What is Mutiny?
Mutiny is a collective of activists from across a plethora of campaigns, campuses and workplaces. Our events revolve around the creation of safe spaces where people engaged with politics can openly discuss ideas and activity which is very close to their daily lives.
Mutiny was started by a group of activists from different political traditions – LGBT campaigns, Marxist groups, anarchist networks, and feminist campaigns to name just a few.
Our Mutiny is against the government and their cuts, against war, climate change, poverty, racism, homophobia and inequality of all kinds.
Because of this we work together to create events which are inclusive but which do not shy away from real political debate, honest skill and knowledge sharing and big, spectacular ideological brain aches.
Past events include: Money On Trial, Democracy On Trial, The Media On Trial, Fashion On Trial and most recently Education On Trial in association with ULU. In February 2011, Love on Trial explored the freedoms we desire and whether we as activists can find bonds which go beyond corporate Valentine’s messages and marriage contracts. In April Violence on Trial discussed whether revolutions like that taking place in Egypt today can or should happen without violence, while also examining the violence of the state at home and overseas. In October, we put Drugs on Trial and looked at consumption, production, prescription and of course, revolution…
In December, we will put Sex on Trial in conjunction with Critical Sexology and ask consent, normativity and of course, the sexual revolution. In a first for Mutiny, we’ll also have an activist listening workshop, which we hope will help activists and academics go forward better equipped to have conversations about sex which avoid the polarisation (*cough* mudslinging) that often arise in debates over this hottest of topics.
Mutiny events are held in the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green – an unusual venue for a political event with décor comprising ropes, mannequins and art installations. Mutiny brings to the main floor its discussion table set with mics so any member of the audience can bring their drink to the table and join the conversation during the evening. Stalls and installations can be found up on the mezzanine, while our own art exhibitions give the gallery a sense of the theatrical, the spectacle, the revolutionary carnivalesque…
A host will introduce you to the evening and guide you through the night’s entertainments. Hosting previous Mutinies we’ve had student radical Clare Solomon of the University of London Union, Tansy Hoskins from Beats Beat Bullets & CND, and NUS LGBT Officer Daf Adley. The host will explain the event, introduce some key questions about the issue ‘on trial’, and make sure everyone feels comfortable, involved and intellectually stimulated.
The night opens with speed debating, where you get the chance to debate the host’s questions with another random audience member for 60 seconds before moving onto the next. It gets the conversation going and also means that if you arrive before your friends or come by yourself you’ve already got people to talk to!
Mutiny deliberately challenges the idea that all political meetings should resemble school lessons or lectures with the expert talking for 40 minutes. This is a collaborative discussion amongst activists, academics, creatives, old-timers and newbies, and we’re all here to listen and learn from the multitude of skill-sets that mix brings into the room.
The evening is interspersed with live poetry, comedy, theatre and exclusive films. The debates can be complex, intense, and theoretical and the interjections provide light relief while also illuminating the theme of the evening. We’ve had the extraordinarily enlightening Josie Long, the entertaining and challenging Sh!t Theatre, Victory MC, beatboxers and poets. It breaks up the debates, keeps our attention and reminds us that the world of leftwing politics is fascinating in its variety.
The heart of the Mutiny event is three discussion sessions each lasting 45 minutes with a 15 minute break for socialising. After all, it’s a night out! Usually one or two ‘expert’ speakers start the discussions off before everyone is invited to join in. We aim to stimulate a conversation among people who want the same things – social change, equality, rights, general utopia – but have different ideas about how to get there.
To help make sure everyone gets a chance to take part and respond to each other, the chair of the discussion has a squeaky heart to let participants know if they’ve been talking for a minute.
The end & goody bags
We have live performances during the event and also a good hour at the end of the night when everyone can mingle, swap leaflets or simply catch up with people they know or who they’ve just met.
We welcome progressive individuals and organizations to all our events and welcome offers of leaflets for the goody bags that are given out as people leave. It’s always stuffed full of badges, leaflets, newspapers, posters, contact cards, and more. That way no one at the event has to leave early to leaflet outside the door and everyone can read, recycle and distribute the materials at their leisure.
The morning after
Each Mutiny event promotes a wide range of campaigns and activities for people to get involved in – from anti-war & anti-cuts demos to lobbying the government over sweatshop labour or blockading Boris Johnson over the closure of rape crisis centres. Our aim is to bring about seismic change in the world and we want people to do more than just come to Mutiny.
Lots of people who came to a Mutiny event now help to organise it. We are always looking for more people and are an open network so if you want to help organize Violence on Trial and decide any future event themes all you have to do is email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seriously though, what’s the point…
We want activists, creative types, and those of a theoretical disposition to come together, learn from each other and build for the future.
This is a space for ideas. It’s designed for people who are interested in feminism, socialism, anarchism, reformism, and other generally progressive, we’re-all-in-it-together-style isms, but who don’t yet have all the answers. If you are in a political party, come and share your position. If you are not, perhaps you’ll find someone who is a member of something you would like to join. Or you might just be a lefty type looking for a great night out that doesn’t involve sexist comedians, racist heckles or vacuous TV programmes. Either way, we urge you to come and join the Mutiny.