The Stories, Ideas and Future of Uprisings around the World
De Balie, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
November 15-17, 2013
Over the past two and half years, streets and squares across the world have become the site of massive demonstrations, strikes, occupations, riots, rebellions and revolutions. From the Arab Spring to the movement of the squares in Southern Europe, and from there to the global Occupy movement and the current uprisings in Turkey and Brazil, people everywhere have been rising up against the power of governments, corporations and repressive regimes, representing a global legitimation crisis that affects authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies alike.
Next month, we will have the historic opportunity to bring together some 50 people from all over the world who have been directly involved in these various struggles. From November 15-17, the Global Uprisings conference will be a unique weekend of presentations, discussions and film screenings in Amsterdam, gathering a wide array of activists, journalists, filmmakers and scholars who have participated in and reported from the front-lines of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Chile, the UK, the US, Canada, Turkey and Brazil.
The conference will open on Friday night with a keynote speech by the acclaimed British journalist Paul Mason, author of Why it’s Still Kicking off Everywhere. On Saturday and Sunday, we will have multiple discussion sessions with grassroots organizers about where today’s movements have come from and where they are headed; how people are organizing in the areas worst hit by the euro crisis; what happened to the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East; how the Occupy Wall Street movement was organized; why Canadian and Chilean students decided to take to the streets; what animated the most recent popular uprisings in Turkey and Brazil, and much more.
In these discussions, we will address some of the most pertinent questions facing the movements today, including the lessons to be drawn from recent experiments with general assemblies and direct democracy; the use of independent and social media; the role of women in the revolutions; how to organize a general strike from below; and how to continue the fight for housing rights, free education and autonomy in the wake of some of the biggest mobilizations to date.
On Saturday night, there will be another large plenary session featuring renowned scholars George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici. Throughout the conference, a number of documentary films will be screened and plenty of opportunities will be provided to talk to participants and exchange ideas, lessons and experiences. In addition, various unofficial events will be organized in free spaces and social centers in the city center, including a party at the Vrankrijk squat on Saturday night.
The Global Uprisings conference is open to the public and entirely free of charge. A full program will be made available by the organizers shortly. A preliminary description of the event can be found here. For the evening plenaries, advance tickets will soon be made available here as well. If you are coming from abroad and can afford it, we advise you to try and book your own housing. We are looking into other housing options. If you need housing and are low income, please write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event is organized by Brandon Jourdan (award-winning independent filmmaker) and Marianne Maeckelbergh (anthropologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands) of the Global Uprisings documentary film project. The event will be hosted by discussion center De Balie in Amsterdam and is made possible with the funding of the Foundation for Democracy and Media.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS INCLUDE:
Azyz Amami is a Tunisian activist and blogger, who was jailed under former dictator Ben Ali. The arrest of Azyz Amani along with another well-known activist, Slim Amamou, created a shock wave among protestors who saw this as proof that the regime’s repression wouldn’t stop in spite of promises to the contrary made by the president. These arrests sparked an international campaign for their release and helped draw further attention to the struggle for justice in Tunisia.
Jasper Bernes was a participant in Occupy Oakland and is a lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley. He is the author of a book of poems, Starsdown.
George Caffentzis is a philosopher of money and a leading thinker in the development of autonomist Marxist thought. He has been a participant in numerous movements since the civil rights period, when he was first arrested in sit-ins during the early 1960s. He continued his political activism, especially in the antinuclear power movement, throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1974, he co-edited the first issue of Zerowork and in 1978 cofounded the Midnight Notes Collective, publishing the journal of the collective over the next thirty years. He is a founding member and co-ordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa and a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern Maine.
Ayca Çubukçu is an Assistant Professor in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she leads an interdisciplinary research group on Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Solidarity. She is also co-editor of Jadaliyya’s Turkey page.
Lobna Darwish is an independent film-maker, writer, and revolutionary based in Cairo, Egypt. She is a member of the Mosireen video collective (www.mosireen.org), a non-profit media collective in Downtown Cairo born out of the explosion of citizen media and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution.
