Monday, 8 September 2014

EuroNomade event in Italy: Constituent Spaces. Europe, struggles, world

Invitation to Passignano 2014

Constituent Spaces. Europe, Struggles, World

We are happy to invite you to the annual meeting organized by the EuroNomade network, to be held in Passignano sul Trasimeno on September 18-21. EuroNomade is a network of activists, scholars and researchers that has existed since 2013. Many of its members were previously part of the UniNomade network. Coming from the "workerist" and "postworkerist" tradition we aim at fostering political debates within social movements, in a way that works at the boundary between the university and political activism. We are particularly interested in asking questions about the meaning of a European subversive politics. We are therefore connected with comrades and networks in many parts of Europe, but we always try to develop our discussion within a broader framework. In this sense fostering relations outside of Europe (e.g. in Latin America and Asia) is particularly important for us. Indeed our work on Europe is part and parcel of a broader attempt to reinvent the politics of internationalism.

The Passignano meeting will be dedicated this year to two interrelated topics. We will start on Thursday, September 18, with a discussion with David Harvey. His recent work has focused on what we would like to call the "extractive" dimensions of contemporary capitalism. Although we have often critically discussed his work, we are particularly happy that he has accepted our invitation. What we want to discuss with Harvey are the different regimes and forms of what he calls "accumulation by dispossession" as well as the relation between dispossession and exploitation.

We are convinced that the discussion with Harvey, who will participate in the whole seminar, will be an excellent introduction to the topics that we want to address in the two following days (September 19-20). The first is what we tentatively call "social unionism." By this we mean emerging forms of social struggles, which often blur the boundary between the point of production and social reproduction. The second topic is ?Europe and the world,? which will have us discuss the position of Europe within the current world disorder. We are convinced that there is a strong connection between these two topics. In other words, we think that the quality and intensity of social struggles in Europe will strongly influence the position of Europe in the world, while this position will in turn have important consequences for the spaces of struggle as well as for the quality of freedom and equality in Europe. Moreover we think that there is an urgent need to reflect upon the connection between the two proposed topics in order to go beyond the predicament of the movement against the war in Europe, which was apparent in the last months in front of the multiple wars at Europe?s borders (Ukraine, Syria, Palestine...).

We really hope that you will join us in Passignano. We have invited activists and researchers from several European countries (including Germany, Spain, and Greece). There will also be a discussion about the current situation in Brazil, and more generally in Latin America, with the participation of Brazilian comrades. The format of the seminar will be mixed, with roundtables followed by discussions in smaller groups, especially on the 19th, when we expect to have an intense discussion on the perspectives of struggles in Europe next Fall. On the 21st we will close the seminar with an open assembly, where we hope we will be able to lay the basis for an even more intense cooperation for the next future.

For logistical infos, please write to Carlo: -  +39 328 2627747

Thursday, 4 September 2014

2014 entry date extended till 21 September

Applications for 2014 – 15 have been reopened and will stay open till 21 September (the day before classes start!)

Are you
-      -    active in social movement struggles but need space to stand back, reflect, recharge?
-      -   involved in community and voluntary activism but feel trapped by the structures?
-      -    politically minded but don’t know how to turn that into an effective and radical practice?
-      -    clear that social change is central to you but unsure how to build a life around it?
-      -    interested in spending a year with your peers and experienced practitioners?

Around the world today, movements and communities are making history – or trying to. The need for change is huge and the outcome is still all to play for. We see apparently-unstoppable movements squashed and apparently-hopeless ideas winning against all the odds. What makes the difference, and how can our movements find a way forward and even change the world?

The Masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (CEESA) at NUI Maynooth responds to the crisis by helping us learn from each other’s struggles in dialogue between different movements, different communities, different generations. The course is not tied to any single movement and participants come from many different communities and countries. Some are experienced activists who want to go back to education; others are less experienced people who are keen to get involved in movements. This mixture of ages, backgrounds, experiences and questions is an integral part of what makes the course so rewarding. Together we are building a diverse network of movement activists, radical educators and campaigners for equality and creating new alliances for change. See the video at

The course team are experienced practitioners and engaged scholars working on equality, radical education and movement struggles. The course combines social analysis, bottom-up organising methods and political strategy with a wide range of pedagogies and a focus on knowledge for change, taking a practical but radical look at the problems facing movements today. Our small-group classes run one or two days a week to facilitate participants, over two 12-week terms followed by work on a project aimed at developing your own movement practice.

Often we are told that we have to choose between our politics and “real life”. This course shows how to integrate the two with confidence, practicality, solidarity, emotional resilience, seeing the bigger picture, taking time out to reflect and supporting each other for the long haul. Participants go back to their own movements refreshed, set up new projects, find work in movement organisations, go on to further education - and bring back what they have learned to their own struggles.

