Plan C are excited to announce Fast Forward 2017, a weekend of discussions, plenaries, workshops, music, food, walking and partying. We want this festival to be a vehicle for sharing experiences and enthusiasms, and building new relationships, ideas, and strategies that can equip us to confront capitalism today and build new worlds beyond it.
In the nine years since the start of the economic crisis and all through that time, whether stock markets have dipped or recovered, we’ve suffered a worsening economic, environmental and social crisis. We have run-away climate change, falling real wages, precarious and zero-hour contracts, the rise of the ‘gig-economy’, social cleansing, and crises in housing and social care. Around the world, governments have shifted private debt onto public purses, while accelerating neo-liberal reforms and austerity.
Now, the political system is facing an existential crisis of legitimacy. This started as movements began to challenge the dominant view of the crisis and who was to blame. From anti-austerity movements to the ‘movement of the squares’ – we have been on the streets for a long time. As some of these movements ended they transformed into upsurges of hope and into mobilisation within electoral politics – from Syriza in Greece to Podemos in Spain, Bernie Sanders in the USA and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.
These have led to glimpses of something new, a sense that change might be possible with progressive politics in government. Parallel to this, but not unconnected, we have also been gripped by feelings of fear and despair. We have witnessed dramatic shifts to the right, with nationalism and racism on the rise. The far-right have tried to exercise power through, on the one hand, winning local and state power, and on the other, carrying out organised attacks against migrants and mosques.
In this age of accelerating crises, the question of power becomes central.
With the recent turn to electoral politics we have seen a renewed focus on the power of the State. But there are other means of exercising power and we must work out how they can interact. There’s the power to withdraw our labour and our rent, our power to block the circulation of goods, and to interrupt business as usual. Alongside this is our capacity to live life differently, to live despite capitalism, to live life in common. This means building the commons in two different ways. Firstly, we must wrest the existing commons from the clutches of capital. Secondly, we have to carve out new spaces of autonomy in, against and beyond capital and the State.
Laying the foundations for a post-capitalist society will require the building of diverse forms of social organisation, an emphasis on building non-capitalist forms of consciousness, and finding new sites of struggle. For Plan C, this currently means pursuing the combined strategies of social strike, directional demands and radical municipalism, but we want to learn from your perspectives, strategies and modes of organising.
At Fast Forward 2017 we want to delve further into these ideas, to imagine, discuss and develop what it means to build commons and to build counter-power, and to create new possibilities for collaboration between political groups in the UK, Europe, and beyond. In this sense we see the festival as part of a long-term project to revitalise a popular radical left that can link up protests and local struggles, and advance new and better visions of how we could live.
Plan C are organising a number of workshops and discussions and some more structured plenary discussions to give shape to the festival. We also look forward to hosting many contributions from other groups, organisations and campaigns, and much of FFW2017 will also be ‘free time’ for independently organized workshops, walking trips, and whatever else you want to fill the time with. It’s in large part what you prepare, bring, and desire to do that will shape the event, so we encourage you to get in touch with us in advance with any and all ideas you might have.
The full event programme will be released in early August.
When? FFW2017 will take place between 4pm on Friday 1st until 4pm on Sunday 3rd September.
Where? FFW2017 will be taking over the whole of the Thornbridge Outdoors centre in the heart of the Peak District. See http://www.thornbridgeoutdoors.co.uk/about-us/location/.
How do I get there? There will be a shuttle bus running from Thornbridge to the train station in Grindleford and the bus stop in Bakewell. Thornbridge is also a beautiful 45min walk (5km) from Bakewell along the Monsal Trail, a disused railway line and now public bridleway.
Bus: Buses are available from Sheffield or Chesterfield to Bakewell (5 miles from the site) or to Ashford-in-the-Water (1 mile from the site).
Train: The nearest railway station is Grindleford (7 miles from the site), on the Sheffield-Manchester line.
Car: There will be some, but limited, car parking available at the venue. Please let us know when you book if you will require a parking space.
Accommodation? Accommodation will mostly be camping, but some accommodation in bunk rooms and tipis is available. We will prioritise indoor accommodation for Family rooms for those with children, and those with access needs. Some of this indoor accommodation is step-free. We are also committed to providing a space indoors exclusively for women and non-binary people. Please tell us your needs on the booking form when tickets are released.
Food? Drink? The event is fully catered with delicious food, and the cost is included in your ticket price. There will be a bar (which helps finance the festival), but we anticipate that the cost of drinks will be cheap.
Childcare? Social reproduction is central to the struggle for a better world, and Plan C have always prioritised care within the movement. So we are committed to providing appropriate and safe childcare, and an active and political kids programme to complement the adult one. There is space on the ticket application form to tell us what you need on this front.
Cost? Tickets (all-in) are £60. These are cost-price according to our financial forecasts. We have adopted a three-tier ticketing system so as not to exclude anyone from participating for financial reasons. Therefore a solidarity ticket at £80 is available for those who are able to pay, in order to to help us subsidise support tickets at £35, for those who need them. Kids go for free. We will also facilitate car-sharing and other modes of minimising costs. If you are nevertheless unable to meet these costs, please get in touch and we will work it out together.
Refunds policy? We will be able to provide full refunds up till the Monday 31st July, half refunds up to to Monday 14th August, and nothing thereafter. However, once tickets sell out and we have a waiting list we will be happy to facilitate ticket exchanges.
*I’m so excited! What do I do now?* Tickets will be dropping imminently. In the meantime please sign up to our announce list at the top of this page (or at http://eepurl.com/cPW_eH).