Lazaros Karaliotas and David Featherstone are organizing a session for the upcoming annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), which resonates with my current thinking on solidarity formation. They seek abstracts by February 10, 2016. See below for their Call for Papers.
My own thinking in this direction will find expression in my comments, as a discussant, for two panels at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers — one for a session titled “Everyday Politics, In, Against, and Beyond Crises,” for which I will explore the relationship between John Holloway’s reflections on the dual character of labor and solidarity formation in contemporary social movements; and another for a session titled “Fulfilling the promise of anarchist geographies: visions, hopes and challenges,” for which I will discuss contemporary forms of social justice organizing that accommodate leadership (‘group-centered leadership’) without elevating leaders to a supplementary plane and thereby installing hierarchy. Both sets of comments will draw on my ongoing work in Mexico and the United States. The conference organizers recently announced these sessions as part of their preliminary program for the conference, which also includes sessions I co-organized with Sutapa Chattopadhyay on pedagogy. Some of my future posts will elaborate on these contributions.
CFP: Forging politicised solidarities in, against and beyond the European crisis
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016, London, 30 August – 2 September 2016
Convened by David Featherstone and Lazaros Karaliotas (both at the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow)
Everyday life and politics are undergoing profound transformations in the midst of the more-than-economic crisis in Europe. Geographers have already demonstrated how national and European elites have mobilised the crisis as an opportunity to de-politicise inherently political decisions and consolidate neoliberal political rationalities. Importantly, research has also sought to tease out the continuities and discontinuities as well as the links and relations between austerity policies imposed in aftermath of the European crisis and the consolidation of neoliberal policies in different historical and geographical contexts. At the same time, geographers have also begun to unpack how urban uprisings and grassroots mobilisations seek to contest these rationalities in different forms and through multiple spatialities and temporalities: from the summer of the Indignados and squares movements in Spain and Greece and the autumn of the Occupy movement in the UK, through the emergence of grassroots initiatives that seek to provide support from below to those most affected by austerity policies, to multiple experiments in self-management and self-organization.
These embodied political spaces open up opportunities for encounters and the exchange of ideas, sediments and experiences leading to the formation of long lasting bonds and politicised solidarities. Simultaneously, while deeply rooted in local contexts, these incipient movements and experiments articulate multiple local and trans-local links with movements, initiatives and activists elsewhere forming multi-faceted solidarity networks. Alongside them, political solidarities are also developing within and in response to institutionalised politics e.g. the links between SYRIZA and PODEMOS, the European-wide campaign in support of the ‘NO’ vote in the recent referendum in Greece and so on. In this session we aim to critically explore the role of solidarities in articulating political contestation against the hegemonic responses to the crisis as well as alternatives to neoliberal austerity in the here and now. Further, we also seek to draw out comparative elements from different local contexts of activism.
We invite contributions that address, but are in no sense limited to, one or more of the following themes:
- How and through what avenues are political trans-national solidarities forged in the context of the ongoing European crisis?
- What is the ethos that informs initiatives that seek to respond to the crisis from below (i.e. solidarity support networks for the homeless and the deprived, networks in solidarity with refugees and so on)?
- What are the potentialities that grassroots responses to austerity open up in both materialising alternative ways of everyday life and effecting political change?
- What are the challenges and limitations that political solidarities face in influencing institutionalised politics?
- How can solidarities circumvent the divisive geographies which shape political projects of austerity?
- What are the relations and links between left political movements in Europe and elsewhere, e.g. in relation to the influence of and dialogues with Latin American movements?
- How do solidarities invoke opposition to austerity in another contexts, e.g. in relation to structural adjustment in the 1980s/ 1990s?
Please send abstracts up to a maximum of 250 words including a proposed title and your affiliation to David Featherstone (David.Featherstone@glasgow.ac.uk) and Lazaros Karaliotas (Lazaros.Karaliotas@glasgow.ac.uk) by Wednesday 10 February 2016