Registration for the Social School of Anti-capitalism

Registration closes on 30 September

We are inviting you to participate in the Social School of Anti-capitalism, nine workshop/lecture meetings with activists around the ideas of work on progressive social changes. The school is addressed to people involved in the field of activism who look for alternatives in the area of social organisation.

After 30 years of party-determined political disputes, exuberant anniversary celebrations and futile criticism referring to an increasingly distant past, we need to emphasise: we are living in post-transformation society. Capitalist society. This reality requires not only a different description than the dominant paradigm, but it also determines a radically different political horizon. What could life after capitalism look like?

Problems of rapidly growing economic inequalities, toxic individualism and reactionary nationalisms will not be addressed by either contemporary, technocratic parliamentarism, or a return to various models of a 20th-century welfare state. In the face of the neo-liberal “fusion” of the state and the market, a solution can be provided only by active society taking matters into their own hands.

We are considering grass-roots production of knowledge a key catalyst of the process of change. Our experts on the issues of particular social struggles are activists from various groups/organisations. People who form collectives, trade unions, associations and social movements build bridges between the theory and practice. Anti-capitalism is not science-fiction!

The Social School of Anti-capitalism was created as a result of the discussion during the Polish Social Forum which was held in May 2019 and constitutes the preparation of issues for next deliberations of the Forum in autumn 2020.

Program of the School

12.10.2019, Saturday, Biennale Warszawa, Marszałkowska 34/50
“We are the crisis (of the Capital)”

14:00-16:30, practice session. Participation subject to registration, limit of participants: 30
Imagination in the face of the crisis(-es)
Moderator: Ivan Borowy
bio: anarchist, anti-fascist, utopian, psychonaut. Graduate of the cultural anthropology and political science at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

18:00, Discussion (open to the public)
Video interview: John Halloway
bio: Professor of sociology at the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico. He published a lot on the Marxist theory, the Zapatist movement and new forms of anti-capitalist struggle. His book Change the World Without Taking Power was translated into eleven languages and sparked an international debate. In Crack Capitalism, he argues that the only way we can think about the revolution today is creating, multiplying and searching for similarities in the cracks of the capitalist domination.

Guest:
Magdalena “Czapka” Chustecka
bio: Sociologist, anti-discrimination educator, social skills coach and 3rd sector worker. For 10 years she has been working with the Anti-Discrimination Education Society where she studies instances of discrimination in schools and collects good practices concerning education free from prejudice and exclusion practices. She conducts social consultations, and in the Rural Development Foundation she advises local governments on how to plan and carry out consultation processes concerning space.

Summary:
We are living in the times of a permanent Crisis. At every stage of the social and planetary life we can observe the collapse of the previous order and dynamic changes. Since 2008, the world has been shaken by the crisis of the globalised economy and we still cannot find our way out of it. It results in food, housing and job market crises in many countries of both the North and the South. Euro-Atlantic governments supported by racist votes threaten with a migration crisis, and war-mongering murmurs incite subsequent diplomatic crises. Democracy which was supposed to guarantee security against such a situation is itself in a deep crisis – torn between technocratic rule of neo-liberals, and the authoritarian populism of the extreme right. Last but not least – the very existence of the species is threatened by the global ecological crisis.

But to what extent are all these crises an unfortunate coincidence, and to what extent are they a product of the capitalist system and the result of the calculated policy of elites? Who decides where the norm begins and ends, and where crisis measures must be implemented? Is the 2008 stock exchange crisis not the ultimate crisis of the capitalism, the migration crisis – the decline of the neocolonial system, and the crisis of democracy – a call for its radical renewal? Perhaps the shocks which the existing system receives constitute a good starting point for changing the course which humanity follows, and for reinventing the world? No one doubts now that a different world is possible – would it be, however, a dystopia of the eternal crisis, or a barren desert, or can we come up with something better?


2.11.2019, Saturday, Biennale Warszawa, Marszałkowska 34/50
“Capitalism collapsing. A meeting on anti-fascism”

12:00-16:30, practice session. Participation subject to registration, limit of participants: 30
Urban tactics/street workout, i.e. group action techniques
Moderator: Kolektyw Szarańcza
bio: a grass-roots group aiming at creating a space for the exchange of knowledge about direct actions. We conduct workshops in the form of a democratic discussion between people at all levels of action experience. We give participants time to share knowledge among themselves, ask questions, practice. We are interested in issues such as quick decision-making, safety, demonstration techniques, etc.

18:00, Discussion (open to the public)
Moderator: Sławomir Królak
gay, leftist, unemployed book translator.

Guests:
Student Anti-fascist Committee
bio: informal student group was formed in 2017 to fight the extreme right at the University of Warsaw. Involved in both education activity and direct political confrontation with neo-fascists infiltrating the student community. Apart from fighting fascism, SKA promotes the vision of a university for everyone and attempts to build an alternative for a hierarchical vision of the world.

Łania and Margot (#stopBzdurom)
bio: former students, as what we dig more is agency and activity than theory. In the spring of 2019 we started Stop Bzdurom [“Stop the nonsense”]. We organised many queer dance-protests against queerphobia. We are trying to fill the gap in LGBTQ activism which in Poland lacks blunt and radical actions. We conduct workshops on vandalism, resistance to police violence, and reclaiming space and language.

