Tag Archives: protest

Our Common Statement on Recent Attacks Against Critical Thought

We find deeply disturbing the recent success of right-wing groups and individuals to impose themselves on university campuses across the United States, and to silence critical voices as they amplify their own. The suspension of George Ciccariello-Maher by Drexel University, along with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor cancelling her own speaking event, Mark Trahant’s resignation, Third World Quarterly publishing a text suggesting a positive view of colonialism and arguing for a partial recolonization of former colonies, and the attacks against Dr. Farhana Sultana for her vocal criticism of the text and its publication, are part of a successful attack of the far right on critical thought and exchange. These are of course just a few recent, high-profile examples of such attacks on the academy in North America. The repeated justification—in the name of free speech—of hosting white supremacist Alt-Right speakers and groups on campuses by university administrators is also disappointing. This creates an environment where racist, homophobic, and sexist-chauvinist speech is given equal status to all other speech, even as it advocates for the reversal of hard-fought social gains by historically oppressed groups.

Due to the complicit silence of most academic and non-academic institutions—within the US  and beyond—we recognize a need to express our discontent/discomfort with recent developments and voice our solidarity with those silenced and marginalized by it. In such an environment, the university can hardly be considered a safe space anymore. We acknowledge that this assault appears shocking and outrageous to us in part because of our privilege as white academics in West European and North American institutions. University colleagues and activists around the world that challenge oppressive domestic regimes, western neo-liberal reform packages, and neo-colonialism have often faced terrible persecution. But it is also true that such oppressive conditions have long existed within our own academic and social circles for People of Color, people living with disabilities, as well as other marginalized groups. In other words, the recent attack on radical and alternative voices within our institutions brings to light what has long been true for many.

We want a university to be a space where all students, staff, and professors feel safe. This environment should promote thought that challenges inequality in the societies we live in, the conditions and power regimes that create them. Therefore we state unequivocally that we stand with those being targeted by online trolls, and right-wing groups and organizations of all kinds, and demand our institutions stop accommodating hate groups while silencing progressive voices.

In Solidarity!

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A Protest in Brooklyn

I ran into a protest in Brooklyn in November. On my way somewhere else, I heard a commotion down a small neighborhood street. I could see police and a sectioned off area, people holding signs. Fortunately, I had my camera; unfortunately I had an almost empty battery and no back up (lesson learned).

The protest was on the issue of homeless housing in area. The protest demanded a stop to “warehousing” homeless people in hotels, which is not a long term solution, nor a cost-effective one. They argued that hotels were being built in their neighborhoods that had no tourism, but were going to look to take advantage of City money for housing the homeless, effectively becoming for-profit homeless shelters. But there was also a very conservative vein to this protest, when the protest demanded the abolition of the New York City law that mandates the City house any homeless person seeking assistance. The fear was that this encouraged the homeless to take advantage of local tax-payers, something explicitly mentioned in the video. A discourse that echoes what we often hear in discussions on immigration.

These seem to offer contradictory positions, with wanting to help the homeless with long term solutions, using available and vacant houses, and wanting to end the City’s commitment to help for fear of outsiders taking advantage of this. The question of gentrification is also present. On the one side people are fearful of getting priced out homes through particular forms of development. On the other side the (conflicted) attitude towards the homeless and the resources they require suggests that people also want to preserve their neighborhood’s appearance, protecting it from potential “degradation” by accommodating welfare cases and institutions. They appear to want to keep the neighborhood as it is, for the middle (or working) class.

The protest also offered a series of creative visuals both expounding on what people thought was the issue, and in some cases with a degree of humor. These signs also connected to wider social concerns in the US. The “stop the war on the middle-class”, for example, was widely used in recent elections by almost all candidates, and reflects the importance of the middle class in liberal capitalism, where it is seen as source of stability, while also undermining broader worker solidarity. As such, it is a conservative discourse, and suggests that some protesters saw this protest as being (also) about their standard of living. Another sign, however, suggested this was an attack on the working class.

Others expressed resentment by attacking the politicians themselves (“the dope of Parkslope” was sung repetitively and also on some signs). The diversity of opinions and at times contradictory messages was however secondary to the appearance of unity, with a clear, vocal presence focused on the single question of opposing the “warehousing” of the homeless.

Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe

Cfp we are applying to. Might be of some interest to others:

The University of Manchester and Whitworth Art Gallery (2015 Museum of the Year), Manchester

Dates: May 19 and 20, 2017

To mark the centenary of the 1917 Revolution we are holding an interdisciplinary conference on the theme of Everyday Revolutions in Southern and Eastern Europe. Rather than treating revolution as a one off or irreversible political change, the event will investigate the revolutionary potential of often-overlooked mobilisations, movements, acts, actions, and practices.  Moving beyond ideas of popular protest and social movement activism, it will focus on phenomena which could be dubbed ‘everyday revolutions’, including but not limited to:

  • ‘slow protest’
  • small-scale resistance
  • counter-culture
  • liberation movements
  • individual acts and actions.

The regional focus on Southern and Eastern Europe will highlight areas on the periphery of the European project which face many of the same challenges. The conference will shed new light on the responses to these challenges. This perspective on social, economic, political, and cultural problems will allow better understanding of everyday ways of coping with, and reacting against, new political-economic situations on the ‘edges of Europe’, both inside and outside the EU. It will help reflect not just on the areas in question, but more broadly on contemporary meanings of Europe and its borders.

We welcome contributions from across disciplines relating to any area of ‘everyday revolutions’.  Examples might include responses to austerity, civil society and NGOs, informal organisations and collectives, parallel organisations (including currencies), trans-border activist co-operations, artivism, digital and sexual revolutions, and post-capitalism.

Proposals are encouraged for conventional papers/panels but also interactive workshops (musical, visual and other), workshops open to the public, workshops for children, films, slide-shows and other visual installations.

As the event will be held at the Whitworth Art Gallery, proposals are especially welcomed for talks or workshops which engage with particular pieces – fine art, sculptures, textiles, wallpapers, etc. – from the Whitworth’s collection (which can be consulted here:http://gallerysearch.ds.man.ac.uk ).

The deadline for applications is 16.12.2016. Please send toeverydayrevolutions@manchester.ac.uk proposals including:

Name & affiliation (if any)

Title of contribution

Type of contribution (paper, film, workshop, workshop for children, etc.)

Abstract (max. 350 words), including explanation of your contribution’s relevance for the topic.

Proposals for panels of 3-4 papers or jointly led workshops are also welcome.

The Maribor Uprising

We are excited to hear about the release of the participatory documentary film “The Maribor Uprising”. Essentially an interactive documentary put together by film-makers Maple Razsa (also an advisor to our DOC-team) and Milton Guillen, the film brings the exerience of the 2012 uprising in Maribor to the audiance, allowing the audiance to chose how interact with the protests, which part of the uprisings to join. All footage is interwoven with interviews and information about the uprisings themselves.

The film is being released at the Camden Film Festival on the 17.9.2016. You can get more info about the film and the participatory dimension here on Facebook or on the film’s webpage: http://mariboruprisings.org. 

TTIP/TISA/CETA Protest, Graz 4.6.2016

A few images of the protest against various free-trade agreements that are being negotiated, coming into effect, at the moment. For some basic information on the free-trade agreements, check this wikipedia page (with the usual caution towards anything on wikipedia).

May First Demonstration

May 1st in Graz was marked by various left wing political parties, such as the Social democrats (SPÖ) and the Communist Party (KPÖ), and leftist groups and unions. While the SPÖ chose to gather for a static celebration in the city center (mit bier und würstl, as one comrade described it), the KPÖ and various unions and activist groups staged a march through city. The weather was a disaster, but non-the-less the turnout was good.

Our first protest video (as a DOC-team) captures some of the sights, color, and sounds of the demonstrations and actions from the day. For a bit of history on the origins of May Day, take a watch of Peter Linebaugh’s interview on Democracy Now.

CfP: International Dissidence — Arbeitskreis soziale Bewegungen

Call for Papers: International Dissidence. Rule and Resistance in a Globalized World, International Conference, Frankfurt, 2-4 March 2017 From Occupy Wall Street and radical jihadism to protests against UN peacekeeping, right-wing mobilization in Europe and India’s exit from the Non-Proliferation Treaty – resistance remains a ubiquitous but ambiguous aspect of global social and political life. […]

via CfP: International Dissidence — Arbeitskreis soziale Bewegungen

Image

Our project in a poster.