For more details see the rest of this site or
Contact:  or (01) 7083937
Closing date for applications: Sept 21, 2014

Monday, 1 September 2014

Just out: Cox / Nilsen, "We Make Our Own History"

#wmooh: We Make Our Own History

Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen,
We Make Our Own History: Marxism and Social Movements in the Twilight of Neoliberalism.
London: Pluto Press, 20 August 2014
ISBN 9780745334813 (paperback); e-book and hardback editions also available
272pp; £17 from Pluto

We live in the twilight of neoliberalism: the ruling classes can no longer rule as before, and ordinary people are no longer willing to be ruled in the old way. Pursued by global elites since the 1970s, neoliberalism is defined by dispossession and ever-increasing inequality. The refusal to continue to be ruled like this - "ya basta!" - appears in an arc of resistance stretching from rural India to the cities of the global North.
From this network of movements, new visions are emerging of a future beyond neoliberalism. We Make Our Own History responds to these visions by reclaiming Marxism as a theory born from activist experience and practice.
This book marks a break both with established social movement theory, and with those forms of Marxism which treat the practice of social movement organising as an unproblematic process. It shows how movements can develop from local conflicts to global struggles; how neoliberalism operates as a social movement from above, and how popular struggles can create new worlds from below.
Short pieces related to some of the book’s arguments can be found at Discover Society, E-International Relations and the Pluto Press newsletter.

Alf Gunvald Nilsen and Laurence Cox refresh historical materialism and social movement theory in this imaginative, lucid book. Their patient explanations, motivated by striking examples from actually existing collective struggle, both clarify and inspire. At once handbook and provocation, We Make Our Own History will reach a broad spectrum of readers in many parts of the world, benefiting analysis, strategy, and action.
(Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag: Labor, Land, State, and Opposition in Globalizing California)
Like most books, Laurence Cox and Alf Nilsen’s We Make Our Own History has its pluses and minuses, but overall it is a stunning read, one that every activist – and anyone concerned with the world around us – should read. Beautifully written in many places – with elegant, lucid argument, and with some great turns of phrase that open whole new windows of understanding -, it puts forward two seminal propositions about social movement that help us understand not only ‘movement’ but society itself, and through this ourselves as individuals and our relations to the world around us. An astonishing achievement, and a great contribution to social and political thinking that among many other things, revisits Marx and reveals the relevance of his thoughts to contemporary activism.
(Jai Sen, director of Critical Action: Centre in Movement and author / editor of several books on the World Social Forum and social movements)
Armed with a vocabulary able to grasp the structured agency of social movements and militant particularisms in constructing collective identities, readers will be vastly rewarded by this outstanding book and its understanding of the class struggles of social movements and their campaigns and projects across the past, present, and future transformations of capitalism.
(Adam David Morton, author of Unravelling Gramsci and Revolution and State in Modern Mexico)

1: ‘The This-Worldliness of their Thought’: Social Movements and Theory
2: ‘History Does Nothing’: The Primacy of Praxis in Movement Theorising
3: ‘The Authors and the Actors of their Own Drama’: A Marxist Theory of Social Movements
4: ‘The Bourgeoisie, Historically, Has Played a Most Revolutionary Part’: Social Movements from Above and Below in Historical Capitalism
5. ‘The point is to change it’: movements from below against neoliberalism

About the authors:
Laurence Cox directs the MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism at the National University of Ireland Maynooth and co-edits the social movements journal Interface. He is active in a wide range of movements and has co-edited Marxism and Social Movements (2013) and Understanding European Movements (2013).
Alf Gunvald Nilsen is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Bergen. His research focuses on social movements in the global South. He is the author of Dispossession and Resistance in India (2012) and co-editor of Social Movements in the Global South (2011) and Marxism and Social Movements (2013).

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Margaretta D'Arcy statement from Global Women's Strike

Free Margaretta D’Arcy, Free Shannon
Statement to the Press and the Public

We are outraged to learn that our dear sister and colleague Margaretta D’Arcy has been jailed – again! – for two weeks for protesting the use of the civilian airport at Shannon for US wars. And we are furious that the state ignores the possible effects on her health and well-being as a cancer patient .  This is how they think of those of us who are elderly or ill or have disabilities or are female and insist on protesting injustices, the greatest of which is war.

To underline her case against Irish complicity in war, Ms D’Arcy has also now taken the principled step of abstaining from food in solidarity with prisoners everywhere and all of those who have lost their lives, homes and communities destroyed as a result of US military action, and the actions of their political and military partners, beginning with Israel and its slow genocide of Palestinians. One of the many public services Ms D’Arcy has performed is to protest the Irish government’s many years of complicity in US war crimes and its destruction of Irish neutrality, the precious legacy of our great struggles, where Ireland leads the world. She has been dedicated to highlighting that the most devastating impact of war is on women and our children, both directly from the bombs that rain down on us, and by paying with our poverty and overwork for the horrendous weapons of massive destruction that threaten us all.

Ms D’Arcy is a veteran of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, which opposed the US military placing cruise missiles on common land in England, and won – the camp is no longer a military base. To dissent from a perspective of permanent war and austerity, and demand the protection of life and the planet, is increasingly labelled subversive and even criminal behaviour. While war criminals are allowed to pass through Irish airports and financial criminals go unpunished, the Irish State in thrall to the US, UK, EU and IMF Masters of War has imprisoned a pensioner who has dedicated herself to highlighting and preventing war crimes.

An attack on courageous and principled Margaretta D’Arcy is an attack on us all.
We demand the immediate release of Margaretta D’Arcy and free Shannon airport from the US military!  We want our neutrality back!

Invest in Caring Not Killing.

Please see and their facebook page for further details:

Friday, 27 June 2014

World Social Forum 2015, Tunisia - call for social movements

Call for Social Movements to mobilize for the upcoming World Social Forum
(Tunisia, 2015)

Dear friends,

During its last meeting held in Casablanca in December 2013, the International Council decided to organize the upcoming World Social Forum 2015 once again in Tunisia.

This decision was made based on an evaluation of the proceedings of the WSF 2013, and a common assessment of the situation of struggles marshalled by different social movements in the region, and the world, as well as the new geopolitical context and the evolving nature of the neoliberal crisis.

Indeed, it is now imperative to realize that since 2011, and after Arab revolutions have represented a source of hope to uplift the region from its status-quo, and a source of inspiration for the entire world to change, the Arab region is currently undergoing deeply worrisome dynamics. Governments in power over the past three years have yet to put in place the necessary policies and programs which respond to the claims of young people seeking freedom and employment, women seeking equality, social movements seeking social justice. On the contrary, throughout the region the flows of weapons and violence abound, and religious extremism is deepening its reach, neo-liberal policies dictated by the World Bank and the IMF are presented as the only solution and the social movements and democratic movements are criminalized. External political and military interventions have become the rule, each time instrumentalizing internal instability to facilitate interventions by the United States, Europe, Turkey and the Gulf countries.

Beyond the Maghreb and the Mashreq, the African continent has become the primary source of raw material, present as the “new economic frontier”, it too a frontier ravaged by violent extremism, the plundering of its resources, and the devastating violence inflicted by structural adjustment programs and the militarization of its territories.

Everywhere in the world, including in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and North America, social movements find themselves facing aggravating economic, social and environmental crisis, as well as a systemic attack on their rights. New tensions, directly related to hegemonic practices to appropriate resources and conquer markets, threaten to bring the worst in Europe, Asia and Africa.

The World Social Forum remains, more than ever, a vital space for social movements which struggle to preserve people’s dignity, so that they remain masters of their own destiny, able to fight for and acquire new economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, and able to construct alternatives to the neoliberal world order.

The social movements of Tunis, as well as of the Mashreq and Maghreb invite (24 to 28 March 2015) you to join their efforts in the construction of a more just world, where justice, equality and peace prevail, and where alternatives for the current world order, to which countless populations aspire, are discussed and debated.

Together, we would like to work to put together an open, participatory and democratic mechanism for the organization of the World Economic Forum 2015.
Another Maghreb Mashreq is possible
Another Africa is possible
Another world in possible
Tunis, June 20, 2014
The Organizing Committee of the World Social Forum 2015
Opening of the website: June 25, 2014
International Council of the World Social Form: Ottawa, August 2014
1st international seminary and meeting of the International Council: end of October 2014
2nd international seminary: February 2015
Liste mailing
People with disabilities

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Call for a public inquiry into the policing of Shell / Corrib Gas protests

There is an excellent call for a public inquiry into the policing of the Shell / Corrib Gas protests in Erris, Co. Mayo, supported by a wide range of local organisations, campaigners, academics, journalists, politicians, artists and others.

The call can be viewed here (AfrI), here (Human and here (Shell to Sea).

See also this Sociology news item.

Monday, 16 June 2014

CEESA year 5 celebration scholarship

The MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (CEESA) is now entering its fifth year. To celebrate we are offering a €2,000 scholarship awarded on the basis of practitioner excellence in community education, action for equality and / or social movements. The award is given on the basis of a personal statement of no more than 1,000 words and the names of two referees who may be contacted if needed.

Full details are here and the deadline is July 7th.

Please forward this to anyone you think may be interested.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Scholarships and bursaries - deadline extended to June 16th

Deadlines for the taught MA scholarships (€5,000, for NUI graduates) and bursaries (€2,000, for any SUSI recipients) have been extended to June 16th. Full details here.

While the official deadline for CEESA applications is May 30th we are usually happy to accept applications after this date, and certainly up to the 16th.