Day One: Introduction

About this day

By the end of the 20th century, those who believed in a different way of organising society were in deep trouble. Against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as well as the neutralisation of the radical impulses of the national liberation projects in Africa, anyone who dared mention the word “socialism” or “revolution” took a major chance at being laughed out of the room. For a while, the marriage of liberal democracy and the “free market” looked like a match made in heaven. Capitalism not only relied on brute repression to enforce its rule. The ideas associated with capitalism seemed seductive and irresistible.

The emergence of movements from different parts of the world – protesting inequality and obscene levels of wealth, violence and corporate greed, privatisation of livelihoods and social goods – disrupted this triumphal march. These movements are different in so many ways. They are responding to different moments and social, political and economic circumstances. It is not easy to sweep them all under one banner. Even so, what they do have in common is that they have all thrown certain questions to the fore. Even when their victories are minimal or short-lived, these movements have revived hope and put a pause on the era of defeatism. They have also revived the virtue of resistance: As Silvia Federici says:

“The reason why there us so much violence…[in] this world, why states have to use all their methods to terrorise us with weapons, wards, and imprisonments is because they see in front of them an immense resistance: a world of millions of people who, if they were not completely depressed, repressed, displaced, terrorised, would be actively engaged. And nevertheless, they are!”

Objectives for this day:

At the end of this day participants should understand the different ways through which people across the world are engaging in struggles to defend, advance and win freedom. Participants will also understand how these struggles raise new questions and contribute to our understanding of what it would take to win freedom today.

Day activity sessions:

This day comprises the following activities:

Activity 1: Reconnecting and revisiting our ideas of freedom

Activity 2: The market at Freedom Square

Activity 3: The radical imagination and explosions of resistance

Activity 4: Freedom routes – activist debates today

Last updated December 15, 2019 7:00 pm