FelS-Call for Heiligendamm!
Make the G8 Precarious, Flexi-Fight the New World Order
Superfluous and Superheroes of the World: Unite and Take Over!
From 6-8 June, together with thousands of others, as part of the Block G8 campaign, we will cut the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm off from its infrastructure. The other world – the one we say is possible – will, once again, be revealed as already here.
The successful blockade of the World Trade Organisation in Seattle 1999 was an important moment of rupture. Famously, the common amongst environmentalists and trade unionists, nuns and queers, anarchists and communists was constituted through an act – a blockade – of practical delegitimation. The world was changed on those teargas-filled streets. Or rather, our perception of our own ability to influence the direction of the world was what underwent the greatest transformation.
The events of Seattle found their continuation in a series of counter-summit mobilisations (in Washington DC, Prague, Genoa, Cancun, Gleneagles, Hong Kong…), as well as revealing a previously hidden past; namely, the numerous revolts and rebellions against neoliberalism, primarily in the global South: from the so-called ‘IMF riots’ which swept from country to country during the 1980s, the Zapatista uprising in 1994, and the struggles against employment reforms in South Korea from 1996-7. More than history’s return, Seattle showed that it had never gone away!
Movement of Movements
With this breaking of the surface of public consciousness, the singular nature of the global ‘movement of movements’ became immediately apparent. Unlike so many of the ‘new social movements’ of the 1970s and 80s, the new movement was a rejection (rather than defence) of identity. It is composed of an irreducible multiplicity of actors. It has constantly sought – sometimes more successfully than others – to address two overlapping problematics. Firstly, how can it move beyond a condition in which its constituent parts simply exist indifferently alongside one another? And secondly, how can it simultaneously ensure that no single actor is able to assume the hegemonic role played by the party-form in previous eras of struggle?
Over the eight years since Seattle, the movement has transformed. Its composition, forms of political practice, and language have shifted; its relation to that which is not itself (which has always been something hard to define) in constant flux. Sometimes acting antagonistically; sometimes finding resonance. The declaration of war on the body of the movement in Genoa – and the onset of an open ended global war a few months later – have perhaps presented the movement its biggest challenges yet. Meanwhile, neoliberalism’s own crisis – manifested variously by the series of electoral victories in Latin America and beyond, won on an anti-neoliberal ticket; the rejection of the EU constitution; and the faltering of talks in almost every round of negotiations of the WTO, the FTAA, and the CAFTA since Seattle – have placed new demands on the movement. How does something which was born anti-neoliberal (rather than anti-capitalist per se) overcome its own internal contradictions and reject the increasingly vocal calls – from Jeffry Sachs, from Bono, from others – for a ‘capitalism with a human face’? How do we respond to such efforts to transform the movement for a globalisation from below into a lobby for change from above? What are the possibilities for productive interaction, today, between movements and parties and other institutions: In Latin America? In Europe? And elsewhere? And importantly, how does a movement so celebratory of its diversity and with such porous borders rule out influence and involvement from the political right? These are questions as yet without definitive answers, and about which we eagerly await discussion with you in Heiligendamm.
Global Struggles Within and Against Neoliberalism
The complex webs of social relations which compose the capitalist mode of (re)production today ensure that all conflicts – as local as they may at first seem – are in fact immediately global. For resistance movements, the G8 (like the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank…) function as symbolic nodes in the network of global governance and command. Yet the mobilisation around the G8 Summit is not purely symbolic. It serves the function of bringing together, intensifying and creating resonance amongst the more everyday struggles against and within globalised capitalism.
Since at least 2001, with the first EuroMayDay parade in Milan, a shift of focus has slowly been taking place within some areas of the global movement of movements; away from the symbols of global rule, and in search of commonality amongst the various singular subjectivities of the neoliberal era. Many have found this commonality in the notion of ‘precariousness’; the social tendency towards an increasing insecurity which – in vastly different ways – is beginning to effect us all. The parades have been a conscious effort to bring together these various subjectivities (and like the summit mobilisations of Seattle, Genoa and beyond) to uncover commonality despite and beyond difference through experimentation with new forms of political practice.
Simultaneously, more territorially rooted struggles around the issues of access to social wealth and processes of inclusion/exclusion have also erupted. In France, first in the banlieue, and then around the CPE (First Employment Law). In Germany, around the introduction of the Harz IV welfare reforms and the restructuring of higher education. And in Oaxaca, Mexico, what began as a teachers’ strike to highlight their economic plight generalised, over the summer of 2006, into a broad based, explicitly anti-capitalist struggle.
The potential of the mobilisation around this year’s G8 Summit in Heiligendamm lies in its ability to connect these and other struggles, making them visible on the global stage and allowing the space for them to interact and interplay with one another. Not ‘Unity in Diversity’; but an open-ended search for commonality in the process of us all becoming something different, together.
