Solidarity 2.0
or Democracy as a Form of Life

Curator: Jan Sowa

The events of recent years have already accustomed us to crises, breakdowns and political disasters. We often hear the opinion that we are in a moment of socio-political culmination and impasse. Most often, however, it is accompanied by a lacking-depth reflection on the political challenges of modern times, combined with ritual, almost automatic reactions; the chanting of the slogans “Freedom!” and “Democracy!” is intertwined with a repetition of the common conviction that populism is an outburst of irrational resentment of the ungrateful and dark folk, who underestimate the benefits of free market capitalism and parliamentary democracy. The cycle “Solidarity 2.0” is a proposal to broaden and shift the reflection concerning the socio-political condition of contemporary societies by looking at their very foundation – democracy – in a sideways way; the axis of our reflection will be determined not so much by political contemporaneity, i.e. the reality of the parliamentary and representative system; but by the conviction that democracy is a form of collective life, based on the recognition of political power as a common good. When viewed from such perspective, the liberal parliamentarianism will turn out to be one of the possible ways of democratic organisation of power, and, contrary to popular belief, it will not be the most democratic way at all.

Solidarity labour union is a patron of our series of lectures and discussions not only because it is a continuation of the work that we have done together to prepare the performance “Solidarity. Reconstruction” and its second part – “Solidarity. A new project” – directed by Paweł Wodziński. Solidarity is for us one of the most interesting and important events in the recent history; it has placed at the heart of its activity the postulate of communisation of control over all spheres of the human world, i.e. the construction of what in today’s philosophical and political terminology is described as the system of common goods. This idea, described in detail in the Solidarity programme of 1981 entitled “Self-Governing Republic of Poland”, was forgotten, but it does not mean that it has lost its relevance. By juxtaposing the ideas put forward by Solidarity with the theory and practice of democratic self-organisation, we will try to bring out the radical legacy of Solidarity from underneath the nationalist-religious patina that covered our collective memory of the revolution of the early 1980s.

The cycle “Solidarity 2.0” consists of two blocks of events: 1) lectures of Jan Sowa on democracy in its various possible forms 2) and meetings with people either directly involved in self-organised, democratic endeavours, or dealing with their systematic research: modern Rojava (Kurdistan) will meet with Nestor Machno and his Free Territory on the Ukrainian steppes of the early 20th century, Obóz Puszcza with the movements Occupy and Indignados, Polish cooperativism with the utopias of digital democracy, and the sharing of cultural institutions with the democracy of egalitarian tribal communities and the workplace democracy. Embark on a journey through this surprising and inspiring world of democratic forms of life!

Program

Tuesday, January 16, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
The art of not being governed, in other words, democracy as a form of life
Lecture by Jan Sowa

The protection of democracy has become the number one task for many environments and organizations – both in Poland and elsewhere in the world. But do we really know what democracy is and what is its essence? In the main thrust of public debate, it is either identified with parliamentarism and such liberal elements of our regime as separation of powers or the freedom of media or also understood as the sovereign vigilantism. In reality, however, the liberal-representative regime was not established to be the incarnation of democratic ideals, and the latter is not built at all on the mechanisms of effective arbitrary exercise of power by the majority. Their essence is exactly the opposite: reaching the state of the immanence of power, in which the political community is a constantly functioning constitutive power subjected to the rule of constituted power.

Tuesday, January 23, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
The camp for the Forest as a self-organized democratic enterprise
Meeting with Joanna Pawluśkiewicz and Jakub Rok, the activists involved in the defence of the Białowieża Forest

The fight for saving Białowieża Forest was one of the most important socio-political events of 2017. It gathered people from various circles and, as a consequence, led to the large-scale mobilization of activism and citizenship. While the objectives of this fight are widely known and have been discussed many times by the media, less attention is devoted to the organizational side of the entire venture. During the meeting, we will have a look at this formal and organizational aspect of the Forest Camp, which according to the opinion of activists involved in, was a great exercise of egalitarian, democratic self-organization. Joanna Pawluśkiewicz and Jakub Rok will share their experiences regarding the Forest Camp and will be talking about the strategies and challenges of effective group activity.

