What is the Western Dual Power Gathering?

What is the Western Dual Power Gathering?

The 2023 Western Dual Power Gathering is a three day event that will take place June 2-4 at a campground in so-called "Northern Oregon", about a 40 minute drive from the PDX International Airport. The gathering will take place on the traditional lands of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, and Clackamas Bands of Chinookan people, the Tualatin Kalapuya, and the Molalla. The address of the campground will be released leading up to the event date for security reasons. This gathering is a followup to the national Dual Power Gathering at the Indiana Dunes in 2022, but is more regionally  focused on bringing people together from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean (but those beyond this region are also certainly welcome). It will be structured like an unconference, and will be an experiment in collective learning and relationship building. During the event, we hope to foster an atmosphere of generative co-learning and co-creativity. We want to connect people and bring them together around shared work. We seek to create a space where ideas are exchanged, stories are told, and futures are imagined, especially in the context of building and maintaining dual power. With a few exceptions, the gathering won’t have a solid schedule going into it. Rather, we’ll collectively create the spaces we want and need to see throughout the weekend. Some ideas around what we would like to see include:

  • Mapping and growing Dual Power in your area
  • Crafting stories and narratives around our movements and building utopian visions
  • Workshops and skill-shares on: trauma, healing, collective grieving, food growing and preservation, community self-defense, hands-on skills for mutual aid groups, medic training, etc.
  • Workshops and conversations about how white supremacy, ableism, transphobia, and other forms of violence arise in social movement spaces
  • Learning about and analyzing specific theories and strategies
  • Building local food sovereignty and food justice
  • Preparing for ecological disasters
  • Regionally-focused conversations, like building resource-sharing networks, growing the capacity to act in regional solidarity, discovering our shared struggles

ADA accessible camping space, bathrooms, childcare, a limited shuttling service, and food will be available to all participants. Participation in the gathering is open to everyone, not just those camping: feel free to participate on any day in any activity or session that you choose to! We are trying to make the event as accessible as possible. If you have any access needs that you would like to share or any questions about the accessibility of the event, please feel free to get in touch with us at westdualpower@proton.me. We also want to let everyone know in advance that there is no cell service at the campground. In addition to the self-organized unconference sessions, you can also expect many shared meals, river frolicking, maypole dancing, live music, and collaborative art making :)

We need a lot of help to pull this off! While the groundwork for this gathering has already been laid, there is still a lot of work left to be done. If you are interested in helping prepare for or volunteer during the event, please reach out to us at westdualpower@proton.me and we will get you connected!

What is "Dual Power"?

Dual power is a way to imagine the moment just before our movements converge, as the possible becomes the actual. When the seeds of social transformation we have sown for generations bloom. When the old world begins to wither, and new worlds can be born. It is a way of thinking about how we get to that moment and beyond it. Dual power is the project of building self determination, mutual aid, solidarity, and direct democracy in our communities by creating spaces that empower us all and from which new emancipatory institutions can emerge.  For a series of articles exploring dual power, check out the ROAR magazine issue on it. For a map that plots dual power projects, with a focus on cooperatives, check out the Dual Power Map on the Black Socialists in America website. For an overview that touches on the major points, look at Dual Power: a Strategy for Building Socialism in our Time.

Who is organizing Dual Power West?

Dual Power West is an autonomous event being organized by a developing network of tenants, workers and activists. We come together from across the spectrum of anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist tendencies, traditions, and organizations. We all have experience with spaces where disagreement isn’t handled well. We choose instead to build one where we endeavor to build trusting relationships, construct bridges, share ideas and strengthen each other.

We believe in the power of groups coming together to share their knowledge, stories and experiences. Building connections and sharing skills makes our local work more resilient and better equipped to face the coming years. We can only build our relationships and knowledge if we come together and talk about it, and harness our different perspectives, backgrounds, and ecologies. In the face of escalating militarism, growing insecurity, wealth inequality, and climate collapse, we could widen the gaps between each other in growing isolation and frustration, or turn towards each other to inspire, build, and fight. We absolutely choose the second.

We are not going into this with predetermined expectations of what will come out of it. We’re not letting our own hopes solely define the event; we instead leave that to the people attending. What will grow out of the gathering will be defined locally, and the networks we build will help inform, grow, and help articulate our movements.

We are not expecting it to go off flawlessly, so be bold and courageous in your participation! We aim to cultivate less a space for expertise (while this can be generative, so many of these exist already) and more a space for collective exploration and growth, where the potentials are not subject to the current limitations of any individual’s imagination. Building personal and collective agency is a political act in itself and essential to building dual power. We hope this format will help us to continue to grow into people willing and able to act together. We will continue to share updates here about the event as it draws closer. Looking forward to seeing you this June!