Summary:
Extreme right is gaining power – this fact is hard to ignore. Wave after wave of neofascist marches sweep across the country, pogrom-style gatherings accompany leftist events, and beliefs from 1990s skinhead zines are now proclaimed from church pulpits, daytime TV and the parliamentary lecterns. Statistics on violence against migrants, women, and LGBT community are rising – together with the insolence and impunity of the perpetrators. Hitler’s collaborators are hailed as national heroes, and anti-fascist heroes are “lackeys of Moscow”. There is also incitements to war with most neighbours and half of world’s nations. All elements are in place to fulfil the textbook definition of emerging fascism.

But where these masses of frustrated young men, and their superannuated and cynical leaders – come from? Is the increase in extreme right sentiments related to the crisis of capitalism and democracy? How does it relate to the influx of migrants? And the most important question – what are we to do about it? Who can effectively oppose the brown wave? What criticism reaches the roots of fascism and what can propel it forward? Who is a worthy ally and who can’t be partnered with in building an effective alliance in this matter?


7.12.2019, Saturday, Biennale Warszawa, Marszałkowska 34/50
“Stop the system. Toward the social strike”

14:00-16:30, Practice session
Social Strike – group strategic game prepared by Plan C
Moderator: Paweł Nowożycki
bio: works in culture, anti-capitalism, member of the Workers’ Initiative trade union.
participation subject to registration, limit of participants: 30

18:00, Discussion (open to the public)

Guests:
Katarzyna Rakowska (Workers’ Initiative)
bio: Anti-fascist, feminist, unionist. Member of the Workers’ Initiative trade union. PhD student at the Institute of Sociology, University of Warsaw. Interested in the right to strike and various forms of resistance in practice and theory.

Zośka Marcinek
bio: feminist, anti-fascist. From October 2016 to September 2018 activist of the Women’s Strike, currently unassociated, working with the Warsaw Manifa and the March for a Safe Abortion initiative.

More guests to be announced soon.

Summary:
Strike takes place when workers demanding the fulfillment of their postulates voluntarily stop working to put pressure on private entrepreneurs and the state. But if we adopt a broader definition of work – including both production (manufacturing of goods) and reproduction (producing life), then we can say that it is not limited strictly to production plants, but it is distributed across entire society. In the conditions of neoliberalism which subjected all aspects of our lives to the logic of accumulating capital, making this life very precarious, or even outright threatening our survival, the class struggle goes on not only on the production site, but also in the reproduction area. Hence the idea of the social strike, which relies on two assumptions: 1) the need to develop actions which disrupt everyday operations of the capital across entire society, 2) despite the high individualization of the society, such actions should produce new collective entities, also not worker-related, but antagonistic to the capital.

Are Women’s Strikes and climate strikes “real” strikes? Why social movements reach more and more readily for this basic anti-capitalist tactics and are alliances possible in the area of production and reproduction, both at the local and transnational level?


11.01.2020, Saturday, Biennale Warszawa, Marszałkowska 34/50
“Private property is theft. Common property is wealth”

14:00-16:30, Practice session
open source and freeware workshops
Moderator: Tomasz Sierawski (Hackerspace Warszawa)
bio: activist involved in the anarchist movement, member of the Warsaw Hackerspace, manager of the technology department of Akcja Demokracja.

18:00, Discussion (open to the public)

Guests:
Mikołaj Ratajczak (Praktyka Teoretyczna)
philosopher, publisher, translator. Doctoral candidate at the School of Social Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, philosophy publisher in Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN and regular collaborator of the academic journal “Theoretical Practice”. His Polish translations include Karl Marx’s Results of the Direct Production Process (PWN 2013), he also contributed to the joint translation of Michael Hardt’s and Antonio Negri’s Commonwealth (Ha! art. 2012). Co-editor of two books devoted to the though of Giorgio Agamben (Wyd. Krytyki Politycznej 2009, Wyd. Poznańskie 2010).

Krzysztof Król (Rozbrat)
bio: unionist, tower crane operator. Active in the Workers’ Initiative, Anarchist Federation, “Trojka” publishing house and the Rozbrat squat in Poznań.

More guests to be announced soon.

Summary:
There is a good reason why private property is called “sacred”. For 30 years it has been an immovable dogma on which the faith in the 3rd Polish Republic is founded. On its altar, numerous and often bloody sacrifices are offered – the homeless and the unemployed, victims of eviction, exploitation, malnutrition and overwork. Tiniest heresies against its worship are punished with haughty silence or anti-communist witch-hunt and, if necessary, with a police baton. But many of us lost faith in the omnipotence of the ownership and insolently desecrate its principles. Collectively managed, non-commercial spaces pop up everywhere – places of work, consumption, living or learning. Cooperatives, collectives and squats find cracks to inhabit – in cities, villages, and even in the virtual space. Social property, or social management, provides a sample of the future world and a practical polemics with the currently dominant ideology of the private property. The movement for common goods shows that there exists a real alternative for the commercialization of every inch of our world and every minute of our life.

What obstacles lie in its way? What does it juxtapose with universal privatization and hierarchical organisation? What are common goods and how to care for them? What to do and how to do it outside the logic of private property?

Registration rules

Until 30 September registration is open for people interested in participating in practice sessions of the Social School of Anti-capitalism that precede discussion open to the public.

We are inviting people working for progressive social changes to register via the application form, available on our website. Applications of activists from smaller cities or rural areas (under 100 thousand inhabitants) will be treated as priority.

The organisers will make every effort to provide, within their financial capacities, support for as many participants as possible (co-financing of transport and/or accommodation). Furthermore, participants of the practice sessions will be served a hot meal (vegan).

The number of places is limited. Registration includes 4 meetings in the first semester (till January 2020). The list of admitted participants for each activity will be announced on 1 October 2019.

All queries should be addressed to pfs@biennalewarszawa.pl

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