Tuesday, January 30, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Democracy in tribal communities
Lecture by Jan Sowa

The contemporary parliamentary-democratic regimes with their inclusive political rights and the participation of all citizens in power are often regarded as one of the most important achievements of modernity, and thus a proof of our supremacy over dark and unenlightened past. Contrary to this belief, however, there are numerous theories and anthropological studies which indicate that the anti-hierarchical, egalitarian and democratic organization of power is a very old invention of humanity. Democracy seems to be rather an eternal practice of mankind, the exception of which are the states that appeared in the history of humanity relatively not long time ago, because just after the Neolithic revolution; their history constitutes only 10% of the history of Homo sapiens. Following up on from such classic anthropologies as Pierre Clastres, James C. Scott and Marshall Sahlins, we will examine how could have it looked like – and it looks today – democracy in tribal communities.

Tuesday, February 6, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
From below, from above and from the inside out. Artistic institutions of common goods
Lecture Kuba Szreder (Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw)

From below: in Athens activists occupy the former Embros Theatre, closed down due to drastic budgetary cuts. In Venice, art workers take over salt caverns located on by the lagoon, which they transform into an alternative art centre. Frantic Gallery across Poland
From above: in Middlesbrough, North East England, the local art centre is turned into a museum 3.0, useful for residents of this post-industrial city. In Madrid, the Museum of Queen Sophia builds the archives of common goods, in cooperation with the collectives of independent archivists. The Eindhoven Vanabbe Museum turns inside out the conventions of the modernist art institution, becoming a centre of criticism of Dutch colonialism.
From the inside out: the artistic institutions of common goods are being founded at the intersection of grass-roots movements of art workers, their efforts to self-organize, and changes initiated by the public institutions of art themselves. As a result of their merger, new, radical institutional models emerge.
In defiance of the museums of one percent, serving only a rich elite, such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York or the newly created Louvre in Abu Dhabi, in the construction of which a slave labour force was used.

Tuesday, February 13, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Modern Parliamentarism, i.e. between autocracy and democracy. Ideas and practices
Lecture by Jan Sowa

Contemporary parliamentary democracies are considered as embodiments of democracy as such. However, in reality, they belong to a mixed tradition in which democratic procedures – implementation of the majority will – weave with liberal values limiting this will with a set of inviolable rules and excluding certain areas of social life from democratic control, for example, economy and private property. Elections, a key institution of parliamentary democracy, are rather an opportunity to express our consent, not will. Contrary to popular opinions, we will treat parliamentarism not only as a regime affirming the will of the sovereign, but also as an institutional limitation of democracy – a symmetrical regime by maintaining an equal distance towards aristocracy and monarchy on the one hand, and radical democracy on the other. The guidance will be served by the debates of the Founding Fathers of the American Republic from the end of the 18th century and the 20th-century political theories, such as the Robert Dahl’s concepts of polyarchy or the competitive leadership by Joseph Schumpeter.

Tuesday, February 20, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Democratic Federation of Rojava – an experiment with radical democracy
Presentation of the Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik

After the lecture, discussion with Dilar Dirik will be led by Beata Kowalska, an activist and sociologist (Jagiellonian University). The meeting will be held in English.

The destabilization of the Middle East, which has been taking place during the last 5 years, has brought with it a wave of violence and wars, which this region had not known for decades: civil war in Syria, slow disintegration of Iraq, the foundation of Islamic State or a wave of refugees searching in Europe rescue from living hell, in which huge areas of the Middle East have turned into. These are the most known episodes and aspects of mentioned destabilization. Much less popularized is a fact, which concerns a progressive and giving hope experiment growing in the very eye of the cyclone, namely Democratic Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava. It is a particular political structure, a kind of “democracy without a state,” as Dilar Dirik herself describes it. It is based on the ideas of democratic confederationism developed by the Kurdish activist Abdullah Öcalan and inspired by the writings of the American libertarian socialist and anarchist Murray Bookchin. It was built to a large extent by women in the absence of men engaged in waging war on many fronts, based on the principles of democratic organization of power and gender equality.

