EVERYONE OR NOWHERE! Fighting for urban spaces and freedom of movement

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Call for 36. BUKO Congress in Leipzig, Germany, 29.05.2014 – 01.06.2014

Social movements are constantly changing the apparently well demarcated spaces of society. Strong protest against the capitalist city and for freedom of movement are two examples that are widely and public ally discussed. Simultaneously, it remains hard to mobilise beyond the scene and initiate sustained changes. Suggestions that move beyond small cosmetic surgery, demanding fundamental social change are hardly present. At 36 BUKO Congress in Leipzig, the focus has to be on a critical analysis and the resulting necessary struggles as to search for alternatives. For us, merely recognising capitalist subjugation will not be an argument against an emancipatory future.

Transnational mobilisation against international border regimes

The increasing militarisation of the EU borders and the continuously extended cooperation agreements with neighbouring states aim for a closed border policy that claim victims on a daily basis. At the same time climate change reveals the racist and post-colonial structures of unequal global power relations. Even for those who succeed in reaching Europe, the hope for self-determination of where to to live and work, in many countries this ends in isolation camps, detention centres and daily racist terror. The first thematic focus of BUKO 36 “racism and migration” will deal with this set of problems: besides reflecting one’s won political practice and a thematic exchange, BUKO 36 should be a space for a discussion between the differently affiliated movements. From our perspective this is a basic necessity for a transnational mobilisation against international border regimes.

Marginalisation, displacement, control: overcoming urban borders!

We face the division of cities into economically successful ones and those left behind, new urban security regimes and racist police control and controlling practice. Simultaneously we have to deal with rising rent and market oriented living, displacement and privatisation of public spaces. Both forms the social reality of the capitalist city provide the background for the second thematic focus of BUKO 36 “right to the city”. Competition for international investors and in the run up to massive sports events reveal the true colours of the entrepreneurial city factories: the violent exclusion of the “superfluous” goes hand in hand with the inclusion of everything utilisable.

Borders pervade cities: peoples, who allegedly do not fit into the picture and the reproductive practices of mainstream society are not welcome. Female* refugees are most affected by precarious working conditions in the informal service sector – if they have a work permit or a job at all. At BUKO 36 we will and have to ask how we can overcome these urban border regimes and how the struggle of the marginalised can be supported. Lastly, we also have to ask about the reproduction of the city: where and under which conditions are food, energy and other essential goods produced?

As the neoliberal city is not only a location in industrial production, but has become a factory of an exclusionary reality, the role of a left critique of the city and a necessary perspective as to how we can overcome urban capitalism becomes the centre of attention. At BUKO 36 we want to not only discuss in which way a “right to the city” has to take into account the overcoming of gender hierarchies and inhuman market forces , but we also need to combine a right to a future with practical approaches.

Looking ahead – for radical utopia!

The call for a “right to the city” share many urban social movements. The right to differences is not only a call for a liveable city utopia, but also a call directly at social movements. The clear imprecision – what is a “right to the city”? – allows for broad alliances, but also carries the danger of usurpation into capitalist logic of utilisation and affiliation with regressive discourses. In Germany the process of urban emancipation is counteracted by racist initiatives against the accommodation of refugees when these initiatives draw upon their citizens’ rights and claims for spaces when agitating against “poverty migration” and any form of freedom of movement.

Besides the content-wise discussions about the particular analysis and perspectives, at BUKO 36 we will ask questions about the interface between urban struggles and the call for freedom of movement. Doing so, we do not merely want to uncritically search for alliances, but be aware of the different social positions and possibilities for alliances.

At BUKO 36 the struggles for urban spaces and freedom of movement will be linked and the focus will lie on broader discussions and networking processes of mostly localised forms of resistance. In Leipzig 2014 we want to initiate a radical and emancipatory social utopia that takes into account the post-capitalist city as well as the struggles for freedom of movement. This will succeed when we no longer close our eyes against the multiple injustices and the intolerable. Take part in BUKO 36 in Leipzig: the capitalist reality will crumble when we unite against it!

Everyone or nowhere! Fighting for urban spaces and global freedom of movement!

The Organising team of BUKO 36

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