updated on 25.07.2002
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We met for the first time in august of 2000. Our original intention was to organize a week-long event of debate, cultural activity and political action, an antiracist antisexist summer camp, in 2001. Since august 2000 we met about once a month, mostly in Berlin, Bremen and once in Warsaw. You can read the minutes of these meetings below. In the winter 2000/2001 we wrote a kind of manifesto. It's a bit dated now, but if you want to read it, it's at the end of the minutes of our 4th meeting. Early in 2001 we decided to postpone the camp because we felt we were too few and our group too homogeneous in terms of nationality and ethnicity (at that time, all the active organizers were white and in possession of a german passport). Instead of doing the camp, we decided to prepare the "crossover conference" (in january 2002, in Bremen). For more info about it, click the "crossover conference" button at the top of this page. We saw the conference as a step on the way to other projects, an antiracist antisexist... summer camp in 2002 being the project most favored by many of us.
At the conference a new network of organizers for a summer camp in august 2002 came into being. To read the invitation to the camp and our new manifesto, click the "crossover summer camp" button at the top of this page.
We structured our session around six questions, for each one there was a 'round', (i.e. first of all one after the other each person gets to make their statement, discussion is postponed). The points listed do not represent a group consensus but are individual positions. The results of the discussion are given in key words.
1. Motivation o The workgroup on identity politics at the border camp o The idea to organize a camp on the issue of people fleeing sexuality- or gender-specific oppression and women and migration o The 'puny' women/lesbian's area at the border camp o Criticism of the border camp preparation group o The wish for political work encompassing various groups; strategic alliances o The wish to question identity politics o Confrontation with racism and sexism o The optimism that trans-class relations and alliances are possible
2.How do you orient or locate yourself socially/politically? Cannot render content of discussion
3.What are you not content with in your social/political milieu? Cannot render content of discussion
4.Which topics are you interested in? Which topics do you consider important? Which issues pique your curiosity?
o In the debates about social change, all perspectives are important o 'Thinking together' the differentstructures of oppression, working out the connections (everyone said this) o modes of domination o identity politics o the issue of 'borders' in all senses of the word o ethnicity o genders o compulsory heterosexuality o sexism o antisemitism o racism o capitalism o the functionality of illegalizing immigrants o the realities of refugees, in general o fleeing oppression because of one's sexual orientation/sexuality o handicapped refugees o women fleeing sexist oppression o 'domestic workers' o women and migration o migration and sex work 5. Which alliances do you think are important? o Migrant/non-migrant left o Migrant/non-migrant feminists o All marginalized groups/majority left o WomenLesbians/gay men (Pertaining to men's groups with radical left and antisexist views:) o Radical gays/mostly heterosexual men's group scene o White men/non-white men o Antisexist men/feminists
Further questions were: which alliances were missed, which alliances failed? Cannot render content of discussion.
6. Concerning a project: a) What do you want to achieve with it? o Apply deconstructive thought practically, focused on an issue; to this end, use language understood by all, not so scientific & highbrow o Find and offer a platform for alliances, making a long-term collaboration possible o The debate and the contacts make the preparatory phase as such interesting o Attempt cooperations (for example, approach women's/lesbian groups with a migration background that would usually not work with 'us'- mostly white Germans) o Confront people who don't deal with sexism o Debate on identity politics o Broadening one's horizon o Diversifying contacts o Debate deconstruction o Stay in touch with the border camp organizational group o Destabilize traditional views o Other topics and other structures for political camps: learning from past mistakes
b) What focus should it all have? o Direct action/public sphere o Debating issues/Theory o The social/everyday life o Culture/aesthetics
For lack of time and out of exhaustion, this point could only be debated briefly. The wish was expressed, though, that there should be a mixture of direct action and discussion, also that there be initiatives from the participants and theater and performance.
c) What framework do we want for all of this? We could agree relatively quickly that we don't want a congress but want to adress the abovementioned issues in the framework of a tent city/ outdoor camp in the summer. There was a HUGE discussion about whether to do 'our own' camp or intervene at next year's border camp. Finally we decided to organize an independent, separate camp. Following is a list of pros and cons:
Pro border camp o Confront people with a critique of sexism who usually don't deal with it o Carry theoretical debates into the border camp 'clientele' o The border camp offers many possibilities o Create safe spaces there o Not leave the field to the (border camp) preparation group o The issues belong there
Contra border camp o Issues are pushed into the background by direct action o State repression is everpresent o Power politics necessary, having to fight all the time o Don't feel like like laboring away at the people there o The feeling of having to fight all the time, having to be strong as a group all the time takes away the space for differences among one another and constructs a 'we' o Don't want anything to do with the Zeltplatzkomitee (= preparation group of the border camp)
Pro separate camp o Let's construct something ourselves o Will attract unorganized people, because the framework is looser o More safe spaces o Don't want to be pupils of the present camp preparation o Invite women who don't come to the border camp (anymore) o Work and discuss effectively in a smaller circle o Attract other scenes beside the classical (German) 'autonomous left' scene
Contra separate camp o Only people who deal with the issue anyway will come o Could become a 'camp of experts' o Lots of organizational work o The problem of organizing protection
d) Who do we want to invite (into the preparatory group and to the camp)? - brainstorming: o Migrants o School students o Artists o Alterabled groups o Queer groups o Women's offices o Villa Courage (Freiburg) o AGISRA (Frankfurt) o FEMIGRA (Cologne) o Polish women's group (Berlin) o Emanzipunx (Warsaw) o Koexuez (several German cities) o Kanak Attak (several German cities) o Strange Fruit (Amsterdam) o Iranian women's group (Berlin) o Group of lesbians with hearing defects (Berlin) o Dona Carmen (Frankfurt) Polarities that characterized the whole discussion: o Create an alternative to the left scene - promote change within the left scene o Long decision making processes - quick decisions o Anti-structure - structure o Clear course - many paths o Different goals - one aim o Consensus - many opinions o Leaving decisions open - taking decisions
Points for Saturday: o Who are we actually? What is our function as a group for this weekend? o Invitation: who will do the writing? Contents? Development of our 'group'. Essentials/Intolerables/Wishes. Who to invite? Who translates? Minutes of the last meeting. o Theoretical debate. Making the issues tangible. Problematization of the terms 'Frauenhandel' ('traffic in women') and 'Zwangsprostitution' ('forced prostitution').
