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(en) Serbia, Belgrade, Breaking the activist ghetto - workshop on the European-PGA conference

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 15 Jul 2004 09:09:06 +0200 (CEST)

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Already in the 2nd european pga-conference in leiden the question ("how to
break the activists ghetto?") was a crucial topic. we hope and we want to
contribute, that this debate will continue in the coming conference in
belgrade on different levels. on one hand we are interested, for example,
to participate in a follow-up-workshop, which should raise the approaches
of social or autonomous centers and its relationships to the quarters or
broader social realities in their cities. on the other hand we want to
propose and we would like to prepare (together with other interested groups)
another two-parts-workshop under the headline of breaking the ghetto and
with the subtitle of "migration, labourstruggles and (re)appropriation".

The workshop will be devided in two different parts. We would like to
do it on two following days, for example the more general part on
sunday, eastern-europe-part on monday. -each part should last for 2
blocks (if one 1 block lasts 1,5h)

in the first part we want to start with more general informations,
estimations and debates, including the question of the role of
pga-network and its visibilty in such practices and projects. in the
second part we want to refer to the specific situations in eastern
european countries with the main interest of creating more projects of
(transnational) east-west-cooperation.

*breaking the acitivist ghetto
migration/mobility - labourstruggles - (re)appropriation*

first part: *migration/mobility - labourstruggles - (re)appropriation*
three topics, which interconnect - from our point of view - some of
the most crucial questions concerning social conflicts and
perspectives. what kind of social and political struggles are going on
in these different fields? which way to estimate? as defensive
reactions to particular problems or as challenging the whole system?
and which way is the relationship between "us as political activists",
who are mainly involved in organising projects and campaigns, and
"ordinary people", who move or struggle or (re)appropriate on a daily
base but often without any political articulation? what are our
starting-points, on a theoretical as well as on a practical level, if
we want to bridge these gaps and the different realities in societies
in general?

noborder as an antiracist network already connects activists from
eastern and western europe. border04 (one initiative of this summer,
which will be presented on the pga-conference...) as a travelling
project along both sides of the new european borders is an attempt to
develope more contacts and to deepen up researches about
transitmigration as well as about labourmigration. the main target
will be to find out, which way the borderregime is undermined and
challenged on a daily-base by people, who take their right to move...
the east-european anarchist newspaper project "abolishing the borders
from below" refers not only to similar questions concerning borders,
but it moreover tries to report about the various struggles in eastern
european countries. the "abolishers" and other activists for example
from poland could talk about the struggles for better wages or against
privatisation, about the protests in factories or in the agricultural
sector, about (re)appropriation of miners or in the resistance against
evictions. yomango from barcelona "represents a very special marketing
of appropriation" within the activist-scenery but also trying to
popularize and to politicise the daily practices of steeling ...

activists from all those projects are somehow connected with pga and
will present their projects during the conference in belgrade. so we
want to raise the question (at the end of the first part of this
workshop), which role pga as a network can win in connecting and
catalysing these different projects and -vice versa - if it would be
useful to give pga a certain visibility by being identified with such
cooperative projects (for example on its website ...)

((remark: the idea for this workshop did not appear accidently. in the
context of mobilising for the belgrade-conference in our region we had
organised a series of information-events within last weeks: with
activists from noborder about the new migration-regime, with
"abolishing the borders from below (berlin) about networking and
social struggles in east-europe, and with yomango (barcelona) about
appropriations.... in all discussions somehow a similar question was
touched: which way to refer to broader social realities and to daily
struggles of people ...))

second part:
*the situation in eastern europe and the question of transnational
cooperation ...*

- migration/mobility:
in the process of eu-enlargment the new eastern
members had to adopt the socalled schengen-acquis and to follow the
migration- and visa-policy of western-european interests.
labourmigration: although the new eastern eu-citizens are more or less
excluded for further seven years from the most western european
labour-markets, some conditions will open up new opportunities and it
will be a very interesting question, which way people use the new
spaces to gain a better income. of course, capitalism wants to play
one ethnical group against each other, for example in the agriculural
sector in spain, where selforganised and resisting maroccan workers
are more and more replaced by cheaper east-european workforces. a
transnational, and particular east-west-workers-communication or even
organisational process is necessary... transitmigration: how far the
schengen-plan will really work, to exclude refugees and undesired
migrants by shifting the bordercontrol through the eu-enlargement to
the east, is still an open question. every day people manage to cross
borders "illegally", to move in their migrant-communities and to
suceed to undermine the migrationregime.

- labour-struggles:
within the last 15 years most productive and
profit-promising sectors of easteuropean economy had been privatized
and taken over by western global players. moreover the transnational
companies (tnc) utilize the east for outsourcing of the most
labour-intensitive parts of production to benefit from low wages. such
privatisations and intensified exploitation, the destruction of whole
sectors, the closure of a lot of companies, the subsequent increase of
unemployment and the lack of (compensating) public money brought a lot
of new tensions and conflicts, but also more and more social protests
and labour-struggles to east european societies. in many cases
western companies with their globalised production- and
distribution-chains are directly or indirectly involved in these
problems. to support for example a labour-struggle in a tnc and to put
pressure to a global player to reach at least certain demands (for
example concerning wages or working conditions..) an
east-west-cooperation could be very useful or even necessary. an
isolated struggle risks much more to fail, and simultanous activities
and wider international public attention enhance the chances to gain
some positive results.

- (re)appropriation:
all over eastern europe you can find them: big
markets where you can buy everything, eg. also faked passports. all
kinds of label-piracy from newest dvd's till nike-shoes are sold. one
of the various ways how people use forms of approriation to organise
their survival. confronted with a high rate of unemployement, with
much lower wages and less social aid by the state than in western
european states finding ways besides the legal framework seems to be
really necessary for many people in eastern europe. four days long in
lecova, slovakia a supermarket has been repeatedly attacked by a group
of more than 80 romas who looted food. they declared that they were
forced to loot as they don't have anything to eat. in poland struggles
against eviction of flats have emerged. the inhabitants were not able
to pay the rent - and not willing to become homeless. and also the
struggles against privatisation of factories can be seen as a term of
reappropriation, be it in front of the factory gates in ozarow near
warsaw or in occupied factory of "jugoremedija" in the city of
zrenjanin, serbia...

we want to take a look in which points the situation in eastern europe
is special. what are experiences in "breaking the ghetto" when
activists manage to really link to ongoing daily based struggles?
where do we see situations challenging us to trie? how can we learn
from the different experiences? how could the network help to
coordinate? how can we create more projects of transnational east-west
cooperation? might it for example be possible to pick some example to
show the whole chains of exploitation: from the production, the
working conditions in eastern european factory to the profit of a
western european supermarket... and what might be useful tools to
really have some visible output?

glocal group hanau

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