Over the past two and half years, streets and squares across the world have become the site of massive demonstrations, strikes, occupations, riots, rebellions and revolutions. From the Arab Spring to the movement of the squares in Southern Europe, and from there to the global Occupy movement and the current uprisings in Turkey and Brazil, people everywhere have been rising up against the power of governments, corporations and repressive regimes, representing a global legitimation crisis that affects authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies alike.
Next month, we will have the historic opportunity to bring together some 50 people from all over the world who have been directly involved in these various struggles. From November 15-17, Global Uprisings is organizing a free public weekend of presentations, discussions and film screenings in Amsterdam, gathering a wide array of activists, journalists, filmmakers and scholars who have participated in and reported from the front-lines of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Chile, the UK, the US, Canada, Turkey and Brazil.
The Global Uprisings conference will open on Friday night with a keynote speech by the acclaimed British journalist Paul Mason, author of Why it’s Still Kicking off Everywhere. On Saturday and Sunday, we will have multiple discussion sessions with grassroots organizers about where today’s movements have come from and where they are headed; how people are organizing in the areas worst hit by the euro crisis; what happened to the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East; how the Occupy Wall Street movement was organized; why Canadian and Chilean students decided to take to the streets; what animated the most recent popular uprisings in Turkey and Brazil, and much more.
In these discussions, we will address some of the most pertinent questions facing the movements today, including the lessons to be drawn from recent experiments with general assemblies and direct democracy; the use of independent and social media; the role of women in the revolutions; how to organize a general strike from below; and how to continue the fight for housing rights, free education and real democracy in the wake of some of the biggest mobilizations to date.
On Saturday night, there will be another large plenary session featuring renowned scholars George Caffentzis and Silvia Federici. Throughout the conference, a number of documentary films will be screened and plenty of opportunities will be provided to talk to participants and exchange ideas, lessons and experiences. In addition, various unofficial events will be organized in free spaces and social centers in the city center, including a party at the Vrankrijk squat on Saturday night.
There will be many activists and thinkers from around the world including activists from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Oakland, the Montreal student uprising, participants from the movement of the squares in Greece, Portugal, and Spain, Tunisian revolutionaries, and more. This will be an unprecedented event that seeks to explore the rebellions of our time from the Arab Spring to Occupy and beyond.
The conference is open to the public and entirely free of charge. A preliminary description of the event can be found here. A full program will be made available by the organizers soon.
The Global Uprisings Conference is organized by Brandon Jourdan (award-winning independent filmmaker) and Marianne Maeckelbergh (anthropologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands) of the Global Uprisings documentary film project. The event will be hosted by discussion center De Balie in Amsterdam and is made possible with the funding of the Foundation for Democracy and Media.