Points for Sunday: o Who has how much time? o Communication o Between meetings o At meetings o Protection, dealing with possible repression, discretion o Money o From where? Who will approach student parliaments, foundations etc? o How to deal with costs (transport, preparationÖ)
First 'official' consensus of the meeting was: 'We are the preparation-of-the-preparation group'! On what exactly this means we were not so unanimous any more. The question 'Are we open for revisions of all decisions at the next meeting?' (concerning, for example, the question: separate camp vs. participation at the border camp) was not entirely resolved at the meeting. The tenor of the discussion might be expressed in the words: 'if necessary, everything is up for debate next time, but at some point we do want binding decisions'.
THE INVITATION Discussion about: o Not so much text vs.maximum transparency (detailed minutes) o Leave out language/abbreviations specific to classical German autonomous left jargon; gets on many people's nerves o Minimum of academic language and terms not widely known: 'Fremdwoerter' ('foreign words'), anglicisms
Brainstorming: contents of the invitation: o 'Thinking together' different modes of domination (racism, sexism, antisemitism, capitalism; compulsory heterosexuality; exploitation of animals(?!)) o Key words: critical engagement with deconstruction and identity politics o Personal change; the personal is political! o Gender and migration; sexuality and migration
Brainstorming: Essentials/Intolerables/Wishes Sorted according to: o 'Atmospherics'/how we treat each other/communication o Issues and positions o Sexism (separate point since it was mentioned often)
'Atmospherics'/communication: o Awareness of the difficulties of talking together in an unusually mixed setting (migrants, queers, 'classical' left German antiracists) - ('Frustrationstoleranz' = 'ability to deal with frustration') o Possibility of separate but coordinated preparation o Be aware of possible mental prohibitions;(no dogmatism; space to doubt the taken-for-granted; constructive criticism) o Intellectualism excludes (this says nothing against profound theoretical debate) o Realize our own limits, not take on too much o Avoid tough, 'functional' atmosphere typical of 'macho politics' o Accept needs for security (concerning repression as well as protection at the camp) o The personal is political (emotions/feelings are fields occupied by power and fully social) o Responsibility has to be shared o Space for constructive criticism o Mutual respect o Openness for debate; don't shy away from conflicts o Patterns of speaking; possibility to say 'stop!' o Moderated and prepared sessions; work in small groups o Take 'hurt feelings' seriously o Relation to people with no money o Avoid informal hierarchies
Issues and positions: o Connecting antiracism with internationalism o Critique of capital/globalization o Exploitation of animals as structure of domination; relation of society to nature o No 'Antiimps' (subspecies of the German left) with their antizionism, romanticization of the masses and nationalism o No anti-islamic racism as in 'Emma' (German reformist women's rights magazine)
Sexism: o Men who talk too much/are otherwise really obnoxious o Dealing with groups accused of sexism o Awareness of gender specific division of labor o Gender ratio at least 50:50 (i.e. not more men than women)
Preparation of the next meeting: After a longer phase 'in plenary'(all of us), we divided into two workgroups, one started working on the invitation, the other started generating ideas about the preparation of the next meeting: o Relaxation phases in between o Multimedia (visualization); varied methods; maybe use the 'future workshop' method ('Zukunftswerkstatt') o Materials (video beamer; overhead projector, pens, paper, scissors, pinboardsÖ) o Kitchen and cooks o Translators o Mobile phone; e-mail address; web site o Location: various possibilities
On sunday we continued with pretty much the same tasks, talked about the invitation text, of which we had heard a rough draft the night before, made some changes to it, other than that delegated as much as possible. We'll bring our huge package "'atmospherics' / communication and sexism" along to the next meeting and unpack it for discussion, further reflection and devising methodsÖ
Security and repression o Regarding this point there were very different approaches; ranging from only being conspiratorial when there is acute danger to giving the other side as little information about us as possible, (especially in spaces that might be bugged); we agreed that we would accept the greatest need for security as setting our standard and try to act/talk accordingly (to be continued at the next meeting)
Communications between meetings o Different levels of access to e-mail and internet created a problemÖthus, communication by post with all those who don't have easy access to e-mail: proposal: postal distribution list, so that one person is in charge of getting the content of electronic mail coming in out to the non-e-mailers
Money o We decided who is going to take care of which possible sources o The question of supporting people without money was postponed to the next meeting
Who has how much time o It emerged that almost all present are busy with lots of other stuff in the near future --- so beware of taking on too much!
Friday: Introductions Short exchange on the fact that we're only twelve people here > discussion about who's missing and how to proceed, to be continued on Sunday. More people said they'd come, despite personal contacts they are not here.
Generating ideas Brainstorming on the four questions: 1. Why are you here? 2. What did you like about the invitation? 3. Which issues interest you in the context of the summercamp and its preparation? 4. What do you expect from the camp?
Some answers: Question 1: · I feel that (pro)feminist approaches are really the last thing that distinguishes the so-called German left from the mood of society at large; the rollback is getting stronger and stronger (bahamas, AAB ), if this goes on only Teutonic obtuseness will remain& · I'm interested in three experiments: 1. Is a "mixed" (mixed by gender and sexual orientation) public anti-patriarchal politics feasible? 2. Can migrants and non-migrants work together politically? 3. Do 1. and 2. fit together?
