Open invitation: first meeting of Collective Concerns

Part and parcel of the depoliticization that has spread across the globe with the rise of neoliberalism, is the growing isolation within which both activists and academics are forced to think, work and act. The global protests between 2011 and 2013 demonstrated that activists and an all-too-often marginalized group on academics share many of the expressed collective concerns (e.g. attack on public spaces and the right to protest, injustice of austerity policies etc.). It is for this reason that we feel it is necessary to bridge this growing gap between activists, policy makers and academics in Belgium as a means to articulate our collective criticism, concerns and to consider what possibility there is for coordinated actions. We would like to propose to bring all those interested together, meeting approximately once a month in different Belgian cities (based on where we can find free and suitable spaces to gather), in an informal setting, and to discuss some of these collective concerns using both the resources of activists and academics, praxis and theory. A first list of proposed topics includes: feminism, queer theory, commons, neo-liberalism, data mining, racism etc. (topics to be selected by participants at previous gatherings). In order to include non-Dutch or non-French speaking academics and activists, we propose to speak in English but are open to other possibilities of being inclusive and accommodating.

 

Our first meeting will take place next Friday (March 21st) in Brussels. Point of departure will be a text written and introduced by Thomas Decreus, Markt versus democratie. Among the possible topics to be discussed are: Does it still make sense to analyze politics in terms of left versus right? On top of that, can these concepts still be used to mobilize ‘the masses’? Remarkably, some of the recent protest movements (Indignados, Occupy) refuse to call themselves left or right. Rather, they identify with the people or the multitude as such. In this discussion, we will explore the possibilities of an emancipatory (leftist) project in the 21st century.

 

We warmly invite you to join the discussion. We will meet start the discussion at  8.30pm, feel free to join our pot luck dinner before, starting at 7pm. We highly appreciate it if you let us know if you will attend, either by RSVP-ing to the facebook event or by email at Liesbeth.schoonheim@hiw.kuleuven.be  The reading will be provided in Dutch, contact us if this is any hindrance to you. The language of the evening will depend on the attendants, aiming to provide a safe environment in which all feel free to express themselves.

 

Practical information

Where: Henri Marichalstraat 14 (bus 95, stop ‘Delporte’  or 5 minutes by feet from Etterbeek station)
When: Friday 21st of March
What time: 7.00pm pot luck dinner (bring your own food)

8.30pm start discussion

Reading: Thomas Decreus, ‘Markt versus democratie’
RSVP: facebook email via liesbeth.schoonheim@hiw.kuleuven.be

 

 

Liesbeth Schoonheim I PhD fellow I RIPPLE – KU Leuven Institute of Philosophy

Vesaliusstraat 2 – box 3225, 3000 Leuven, Belgium I http://www3.kuleuven.be/ripple

 

 

 

 

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