Tuesday, February 27, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Democratic alternatives to the parliamentary representation from the Greek polis to liquid democracy
Lecture by Jan Sowa

Although the most often we search for the sources of modern democracy in ancient Greece, we rarely know how much Greek democracy was different from known to us parliamentary and democratic regimes. Above all, the Greeks did not vote and did not organize the elections. They were familiar with the institution of political representation, nevertheless, they believed, that the election of representatives by voting gave the demagogues a window of opportunity and led to the most diverse forms of tyranny. Therefore, they preferred the lottery to the vote, considering that only fate is fair and treats everyone equally. Nowadays, there is no shortage of ideas to eliminate the electoral mechanism from democracy, and with it, a bunch of professional politicians for whom striving for political power has become an essence of their lives, as well as a source of income. The aforementioned ideas include such projects as lottocracy, demarchy or liquid democracy. During the meeting, we will look at these and other democratic alternatives to parliamentary policy and we will consider their practical feasibility in contemporary capitalist societies.

Tuesday, March 6, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
From participatory art to organizational art
Meeting with Georg Blokus and Nina Paszkowski from the Political School of Hope in Cologne

The Political Hope School (Ger. Schule der politischen Hoffnung) is the self-organized initiative of artists, activists and citizens of Cologne. Meetings take place in areas dedicated to culture and other places in the city. This progressive venture is an area of self-organization and knowledge production directed to all those who do not want to feel politically powerless and lonely but instead want to unlearn their helplessness, acting together to create a perspective for a social change. The School of Political Hope as a space of cross self-education organizes debates, lectures, seminars, film screenings, concerts, workshops, tours and political actions. It combines art, knowledge and activism with everyday life. Its activities have been supported by numerous artists and intellectuals, inter alia, theatre director Milo Rau and philosopher Srećko Horvat.

Tuesday, March 13, 18.00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
The city as an arena of democracy – from the Italian republics to the libertarian municipalism Mooray Bookchin
Lecture by Jan Sowa

Inquiry regarding democratic forms of social and political life is, to a large extent, a question of scale. Democracy was born and shaped in relatively small groups, such as tribal communities, and within European culture – in cities (first in ancient Greece, and in more recent times in Italian cities-republics at the end of the Middle Ages and at the beginning of the Renaissance). The emergence of modern parliamentarism in the eighteenth century was accompanied by discussions on the scale – opponents of democracy claimed that the nation-state is too large creation in order to be democratically organized. Contemporary democratic experiments with new, more democratic systemic solutions are often held within the range of cities, which the best example is the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre with a participatory budget established there. Hence, the city seems to be the best arena for further democratization of democracy.

Saturday, March 17, 18:00
Muzeum Rzeźby im. Xawerego Dunikowskiego w Królikarni, ul. Puławska 113A
Meeting in English
Art as Commoning and Compatibility
Lecture by Stephen Wright

According to Paul Devautour “Compatibility has replaced specificity as a key factor shaping artistic practice” Modernist obsession with the specific visibility of art – and its specific ontology – has given way to demands for its compatibility with other activities, practices and circulations: interventions specific to the locations in where they take place, tools compatible with the media used and the competences of users of art, objects in conformity with the environment in where they are being established… Art seen in this way is a kind of open-source plugin that can be freely and usefully adapted to anything that appears. This is mainly due to the “commoning” of artistic competences, and thus a practice radically different from the modernistic custom of displaying works of art. The latter removes art from the area of useful things, while the mutualisation assumes that art belongs to the area of the commons – it is happening anytime, anywhere and however – and focuses on mutual adherence to it as a common good.

Tuesday, March 20, 18.00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Cooperatism – an ideology of the economically organized democracy. History and timeliness
Lecture by Bartłomiej Błesznowski

The subject of the efforts of the emancipation movements of the nineteenth and twentieth century was primarily the material situation of the people – on the one hand, it was about the ownership of the means of production, on the other hand, the facilitation of consumption of the most-needed goods and services. The democratic organization of creativeness and self-management of one’s own consumer choices were, in fact, political demands, becoming the basic differentiator of the cooperative ethos. The progenitors of the cooperative movement in the form of utopian socialist as well as the first ideologists of cooperatism, such as the French economist Charles Gide or the Polish socialist and philosopher Edward Abramowski, believed that a righteous way to meet basic human needs leads through cooperation and mutual assistance.