· Issues and "strategic" questions: o Issues: Sexism, racism, heterosexism are rarely public political issues; I want to try and "think issues together" more, to develop positions in the abovementioned fields, translate theories (i.e. on gender) into practice o "Strategic" questions: I seek longterm political contact with people I am not involved in so much in my daily life (migrants, queer groups, students); contact with people who share my motivations; I want to open up the boundaries of the political subculture.Q
uestion 2: · The idea of "thinking together" different modes of domination: different types of oppression must be worked together, but it seems the Germans can't deal with more than one area at a time - usually, working on one area mainly serves the purpose of establishing oneself in left structures · The desire to think things together comes across convincingly without the practical concerns being pushed into the background
Question 3: · Combining the issues of racism, sexism and heterosexism; questioning identities; antisemitism, gender, capitalism - how do these issues relate to the abovementioned? · As a man (a human being who has become a man) I want to deal with the issue of those men - that is, potentially all heterosexual men - who buy heterosexual services (prostitution, "sex tourism", peep-shows, pornography, involuntary marriage migration) · Sexism, racism, antisemitism, identity politics, construction of categories, interrelations and interactions between different relations of dominance; treating one another in a good way: especially when attempting to deal with all these difficult issues at the same time it is important to not let oneself be paralyzed by the pressure to always be "politically correct" and to remain able to criticize one another in a constructive fashion; · Confronting the ignorance in society at large and within the left about the real conditions of existence of non-Germans in Germany (social exclusion, criminalization, poverty, persecution); domestic violence, violence against women is considered normal: this is not and never was a topic for the mainstream public; the instrumentalization of the so-called "others" by the german left in the attempt to deal with one's own internalized racisms, homophobia etc.; future societies between now and utopia - radicalizing our demands; resistance of the marginalized; · Developing an antinational profeminist politics; racism and antisemitism within the subject; internalization/emotional anchoring of stereotypes (and what to do about it); capital and patriarchy; · Urbanism and new techniques of surveillance and control, everyday racisms, politics of migration, what about subversion? · Gender binarism and its consequences
Question 4: · New constellation > foundation for future campaigns > political organizing; the struggle for hegemony within the left; shifting power relations within the left; dealing with conflicts in a constructive way (neither denying power relations nor getting stuck in self-accusation); holidays; direct action; getting to know interesting people; · Opening the left subculture; making our theoretical discussions transparent and public; getting in touch with people who don't belong to the mainstream autonomous left scene and also with people I would like to work with politically but who live far away; · A camp that is as mixed and divers as possible, making exchange and discussion from different perspectives possible; · Something small and fine - that is to say, spending 5 or 6 days together in unusual constellations ("living", discussing, intervening politically) - and wanting to come back next year after it's over. · It should be practical, include distinctive direct actions and not have the character of a seminar; still, discussion of issues should be a part of it; no actions just for the sake of action; good atmosphere; opening the subculture, but how?
Workgroups: WG 1: Exchange about the border camp 00, on how the people who are involved with the summercamp 01 project got together; positive and negative aspects of the border camp; developing ideas about what could be possible in cooperation with the border camp - we want to do our own thing but also want to go to the next border camp and make a difference there; how do we imagine "our" summer camp?; Exchange about the circles we usually move in. WG 2: Extended round on "political biographies"; how did we end up sitting here; very personal; exchange about problems of talking in groups, being part of a group; the difficulty of finding a good balance between theoretical discussion and organizational efficiency on the one hand, and personal issues, attempts at non-hierarchical communication on the other. WG 3: Reflection on possible problems that could arise in a "mixed" (womenlesbians/men, migrants/nonmigrants, people of color/whites& ) setting, which conflicts over political priorities can we imagine; Round on essentials/limits of tolerance. Ending round
Saturday: Beginning round Discussion on our relation to the border camp The original plan was to stage two contrary statements on the relationship summercamp - bordercamp and then make the spectrum of opinions on this issue visible. But after the presentation of the position promoting the idea of an independent camp, it already became clear that there were no serious contradictions between the views of those present, merely different emphases. Everyone in the preparatory group really wants an independent camp, there are doubts about whether this project can be realized, though. People's different degrees of political distance to the border camp on the one hand derive from fundamental differences in their relation to the mixed radical left in Germany, strategic considerations (how to win over who for what etc.) on the other. The consensus about our relation to the border camp might be expressed by the term "cooperation in dispute".
