Last week, dozens of activists, scholars and journalists came together in Amsterdam for a historic conference on the global uprisings of recent years. Besides presentations by grassroots organizers in the movements, the event included keynote speeches from Paul Mason, David Graeber, Silvia Federici, George Caffentzis and Paul Mattick, as well as further activities in a number of social centers around the city. The main venue for the conference, De Balie, has shared the video recordings of some of the presentations here. We are sharing them below (N.B.: if you are reading this post in your email inbox of RSS feed, make sure to visit our website to see the embedded videos).
#GlobalUprisings — Day 1, Part 1 — Welcome (with film)
#GlobalUprisings — Day 1, Part 2 — Paul Mason
Paul Mason is the current Culture and Digital Editor of Channel 4 News, having previously been economics editor of BBC′s Newsnight, and is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books including Why It’s Still Kicking Off Everywhere, a frontline report on today’s global revolts and revolutions. In this opening plenary, he will discuss his research on the causes of the current global uprisings and how these movements might lead to major social change.
#GlobalUprisings — Day 2, Part 1 — Origins of the Uprisings and Why They Haven’t Stopped
This panel is an introductory session that explores some of the underlying causes of the uprisings in a small selection of countries to draw out both the historical specificities of each place and the commonalities between them. The panel will explore what happened in Tunisia and Egypt where the Arab Spring first kicked off and present the latest uprisings in Brazil and Turkey to provide updates on the current situation. The panelists will offer their insights on why and in what way the resistance grew in the first place, and why it is still ongoing. This panel will provide a backdrop for the many discussions and experiences to be shared in the panels throughout the next two days.
Speakers: Azyz Amami (Tunis, Tunisia); Lobna Darwish (Cairo, Egypt); Victor Khaled (Florian, Brazil); Foti Benlisoy (Istanbul, Turkey)
Discussant: Antonis Vradis (Athens, Greece)
#GlobalUprisings — Day 2, Part 5 — Experiments in Self-Organization: From Squares to Neighborhoods to Factories
Over the past two and half years, a common organizing structure emerged in many of the neighborhoods, towns, cities and countries around the world. This structure became known as the ‘general assembly’: mass gatherings of people in public spaces where activists, workers, and communities could come together to make decisions in a less hierarchical and more decentralized way. This panel explores some of the many different forms of self-organization and horizontal decision-making that are being practiced around the world today to explore what the benefits and limitations of these models are as an organizing tool and as an alternative political structure. This panel will explore the radical content of these organizing models, which specific social relationships they challenge and how and why these models sometimes lose their content by looking at concrete examples of how they have functioned.
Speakers: Aylin Kuryel (Turkey); Dimitris from the Vio.Me. worker-run factory (Thessaloniki, Greece); Peter (Barcelona, Spain); Jasper Bernes (Oakland, US)
Discussant: Andrej Kurnik (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
#GlobalUprisings — Day 2, Part 6 — Scenes from the Front Lines: A Collection of Short Films, a film by David Martinez (25min)
This series of short films follows movements fighting austerity measures, repressive regimes, and right wing groups in the midst of economic crisis and authoritarianism. From Montreal to Cairo to Athens to Istanbul, this collection brings together the work of various filmmakers and video collectives to provide an insider’s view from the global political unrest that continues today as people around the world fight to build a new political and economic system. The films included are produced by innovative filmmakers and video activists: Ross Domoney, Global Uprisings, Mosireen, Submedia and more.
#GlobalUprisings — Day 2, Part 7 — Closing Plenary: The Visibility and Invisibility of Social/Class Struggle in times of Crisis
This plenary brings together three of the most important social theorists working on the topics of work, debt and resistance to discuss the social composition of the current revolt and different mobilizing factors within the crisis of capitalism. The discussion will deal with the difference between debt and wage struggles, forms of work, domestic labor struggles, the class character of debt, and a review of previous debtors’ movements, their commonalities, and limits.
Silvia Federici (who cannot attend in person) will also be present in the form of her paper which will still be read despite her absence. Her paper will explore Immigrant domestic workers and the international production and circulation of feminist knowledge and organization.
George Caffentzis will explore the way invisibility/visibility functions in the debt economy and explore the potential for the formation of a debtors movement in response to the debt economy and its counter-revolution of everyday life.
David Graeber will delve into the history of how work regimes have come to serve and maintain the power of finance capital through the everyday production of “bullshit” work that has no productive purpose or social value
#GlobalUprisings — Day 3, Part 1 — Migration: Creating divisions and exclusions through discourses of racism and nationalism disguised as ‘policy’
The free flow of capital in our world today stands in strong contrast to the boundaries, borders, walls, fortresses and detention centers we create to stop the free flow of people. At the current moment, the use of ‘migration’ and ‘migrants’ as the scapegoat for problems that have been created by banks, politicians and the financial system is pervasive in European politics. While hundreds of people are drowning at sea trying to reach Europe, those of us already in Europe are continuously told by our politicians and media that ‘migrants’ are to blame of our financial and social problems. As the crisis deepens, we see that this age old practice of blaming the foreigner, opens the door to the rapid growth of violent racism and the rise of Nazi-parties and right-wing groups in Europe in ways we would have deemed unimaginable after WWII. This panel explores some of the problems currently facing migrants (asylum seekers or otherwise) who have successfully made the journey to Europe.
Speakers: Wij Zijn Hier (Amsterdam, Netherlands); The St.Pauli Manifesto and Lampedusa in Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany); Carlos Delclos (Barcelona, Spain); Klara (Athens, Greece)
Discussant: Hara Kouki (Athens, Greece)
#GlobalUprisings — Day 3, Part 3 — Media, Communication, Outreach
This session will explore the many ways in which movements relate to both mainstream and social media. How did the movements reach the wider public? How did they develop new technologies themselves? What forms of face-to-face communication were essential? The speakers represent a mix of experiences and positions vis-à-vis the media. Some of them engage with the mainstream media in creative and subversive ways, others develop humorous campaigns with a spectacular elements to attract the attention of the public as well as mainstream media, while still others develop alternative channels of communication to reach the public through social media, video and blogs or by designing software and hardware tools to facilitate communication within, between and from the movements.
Speakers: Not an Alternative (New York City, US); Leonidas Martin (Enmedio, Barcelona, Spain); Salma Said (Mosireen, Cairo, Egypt); Hassen Hajbi (Revolutionary Cultural Movement, Tunis, Tunisia)
Discussant: Jerome Roos (ROAR Magazine)
#GlobalUprisings — Day 3, Part 4 — Closing Plenary: The Permanent Crisis
The global economic crisis has affected nearly everyone in every corner of the globe. 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, framing it also as a fundamental example of the cycle of crisis and recovery that has characterized capitalism since the early nineteenth century. In this closing plenary, Paul Mattick Jr. will discuss the ongoing crisis of capitalism and what it might mean for global social movements.