On the 4th of March, part of the DOC-team will travel to Vienna for a two day workshop at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Over those two days we will be taking part in sessions with other DOC-team recipients and presenting our project. As part of that, we developed this poster to visualize our project:

poster_v2a-page-001

Uni.On summer feature

Our project was featured online this summer, in the universities online magazine, uni.on. It features interviews with Angelos and Dr. des. Marion Hamm, who advised the project from its inception.

Text:

Jung-ForscherInnen untersuchen visuelle Dimensionen des Protests in Südosteuropa

Seit dem von der EU verordneten Sparprogramm spiegelt sich die Unzufriedenheit der griechischen Bevölkerung nahezu täglich auf der Straße wider: Heftige Proteste finden ein Ventil in Streiks oder landesweiten Demonstrationen. Unverzichtbar dabei: Poster, Transparente und Plakate, die nicht nur Botschaften auf den Punkt bringen, sondern durch kreative und eindringliche Bilder auch Unbeteiligte ansprechen und mobilisieren sollen. Wie sich diese Politisierung über visuelle Medien im Alltag vollzieht, untersucht der Sozial- und Medienwissenschafter Angelos Evangelinidis. Er dissertiert im Rahmen eines „DocTeams“ an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Das Besondere an dem international vernetzten Forschungsverbund: Drei NachwuchswissenschafterInnen aus verschiedenen Ländern untersuchen unterschiedliche  Facetten ein und desselben Themas: der visuellen Seite des Protests in Südosteuropa. Die Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW) fördert das Doc Team mit einem dreijährigen Stipendium, das mit 37.000 Euro pro Jahr dotiert ist.

Evangelinidis zieht in seiner Doktorarbeit Vergleiche zu politischen Plakaten im Griechenland der Nuller-Jahre und konzentriert sich in seiner Analyse auf das Athener Studierendenviertel und Szenetreffpunkt Exarchia. „In diesem Teil der Stadt ist die Politik Diskussionsgegenstand Nummer eins“, weiß der Forscher. Welche visuellen Techniken – zum Beispiel Plakate, Graffiti oder Straßenkunst – ineinander greifen, um eine kollektive Identität der AktivistInnen aufzubauen, wird er anhand ausgewählter Beispiele untersuchen. Auch kritisch-oppositionelle Praktiken werden durch den geschickten Einsatz von Postern gestärkt, weiß Evangelinidis: „Das klassische, amerikanische Plakat mit dem Zitat ‘We can do it’ aus dem Jahr 1943 wird heute im griechischen Protestrahmen von Basis-Gewerkschaften genutzt – sie wollen damit ihrem Widerstand gegen die Öffnung von Geschäften am Sonntag Ausdruck verleihen.“

Der Athener Hintergrund ist nur eines von drei Beispielen, an denen das DocTeam die visuelle Protestkultur in Südosteuropa analysieren will. Neben Angelos Evangelinidis untersuchen seine KollegInnen David Brown und Marija Martinovic umstrittene öffentliche Aktionen von Fußball-Fans in Bosnien-Herzegowina und Slowenien sowie Video-Aktivismus in der Belgrader Frauenbewegung. Die NachwuchswissenschafterInnen dissertieren alle an der Uni Graz. Die Koordinatorin des Doc Teams, Dr. Marion Hamm, unterstreicht die Bedeutung des Forschungsvorhabens: „Ob Poster, Menschenkette oder öffentliche Performance: Visuelle Ausdrucksformen sind aus Protestbewegungen nicht wegzudenken. Eine systematische kulturwissenschaftliche Untersuchung dieser visuellen Aspekte von Demonstrationen stand aber bislang noch aus. Diese Lücke füllt jetzt das DocTeam, das weltweit mit namhaften ExpertInnen kooperiert.“

Das Projekt mit dem Titel „Contentious Images – Unruly Practices, An Ethnography of Visual Protest Repertoires in Southeastern Europe“ entstand aus dem interdisziplinären Doktoratsprogramm „Visuelle Kultur“ an der Uni Graz und ist in den gesamtuniversitären Schwerpunkt „Südosteuropa“ der Karl-Franzens-Universität eingebunden.

-Gerhilde Kastrun