Mobile University for Migrant Workers

Building Together Knowledge & Infrastructures for Migrant Worker Self-Organizing Despite Pandemics and Crises

The Mobile University for Migrant Workers is an educational program aimed at expanding and developing migrant workers' awareness of rights and their political capacity to effect change. Over the course of three years, European Alternatives, the School of Transnational Organizing, and their partners across labor unions and academic institutions aim to build 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. Through this process, we not only work together to expand self-organizing capacities, but to transform and democratize legal and representational structures through which migrant workers channel their power.

Far from being passive political objects, migrant workers across Germany continue to challenge, transform, and push the boundaries of German society towards greater inclusivity, democracy, and the co-development of grassroots political efficacy. Despite being on the frontline of a number of essential industries and economic sectors through the pandemic and the climate crisis, migrant workers continue to demonstrate a tenacity to fight back against the injustice that defines societal and economic responses to crises. Whether fighting for greater workplace protections to avoid infection of themselves, their loved ones, and their communities, or resisting the demand to work in extreme weather events, migrant workers not only are launching struggles for alternative imaginings of the organization of labor that puts care, dignity, and justice at the center. 

What could happen when we help articulate these struggles, often isolated to their specific industrial specific, and bring them together to learn not only about each other’s struggles, but to learn from each other their analyses of the problems and issues they confront, and the organizational solutions they develop to overcome them? What happens when workers develop relationships not just to members of their trade, but to broader members of their class and legal status?

The Participating Worker Communities

Through a process of co-learning and co-research of migrant labor organizing practices, European Alternatives and the School of Transnational Organizing will work together with Berlin migrant, mobile and marginalized worker communities from the tech, delivery and aviation sectors to provide answers to these questions.

The Process & Outcomes of the Mobile University for Migrant Workers

During the first phase of the project in 2022, we will organize different storytelling sessions and legal advice, organizing trainings, migrant history classes and community events, as well as two summits (in collaboration with documenta Institute and Theater Bremen) and an online townhall meeting, to gain initial insights on how migrant workers can become stronger together and have a common voice in the German political discourse. This knowledge and tools will finally be shared with the public in our Migrant Organizing Toolbox and the Online Handbook for Transnational Organizers.

How’s Work Going, Friends?

Storytelling & BBQ Session

10.07.2022, 15:00-20:00, Tempelhofer Feld Berlin

Know Your Rights, Powers & History

Legal Advice, Organizing Workshop & History Class

with Daniel Weidmann, Bernd Kasparek & labournet.tv 

20.08.2022, 11:00-18:00, ver.di Headquarters Berlin

The Lost Art of Organizing Solidarity

Migrant Workers’ Summit

15.-18.09.2022, Studio Lev Kassel

Syndicat!

Transnational Workers’ Organizing Summit

16.-20.11.2022, Theater Bremen

A Change Is Gonna Come?

Online Townhall Meeting

Migrant Workers in Dialogue with Policymakers

26.11.2022, 18:00-21:00, Zoom Meeting

Migrant Organizing Toolbox & Online Handbook for Transnational Organizers

Digital Educational Resources for Migrant Labour Organizing

The Team Behind the Project

The project is organized by the team of European Alternatives Berlin, mainly consisting of people with a migration background involved in migrant labour and climate justice organizing for years.

Daniel Gutiérrez
Movement Research & Training Officer, European Alternatives

Daniel is a movement researcher and organizing trainer focused on the problem of workers’ organization, power, and strategy. He has participated in workplace, migrant, and housing struggles in the United States and Germany. Through the Werkstatt für Bewegungsbildung, he facilitates spaces where ordinary people can experiment with toolboxes that help them build rewarding, resilient, and politically effective organizations. As a co-host at Spadework podcast, he helps circulate organizing insight more broadly. He lives in Berlin.

Elisa Calosi
Project Coordinator, European Alternatives
Georg Blokus
Berlin Hub Director & Head of Organizing Education, European Alternatives

Georg leads the School of Political Hope (SPH), develops ideas, thoughts and concepts for a democratic and solidary future - and most of all likes to bring people together to make them a reality ... He was born near Gdansk in 1987 shortly before the peak of the Solidarnosc movement. He is at home in Berlin, studied psychology at the University of Cologne and discovered theatre and activism as an autodidact.

After his school days, he took his first steps with political youth theatre projects. In 2012, the political show "Hope Dies First" and in 2014 the generational performance "Life in Progress" were invited to the political youth theatre festival Festiwalla at the House of World Cultures in Berlin. His interest in working with "real" people also arose from his work as coordinator for "100 Prozent Köln" (2011) by Rimini Protokoll at Schauspiel Köln. Since then he has developed, produced and realised numerous documentary long-term theatre projects with young people, refugees and professional performers.

From 2014 to 2016 he was artistic-paedagogical director of the Junge Akademie der Künste der Welt/Cologne. In 2015, he staged the war phone transcripts of the Ukrainian artist Alevtina Kakhidze and her mother in "Phone Calls from the Cemetery". In 2017, he initiated the SPH – a school supporting progressive citizens, communities, movements, labour unions, and civil society organisations with storytelling, community organising and artivism. Georg works for SPH as a facilitator, organiser, educator, artivist, and consultant.

Georg works as Grassroots Organizing & Training Manager for European Alternatives and is responsible for the projects "Trust Beyond Borders", "Workers Without Borders" and the "School of Transnational Activism".

Jana Ahlers
Project & Event Manager, European Alternatives

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