Arguments for an independent camp: · More space for debating issues · The wish to place an emphasis on different issues than the border camp does and to make this emphasis very clear · I don't want to spend my energy struggling with "encrusted" political structures · Reach out to womenlesbian groups who wouldn't come to the bo rder camp · By choosing a location for the camp in an area with less nazis the camp could become more attractive for nongermans / people of color / migrants
Statements on the bordercamp issue: · We have been accused from different quarters of being divisive ("Spaltung" = fission, splitting, separation) · No wonder, there is quite a bit of polemic against the border camp in our minutes · We have to do something to correct this false image of us as being totally anti-bordercamp · It is important to see the difference between the preparatory group of the border camp and the participants · Also, the preparatory group and the Zeltplatzkomittee Berlin are not the same thing · There should be a good balance of direct action and debate, one good reason for this is that doing actions can be an important tool for clarifying political positions: in the run-up to direct actions differences become obvious that would not really show up in "academic" debates · The whole thing only makes sense if migrants are involved in the preparation of the camp pretty much from the beginning; my main reason for not participating in the bordercamp preparation is the fact that that is not the case there · The border camp does have a focus on an issue, namely, the border; it's just that I want a different focus, namely, identities · The bordercamp structures are not all that "encrusted" and neither has the bordercamp degenerated into an end in itself, the last two bordercamps were very different, the problem are certain individuals in the preparation group · By no means should the two camps happen simultaneously · The border camp has no real focus on any one issue but draws together a variety of debates · Let's not do the summer camp in Eastern Germany, there are less dangerous areas, the Wendland for example · At issue are not only the bordercamp preparation group, the participants are also responsible for the unpleasant atmosphere at the border camp · Division is not always negative · The summercamp should serve to shift power relations within the left; what's at issue is ideological hegemony; · The border camp is a project where something gets organized around specific structures and issues; if another project attempts to construct a different constellation of political forces, obviously those who are loyal to the structures of the classical autonomous left won't like that and will react aggressively · These reactions shouldn't faze us at all; they are bound to increase rather than diminish and are actually a sign of success, not a sign of failure · Let's have separate camps, but stay in touch: "cooperation in dispute" · To do our own camp is no guarantee that more migrants will participate than did at the border camp · Maybe migrant groups are simply not interested in working together with Germans and we should just accept that · Isn't this accusation of being divisive being exaggerated? · Doing our own camp definitely constitutes a kind of competition for the border camp, no matter what we say · The divisions and separations (between womenlesbians and the mixed left, between migrants' groups and the German left) are social realities · We've got to prove ourselves before certain groups of migrants will take us seriously · We should be thinking in a time frame of one to two years · "The way is the goal" · If the composition of the preparation group stays so German Left-ish I don't want to organize a camp · The idea in it original shape seems unrealistic at the moment · In fact, we are already prioritizing gender over other differences · We are not an all-white, all-German group even now!! · Should the identity "classic autonomous leftist" also be one of the identities at issue? · Yes to a separate camp · "The glass is half full" · There are successes · In what way do we want to approach people?
Workgroups on the questions "what do you expect from the camp?" and "which topics are you interested in in relation to the camp?" Workgroup 1: In continuation of the workgroup friday evening everyone gives a brief "political biography". Then the discussion centers on the difficult balance in political groups between "political output"/efficiency on the one hand, dealing with personal issues/ self-reflection on the other. There is talk about feelings of alienation relating to some implicit codes of dress and behavior in left circles, and about our most-hated left symbols. Concerning the camp: we mention the necessity to make antisemitism an issue; we have some knowledgeable and interested people; we raise the issue of the distinction between racism and antisemitism; why have we thought of seeking collaboration with jewish feminists/leftists up to now; what kinds of stereotypes about migrants are we reproducing? How do we call people who have grown up here, speak perfect German, are German citizens but still do not count for "real Germans", weren't brought up Christian and have the "wrong" color skin?& Sensibility for cultural differences is important, but differences as constituting identities are problematic.
Workgroup 2: · We need clearer idea of what the camp will be like · Success can't be measured by the number of people who come · Something small has the advantage of not being so anonymous · How do we envision the infrastructure? o Which areas could there be? o If there are several autonomous sections, we would need several big tents for assemblies o Tents/solid buildings o Does camping rather than meeting in buildings contribute to bad communications? o Paths for wheel chair users o Protected areas for sleeping and getting away from it all, spaces for being "private" o Ideas for direct actions · Assign topics to certain days · Theater, performance
Exchange of the results of the workgroups and ending round
Sunday: Technical matters: Minutes, translations, next meeting, mobile phone, money for food and transportation. Transportation costs are pooled. Account? Next meeting.
Other issues: Contacts. Minutes and invitation: the invitation will be revised: we should drop the reference to the border camp, clearer and simpler language is necessary. We won't send out our minutes, people can ask for them. They will continue to be translated into two or three languages. There were differing opinions on whether we should focus on trying to find people who want to be involved in organizing the camp or on mobilizing people to come to the event once it happens. Shoud we focus on talking to people in person rather than send out impersonal letters/e-mails? Next meeting we will work out our major themes. We decided to continue to look around for people to join the organizational group. Not indiscriminately but well-considered. We should offer different levels of involvement: working together continuously on organizing the camp; sending delegates to the meetings; support; coming to the event.
Proposals for thematic headings: · Gender identity/binary gender system/heterosexism · Antisemitism/remembering and forgetting/racism and antisemitism · Women and migration · Migration and sex work
Points for the next meeting: Methods Essentials/unbearables Political aims of the camp Thematic orientation of the camp/making the thematic headings more concrete Practical realization/location, character, structure of the camp Cooperation with the border camp Internationalization Communications Repression Finances Account? Cooking/food Final round End of minutes of third meeting
Everyone introduces themselves. There are 4 new people (two from Bremen, two from Berlin) - spotlight: our feelings and expectations - presentation and discussion of the weekend schedule - report on the course and results of the last meeting. What happened in between? There are regional meetings in Berlin and soon in Bremen. Discussion of the day´s agenda.
Saturday Spotlight on how we feel today - We try to find "headlines" for the days in the camp. They are not supposed to be the final ones but suggestions and a basis for discussion. - Brainstorming: Everyone writes down 6-8 headlines - one card for each thought (20 minutes) - All cards are put down on the floor. We try to find overlappings and build clusters. - These are the notes on the cards (nearly complete, they were not discussed thoroughly) : - identities (gendered, cultural, ethnic, national, sexual, social...) - How can we engage in political activity without referring to fixed identities? - overlapping identities (coexistence without hierarchy)? - construction of identities - international (forms of) queer organisation - "western homosexual identities and non-western gender categories" (I think this means: how are categories of gender and sexual identity different around the world?). - constructions of sexuality and identity - interference of different power structures - racism: How is racism connected to other ways of oppression? - terms related to racism (neo-racism, culturalism, multi-culturalism; relations between racism - nationalism; relations between racism - anti-semitism; racism and sexism; race and ethnicity - our own racism - fleeing oppression because of one's sexual orientation - refugees, migration, gender - How can we fight the the racist and anti-semitic consensus in society? public racist discourse and the reaction of the political left. - The current and future debates on asylum-laws. - Whiteness. The invention of the white race. - cultural dominance (assumptions on normality, cultural norms, "Leitkultur"). - What is "ethnicity"? - Which factors constitute a marginalisation of immigrants? - perception of muslim women. - Antiislamic racism (constructions of the orient, anti-semitism) - stereotypes, post-colonial discourse analysis. - Neoliberal city planning, the chauvinism of affluence and racist practices of marginalization.