Carlos Delclós is a sociologist and lecturer at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, an activist in the 15-M Movement and a contributor to ROAR Magazine. In addition to teaching courses in Labour Relations Theory, Social Structures, Introduction to Sociology, and Demography & Populations, his work includes research on migrations, health inequalities, economic organization and fertility. A son of Spanish immigrants, he is a dual U.S.-Spanish citizen.
Ross Domoney is a freelance filmmaker based in the UK & and Athens. His documentary work focuses on social/human right issues, modernization, Urban conflict and the effects of political protest on cities, authorities and underground movements.
Silvia Federici was born in Parma, Italy, in 1942 and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is Emerita Professor at Hofstra University and has worked as a teacher in Nigeria. Federici is co-founder of the International Feminist Collective (1972), and the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa (1990). Among her writings are Revolution at Point Zero (2012) and Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation (2004).
David Graeber (12 February 1961) is an American anthropologist, author, anarchist and activist who is currently Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics. Specialising in theories of value and social theory, he was an assistant professor and associate professor of anthropology at Yale University from 1998 to 2007, although Yale controversially declined to rehire him. From Yale, he went on to become a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London from Fall 2007 to Summer 2013. Graeber has been involved in social and political activism, including the protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001 and the World Economic Forum in New York City in 2002. He is also a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Silvia Gutiérrez lives in Valparaiso, Chile. She was a leader in the student movement during the 2006 “Penguin Revolution”. The following year she began her Bachelor of Journalism and Communications at the University of Playa Ancha, a public university with a commitment to social engagement. In 2011 a new student revolt began in Chile with the demand for Free and Quality Education. Silvia became an active participant and joined “The Radioneta” collective, a free community radio station in Valparaiso, as part of Radio Stations for Education, where she hosts “The Revolt”, a radio program which provides a space in which to promote the voice and aims of students and other social movements.
Hassen Hajbi is a archeologist, blogger, and independent journalist originally from Sidi Bouzid, where the Tunisian revolution kicked off. He is now based in Tunis, Tunisia. He is a co-founder of the Revolutionary Cultural Movement and has started various campaigns against governments within Tunisia. Since the very beginning of the Tunisian revolution, he has worked to coordinate communication for various sit-ins and hunger strikes that have occurred there.
Victor Khaled is a militant in the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL – Free Transport Movement) in Florianópolis and part of the Coletivo Anarquista Bandeira Negra (Anarchist Collective Black Flag) that is part of the nationally organized Coordination of Brazilian Anarchism (CAB). Victor studies geography and works for the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and integrates the coordination of the IBGE worker’s union in the state of Santa Catarina. He started to organize within the MPL in 2005 when still living in São Paulo and was active building up the movement in Florianópolis since moving there in 2007. The MPL struggles not only for free public transport but for the right to the city in broad and radical terms.
Mariam Kirollos is an Egyptian feminist activist and a human rights defender based in Cairo. Mariam is one of the founding members of the AUC Student Leftist Movement and Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault (OpAntiSH), a group that aims mainly to combat sexual harassment incidents and collective sexual assaults that women face in squares during sit-ins, protests and clashes in the perimeter of Tahrir square. The group also provides legal and medical support and follow-ups to girls and women in case they suffer from such assaults. Mariam co-authored the Swedish book “Myten Om Internet” (The Myths of the Internet).
Sabu Kohso is an independent writer and translator, a native of Japan, living in NYC since 1980. He has written three books in Japanese on social movements and progressive culture of NYC in relationship with the formation of urban space, as well as a book on the geographical and deterritorial lineage of anarchist thought across the world. He has also translated books by Kojin Karatani, Arata Isozaki (Japanese to English), David Graeber and John Holloway (English to Japanese). Being active for many years in establishing a global network of anti-capitalist struggles in and out of Japan, Kohso is currently working on a collaborative research/writing project: “Apocalypse and Anarchy After Fukushima,” with associates in Tokyo, Paris, Montreal and New York.
Hara Kouki is based in Athens, Greece. She a historian and a PhD candidate in the Law Department at Birkbeck College (London). Since September 2011 she has held a position as Research Assistant at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy). Her research interests lie in the field of political mobilisation in the post war world, while she has also done research on migration issues and the far right. Hara is a member of the Occupied London collective, a collective that has been providing updates on the situation in Greece from the revolt of 2008 and into the times of crisis.
