For an “Internationalist Center” in Dresden

Times have become more and more uncertain! Currently we are experiencing a multiple crisis – ecological and social in nature – of the bourgeois-capitalist societies, which has led to a worldwide systematic crisis of capitalism and is related to the every day more obvious failure of parliamentary-representative democracy.

The coping strategies rang from the ongoing destruction of socialsystems past the German-European austerity to the isolation of the EU,which resulted in thousands of deaths at the external borders. In the wake of the conservationstrategies of neoliberal formation the right-wing populist and racist movements and parties become stronger and sometimes are overtaken in their propaganda by the ruling elites. In Dresden it is seen in the form of PEGIDA on Mondays in the streets and attacks against boarding houses and refugees are commonplace. The call for strong, sovereign nations is getting louder – not only from the right. The nationalist rollback is also demanded by the left, such as through Sahra Wagenknecht on Blockupy protests in 2015. The national state as aguarantee of prosperity, however, is already overtaken by the development of the globalized, neoliberal capitalism. On the other hand the nationalist left forget that nation is a dominating and excluding construct that the cost of its development usually passes onto the periphery.

Who are we?

We are the groups “Dresden Postkolonial” and “Ausser Kontrolle”. Both groups are culturally and politically active in different spheres.

Dresden Postkolonial” is an open, interdisciplinary group. They research and document the colonial history of Dresden. Among other things they do anti-racist  and post-colonial educational work in the form of (post-colonial) city tours, seminars and lectures.

AusserKontrolle” is an anti-authoritarian organization and deals with issues such as security, surveillance, migration or flight, and social movements. They are organized in the alliance “UmsGanze …” and in the European anti-authoritarian platform “BeyondEurope”.

It was distressing and partly very depressing to notice together that for various reason emancipatory approaches have no social relevance in Dresden (and beyond). We are not sufficiently informed and connected and last but not least we are also disorganized. That is why we need to be more approachable, more visible and we must committ to working together. We need to organize ourselves in concrete locations. To make this happen we have to leave the “Linke Szenesumpf” (the leftist swamp) behind. If we want to become more effective, confront the problems of our time and attack the racist normality in Dresden, we need anti-authoritarian alternatives that are open to society. This is crystal clear.

Emancipation does have opportunities in the crisis!

Despite the advance of national hatred and right-wing violence we can clearly see that there are more and more people who want to fight together with refugees. Instead of complacently distancing ourselves from the “welcome movement”, we need to politicize them and give them the tools to express their oposition to the EU’s Fortress Europe policy. The protests in August 2015 against the transfer of 51 refugees from Leipzig-Connewitz to Heidenau are a good example for an emancipatory and anti-racist practice tha tconsists of more than just the slogan “Refugees are welcome here”. Because we want to support and expand this, we especially see this as one of the many starting points for discussion about a new internationalism, and about how the historical and present conditions are intertwined worldwide. The consequences of extreme exploitation of humans and nature, of (economic) wars or colonial history are reasons for fleeing. This requires us to search together for a world worth living and also stand up for it together.

However, an emancipatory movement that can accomplish this does not develop on its own. We need to be aware of the various mechanisms of domination, we need a globalized exchange of counter-strategies and experiences in the struggle against exploitation, exclusion and oppression. Therefore it is essential to fight transnationally. The aim is to learn from the mistakes of past. Transnational solidarity and activism cannot be produced on the drawing board. Searching for strategies, the idea of “Internationalist center” was born which we will open in Dresden Pieschen in December 2015.

What do we need an “Internationalist center” in Dresden for?

We will create a place in Dresden capable of promoting exactly that kind of exchange. It should become a place for emancipatory ideas and radical critique: An invitation to change perspectives and to understand mechanisms of various forms of domination and to develop concrete counter-strategies in theory and practice. It is necessary to learn from the history of the various internationalisms and to critically review them. The proposals (among others) from Rojava (democratic confederalism) or Chiapas (Zapatistas) must be examined critically and serve as guidance. Together we want to discuss how we can live and expand solidarity while reflecting on different social conditions. Without steady and long-term communication this cannot work. Therefore we want to promote and make practical use of this exchange across borders. This includes, among other ideas, identifying and visualizing different perspectives and social struggles from around the world. This can happen through lectures, discussions, films, radio programs, theater plays or city walks. We want to create the”Internationalist center” as a relay station, where global dissent can be translated into local conditions without ignoring the distinct circumstances of different struggles. Delegations in all directions are another desirable option, as well as the concrete organization in  the neighborhood and with refugees. We already have a few ideas on how this could be put in practice.

The “Internationalist center” should be both a place for working and for meeting. Since December 2015 we are officially a part of the self-organized housing and cultural project “Zentralwerk” in Dresden.We have about 55 m² space for meetings and self-organization. In addition we can use a large event hall as well as the neighborhood bar that is coming into being. A second room of about 200 m² could expand our capabilities and the structure of the “Internationalist center” even further. The “Internationalist center” is our starting point for changing the political culture in Dresden. It must be understood as part of a medium- to long-term strategy to develop combative positions. There is still much to do but we have taken a first step.

And what about financing?

We have deliberately decided against accepting money from foundations. We clearly want to reject party politics (and in our eyes, political foundations are a part of party politics). We do not want to become dependent on these structures. Instead we rely on your solidarity and we want to create our own solidarity networks that help us finance our projects and ideas. If you want to support our work, you are welcome to set up a monthly standing order. You yourself decide the amount of your support.  We are happy about any amount and will put it to good use. If you want to support our work with your ideas and input or in a different matter please feel free to get in touch with us via e-mail.

We will not leave it up to PEGIDA to shape the political opinion and decide on the political interpretation in Dresden!

Especially right now it is important to create spaces, to strengthen networking and organization and to broaden our perspective!

If you want to support our projects financially, please do so by a bank transfer to the account below. The best option is a regular standing order. This helps us to calculate the rent and plan future events and projects. Of course we are also happy about non-financial assistance: maybe you can help us with translations or by being active in the project. If you are interested, please contact us.

bank details:

Rote Hilfe Dresden
Subject: Internationalist Center
IBAN: DE72 3601 0043 0609 7604 34