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A popular assembly (or people's assembly) is a gathering called to address issues of importance to participants. Assemblies tend to be freely open to participation and operate by direct democracy. Some assemblies are of people from a location, some from a given workplace, industry or educational establishment others are called to address a specific issue.
The term is often used to describe gatherings that address, what participants feel are, the effects of a democratic deficit in a representative democratic systems. Sometimes assemblies are created to form an alternative power structure, other times they work with other forms of government.
- Curiate Assembly
- Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca
- Councils of Good Government
- Bolivarian Circles
- European Assembly for Climate Justice 2010
- Occupy movement 2011
- 15M movement assemblies 2011–Present
Ecclesia in Ancient Greece
In Athenian democracy the Ecclesia was the assembly of all male citizens. Citizens who did not engage politically were called ἰδιώτης (idiōtēs), meaning a private person, a person who is not actively interested in politics; such characters were talked about with contempt and the word eventually transformed to its modern form - idiot.
1848 German revolutions
Popular assemblies during the Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002)
During the Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002) many Argentinian citizens started engaging and organising their actions through assemblies.
After closure the Chilvert printing press was occupied by workers who organised through an assembly. Within weeks of being reopened as a workers cooperative Chilvert printed a book called Que son las Asembleas Populares? or What are the Popular Assemblies?, a collection of articles written by renowned intellectuals Miguel Bonasso, Stella Calloni and Rafael Bielsa as well as workers and participants in the assemblies.
As with other workplaces, the print factory was saved from closure by the actions of a popular assembly. The military and police were blocked from entering the factory after the popular assembly of Pompeya called on barrio residents to protect the workplace. Individual police officers expressed their support for the workers and the popular assembly and successfully petitioned the judge to rescind his order to seize the factory.
The assemblies movement is reported to have spiked in power rapidly and fallen from any major significance within months. It is reported that Grigera summing up his analysis of the asambleas states
‘no matter how progressive or ’advanced’ the social relationships, forms of decision-making and activities of asambleas are said to be, their small scale, lack of influence and flawed co-ordination between themselves and other movements render this movement unable to overcome very narrow limitations.’
- Direct democracy
- Open town meeting
- Participatory Democracy
- Town meeting
- Town hall meeting
- Workers' council
- BEYOND INSURRECTION. ARGENTINA AND NEW INTERNATIONALISM|Ana c. Dinerstein|The Commoner N.5 Autumn 2002
- "Throw them all out" Argentina's grassroots rebellion|Roger Burbach|Spotlight|2 July 2002[dead link]
- The Argentine rebellion|Roger Burbach|Spotlight|21 February 2002[dead link]
- Debating the lessons of the Argentine Insurrection |Joe Craig|12 May 2006
- Peoples Assemblies - resources, news and calendar
- Website for UK Education Assembly January 2011
- Website for the European Assembly for Climate Justice November 2010
- Via Campsenia - 1000 Cancuns
- The Barcelona Assembly
- The Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca
- Map of Canadian Peoples Assemblies on Climate Justice December 2010
- Popular Assemblies and the Growing Popular Assembly Movement - commentary from Oaxaca by Nancy Davies 4 January 2007
- Spotlight|Throw the bums out- Argentines seek break from begging loans|Roger Burbach|28 February 2002
- Spotlight|The abyss in Argentina|by Roger Burbach|5 May 2002
- Popular Assemblies in Revolts and Revolutions
- Occupy Movement, the Zapatista's and the General Assemblies
- Beyond Resistance - Fight the Cuts build Peoples Assemblies by Gerry Gold & Paul Feldman|2010
- Methods to make assemblies and meetings effective, participatory and enjoyable|Collaborative document|
- Connect with Occupy activists and community organizers who are coordinating trainings across the United States to build Popular Assemblies