Cooperatism is the result of a modern dream of a rational social world typical of the era. In this sense, it forms part of the great ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, at the same time not limiting itself to the assumptions of any of them. By moving through on the periphery of influential political narratives, whilst referring their message to the universal ideal of brotherhood and the universality of the experience of cooperation, it was a kind of “lesser ideology” – the universal culture of the common penetrating history. Perhaps, treating cooperatism as a historical phenomenon, we can also find in it still alive and current elements – a remedy for the exhausting formula of the liberal parliamentarism and the crisis of post-Fordist capitalism, and even the way of anticipating the upcoming forms of community life.

Tuesday, March 27, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
A general assembly as the core of radical political mobilizations: Arab Spring, Indignant Ones, Occupy
Lecture by Jan Sowa

In 2011, a wave of democratic mobilizations and revolutions swept through the world. Its trajectory was quite paradoxical, because contrary to cultural and religious stereotypes, the source of these events was the world of Islam: within the so-called Arab Spring, the people of Tunisia, Egypt and many other countries of the Maghreb and the Middle East went out into the street and in the name of the ideals of democracy, freedom and self-determination began occupying the public spaces that have shaken the socio-political order of the region. In the summer and autumn of the same year, similar mobilizations overwhelmed Western countries – from Spain to the USA – activists pointed to the Arab Spring as the main source of inspiration. At the centre of all these movements was the institution of the general assembly – an ultra-democratic practice of self-regulation of plurality. It is not only related to a certain set of ideas, but also with a specific practice of communication and decision making. It belongs to one of the paradigmatic examples of the democratic form of life.

Thursday, April 5, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
What can anarchist management be useful for?
Lecture by: Monika Kostera

“Our times are characterized by the ubiquity of the organization and the destabilization of organized life forms resulting from the erosion of their structural and moral foundations such as long-term employment, social trust or factual compliance with the declared ethical principles”, writes Monika Kostera in her book “Occupy Management: Inspirations and Ideas for Self-Organization and Self-Management” published in 2014. Should we then, in the face of this paradoxical crisis not be looking for a new foundation for organized forms of democratic life in the radical self-organization and self-management practices? An empirical look at this type of undertaking is often carried out under the banner of anarchism – from street demonstrations through autonomic squats and occupant strikes to assistance initiatives for refugees or providing rations for homeless people – it reveals them not only perfectly organized, but also very strongly marked by the ethos – paradoxically – of ultra-civic engagement, which, despite the numerous declarations, has unfortunately evaporated from our public life dominated by (neo)liberalism. In her lecture, Monika Kostera, a specialist in the field of management sciences, tries to outline the horizon of possible practical and ethical inspirations that can be provided by such self-organized practices and ventures.

Tuesday, April 10, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Democracy of fleeing – squats, communes, autonomous zones and other demons of liberal propaganda
Lecture by Jan Sowa

In the mainstream of the public debate, both the conservatives and the liberals try to construct a peculiar symmetry in which the left-wing extreme – anarchist and neo-communist – would be equally dangerous and contemptible, as is the nationalist-fascist right-wing extreme. Even a sketchy glance at the actual actions and demands of the radical left-wing makes it possible to comprehend the absurdity of a similar juxtaposition: while the fascists send refugees and Jews for a certain death in gas chambers, as well as celebrate the birthday of Adolf Hitler, the anarchists protect poor people from evictions and cook meals for those in need. No left-wing hate list similar to right-wing Red Watch never has been emerged, and the physical object of the radical left-wing’s attacks is the capitalist infrastructure, not specific individuals or groups of people. Practical experiments with egalitarian self-organization, which take place in squats and other similar autonomous centres, historically speaking, refer to practices that could be called “democracy of fleeing”; they consist in an attempt to carve out an autonomous area of the social reality, which in its functioning would anticipate future forms of democratic life. Their historical sources are the pirate communities and radical religious movements that, since the 17th century have at least tried to undermine the elitist-capitalist consensus.