Aylin Kuryel is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam. Her areas of interest are nationalism, image politics, visual culture, art and resistance. She is the co-editor of Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas and Possibilities (Rodopi, 2010). She has completed various documentaries and short movies.
Franklin López is an anarchist filmmaker from occupied Borkén (Puerto Rico.) He has produced hundreds of videos and short films under the subMedia.tv banner, a website he has been curating since 2000. He is most well-known for his snarky web news/comedy series “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine” which is followed by thousands of viewers online. But his work also includes mash-ups, music videos and political documentaries. In 2011 Frank toured around the world with his feature film “END:CIV”, presenting it in over 150 venues in 18 countries. In 2013 he released “Street Politics 101”, a documentary of the street actions that took place during the Quebec student strike of 2012. Frank now resides in Montréal and you may view all his films free of charge at subMedia.tv.
Gizele Martin lives in the favelas of the Maré in the Northern Zone of Rio de Janeiro, where she has been involved in community communication and social movements struggling for human rights for over ten years. She works as a journalist, gives workshops and participates in different networks that discuss community communication and favela resistance. Experiencing the total lack of basic human rights in the neighbourhoods of the poor classes where she lives motivated her to get involved with struggles for an egalitarian society. The community journal “O cidadão”, which she is part of, is one tool she uses to strengthen those struggles.
Leonidas Martin is a Professor at Barcelona University where he teaches video, new media and political art. For many years he has been developing collective projects between art and activism, many of them well known internationally. He also writes about art and politics for cultural blogs, journals and newspapers. As a video maker he has created several documentaries and movies for television and internet. He is a member of the cultural collective “Enmedio” (http://www.enmedio.info). Last but not least, he is an expert telling jokes, often using this divine gift to get free beers and to avoid police arrest.
Paul Mason is a British journalist and broadcaster. He is the current Culture and Digital Editor of Channel 4 News, having previously been economics editor of BBC2’s Newsnight. He is the author of several acclaimed books including Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed, Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global, and Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Wolverhampton.
Paul Mattick Jr. (born 1944) is a Marxist theorist and philosopher. He is the son of council communist theoreticians Paul Mattick Sr. (1904-1981) and Ilse Mattick (1919-2009). Mattick was involved in the council communist group Root and Branch, which sporadically published a magazine/pamphlet series, starting in 1969. Other notable members include Jeremy Brecher, Stanley Aronowitz, and Peter Rachleff. Mattick obtained his PhD from Harvard in 1981, and is currently chair of the Department of Philosophy at Adelphi University in New York. He was previously the editor of the International Journal of Political Economy, and is the author of several books on philosophy of language, aesthetics, and the critique of political economy. In his book Business as Usual, Paul Mattick Jr. explains the global economic crisis in relation to the development of the world economy since World War II, but also as a fundamental example of the cycle of crisis and recovery that has characterized capitalism since the early nineteenth century.
Ricardo Noronha is a Lisbon based historian and researcher at the Instituto de História Contemporânea (New University of Lisbon), where he completed a Phd on the nationalization of the financial system during the Portuguese revolution. He has participated in several research projects (“History of European Cooperation and integration [1948-2006]”, “History of Tobis Portugues” [Portuguese film studio company] and “The Making of State Power in Portugal: Institutionalization Processes from 1890 to 1986”). Among his research topics are the role of semi-peripheral social formations in the world market, the conflictual articulation between labour and capital, business cycles and State intervention in the economy.
Not An Alternative is a hybrid arts collective and non-profit organization with a mission to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history. The group curates and produces interventions on immaterial and material space, leveraging the tools of architecture, exhibit design, branding and public relations. Not An Alternative’s actions, installations and presentations have been featured within art institutions around the world as well as in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community organizations and activist mobilizations. They host programs at a variety of venues, including their Brooklyn-based gallery No-Space (formerly known as The Change You Want to See Gallery).
Observatorio Metropolitano is made up of multi-disciplinary collectives that come together to create a space for reflection on the transformations that characterize contemporary metropolises, starting with the case of Madrid. The aim is to carry out militant research and to contribute knowledge and the political tools necessary to confront these changes. The OM seeks to construct a space of communication between militants, technicians and other interested people, and above all to facilitate small, militant research projects (or embryonic projects) which take place in the city and within social movements.