Website: We have contacted "Lotec". They gave a general introduction. Open questions: Of what importance is the website to us? How many people are going to take care of it? What is the structure of the site supposed to look like (for example: should we offer different languages from the start?)? For practical reasons: we´re going to be on squatnet and distribute information from there. We don´t have to pay, squatnet is rather international, with influence of libertarian and anarchist views. We should also try to get a short link on Nadir, that says that we can be found on squatnet. The website should not be our main medium. It wil be of growing importance, though. It can be a forum for discussion, it makes sense to administer the mailinglists there. There are 5-6 people who are going to take care of the site and update it. (distribution of work, rotation?). Name: www.summercamp.squat.net.
Position towards the border camp: Up to now we have decided on " critical cooperation". Communication between the projects is important to most of us. We are going to install loose contact, make it clear that our camp is not meant to be a counter-project to the border camp. We criticise the mixed, autonomous, radical left in Germany as a whole, not solely the border camp. We are going to write a "little letter" to the preparatory group of the next border camp and to "Kein Mensch ist illegal" to clear up any misunderstandings. 6pm: last spotlight (everybody is tired, different opinions on the results of the day and the speed of decisionmaking.) (Difficulties: There was noone appointed for moderation which led to insecurities and lack of structure. This has to be organized differently in the future.)
Sunday, 19.11.00 Two delegates of a group which is taking part for the first time say that they didn´t really feel comfortable up to now. They feel that they are being "checked out", that they have to justify themselves, while others (those who are not "new") don´t have to do that. They are missing a certain mutual trust, time to get to know each other and to feel more secure. General opinions on that: It´s unfortunate these feelings arose, but it´s important to have room to talk about such things. That´s part of the project. The ones who brought up the issue feel a lot better after having said what was on their minds.
Back to the Friday groups who had worked on the topic: "how do we interact? necessities and don´ts" Fear of having to be politically correct; great demands, pressure of harmony in the group Aim: learn to improve ability to criticise and be criticised, accept other peoples boundaries. Important: how do we manage our own demands? There are different levels of knowledge, expierience, people with "insider" knowledge. We should meet each other with a certain tolerance, that´s not to say that everybody can say everything without being criticised Structures of communication: it should be possible to stop some people sometimes... ideas on gestures to say: "please come to an end...." Danger: We do not want to end up speaking for other people/definig other people´s problems. If we do not find groups of immigrants, prostitutes, etc. who want to take part, we have to think about how to deal with some topics.
Some statements on: "How much time do I have for this project?" - "High level of identification, a lot of time and energy" - "lots of other projects and work on a thesis, that´s to say: hardly any time (our group has the idea of sharing the work one person would do alone among four of us)" - " at first I only wanted to take part if there were immigrants taking part, I´m not sure if I still think so, but it´s an important project." - "I dont have time in the evenings, but I´ll come to the weekend meetings. If we don´t have the time to finish planning the camp this year we can still have it next year." - "high motivation, but there are so many other projects... I´m not sure if I have time for the regional meetings. More controversial discussion; a mixed group (immigrants) is very important, too. - "a group of 4-5 want to support the camp, make use of existing contacs, and infrastructure" - "I have to see that it doesn´t become to much for me, motivation for regional meetings, not quite sure, but no supraregional meetings." - "No time for the supraregional meetings, but for the regional meetings - ""I do have a lot bof energy. But it´s important to watch out for dynamics of interaction. We have to be careful that the regional meetings are not becoming stronger than the supraregional ones. (do we have to change our structures) - Delegate of a group: we have a consensus that says that our group is still young, that´s why the group and our own issues are our priority. We can´t be the main organizers. We would like to offer a workshop, do work on special subjects and lend a hand. We will send members to the regional and to the supraregional meetings. - I´m looking forward to the Bremen meeting and am highly motivated." - I´m motivated and have expierience with organisational work. But I´m very involved elsewhere, too. There are very few people who are really willing to engage themselves a lot. If we stay few it´s better to lower the expectations. Let´s see how it develops."
Structures of communication: - How do we avoid the risk that the organisational work becomes the job of only a few people? - It´s dangerous to see organisational work as just shitwork. We have to recognize that that kind of work is part of a social process. It´s important to not reproduce traditional dichotomies in our discussion (intellectual against manual work, reproduction versus production)
Technical matters Next meeting Translations: spanish, english, french, turkish, russian We already have people for the spanish, english and french translations
Border camp - A draft of our "little letter" to the border camp is read out; seems to be ok in general. Has to be finished, then criticised in detail. - How to cooperate with the border camp (discussion next time), one of us takes part in the Berlin regional meeting of the border camp organisationAccount: - The money is "parked".. Someone offered to open an account for us.
Financial planning: - Where do we get the money from (student parliaments, foundations)? Problem: the student parliaments do not have a general political mandate. But there are contacts, and pretty good chances..
Information events: - Will be discussed in the regional meetings first, then in the interregional ones.
Contacts: - who has contacts to whom? Important for next time. We need an interregional network. Safe communication with PGP?
Communication: - There´s the need for discussing repression as a major point. Till then we respect the wishes of those among us with the highest need for safety. - list of e-mail addresses - We have to be careful wth the principle of delegation.. basically everybody should know everything.
