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.
The IIRE is organizing two important activities in the coming weeks. From August 6th to August 10th, we are organizing a new Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Intersex-Queer seminar. Shortly after the seminar, we will have our yearly youth school from August 17th to August 28th.
This is already the sixth LGBTIQ seminar at the IIRE. These are gatherings of activists in LGBTIQ movements from around the world who are committed to radical anti-capitalist politics. The aim of the LGBTIQ Seminar is to share and develop ideas on the most pressing topics concerning the struggle for human rights in the LGBTIQ community, debate about strategies for LGBTIQ liberation, and discuss how to participate in LGBTIQ struggles on the basis of an anti-capitalist political project.
This seminar will focus on several topics:
-Lesbians in 21st century capitalism
-LGBTIQ people in the contemporary uprisings
Between imperialism and homophobia: homonationalism and homophobia
The youth school enables young activists to discuss political strategies. The school aims to give a global perspective on social struggles and provide young activists with tools to understand and change the world. As one of the participants put it, the youth school is an important opportunity for 'young activists involved in the reconstruction of an international revolutionary movement'. Like all our schools, the youth school is an international event. This year we expect participants from all over the world.
But this global participation also poses challenges for us. The increase in participants and the wide reach of our activities means an increase in the money needed. Participating organizations make large contributions to the travel costs but social movements from the Global South need our solidarity to make the most of their participation. That is why we appeal to everyone to contribute to the seminar and the youth school. All donations, large or small, will help to make possible the participation of activists from the Global South.
Contributions can be made via the 'Donate' button on the right or made out to:
SOWS (Stichting voor Onderzoek naar en Vorming in het Wetenschappelijk Socialisme)
Address: Postbus 1962
1000 BZ Amsterdam
IBAN : NL55INGB0001039161
(please mark your donations as 'school' or 'seminar' if you want to support a specific activity)
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.