Tuesday, April 17, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
About internal contradictions of autonomy: Warsaw squatting
Meeting with Marta Burza and Antoni Wiesztort from the Syrena collective

Concepts need matter: both neoliberal elites, as well as movements for social justice, grounds their actions on the material base and infrastructure that they find useful. Left-wing/anarchist groups of workers, associating thousands of people, sometimes in different countries, have been taking over the official headquarters of the ‘job market’ (transformed into the so-called ‘houses for the community’), effectively developing self-organization and social bonds between workers. This is one of the historical sources of what we call “squatting” these days. The others are, for example, the fight against cyclical housing crises in cities being caused by the speculation, as well as the fake housing hunger (the phenomenon of “people without houses and houses without people”) or other calamities – for example, the destruction of cities under the influence of war or natural disaster.

In addition to, or in spite of the rootedness in social struggles, squatting also has got a completely different face, derived from the (radically) liberal tradition. Seeking the reasons for the anarchist defeat against the Bolsheviks during the October Revolution, its active participant Nestor Machno indicates, inter alia, to the ideological impotence of its liberal current in the light of a social struggle. Machno bitterly remembers “those who seized the bourgeois properties, where they built houses and lived comfortably, They are those whom I call

, various anarchists who travel between several cities, in the hope of finding a place where they can live, skive and wandering as long as it is possible in comfort and carefree.” Over a hundred years, the tradition of stepping the bourgeois’ shoes has become the doctrine of “Temporary Autonomous Zones”, created to at least raise the “avant-garde” above the destiny of ordinary people and the “nonentities” who make a living being humiliated every day.

What role do the Warsaw squats play in this light? Does the idea of self-governance have a bearing on the daily fights and struggles for social gains in the capital itself and across the country? Marta Burza and Antoni Wiesztort try to answer these questions on the basis of Margit Meyer’s material “Squatting and neoliberalism”, as well on their own experience.

Tuesday, April 24, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Workers’ and economic democracy: can the economy be managed democratically?
Lecture by Jan Sowa

The last two centuries have been systematic and impressive growth of democratic forms of organizing social life. Parliamentarism, however distant from the ideals of a full democracy, made a clear progress in comparison with the various forms of the preceding its autocracy. Since the time of the parliamentary revolution dating back to the end of the eighteenth century, huge segments of society have gained the right to vote, in particular, poor people, women and minorities. Despite this, one area of the social world, the economy, remains outside our collective control, being still a field of processes of disastrous (crises, the arbitrariness of corporations) or extremely individualistic nature (arbitrary influence of the richest individuals on our fate). It is not, nonetheless, the case that the ideas of subjecting the economy to collective control have never appeared in theory and have not been tested in practice. These are mainly various types of workers’ democracy, in particular workers’ councils, as well as attempts to rationally control the economy as a whole. Although, the latter is reminiscent of central planning discredited by many, by the so-called past epoch, rapid development of new technologies, especially in the field of Big Data, creates new possibilities for subjecting the economy to democratic control.

Thuesday, May 8, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Meeting in English
The Free Territory of Nestora Machno – an anarchist anti-state
Lecture by Dmytro Stasiuk

The Free Territory is an unofficial name of the autonomous area existing in the lands of southern Ukraine between 1918 and 1921. It was not a state, because its main protagonist, the anarchist Nestor Makhno, and his companions refused to form the state, and promoted the idea of a society free from hierarchically organized power. The civil war that began in Russia after the October Revolution, the hostility of the Bolsheviks and the Whites, as well as the continuous marches of troops, hindered the foundation of autonomous political and economic structures in the Free Territory, hence contributing to his fall. Despite this, the history of this anarchist experiment, ignored by many official historians, provides valuable knowledge about the methods of establishing alternative political formations.

Dmytro Stasiuk is a Ukrainian historian and cultural expert. He works at the Central State Archive of CinePhotoPhono in Kiev. His interests focus on the history and historiography of the Ukrainian anarchist movement and the cultural constructions of utopian projects. Recently, he has lectured many Ukrainian cities on the subject of Nestor Makhno and the Free Territory.