Next meeting(Bremen): - we meet at 7pm on friday - the Bremen group will prepare the agenda
Suggestions for thematic headings: - Identities and differences - Racism without races, sexism without sex. Modernization of domination, perspectives of resistance - Antisemitism an capitalist social relations - Nation and gender - Sexuality and domination / sex industry and anti-sexist politics.
There are now regional meetings Berlin: every third Tuesday and first Thursday of the month
Feedback from the groups: First group: - Better to have only 5 or 6 theme days, it's better to leave 3 days free - Further suggestions that should be discussed in the regional meetings: - Strategies of alliance, existence, intervention - Anti-semitism, the german situation and feminist critique - Nation, Gender and Sexuality - Globalisation, refugees and migration - Gender binarism and heterosexuality - Genetic and reproductive technologies, population control, biomedicine and biopolitics
Second group: - There will be people taking part (planning inputs) who can´t or do not want to work within our structures. - Our attempts to create order can be sabotaged in a positive way, there can be positive disruption.
What we want:
Our starting point is the conviction that the different relations of power and domination are inseparably bound up with one another, permeating and stabilizing each other. We want to develop a practice that reflects this. Our aim is to contribute to the construction of a new constellation of political tendencies. A "new constellation" would be one where, finally, antisexist positions would not have to be fought through by women/lesbians against the passive resistance of the majority anymore, but be a matter of course; and where, finally, men would, of their own accord, become active in the field of antisexist politics. We want an end to the dominance of a heterosexual culture within the radical left, for which gays are good for adding color and entertainment to the serious business of politics, in which lesbians are nearly invisible and for which intersexual and transgendered people are, at the most, objects of scientific curiosity. Such a new constellation would be one where the presence of migrant and jewish people, people of color….(no matter where they've grown up) would be a matter of course; where the manners and the language of the majority would not constitute the norm and where white antiracists would deal with their own racisms instead of only speaking for and about the "oppressed". Last but not least, we want an alliance that would make it as difficult as possible for people from the middle classes to assert what they take for granted, feel to be normal or are interested in as the norm - that which is generally taken for granted, experienced as normal or seen as interesting.
Who we are:
Many of us know each other from radical left circles in Germany. Most of us have a German passport, not all of us are "white". We have different "sexual orienations", the ratio of "men"/men to "women"/women fluctuates around 50:50. There are also differences concerning our social background and our current "class position".
How we organize:
Since august 2000 we have been meeting every month, in different locations; up to now only in Germany, (soon) possibly also in Poland, the Netherlands or whatever place we are invited to. We are open to the idea of a separate but coordinated organization of migrants/people of color within the project network; we are just as open to any other kind of closer cooperation. That women/lesbians in the project can organize separately also goes without saying. In our concrete political practice, we attempt to bridge the differences between us. And despite the fact that we are not yet as divers as we would like to be, we've got plenty of work on our hands already. How we treat each other is an important issue, we think, and we definitely want something other than the activist-macho posturing so familiar to us from our experience in many left circles. We must hasten to add that this is not the only type of male dominance - or dominance of any kind - that we see as a problem. We are not so naïve to think we've found "the answer" to this; that is to say, we are open to new ideas and ways of dealing with one another.
What is it going to be about?
Because we start from the assumption that all relations of power and domination are intimately bound up with one another and therefore always already refer back to each other, we are striving for a great diversity in the issues addressed. For us, this means dealing with sexism, antisemitism, heterosexism, nationalism, class exploitation and racism, among other issues. We think it's essential to draw structural links between different relations of power and domination, or aspects of these relations, from the very beginning. For example, by bringing the intrinsic interrelatedness of masculinity, heterosexism and whiteness into focus. Which ones of the countless possible interconnections we will focus on at the camp crucially depends on your input. What all these catchwords refer to - in our understanding - is simply impossible to unfold in a short text such as this one. But we intend to put together a kind of reader with different types of texts. We don't want the summercamp to be a kind of "field-and-meadow-university"! We want there to be offensive actions as well as discussion groups and we are planning a larger action in the context of the camp. We intend to give different thematic headings to the days of the camp.
We want one of the major focuses of the camp to be theories and practices of identity and identity politics. Just as there are different constructions of identity, there are different politics of identity. That is why we distinguish "essentialist" politics of identity, which, in most cases, aim to gain or retain privileges or come to an arrangement with the given social conditions, from "strategic" politics of identity that function to sabotage relations of power and domination. By essentialist identity politics we mean politics that derive a common identity from a shared essence, for example, being female (understood as a "natural fact"). By strategic identity politics we mean politics that understand common identity pragmatically, as a constructed reality, as, for example, many women's/lesbian groups do. We don't want to reduce the complex discussions around identity politics to this distinction, though. At the summercamp, strategic identity politics will be a major issue. Within this problematic, the question that concerns us most is if and how it is possible to create political alliances across major differences of experience. Finding this out is first and foremost a social question. The question of whether it is possible to bridge differences - bound up with relations of power and domination - in thinking, physicality, feeling and acting only gets answered in actual encounters: Is it possible to establish a truly respectful and equitable way of dealing with one another (which requires a lot of sensitivity for different experiences, realities and vulnerabilities) or not?
We hope the summercamp will be a venue for performances (film, music, acrobatics, for example), subversive culture and cultural subversion. Not just because it's fun - which would be reason enough - but because we see culture as a space in which society, in many different ways, some fraught with conflict, (re)produces its stocks of knowledge, its norms and values, its structures of thought and feeling. Radical resistance, therefore, must under no cicumstances neglect cultural space and should not fail to engage in its own cultural production - that the dominant modes of seeing, hearing and feeling may be subverted!
By now at the very latest, some will say that our program is definitely not realizable. We agree with this assessment insofar as we don't assume at all we will be able to realize everything we envision at the first summercamp already. We understand our undertaking to be a long-term project requiring some staying power, ample capacity to tolerate frustration and great persistence. Up to now, though, it's been fun, too.
