Dear friends of the IIRE,
In less than two months, we will again have our annual Ecosocialist School. This school is a unique opportunity for activists to come together, learn, exchange experiences and build networks. But organising such an event is expensive. We try to keep participation costs as low as possible and in addition to that we help cover the travel costs of people from the Global South.
Right now, we are finalizing our participants’ list for the Ecosocialist School 2016 (18 November-9 December). We have applications from Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua, Congo, Argentina, Germany, France, USA, Lebanon, Denmark, and Venezuela. This years’ youth school involved 23 participants from 13 countries. It clearly showed us that the more varied the experiences of the participants, the richer the discussions are. We would like to keep the school as diverse as possible. However, airfares are far above the budget of our participants from the Global South. That’s why we make this call for donations for the travel expenses of the participants from the Global South. We especially need aid for participants from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, Venezuela and Lebanon. Any amount will help us. If you wish, you can specify the country of the participant you want to support. You can find the practical information here. Please earmark your donations as ESS Travel aid. Many thanks!
Alex de Jong
This summer the IIRE had two very successful international activities. From 6 to 10 of August, we organized the sixth LGBTIQ strategy seminar. These seminars are spaces for radical left LGBTIQ liberation activists to develop theory and strategy. This year's seminar was especially focused on issues of pink-washing and homo-nationalism, the use of (rhetorical) support for LGBTIQ rights to whitewash imperialism and nationalism. We had participants from Lebanon, Britain Palestine, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Australia, Portugal, France, and the Netherlands.
Shortly after the seminar, we had our yearly Youth School from August 17 to August 28. This course is intended for younger left-wing activists to give an intensive introduction to socialist politics and theory. In earlier years, the school was more focused on Europe but in recent years, we have more and more non-European participants. This year, we had 26 participants from Brazil, Mexico, France, Belgium, Mozambique, Morocco, Denmark, Germany, Lebanon, Sweden, Tunisia, Britain, and Spain. This was also the first youth school with a majority participation of women.
The participants evaluations of both activities were very positive. The LGBTIQ seminar was a step forwards in developing a common understanding of such concepts as homonationalism and to think about the difficulties of sexual liberation in times when 'LGBT rights' are so often abused as justifications for war, occupation and for claims of 'cultural superiority'. The seminar is expected to lead to published articles and deepened links, especially with activists in the Arab region.
Participants in the Youth School especially appreciated the international character of the 10 days course, saying it gave them new perspectives and enabled them to learn things they would not be able learn at home.
Both activities are organized on tight budgets. Interpretation is done by volunteers and participants take care of tasks such as cooking and cleaning the building while they are here. This allows us to keep participation fees to a minimum to make participation easier for everyone. Another essential source of income for us are donations, either ones that are earmarked for a specific activity, such as a school or seminar, or general ones that help us pay the daily costs of our maintaining our facilities.
We especially want to thank our supporters for their support to our work.
Six years ago we lost our friend and comrade Daniel Bensaïd. As a revolutionary activist and marxist philosopher, Bensaïd made important contributions to the work of our institute. Several of his books can be ordered through our website, such as Strategies of Resistance. We also sell his fascinating autobiography, published in English by Verso books: An impatient life: a political memoir by Daniel Bensaïd. Two of the notebooks Bensaïd wrote for the IIRE are available for download: The formative years of the Fourth International (1933-1938) and Revolutionary Strategy Today.
We are happy to announce that the recordings of a number of the lectures he gave in Amsterdam are now available online. In these lectures, given in the eighties, nineties and early after the turn of the century, Bensaïd discusses the marxist concepts of the party, the Spanish and Cuban revolutions, aspects of the history of the Fourth International and other topics.
You can find the recordings here.