The Lost Art of Organizing Solidarity

Join Our Public Program at the Migrant Workers' Summit

15-18 September 2022, Studio Lev Kassel

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Be it migrant working-class families, refugee communities, international students, mobile workers, tenants, or patients, marginalized groups have been hit hard by the Corona pandemic. Increasingly migrant workers in specific are dispossessed of rights, threatened by deportations, or discriminated against at the workplace and in daily life. Their work issues, life stories and political demands have been ignored for far too long in Germany. Without them and their work this society could not function – in hospitals and elderly houses, on agricultural farms and in the meat industry, in delivery, logistics and transportation services, all these industries depend on their labor. And still, this country does not accept being a migration society.

It’s time to unite and organize, so this society finally works for the benefit of everyone. People are struggling too much to make a living, here in Germany and all around the world. Everyday, people are forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution, climate disasters, and systemized poverty – to find a safer place and a better future for themselves and those they care for. Yet, most only find exploitation and alienation awaiting across the borders after risking so much to cross.

In this way, the current organization of the economy and the political system does not allow workers to care for their lives, their communities, and the planet as they would like to. An economy that works for everyone is not an abstract demand but an existential need. For many, the essential labors are defined by precarity. For many others, the skills realized through this kind of work are often pointless, meaningless bullshit work that only results in dissatisfaction with and alienation from a work life that composes the great part of the day. This only worsens when these jobs in fact exacerbate ecocidal tendencies, deepening the planetary crisis of ecological catastrophe, all in the name of mindless profit-seeking.

How can this alienating labor be transformed so that it actualizes skills and desires that provide a dignified livelihood and makes care networks of people and ecologies resilient?

Feelings of powerlessness are a consequence of the deep crisis of politics in modern societies. How shall the living and working conditions be changed for the better? How can the economy be transformed to not burn both human life and the planet? And how will migrant, mobile and marginalized workers build power for the democratization of work, a planetary politics of mutual care, and a future of solidarity beyond the divisive borders of factional communities, politically opposed generations, and competitive nations?

Schedule & Speakers

»The Lost Art of Organizing Solidarity« is a migrant workers’ summit that brings together migrant workers and former Gastarbeiters, international organizing trainers and movement builders, migration and labor researchers, NGOs and artists, as well as students of the Global Labour University in Kassel. In a three-day program of intensive non-public discussions, organizing trainings, and artistic workshops as well as public roundtables and assemblies we will learn collectively how „to turn the resources we have into the power we need to make the change we want“ (Marshall Ganz).

Around 50 migrant workers, researchers and students, activists and movement educators, as well as local initiatives, NGO representatives and artists working around Germany, will be invited to be part of the summit working community sharing together all three days of intensive discussions, skill-sharing and training while each one will also contribute to the public program to which everyone is warmly invited.

16.09.2022, 19:00-21:00
Public Roundtable Discussion: How to Organize Socially Useful & Climate-Friendly Labor

For most migrants, the work they do to secure a living or pursue a desired career often means having little say over how their labor is organized or towards what ends. Many must endure conditions that enforce a life of precarity and fail to provide dignified ways for them to care for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities as they would like to. Others still find themselves working jobs that they feel like a social necessity — especially in the context of the crises they are confronting. And many more are asked to confront the ecological crisis strictly as consumers, without ever being asked about the consequences of being forced to produce commodities that are destroying the web of life that makes human civilization possible. Over the course of this roundtable, we will discuss what it means to challenge capital’s prerogative to organize labor and how to abolish shit work conditions, socially useless bullshit jobs, and environmentally destructive batshit jobs.

The Summit will be held in English.

About the Mobile University for Migrant Workers

The »Mobile University for Migrant Workers« is an educational program aimed at expanding and developing the rights’ awareness and political power of migrant workers across Germany. Over the course of three years, European Alternatives, the School of Transnational Organizing, and their partners across various labour unions and academic institutions aim at a dialogical and relational organizing and co-learning process that supports migrant workers on the frontlines of care, agriculture, delivery, Tech, logistics, aviation, and transportation to organize and educate themselves. Through this process, we not only expand their self-organizing capacities, but provide the means through which they can contribute to the political debates around the Covid-19 and the climate crisis.

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