We hope for lively transnational radical participation in the camp, see you
The minutes of our meetings are accessible on our web site in different languages. We can also send them to you by post, if you wish. The address of our web site is: www.summercamp.squat.net. If you have access to the net, take a look at it, you'll find information there, the invitation in various languages and so on. Our e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please address regular mail to: summercamp c/o A6-Laden, Adalbertstrasse 6, 10999 Berlin, Germany.
1) The meeting in dec 00:
Bremen: At the regional meetings, taking place every two weeks, discussions have centered on invitation policy.There's not been much response up till now. After the Christmas break there'll be a new round of inviting people, in a more focused way. The invitation text will be revised.
Bielefeld: A regional structure hasn't yet established itself. There is interest in taking part in the camp but not in taking part in preparing it.
Berlin: The regional group has remained stable in numbers. People from the gender studies faculty of Humbodlt University have shown interest. There is a small work group: "Anti-islamistic racism, anti-national positions, sexism and anti-semitism".
The inter-regional preparation group has...
... decided on a date for the summercamp (the location is still unclear). The summer camp will take place from july 13 to july 22 2001.
... intends to clarify its relation to the noborder camp. The antiracist antisexist summer camp project does not see itself in competion to the noborder camp.Organisational issues:
The layout of the website and the administration of e-mails is dealt with. There are 2 e-mail addresses: a) email@example.com b) firstname.lastname@example.org. In the future we will work with updates and newsletters will be published on the website. Short summaries of what has been discussed at inter-regional meetings and all other news will also be available on the site.
The establishment of an information hotline is planned.
We've opened an account.
The Berlin group is looking into various possiblities. We need to keep looking for sources of funding.
We've coordinated translation (of the invitation, minutes ...). In the long run this will be professionalized. We have to find people who are willing to take over translation work. The first step to making translators' lives (and not only theirs) easier is to record just the results of discussions, but not the discussions themselves, in the future.
Invitations: A revised version will be finished by January at the next inter-regional meeting. The proposed changes will be discussed then.
The next meeting will take place in Bremen from January 12th to 14th 2001.
Possible schedule for the January meeting in Bremen: Proposals for what topics should be brought up at the summer camp will be discussed in January. Also, the location of the summer camp should be decided on. State repression should be given more attention in our work. We decided that low-level security standards should be adhered to, such as using as few names as possible on the telephone; at the same time, we want the highest possible degree of transparency within the group.It was left open how a cooperation with the noborder camp preparation could look like and generally how open/closed the summer camp preparation is. Discussion in the workshops should continue. The persons responsible for the preparation of an inter-regional meeting should take care not to overload the program. Minutes from the workshops: * Workshop Movement Studies/ Sex industry/Gender binarism: General points: As far as actions go, it was argued that the issue of prostitution can be worked on with less inhibitions and in a more practical way than the subject of pornography. The discussion about pornography brought up basic questions: What about one's own fantasies, what pictures are people carrying around with them, where does pornography start for you...? One possible approach at the camp: There is the idea of working with specific films, pictures and text material; the idea is to make one's own personal perception the issue. In such a group, how could one create a basis of trust which respects personal boundaries while allowing real discussion? Also, an answer has to be found to the question whether discussion should take place only in men's and women's groups, respectively, and whether discussions should be brought together again afterwards. Central points of discussion until now have been individual structures of desire. All agree what would be interesting would be a discussion among people of different genders and sexualities. How could different desires, beauty ideals, differences in the personal sense of shame be made an issue. * Workshop Identities - differences Generally identities are considered to be a necessary basis of political work. But they shouldn't be seen as immutable structures. Identities make lasting identifications with others possible, but these identifications are not permanent, i.e. identities are created by a process of construction that is open-ended. Even a "strategically chosen" identity may lead to homogenization by way of attributions. This can make the heterogeneity within this identiy invisible. Identity politics becomes a problem when people are represented by others but do not speak for themselves. In sum: Identity politics is necessary but should also be questioned. Acts of attribution from outside are unavoidable, but they should not lead to a leveling of differences inside. By stressing the fact that identities are created out of a large number of influences it may be possible to guarantee that differences remain visible. Differences can produce different effects: On the one hand they can lead to fission or exclusion, on the other hand they prevent from homogenizing things that need to be kept distinct. * Workshop antisemitism/racism Antisemitism and racism need to be dealt with separately. Racism should not be looked on as a "universal ideology" but in its concrete historical shape. This alone will make it necessary to specify its relation to antisemitism as one will have to refer to the German context. Here attributions and "production acts" of "us" and "the Other" should be made an issue (Black is a political category!). It would be interesting to discuss the shifts within discourses of racism and how different racisms function in parallel. (key words: biologistic racism, culturalism, racism without races, neo-racism, stereotyping, attributions, functionality of racism for capitalism...). Moreover, the discussion about German asylum and immigration policy and the concept of citizenship should be continued. Here one can find direct connections to political practice. Also, it's interesting to look at social psychological explanations that address fear and desire of "the other" and racism in cultural forms of representation. Racist thought and action in Germany has to be seen in relation to antisemitism and the destruction of European Jews during in Nazism. Looking at the issues from a German context, there can be doubt about the centrality and uniqueness of the Shoah. But it is also important to consider other concrete historical contexts, for example by taking account of the fact that the conflict in the Near East has its own independent lines of conflict. The defense of the state of Israel, which we deem necessary, is often combined with anti-islamistic racism; this we want to try and avoid by sensibilisation for concrete historical contexts. We also think Moishe Postone's approach is well worth consideration in the search for explanations for antisemitism. Here the question arises how far modern antisemitism can be satisfactorily explained in terms of economic categories (or rather, categories of the critique of political