Thuesday, May 15, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Populism – a threat or a symptom of democracy?
Lecture by Jan Sowa

The increasing popularity of conservative populism forces us to rethink this phenomenon on a systematic basis. Contrary to popular opinion, populism is not the ultimate and the greatest threat to the democratic order, nor per se it is an independent formation. Populism is first and foremost a derivative of the particular configuration of the political and media field, characteristic for capitalism in its mature, developed form: it is nothing more than dressing the social wound caused by the capital accumulation processes. It formed as a form of politics cultivated on the periphery of the capitalist system of the world (first in the United States of the nineteenth century, later in Latin America), however, alongside with the destruction of the facilities of the state of welfare at the end of the twentieth century, it began to spread in the central areas. Its success results from a specific combination of three factors: dissatisfaction caused by class divisions in capitalist societies, parliamentary policy mechanisms and new forms of commodified social communication (i.e. social media). The driving force of populism is fear and a sense of lack of dignity affecting primarily poor people and the lower middle class. However, it is not just a reactionary and negative formation. Also, it can be seen as the striving to strengthen the widespread sovereignty and articulation of interests ignored so far by the ruling classes.

Thuesday, May 22, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Meeting in English
Informal residence: a transformation of allotment gardens on the outskirts of Budapest as a self-help practice in the face of financial dependence
Lecture by András Vigvári

The lecture is about the theoretical background and practical results of anthropological research carried out in the areas of allotment gardens located on the eastern boundaries of Budapest. The objective of this research was to map the changes of allotment gardens after the crisis of 2008 and their new functions, which occurred as a result of political transformations. In the past two decades, the allotments from the era of socialism have been transformed into permanent residential districts. It was one of the key spatial transformations caused by the crisis in the real estate market in the 1990s, which is associated with the broader issue of transformations in the urban and suburban post-socialist residential districts. In recent years, allotment gardens – the central element of a bunch of informal resources, allowing to cope with the consequences of the crisis – have become a shelter for victims of the financialization of the housing market. Paradoxically, this turn of events of physical circumstances (lack of public infrastructure combined with the impossibility of developing crops or farming) and ambiguous legal solutions (unclear administrative status of allotments) has given an impetus to the transformation them into the tangible ground of fighting against financialization.

Wykład Andrása Vigvári jest organizowany we współpracy z  Centrum Europejskich Studiów Regionalnych i Lokalnych EUROREG na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim. Biennale Warszawa dziękuje Kacprowi Pobłockiemu za pomoc w organizacji wydarzenia.

Thuesday, May 29, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
What is fair? Corrective justice and other ways of democratizing law in theory and in practice
Lecture by Monika Płatek

The reforms of the judicial system conducted in Poland in recent years have provoked heated discussions about the separation of powers, as well as the independence of the judiciary from the legislative and executive authorities. However, this issue does not give a definite answer to the question about the correlation between the law and the authorities in democratic societies. In a democracy, should the state power be the entity that is supposed to bring justice and watch over its execution? In a democracy, should this state authority be the body that is supposed to administer justice and watch over its execution? Restorative justice popular among others in Canada, Great Britain and Scandinavia – as an alternative to the model of social rehabilitation and retributive justice – puts these issues at the centre of the discussion on the relationship between lawmaking and law enforcement, and the political self-government of the community. It is then a good starting point to consider the role that justice can and should play in democratic societies.

Thuesday, June 5, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Is global democracy possible? Part I: two centuries of democratization
Lecture by Jan Sowa

Parliamentarism has been undergoing a continuous development over the last two centuries. During this time, it has expanded in two directions: geographical, covering many countries on all inhabited continents; and social, drawing into its orbit other groups once excluded from the right to vote (poor people, ethnic minorities or women). This story allows y answer a few key questions for the project of establishing global democracy. Can inclusive, pro-democratic patterns of a political organization be fundamentally incompatible with some cultural norms or values? And if so, what are they? Is capitalism a foe or an ally of democracy? What are the consequences of colonial domination for democratization? What values and social norms are most strongly correlated with democratic culture? Finally, what is the correlation between the endeavour of democratization and the other emancipatory struggles – for the material inequalities, the freedom of media and the empowerment of women and ethnic minorities?