To realise their full potential, the mass blockades of this year’s G8 Summit need to move beyond the discourse of (il)legitimacy and start making connections to our everyday struggles against precariousness (in all its various forms) and for the good life. We reject the G8 and the form of global governance of which it makes up only one part. And we are constantly looking for ways out of the capital relation for which they stand as a symbol. Yet where we ultimately want to go, and how we want to get there, is far more ambiguous.
The fact that there are no immediately clear solutions to the problem of to how to constitute another possible world must not stop us from experimenting. Tentatively, we propose a number of concrete demands which we feel, if won – and these are demands which must be fought for – would move us in the right direction. They point a way out of capitalist social relations, whilst clearly distinguishing ourselves from the right that tries to become a part of the movement whilst promoting racist and nationalist ideology. The demands are for:
A universal basic income, de-linked from productivity!
Global freedom of movement and the right to remain!
Equal rights for everyone!
Through adopting the carnivalesqe form of the (Euro)MayDay parades, through taking up the struggles of the Superfluous (see box), through supporting the striking Telekom workers, and through making visible the precarious ‘superheroes’ who have fought against neoliberalism over the last few years (see box), we hope – together with you – to be able to articulate these demands through the body of the movement: in the international demonstration on June 2, in the day of action on migration, through discussion and debate, and in the mass disobedient blockades of the streets around Heiligendamm on June 6.
FelS - Berlin
The following is a list of places and events in which we will be present and participating. We hope to see you there!
June 1: Opening of the camps! FelS will be in the Interventionist Left barrio of the camp in Rostock (Fischereihafen, Am Grenzschlachthof 1, Rostock). www.camping-07.de
June 2: International Demonstration. Join the Interventionist Left’s ‘Make Capitalism History’ bloc – where there will also be a MayDay ‘bloc within a bloc’. Rostock Central Station, 12:00. www.heiligendamm2007.de
June 3: International Networking Meetings. Convergence Centre, Knut-Rasmussen-Straße 8, Rostock.
June 4: Day of Action on Migration. Decentralised actions in the morning. Demo ‘For Global Freedom of Movement and Equal Rights for Everyone’. Satower Strasse, Rostock. 13:00. http://g8-migration.net.tf/
June 6-8: Block G8! Mass blockades of the G8 Summit, with precarious superheroes, the Superfluous and others! Block G8 Info Line: +49 (0)381 1282702. www.block-g8.org
The Superfluous (Überflüssigen) are those who, within globalised neoliberal capitalism, have to fight for survival. Their lives consist of unemployment, poverty, hunger and war. In the industrialised countries, they are those excluded from social wealth. They are the object of the class struggle from above. Superfluous, in capitalism, are the unemployed whose rights are being ever-further restricted – in Germany and beyond. They are refugees, asylum applicants and single mothers forced into low-paid jobs. But the Superfluous don’t allow themselves to be dispensed with as easily as some may hope… All over the world, those deemed superfluous by capital have adorned white to symbolise their invisibility and reduction to a faceless commodity. For the same reason, in Germany, the Superfluous wear white masks: A face for the faceless. In reality, though, the masks reveal far more than they conceal: commonality. It is through the constitution of this commonality that the Superfluous are able to go about collective re-appropriation: of life’s essentials, life’s luxuries, life itself. Capitalism is superfluous!
The reproduction of neoliberal social relations demands superheroism. Ever more mobility, flexibility, multitask-ability. Superhero subjectivities ready for super-exploitation. Yet everywhere, the figure of the superhero is becoming a symbol of resistance. From Superbarrio, who for over a decade has fought for Mexico City’s poor; over the Unbeatables (like SpiderMom and SuperFlex) of the Milanese Euromayday; to the superheroes of Hamburg, who redistributed luxuries they appropriated from a delicatessen. More and more people are discovering that with their extra-ordinary powers, they can make another world possible.
berlin.euromayday.org // hamburg.euromayday.org // euromayday.org
FelS (For a Leftwing Current) is a Berlin-based group which, since the early-1990s, has attempted to intervene in and influence the direction of various social and political struggles in Germany and beyond. The group seeks to articulate a radical-left politics, and to develop new forms of political practice, within the context of broad coalitions and social networks. FelS was involved with the 2006 and 2007 Mayday Parades in Berlin, and is mobilising to Heiligendamm against the G8 Summit. The group produces the quarterly magazine arranca! and belongs to the Interventionist Left.
www.fels-berlin.de // fels[at]nadir.org // www.g8-2007.de
Rostock Camp Info Line: +49 (0) 1577 230 2168 // Reddelich Camp Info Line: +49 (0) 1577 463 0055 // Mobile Info Point (5 and 6 June only): +49 (0) 175 892 78 68 // Medics: +49 (0)178 654 1308 // Legal Team (EA): +49 (0) 38204 768111 (www.ermittlungsausschuss.antifa.net)