economy). Further topics of discussion could be stereotyping of jews, antisemitic practices of attribution, antisemitism within the left and a more historical perspective in discussing antisemitism (key words being: modern vs.premodern antisemitism, Christian religious antisemitism, the distinction between antisemitism and anti-judaism). END OF MINUTES OF DECEMBER MEETING 2. The meeting in January could not take place because many people were unable to come. 3. Meeting in February 2001 Debate about structures of communication and informal hierarchies within our group. We agreed that informal hierarchies exist and there was general agreement on how they arise - differences in gender, age, experience being factors - but of course from different perspectives. During this debate there were conflicts connected with misunderstandings and political/personal sensitivities which have as yet not been worked through. Until this takes place, these issues cannot be presented here so that all participants will feel adequately represented, therefore there no attempt at doing this will be made. We decided to use e-mail communication as medium of information, but not as a medium of discussion in the future. Location of the summer camp: The "Lidice-Haus" at the outskirts of Bremen is one option. All present agreed to the proposal to do the camp there. Invitations/manifesto: Some points of the invitations were discussed again and some parts changed. Also, proposal to create a manifesto based on the invitation text was accepted. "Resignations"/WomenLesbianPlatform: Two women from Berlin explained that they would leave the organisational group. As two women from Bielefeld who had been part of the WomenLesbianPlatform established in December had left as well, this platform has been disolved and there is thus no separate womenlesbian group taking part in the inter-regional meetings at the moment. We took some time out to discuss our structures, our expectations concerning the group and the future of the project. Public Relations/Mobilization: Press: Articles can be about specific topics but should refer to the project. They're the author's responsibility and get circulated in the organizational group by e-mail. There will be a 14 day time period in which it is possible to veto an article in case of serious criticisms of it, then it can be published. Writing articles together is possible, too. The following proposals concerning where to publish our materiao have been agreed on: Interim, Tuntentinte, Gigi, Transgender live (Köln), NHZ (Cottbus), Schwarzrot, Etuxx, Klarofix (Leipzig), ak, Alaska, Diskus, Hurx, Tatblatt, Lola Press, Arranca, Blau, Jungle World (Dossier). Junge Welt and Bahamas were clearly rejected. Invitation: Up to now we have translaters for: English, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Czech. Regional/inter-regional meetings: Regional structures should be intensified e.g. we would like to discuss topics of inter-regional meetings at regional meetings. News: The emancypunx from Warsaw are preparing a performance for the camp; they have good contacts to people in eastern Europe. The Frankfurt-based magazine "Diskus" has inquired about an article about racism and sexism. Until now no author could be found for this. Financials: Three people are in charge of investigating two sources of funding in Berlin Reader: The reader should contain "stolen" and self-composed articles. Deadline: German texts have to be ready in the middle of May at the latest so that the reader will be finished in the middle of June "Theme days": Arrival: on friday 13th and saturday 14th; Departure: on sunday 22nd That leaves 7 days of which one should be a vacation day, one "big action day" and the other 5 "theme days" (structured by topics). Sunday 15th would be the first theme day, on "Identity Politics". Until the next inter-regional meeting everyone is supposed to make a proposal for the 5 theme days and we will decide on a structure on the basis of these proposals. END OF MINUTES OF FEBRUARY MEETING After we received the message that our favourite location for the camp - the Lidice house near Bremen - isn't available there were a number of statements by e-mail proposing to postpone the camp because the effort of finding a location and organizing the necessary infrastructure would not leave enough time for establishing contacts and working on issues. There were concerns that, under the strain of organizing, we would turn into a "Let's just do it"-type project and we'd end up relating to each other in purely functional/technical ways. By the time of the inter-regional meeting in March most of the active members of the organizational group had expressed such views. Therefore it didn't take long to decide not to do the camp this summer (2001). Meeting in March 2001 Exchange of political biographies and about how we would like to be political "Conference" We decided to have a meeting/conference in Bremen from January 17th to 20th 2002. The plan of having a camp in summer 2002 should remain visible but we won't fix it. For reasons of selfprotection we should not commit to more than we can handle. We hope to find people at the conference who are willing to organize a camp in summer. We want to open parts of the project again on the level of contents and organisation to make it possible for new people not only to work on what we already decided on but to actually contribute in designing it. The conference is not supposed to be a typical conference, no academic seminars. No "stars" that only come to give their performance; performers/facilitators should if possible have connections to some kind of grass roots radical movement and be willing to discuss form and content of their workshops with us. Also, we would like to make a statement by our choice of workshop leaders. We want forms of work and social intercourse, spatial arrangements that deviate from the academic model of a conference. We want to have a preparation meeting with all speakers/performers/facilitators. Text of the invitation: We continue using the present invitation, supplemented by a short explanatory addition. Maybe there will be a new invitation in autumn. Invitation policy: On the one hand we'll try to spread our manifesto widely in magazines, on the other hand we will contact certain groups and persons in a focused way. We'll continue trying to find people for the preparation but will also carry out the conference with our present group. Internal structure of the preparatory group: It was proposed to work more independently, with a clear distribution of tasks, on the other hand there was the wish to work together in groups more often. The discussion of political issues at the inter-regional level is considered important. From the next meeting on we will have brief presentations by individuals about subjects they are working on. Whether we will meet every 2 month in the future or every month, whether in a "General Assemly" or with "delegates" and whether there will be meetings established separated by gender or other criteria has not yet been fully discussed. This will take place at the next meeting. Funding: We've applied for a big grant at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung. END OF MINUTES OF MARCH MEETING
Consensus: If there is a need for separated spaces (e.g. WomenLesbianSpace) we will take care of it. We will not separate.
October 5th - 7th
November 16th - 18th
The meetings in september, october and november 2001 were very much focused on preparing the conference, there was hardly any general debate of political issues. That's why we've decided not to publish the minutes of these meetings, which are basically just a compilation of interim reports and communications on who does what etc., on this web site.
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