Activism Beyond Citizenship and the State

Conveners: Sirena Pellarolo, Peter Kulchyski and Edwin E. Corbin Gutiérrez

This workgroup explores collective practices, spaces and movements that surface as alternatives to the Modern paradigm and the neoliberal project in particular.

From the experience of the groups that participants work with, this workgroup questions the premise of State-sanctioned rights and focuses on practices that expose and counter the complicit role of governments in the spread of neoliberalism in order to create practices that spark grassroots social transformation. We question the idea of "the citizen," the unchecked universality of human and cultural rights, the State as the ultimate unifying force for social organizing, the fantasy uprooted global thought, and the current meltdown of capitalism.

We hope to reflect on possibilities for the future, looking at examples of social practices that are working today throughout the hemisphere as glimpses of that "other world" that is possible to build. The workgroup will be structured like a popular assembly or community meeting. Each participant will be expected to give a short presentation (which can be a verbal report or story, or formal power point) on their struggles and activities, with an eye to the following questions:

  • • How do grassroots interventions serve as examples to concretize and critique more elusive political and economic forces?
  • • How can communities activate their traditions, and organizational structures and successfully engage in symbolic battles?
  • • How can we think of performance through activism?
  • • How can performing activism activate popular repertoires of self-governance?
  • • How can community activism circumvent/overturn governmental corruption and intransigence?

Our goals involve building on our work in Encuentro 2007 by expanding networks of social justice activists in the hemisphere, exchanging performative tactics deployed in our varied struggles, and identifying critical points of leverage that open opportunities for revolutionary change.

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