Thuesday, June 12, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Technologies (for) democracy: opportunities, challenges, threats
The talk with Maria Świetlik and Marcin Koziej will be led by Jan Sowa

A rapid development of information and communication technologies in the last half-century has brought ambivalent social and political consequences. On the one hand, we have gained not only new tools of political mobilization to support democratic culture, but also a new sphere of struggle for common goods. Disputes around the so-called intellectual property rights (and monopolistic practices related with them), public domain, fair use or patenting algorithms regularly exceed a narrow circle of experts and sometimes end up with confrontations on the streets, as was the case in Poland on the occasion of the attempt to introduce ACTA. On the other hand, people are being under surveillance on an unprecedented scale, and the practice of tracking users and obtaining their data used by global corporations – like Facebook or Google – go far beyond the wildest fantasies of George Orwell. Technology itself is not responsible for any of these excesses, it is neither good, nor bad, nor neutral – it just is. Without our imagination and determination, it will not automatically be a tool in the struggle for emancipation and an element of a radically democratic political organization, but it will rather become a means of supervision and control.

Thuesday, June 19, 18:00
Biennale Warszawa, ul. Mokotowska 29a
Is global democracy possible? Part II: Visions of the future
Lecture by Jan Sowa

Nowadays, it is difficult to ignore the feeling that humanity is in a crucial moment of its development, which can also turn out to be one of the breakthrough moments in the history of life on earth. A globalizing capitalism and a rapid development of communication and organizational technologies have caused that these days, human societies are interconnected and dependent on each other as never before. The increase of our influence on the natural environment – called in the critical theory the Anthropocene, thus the epoch in which the accumulation of capital leaves its geological imprint on our planet – has caused that we have also entangled other species inhabiting the Earth, or actually the whole of life as we know into this network of dependencies. The fundamental problem is that we do not have any effective global tools for political action that can cope with global challenges. The foundation of a potential form of planetary self-government seems to be one of the most urgent political challenges of modern times. However, what steps shall be taken to make it a global democracy, but not a planetary plutocracy, which carries a burden of the evolution of our political systems? Ideas of possible solutions are suggested by theory, as well as by activism and art. During the last meeting in the cycle, we will look at these initiatives, trying to answer the question of whether global democracy is possible, and if so, how should it be constructed.

Booklets

June 19 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Is global democracy possible?
Part II: Visions of the future

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
June 12 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Technologies (for) democracy: opportunities, challenges, threats

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
June 5 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Is global democracy possible?
Part I: two centuries of democratization

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
May 29 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

What is fair? Corrective justice and other ways of democratizing law in theory and in practice

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
May 22 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Informal residence: a transformation of allotment gardens on the outskirts of Budapest as a self-help practice in the face of financial dependence

The meeting will be held in English
Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
May 15 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Populism – a threat or a symptom of democracy?

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
May 8 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

The Free Territory of Nestor Machno – an anarchist anti-state

The meeting will be held in English
Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
April 24 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Workers’ and economic democracy: can the economy be managed democratically?

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
April 17 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

About internal contradictions of autonomy: Warsaw squatting

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
April 10 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Democracy of fleeing – squats, communes, autonomous zones and other demons of liberal propaganda

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
April 5 2018
, 18:00
Thursday
18:00

What can anarchist management be useful for?

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
March 27 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

A general assembly as the core of radical political mobilizations: Arab Spring, Indignant Ones, Occupy

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
March 20 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Cooperatism – an ideology of the economically organized democracy. History and timeliness

Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw Free entry
March 17 2018
, 18:00
Saturday
18:00

Art as Commoning and Compatibility

The meeting will be held in English
Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture Free entry
March 13 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

The city as an arena of democracy – from the Italian republics to the libertarian municipalism Mooray Bookchin

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
March 6 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

From participatory art to organizational art

The meeting will be held in English
Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
February 27 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Democratic alternatives to the parliamentary representation from the Greek polis to liquid democracy

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
February 20 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Democratic Federation of Rojava – an experiment with radical democracy

The meeting will be held in English
Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
February 6 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

From below, from above and from the inside out. Artistic institutions of common goods

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
January 30 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

Democracy in tribal communities

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
January 23 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

The camp for the Forest as a self-organized democratic enterprise

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry
January 16 2018
, 18:00
Tuesday
18:00

The Art of Not Being Governed, in other words, democracy as a form of life

Biennale Warszawa
29A Mokotowska Street (MO29A)
Free entry

News — Solidarity 2.0
or Democracy as a Form of Life

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