quite a big change this year. With the departing of 3 staff members within six months, things were chaotic and blurry for a period of time. The decision for the new hire, Jeanne, who was to replace our ancient “Chef” was decided long ago, however, her starting date which was originally set to start in March kept being pushed back. Finally at the end of May she was able to make a presence in our head office yet still occupying with her former job. We hired another person who has been a long time member of ATTAC, Wilfred. He is very involved particularly in organizing protests. During our last two team meetings, things have had a very positive look, and I was excited to see what ATTAC would become in a few months.
Aside from the personnel change, our office is also getting a new make-over. The upbeat Wilfred, who won’t officially start his post until the beginning of September had drawn up a plan of how we can better situate things in our office. He was quite eager to get things moving. Currently the ambience and environment is a bit strange, and our office seems more like a warehouse than a work space. Visitors walk in only to be greeted by empty tables.
A few Thursdays ago, while the entire team at the office was here, we did a complete transformation of the office. The meeting room was set to move to the back while the front room would soon have two main desks. This way when people come, we would have a more welcoming setting. A small kitchenette is also set up in the back. It’s not sure when the work would be done, but the office already looks completely different.
Aside from organizing on the physical aspect, plans of re-vamping the international website have also gone underway. In our very first meeting with the participation of Jeanne and Will, I briefly mentioned that the International site of ATTAC (http://www.attac.org) is rather dull, with limited information, and very hard to navigate. One of my other concerns was that, since there are no ATTACs in Anglophone countries, it’s very hard for English speakers to learn more about the local ATTAC chapters. Since, ATTAC France was the founder of this organization, I wondered if it was us that had control over the website. Turns out, ATTAC Austria was oversees the international site. We then discussed it with the rest of the European Network, and fast forward four months to today, a plan was proposed and drawn up. The ideas are as follows :
- Put content and common documents on the website, and ensure that the texts are in English, German, French, and Spanish
- Keep the website up to date with news from the chapters of ATTAC as well as working groups.
- Maintain contact with each of the ATTACs for news and events
- Put missing content on the website as such the list of our partner organisations and networks
- Go through the German and English texts and improve those that are unclear
- Put in place a search engine
- Minor modifications to the website (to be later discussed)
- Implement joint e-mail actions of the ATTAC network with the policat.org tool
- Send new updates of http://www.attac.org to webmasters of each national ATTAC chapters in order to include them on their chapter websites
I am very excited to see that steps are taken in order to improve the international website. If the changes are made and things run smoothly, I am sure that the website can be an invaluable source in the future for people around the world to learn about not only about ATTAC in general, but each of its chapters as well.
The big main event at the end of the summer is the annual summer University at ATTAC. This year’s « université d’été » will take place in Toulouse a.k.a. la ville en rose (the Rose city) from August 24th to August 27th. The four day event is jam packed with workshops mornings and afternoons with topics on debt, ecology, Europe, alternatives to overcome capitalism, and such. There are also yoga sessions held in the morning to lighten things up before the day kicks off! One of the goals this year is to promote the event to the ATTAC chapters in other countries. I think the possibilities are endless for the European Network of ATTAC to coordinate and cooperate with each other. And we can start doing that by attending each other’s summer universities. For example, I know of one ATTAC France member who attended the summer University of ATTAC Austria and was able to produce a summary of the workshops that took place. Even though ATTAC in general focuses on more or less the same issues, but the perspective seen by each country is obviously not the same. In order to fight a global cause, it is always beneficial to have a broader perspective.
Although I won’t around to see the future of ATTAC France, but I am very optimistic for this coming year with the new enthusiastic members and a transformed office, ATTAC 2012-2013 will definitely be a better year.