Çiğdem Öztürk is a journalist based in Istanbul, Turkey. She was active in the uprising that grew from the Gezi Park protests in Turkey. She worked for Adam Publishing House and various magazines such as Adam Oyku (Literature), Adam Sanat (Literature and Arts), Pazartesi (Feminism) and Bugday (Ecology) between 1996 and 2001. She produced and presented radio programmes on Açık Radyo between 1999 and 2003. She worked for Helsinki Citizens Assembly. She was in charge of the organization of Meetings on the Bridge programme within Istanbul International Film Festival. After graduating from Istanbul University, she started her PhD in political sciences in 2005 at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Since 2004 she’s been a part of the group publishing independent magazines Roll (Music and Arts /1996-2009), Express (Politics) and Bir+Bir (Arts).
Max Rameau is a Haitian born Pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer and author. After moving to Miami, Florida in 1991, Max began organizing around a broad range of human rights issues impacting low-income Black communities, including Immigrant rights (particularly Haitian immigrants), economic justice, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, particularly for ex-felons and police abuse, among others. As a result of the devastating impacts of gentrification taking root during the housing “boom,” in the summer of 2006 Max helped found the organization which eventually became known as Take Back the Land, to address ‘Land’ issues in the Black community.
Philip Rizk is an independent film-maker and writer based in Cairo, Egypt. He is a member of the Mosireen video collective (www.mosireen.org), a non-profit media collective in Downtown Cairo born out of the explosion of citizen media and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution.
Jerome Roos is the founder and editor of ROAR Magazine, an online publication that covers the ongoing wave of struggles around the world. He is a PhD researcher in International Political Economy at the European University Institute in Florence, and currently lives in Athens where he is doing research on the Greek debt crisis.
Salma Said is a member of Mosireen, a non-profit media collective in downtown Cairo born out of the explosion of citizen media and cultural activism in Egypt during the revolution, as well as Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, a group of volunteers that aims mainly to combat sexual harassment incidents and collective sexual assaults that women face in squares during sit-ins, protests and clashes in the perimeter of Tahrir square.
Ines Tlili is a cinematographer, photographer, and radical feminist based in Tunis, Tunisia, who has worked to build an independent, non-commercial media. She is a co-founder of the Revolutionary Cultural Movement and has started various campaigns against governments within Tunisia. Since the very beginning of the Tunisian revolution, she has worked to coordinate communication for various sit-ins and hunger strikes that have occurred there.
TPTG (“Ta Paidia Tis Galarias” – “The children of the gallery”) is an anti-authoritarian communist group from Athens who see communism not as a political ideology or dogma but as an actual human community beyond the domination of capital that emerges in a contradictory way in class struggles, every time they overcome their partial character.
Traficantes de Sueños is a production and political communications project which aspires to contribute content and animate debates that are useful to transformative collective action. It is also a social economic project, that is, a non-profit organization with no bosses, involved in the “social market” and in the development of alternative economies. Traficantes de Sueños began its course in 1995 to create a consistent space in which to find material for reflection. The tool used for this is the book. Traficantes de Sueños understands the book as a means of individual and collective transformation. The collective evolved into an associative library and distributor. In 2000 they launched a publisher, design studio and space for self-education and production called Nociones Comunes. Their space, e35, es not just the locale of our bookstore, but a collective space which is open to the city and hosts a multitude of presentations, screenings, meetings, workshops and debates.
Antonis Vradis is a post-doc researcher in “The City at a Time of Crisis”, a collective project researching transformations of public spaces in Athens at the time of crisis. He was a participant in the occupation of Syntagma Square and is anti-fascist protester. He is also a member of the Occupied London collective, a collective that has been providing updates on the situation in Greece from the revolt of 2008 and into the times of crisis. He is also the Alternatives Editor of the journal CITY. He is an author and editor of Revolt and Crisis in Greece.
There will be many more activists and thinkers from around the world including activists from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland, the Montreal student uprising, participants from the movement of the squares in Greece, Portugal, and Spain, Tunisian revolutionaries, and more. This will be an unprecedented event that seeks to explore the rebellions of our time from the Arab Spring to Occupy and beyond.