cfp: collaborative struggle


The ‘Arab Spring’ and the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movements have both, in their very different ways, brought to life the idea that ‘the people’, long thought to be missing, can and do make a difference. This conference is interested in the possibilities these kinds of ‘collaborative struggles’ are opening up for new ways of thinking about politics, citizenship, identity and indeed life itself. What happens when Palestinians and Jews struggle together to defeat the segregation that nourishes the continuation of their conflict? What if a society of white privilege were to give way to an integrative way of life in Australia? This conference discusses different aspects of joint action – or ‘collaborative struggles’ – as the way to exit colonial divisions and oppressive relations in contemporary societies. We assume that the way we choose to struggle is the way we choose to create the new.

University of Wollongong. 25 September 2012.

Flyer here.

6 Responses to “cfp: collaborative struggle”

  1. 1 Magid Shihade

    Not sure if the Arab Spring can be seen as collaborative project of resistance. Unless it is to be hijacked now by “internationals”-Westerners who might feel uncomfortable that other peoples not just making history but impacting global history.
    Neither I am sure if the struggle in Palestine is a collaborative work of two peoples; one colonizers and the others are colonized. The presence of some/few “good” Jews in Israel fighting in the struggle does not make it a collaborative struggle, unless again, we invest in amnesia, denial, and erasure.

  2. 2 Marcelo Svirsky

    Dear Magid,
    ‘Collaborative’ does not mean colonisation of the struggle but just the opposite: decolonisation of present state of affairs by transversal agency. Your classification of Jews and Palestinians as bad/good only reterritorialises colonial divides. Minorities are not just ‘national’ oppressed communities but also groups as Palestinians and Jews working together to beyond colonisation. Dismissing these struggles is dismissing hope and the future. Perdon for the lack of modesty, but you may have a look at:

  3. 3 Magid Shihade

    Dear Marcelo,
    My comment was not aimed at foreclosing future joined actions by people from around the world towards change in the Arab World, Palestine or elsewhere. Nor, I aimed to define the issue in Palestine is that of good versus bad. Rather it is a settle-colonial one, where Jews are settler colonialist and Palestinians are colonized natives.
    The call for the conference appeared as if the work of people in the Arab world has been a work of joined struggle, which could allude to the idea that it came due not the Arab people themselves fighting (and dying) for change, and which is not sensitive to the oppressed masses of people there. In both cases as in others around the world, we need to differentiate between solidarity and colonization.


  4. 4 Marcelo Svirsky

    Still don’t agree Magid. As nations, your classification is right. But this is exactly the problem: this classification doesn’t leave much options – either you are a Palestinian or a Jew. I refuse to be neither of them.
    The struggle is against oppression. At one regional focus it is against Zionism, while at another might be, more generally, against capitalism. But it is always a struggle against oppression, not against people. It is a struggle to shape and bring about new ways of life. To promote this struggle we need to do it collaboratively. The conference, as the reality on the ground, is not waiting for ‘future’ collaborations. These collaborations exist already, in fact they always exist. To ‘keep’ the struggle as the possession of the colonised is to remain within the boundaries of colonial thought. To put it more extremely: the demand to keep the struggle against Zionism as a pure Palestinian issue is equivalent to the Zionist demand to keep the Jewish holocaust as a pure Jewish issue, which in fact is a universal one.

  5. 5 Magid Shihade

    Dear Marcelo,
    I did not mean to say that the struggle against Zionist Jewish Apartheid should be the property or duty of only Palestinians. As for joined work with Jews, it will be great if it happens, as it is so far ( after 64 yrs) only few Jews in Israel/Palestine have been willing to give up supremacist privileges. Pappe himself left the country because of that as he found it difficult to find minimum tolerance by Jews for Jews who want to work for justice. Of course it is a structure that we are working against, but for structures to be maintained, in fact to exist in the first place, they need people to do that.
    Hopefully enough number of people will be willing in the future to give up their supremacist privileges and join the struggle for justice in Palestine and everywhere else.

  6. 6 Marcelo Svirsky

    You are right; we do need people to resist. But it is not only about numbers, but about what those minorities produce, by working toghether. And they produce the future, they make of Utopia – as Jameson insists – a praxis.

%d bloggers like this: