- > Introduction to Pirate Care
- > Criminalization of Solidarity
- > Sea Rescue as Care
- > Housing Struggles
- > Commoning Care
- > Psycho-Social Autonomy
- > The Hologram: a peer-to-peer social technology of care
- > Community Safety from Racialized Policing Using Contextual Fluidity
- > Transhackfeminism
- > Hormones, Toxicity and Body Sovereignty
- > Fostering equity and diversity in the hacker/maker scene
- > Politicising Piracy
- > Flatten the curve, grow the care: What are we learning from Covid-19
- > Situating Care
- > The Crisis of Care and its Criminalisation
- > Piracy and Civil Disobedience, Then and Now
This Introduction gives an overview of the main questions and concerns voiced by the expression ‘pirate care’, which also the gathering principle for bringing together the different knowledges, techniques and tools shared in this collective syllabus.
Pirate Care primarily considers the assumption that we live in a time in which care, understood as a political and collective capacity of society, is becoming increasingly defunded, discouraged and criminalised. Neoliberal policies have for the last two decades re-organised the basic care provisions that were previously considered cornerstones of democratic life - healthcare, housing, access to knowledge, right to asylum, freedom of mobility, social benefits, etc. - turning them into tools for surveilling, excluding and punishing the most vulnerable. The name Pirate Care refers to those initiatives that have emerged in opposition to such political climate by self-organising technologically-enabled care & solidarity networks.
On the Concept of Pirate Care
Punitive neoliberalism (Davies, 2016)1 has been repurposing, rather than dismantling, welfare state provisions such as healthcare, income support, housing and education (Cooper, 2017: 314)2. This mutation is reintroducing ‘poor laws’ of a colonial flavour, deepening the lines of discrimination between citizens and non-citizens (Mitropoulos, 2012: 27)3, and reframing the family unit as the sole bearer of responsibility for dependants.
Against this background of institutionalised ‘negligence’ (Harney & Moten, 2013: 31)4, a growing wave of mobilizations around care can be witnessed across a number of diverse examples: the recent Docs Not Cops campaign in the UK, refusing to carry out documents checks on migrant patients; migrant-rescue boats (such as those operated by Sea-Watch) that defy the criminalization of NGOs active in the Mediterranean; and the growing resistance to homelessness via the reappropriation of houses left empty by speculators (like PAH in Spain); the defiance of legislation making homelessness illegal (such as Hungary’s reform of October 2018) or municipal decrees criminalizing helping out in public space (e.g. Food Not Bombs’ volunteers arrested in 2017).
On the other hand, we can see initiatives experimenting with care as collective political practices have to operate in the narrow grey zones left open between different technologies, institutions and laws in an age some fear is heading towards ‘total bureaucratization’ (Graeber, 2015: 30)5. For instance, in Greece, where the bureaucratic measures imposed by the Troika decimated public services, a growing number of grassroots clinics set up by the Solidarity Movement have responded by providing medical attention to those without a private insurance. In Italy, groups of parents without recourse to public childcare are organizing their own pirate kindergartens (Soprasotto), reviving a feminist tradition first experimented with in the 1970s. In Spain, the feminist collective GynePunk developed a biolab toolkit for emergency gynaecological care, to allow all those excluded from the reproductive medical services - such as trans or queer women, drug users and sex workers - to perform basic checks on their own bodily fluids. Elsewhere, the collective Women on Waves delivers abortion pills from boats harboured in international waters - and more recently, via drones - to women in countries where this option is illegal.
Thus pirate care, seen in the light of these processes - choosing illegality or existing in the grey areas of the law in order to organize solidarity - takes on a double meaning: Care as Piracy and Piracy as Care (Graziano, 2018)6.
There is a need to revisit piracy and its philosophical implications - such as sharing, openness, decentralization, free access to knowledge and tools (Hall, 2016)7 - in the light of transformations in access to social goods brought about by digital networks. It is important to bring into focus the modes of intervention and political struggle that collectivise access to welfare provisions as acts of custodianship (Custodians.online, 2015)8 and commoning (Caffentzis & Federici, 2014)9. As international networks of tinkerers and hackers are re-imagining their terrain of intervention, it becomes vital to experiment with a changed conceptual framework that speaks of the importance of the digital realm as a battlefield for the re-appropriation of the means not only of production, but increasingly, of social reproduction (Gutiérrez Aguilar et al., 2016)10. More broadly, media representations of these dynamics - for example in experimental visual arts and cinema - are of key importance. Bringing the idea of pirate ethics into resonance with contemporary modes of care thus invites different ways of imagining a paradigm change, sometimes occupying tricky positions vis-à-vis the law and the status quo.
The present moment requires a non-oppositional and nuanced approach to the mutual implications of care and technology (Mol et al., 2010: 14)11, stretching the perimeters of both. And so, while the seminal definition of care distilled by Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher sees it as ‘everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair “our world” so that we can live in it as well as possible’ (Tronto & Fisher, 1990: 40)12, contemporary feminist materialist scholars such as Maria Puig de La Bellacasa feel the need to modify these parameters to include ‘relations [that] maintain and repair a world so that humans and non-humans can live in it as well as possible in a complex life-sustaining web’ (Puig de La Bellacasa, 2017: 97)13. It is in this spirit that we propose to examine how can we learn to compose (Stengers, 2015)14 answers to crises across a range of social domains, and alongside technologies and care practices.
If confronting the unequal provision of care has long been a focus of progressive political organising, today’s hyper-interconnected and heavily exhausted world calls for radical approaches and tools for militant caring that, while might not provide readymade, one-size-fits-all answers, might allow us to prefigure different forms of co-inhabitation on this planet. Pirate Care is therefore interested in researching how to re-conceive care provisions across the tensions between autonomous organising and state institutions, between insurgent politics and commoning, and between holistic and scientific methods.
A Pirate Care Syllabus: why, how and with whom?
A point of entry into the practices of pirate care for us is pedagogy - how these practices can be taught and studied with fellow pirate care practitioners, activist communities and beyond. To that end, we have started building a collaborative online syllabus on Pirate Care, covering each practice through a dedicated topic and a number of sessions that are concrete proposals for learning. Our vision that such a syllabus is technologically architected so that it can be easily adapted to different contexts and activated by interested groups elsewhere to collectively learn from it.
This syllabus was inspired by the recent phenomenon of crowdsourced online syllabi generated within social justice movements (see below). In November 2019 we held a writing retreat to create the first version of a pirate care syllabus. We were hosted by the cultural centre Drugo More and supported via the Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020 programme. The contributors were: Laura Benítez Valero, Emina Bužinkić, Rasmus Fleischer, Maddalena Fragnito, Valeria Graziano, Mary Maggic, Iva Marčetić, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Memory of the World, Power Makes Us Sick (PMS), Zoe Romano, Ivory Tuesday, Ana Vilenica.
The different topics covered were written by practitioners active across a number of pressing issues, including: feminist approaches to reproductive healthcare; autonomous mental health support; trans health and well-being; free access to knowledge; housing struggles; collective childcare; the right to free mobility; migrant solidarity; community safety and anti-racist organising.
We worked through group discussions; sharing of texts, materials and zines; presentations and workshops (including one on how to use gitlab and one on making baskets with pine needles); informal conversations, cooking for each other and walking together; playing karaoke and telepathy games; mutual feedback and friendship that carried on in the following months. Two more topics were developed with the support of Kunsthalle Wien (March-April 2020) with Chris Grodotzki & Morana Miljanović from Sea-Watch and with Cassie Thornton, addressing migrant rescue in the Mediterranean and a model for autonomously organizing peer-to-peer care at scale.
Work on syllabus is the extension of the Memory of the World shadow library and it espouses a certain technopolitics. We have developed an online publishing framework allowing collaborative writing, remixing and maintaining of the syllabus. We want the syllabus to be ready for easy preservation and come integrated with a well-maintained and catalogued collection of learning materials. To achieve this, our syllabus is built from plaintext documents that are written in a very simple and human-readable Markdown markup language, rendered into a static HTML website that doesn’t require a resource-intensive and easily breakable database system, and which keeps its files on a git version control system that allows collaborative writing and easy forking to create new versions. Such a syllabus can be then equally hosted on an internet server and used/shared offline from a USB stick.
In summer 2020, the Pirate Care Syllabus was supposed to be activated through a summer camp on the island of Cres, as part of Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020 programme Dopolavoro(HR). This was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Collective Statement
These below are some shared statements that emerged from the collective process building the first version of the syllabus:
Ours is inevitably as a partial group, who came together in a supportive context, but who also faced a limited amount of time in co-presence. The contributors did not all know each other in advance and we do not form a stable community in the everyday. Our composition reflects the limits of the resources, relationships and awareness available to the organisers and the participants, as well as their commitments and stakes. We do not represent others nor share a unified political position; however we worked in such a way as to allow differences to remain generative and inform different topics and sessions in the syllabus, which were therefore not ‘unified’ in style.
Many issues are under-represented here. We started to write from our practices and from our situated knowledges and experiences. We hope that the syllabus might become a useful tool for others who might want to add new topics and perspectives to it in the future.
Language is a technology that needs to be decolonized. While we strive to write for accessibility, we are conscious of our educational and professional biases in using and modulating the way we use language. We are aware our common language was English and that this leaves out a number of other possibilities of communication. Whenever we felt this was important, we have included some references in other languages in the first version of the syllabus.
Writing for an online imagined reader is a challenging task because it does not allow to speak to specific persons and collectives immersed in actual circumstances. The question ‘who are we speaking with’ in the case of an online syllabus becomes very tricky to answer. Our approach has been to write as if to friends with whom we share key ethical and political values, but who might not be familiar yet with the specific crafts of care we practice or with the background data and knowledge that inform our actions.
The specificity and partiality of our composition is also reflected on the resources we reference. Most texts are from Western academe or activist spaces. We are committed to address this and learn from others in an ongoing efforts to diversify our sources and imaginaries.
We encourage everyone to freely use this syllabus to learn and organise processes of learning and to freely adapt, rewrite and expand it to reflect their own experience and serve their own pedagogies. We do not believe that the current licence system supports the world we want to live in, and that is a world in which knowledge is not privatized. However, the current system automatically copyrights our work, so we state here that all the original writing contained in this syllabus is under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0), Public Domain Dedication, No Copyright. This means that: “The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.” https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
We encourage you to get in touch, to learn together, to organise, assist and act collectively. Lets mirror each other in solidarity.
On Making a Syllabus: technopolitical pedagogies
On the technological and technopolitical side, developing tools and workflows for syllabus is an extension of our work on the Memory of the World shadow library. As amateur librarians we want to provide a universal public access to a meticulously maintained catalogue of digital texts, making available those texts that are behind paywalls or are not digitised yet. (It is worth noting that shadow libraries themselves are a pirate care practice: in contravention of the copyright regulation, they are assisting readers across a highly unequal world of education and research.) With the tools and workflows for the syllabus we want to offer social movements a technological framework and pedagogical process that helps them transform their shared analysis of present confrontations and reflections on past mobilisations into a learning material that can be used to help others learn from their knowledge.
The technological framework that we are developing should allow other similar movements to avail themselves of these syllabi freely in their own learning processes. But also to adapt them to their own situation and the groups they work with. We want that the syllabi can be easily preserved, that they include digitised documents relevant to the actions of these social movements, and that they come integrated with well-maintained and catalogued collections of reading materials. That means that we don’t want that they go defunct once the dependencies for that Wordpress installation get broken, that the links to resources lead to file-not-found pages or that adapting them requires a painstaking copy&paste process.
To address these concerns, we have made certain technological choices. A syllabus in our framework is built from plaintext documents that are written in a very simple and human-readable Markdown markup language, rendered into a static HTML website that doesn’t require a resource-intensive and easily breakable database system, and which keeps its files on a git version control system that allows collaborative writing and easy forking to create new versions out of the existing syllabi. This makes it easy for a housing struggles initiative in Berlin to fork a syllabus which we have initially developed with a housing struggles initiative in London and adapt it to their own context and needs. Such a syllabus can be then equally hosted on an internet server and used/shared offline from a USB stick, while still preserving the internal links between the documents and the links to the texts in the accompanying searchable resource collection.
The Pirate Care Syllabus is the first syllabus that we’ll bring to a completion. It has provided us both with an opportunity to work with the practitioners to document a range of pirate care practices and with a process to develop the technological framework.
Online Syllabi & Social Justice Movements
In putting together a collective pirate care syllabus, open to new contributions and remixes, we were inspired, alongside many other popular education initiatives, by the recent phenomenon of hashtag syllabi (or, simply, #syllabi) connected with social justice movements, many of which are U.S. based and emerging from anti-racist struggles led by Black American and feminist activists.
For an introduction to the phenomenon online syllabi, see the text: ‘Learning from the #Syllabus, Graziano, V., Mars, M. and Medak, T., in State Machines: Reflections and Actions at the Edge of Digital Citizenship, Finance, and Art. Institute of Network Cultures, 2019.
Here is a few examples of such crowdsourced online syllabi:
In August 2014, Michael Brown, an 18 year old boy living in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson. Soon after this episode, as the civil protests denouncing police brutality and institutional racism begun to mount across the US, Dr. Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University, launched an online call urging other academics and teachers ‘to devote the first day of class to hold a conversation about Ferguson’ and ‘to recommend texts, collaborate on conversation starters, and inspire dialogue about some aspect of the Ferguson crisis’ (Chatelain, 2014). Chatelain did so using the hashtag #FergusonSyllabus.
- Chatelain, M. (2014). “Teaching the #FergusonSyllabus.” Dissent Magazine, November 28.
- Chatelain, M. (2014b). “How to Teach Kids About What’s Happening in Ferguson.” The Atlantic, August 25.
GAMING AND FEMINISM SYLLABUS
In August 2014, using the hashtag #gamergate to coordinate, groups of users on 4Chan, 8Chan, Twitter and Reddit instigated a misogynistic harassment campaign against game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, media critic Anita Sarkeesian, as well as a number of other female and feminist game producers, journalists and critics. In the following weeks, The New Inquiry editors and contributors compiled a reading list and issued a call for suggestions.
- Syllabus: Gaming and Feminism (The New Inquiry Editorial Collective, 2014).
In June 2015, Donald Trump announced his candidacy to become President of the United States. In the weeks after he became the presumptive Republican nominee, The Chronicle of Higher Education introduced the syllabus ‘Trump 101’ The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2016). Historians N.D.B Connolly and Keisha N. Blain found ‘Trump 101’ inadequate, ‘a mock college syllabus… suffer[ing] from a number of egregious omissions and inaccuracies’, failing to include ‘contributions of scholars of color and address the critical subjects of Trump’s racism, sexism, and xenophobia’. They assembled the ‘Trump Syllabus 2.0’.
- Trump 101 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Trump Syllabus 2.0 This course, assembled by historians N. D. B. Connolly and Keisha N. Blain, includes suggested readings and other resources from more than one hundred scholars in a variety of disciplines. The course explores Donald Trump’s rise as a product of the American lineage of racism, sexism, nativism, and imperialism.
- A collection of suggested assignments to accompany Trump Syllabus 2.0 from the website of the African American Intellectual History Society.
RAPE CULTURE SYLLABUS Soon after, in 2016, in response to a video in which Trump engaged in ‘an extremely lewd conversation about women’ with TV host Billy Bush, Laura Ciolkowski put together a ‘Rape Culture Syllabus’.
#BLKWOMENSYLLABUS and #SAYHERNAMESYLLABUS
August 2015 also saw the trending of #BlkWomenSyllabus and #SayHerNameSyllabus on Twitter. The hashtag #BlkWomenSyllabus began when the historian Daina Ramey Berry, PhD tweeted on August 11 “given #CharnesiaCorley time 4 #blkwomensyllabus…”. Charnesia Corley, a 21-year-old black female Texas resident, was pulled over at a Texaco gas station on June 21, 2015, accused of running a stop sign. After the deputy allegedly smelled marijuana coming from Corley’s car, the woman was forced to remove her clothing, bend over and later was held face down to the ground as police officers probed her vagina while forcing her legs open. #SayHerName is an activist movement that strives to end brutality and anti-Black violence of Black women and girls by the police. The #SayHerName movement is designed to acknowledge the ways in which police brutality disproportionally affect Black women, including Black girls, queer Black women and trans Black women. #SayHerName, coined as a call to action in February 2015 by the Africa American Policy Forum, was created alongside #BlackLivesMatter, which was created as a response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Black teen, Trayvon Martin. #SayHerName gained attention following the death of Sandra Bland, a Black woman found dead in custody of police, in July 2015.
- An article about the #blackwomensyllabus.
On April 12, 2015, Baltimore Police Department officers arrested Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American resident of Baltimore, Maryland, who died in police custody on April 19, 2015, a week after his arrest. Protests were organized after Gray’s death became public knowledge, amid the police department’s continuing inability to adequately or consistently explain the events following the arrest and the injuries.
In April 2016, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe established the Sacred Stone Camp and started the protest against The Dakota Access Pipeline, whose construction threatened the only water supply at the Standing Rock Reservation. The protest at the pipeline site became the largest gathering of native Americans over the past 100 years and earned significant international support for their ReZpect our Water campaign. As the struggle between protestors and armed forces unfolded, a group of indigenous scholars, activists and settler / PoC supporters, gathered under the name The NYC Stands for Standing Rock Committee, put together the #StandingRockSyllabus (NYC Stands for Standing Rock Committee, 2016).
- Standing Rock Syllabus by NYC Stands with Standing Rock Collective. 2016.
- PDF version of the #StandingRockSyllabus including all readings (80MB).
ALL MONUMNETS MUST FALL SYLLABUS
This is a crowd-sourced assemblage of materials relating to Confederate and other racist monuments to white supremacy; the history and theory of these monuments and monuments in general; and monument struggles worldwide.
#CharlestonSyllabus (Charleston Syllabus), is a Twitter movement and crowdsourced syllabus using the hashtag #CharlestonSyllabus to compile a list of reading recommendations relating to the history of racial violence in the United States. It was created in response to the race-motivated violence in Charleston, South Carolina on the evening of June 17, 2015, when Dylann Roof opened fire during a Bible study session at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing 9 people. The #CharlestonSyllabus campaign was the brainchild of Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University.
- The Charleston Syllabus book
- A list of materials included in the syllabus was compiled and organized by AAIHS (African American Intellectual History Society) blogger Keisha N. Blain, with the assistance of Melissa Morrone, Ryan P. Randall and Cecily Walker:
On September 4, Rebecca Martinez tweeted Louis Moore and David J. Leonard, suggesting the creation of Colin Kaepernick Syllabus. Soon, we, along with Bijan C. Bayne, Sarah J. Jackson, and many others began the work of creating a syllabus to hopefully elevate and empower the conversations that Colin Kaepernick started when he decided to sit down in protest during an August 26, 2016 preseason game.
Essential topics, readings, and multimedia that provide historical context to current debates over immigration reform, integration, and citizenship. Created by immigration historians affiliated with the Immigration History Research Center and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, January 26, 2017. The syllabus follows a chronological overview of U.S. immigration history, but it also includes thematic weeks that cover salient issues in political discourse today such as xenophobia, deportation policy, and border policing.
PUERTO RICO SYLLABUS (#PRSYLLABUS)
This syllabus provides a list of resources for teaching and learning about the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico. Our goal is to contribute to the ongoing public dialogue and rising social activism regarding the debt crisis by providing historical and sociological tools with which to assess its roots and its repercussions.
BLACK LIVES MATTERS SYLLABUS
SYLLABUS FOR WHITE PEOPLE TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES
- Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves, By Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks). Created in response to the election of Donald Trump, 2017.
SYLLABUS: WOMEN AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING PEOPLE WRITING ABOUT TECH
- Introduction to the #WakandaSyllabus, by Dr. Walter Greason
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD OF CALLING THE POLICE. A GUIDE, A SYLLABUS, A CONVERSATION, A PROCESS
- What To Do Instead of Calling the Police. A Guide, A Syllabus, A Conversation, A Process, By Aaron Rose
Davies, W., 2016. ‘The new neoliberalism’. New Left Review (101), 121–134 ↩︎
Melinda Cooper,2019.‘Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism’.Zone Books. ↩︎
Mitropoulos, A., 2012. Contract & contagion: From biopolitics to oikonomia. Minor Compositions. ↩︎
Harney, S. and Moten, F., 2013. The undercommons: Fugitive planning and black study, Minor Compositions. ↩︎
Graeber, D., 2015. The utopia of rules: On technology, stupidity, and the secret joys of bureaucracy_. Melville House. ↩︎
Graziano, V. 2018. ‘Pirate Care - How do we imagine the health care for the future we want?’, Valeria Graziano, Zoe Romano, Serena Cangiano, Maddalena Fragnito & Francesca Bria,2019.‘Rebelling with Care. Exploring open technologies for commoning healthcare.’.We Make & Digital Social Innovation. ↩︎
Hall, G., 2016. Pirate philosophy: for a digital posthumanities. MIT Press. ↩︎
Caffentzis, G. and Federici, S., 2014. ‘Commons against and beyond capitalism’. Community Development Journal, 49(suppl_1), pp.i92-i105. ↩︎
Gutiérrez Aguilar R., Linsalata L. and M.L.N. Trujillo, 2016. ‘Producing the common and reproducing life: Keys towards rethinking the Political.’ in Social Sciences for an Other Politics, ed. A. Dinerstein, Palgrave Macmillan. ↩︎
Mol, A., Moser, I. and Pols, J. eds., 2015. Care in practice: On tinkering in clinics, homes and farms. transcript Verlag. ↩︎
Fisher, B. and J. C. Tronto, 1990. ‘Toward a feminist theory of care’, in Circles of Care: Work and identity in women’s lives, eds. Emily K. Abel and Margaret K. Nelson, Albany: SUNY Press. ↩︎
Isabelle Stengers,2015.‘In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism’.Open Humanities Press. ↩︎
What is care, where is it and what can it do?
The term care can refer to a broad variety of activities and hold different meanings for different people. And yet, all depend on its provision to some extent, all practice it , albeith in widely different conditions, and all experience its effects, in negative and positive ways. Below you will find an activity that can help situating one’s experience of care; followed by some key definitions of care and a list of resources to unpack its various meanings and implications, organised in four groups: Care Ethics, Care of the Self, Caring as a Way of Knowing, Care Labour and Social Reproduction.
Introduction exercise: Care in your languages?
This exercise can be practice also by those whose only language is English. Other languages have more than one word to express the meaning of care. If you are in a group where people speak different languages (or yourself do), it can be generative to list how care and similar concepts are expressed in these languages, how and when are these used, and what aspects of care they capture. Try to think of different context for when these words might be used and by whom, and what impressions or images are associated with them.
If for you or your group the only language is English, you can skip this first passage and move to the second moment of this reflection.
The second step in this introductory exercise would consist of finding synonyms of the world ‘care’ or ‘caring’. Can you group them in different categories? Are there particular places of people associated with them?
Finally, generate a list of activities that you associate with ‘care labour’. Do these activities share some characteristics? What kinds of skills are necessary for each? And what kind of resources and tools? Can you group the different kind of work together in different sub-groups? What might be different criteria for doing so? Are particular places or persons excluded from this listed activities?
This exercise can be used as entry points to initiate a collective reflection on care for a group who might want to revisit its own way of perceiving, distributing and valuing its labour. The literature on care is vast, and it is therefore important to ask oneself what do we need to learn in the process of engaging with it? What needs change?
** Some definitions of care and social reproduction:**
- Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher. “Toward a feminist theory of caring.” Circles of care: Work and identity in women’s lives (1990), 35-62:
In the most general sense, care is a species activity that includes everything we do to maintain, continue and repair our world so that we may live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, ourselves and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web.
- Yeates, Nicola. 2004. “Global Care Chains. Critical Reflections and Lines of Enquiry” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 6 (3): 369–91:
a range of activities and relationships that promote the physical and emotional well-being of people “who cannot or who are not inclined to perform these activities themselves
- Camille Barbagallo, The Impossibility of the International Women’s Strike is Exactly Why It’s So Necessary, Novara Media, 6th March 2017:
All the work we (mostly women) do that makes and remakes people on a daily basis and intergenerationally.
- David Graeber (twitter):
Caring labour is aimed at maintaining or augmenting another person’s freedom.
- Nacy Fraser. “Contradictions of capital and care." New Left Review 100.99 (2016), 117:
interactions that produce and maintain social bonds.
- María Puig de la Bellacasa “‘Nothing comes without its world’: Thinking with Care.” The Sociological Review 60.2 (2012), 197-216:
To care about something, or for somebody, is inevitably to create relation. Caring is more than an affective-ethical state: it involves material engagement in labours to sustain interdependent worlds, labours that are often associated with exploitation and domination.
Grounding exercise: Organisational Mapping of Care
(Alone or as a group)
The purpose of this activity is to become more away of the complex and intertwined webs of care that support or shape our lives, and to the different kinds of conditions and skills that characterise care labour.
Map a typical day in your everyday life across the different organizations/institutions within which your various activities take place. (For example, your home, public transport, school, shop, gym, etc…). There is no one way to map your organisational life. It can be as detailed or as broad as it feels useful to you. Some people prefer more abstract diagrams, some use concentric circles or arrows, others chose more intricate ways of drawing and representing the various organizations.
As a second step, add into the map (some or all) the main people with whom you interact in the different organisations.
Now consider the following definition of care offered by Evelyn Nakano Glenn (author of Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America, Harvard University Press, 2010):
Caring can be defined most simply as the relationships and activities involved in maintaining people on a daily basis and intergenerationally. Caring labor involves three types of intertwined activities. First, there is direct caring for the person, which includes physical care (e.g., feeding, bathing, grooming), emotional care (e.g., listening, talking, offering reassurance), and services to help people meet their physical and emotional needs (e.g., shopping for food, driving to appointments, going on outings). The second type of caring labor is that of maintaining the immediate physical surroundings/milieu in which people live (e.g., changing bed linen, washing clothing, and vacuuming floors). The third is the work of fostering people’s relationships and social connections, a form of caring labor that has been referred to as “kin work” or as “community mothering.” An apt metaphor for this type of care labor is “weaving and reweaving the social fabric.” All three types of caring labor are included to varying degrees in the job definitions of such occupations as nurses’ aides, home care aides, and housekeepers or nannies. Each of these positions involves varying mixtures of the three elements of care, and, when done well, the work entails considerable (if unrecognized) physical, social, and emotional skills.
Keeping the three types of care labour described by Evelyn Nakano Glenn, chose a way of representing them and ascribe them to the people in the map in relation to you (giving/receiving care).
Is care spread evenly across your organisational map?
What are the organisations where you identified more care activities? Do they have similarities between them? (for instance, the way they are organised, their social purpose, their size, the kind of space they occupy?)
What are the people from who you receive most care? The ones to whom you give most? Do these people have similarities with you (age, class, race, gender, education levels, etc.)? Do these people have similarities between themselves?
Are your interactions more involved in one kind of care activities than others? Can you think of the reasons for why this is the case?
Are people from whom you receive care always the same as those who also are recipient of your care actions?
Let’s now consider the three different kinds of care activities? Which ones are takin gplace as part of a paid job or service? Which ones are unpaid? Which ones are visible and valued socially? Which ones are not?
Are there people in your map with whom you don’t have any care interaction? What is their position in relation to you?
Different ways of thinking about care:
“The moral theory known as “ the ethics of care” implies that there is moral significance in the fundamental elements of relationships and dependencies in human life. Normatively, care ethics seeks to maintain relationships by contextualizing and promoting the well-being of care-givers and care-receivers in a network of social relations. Most often defined as a practice or virtue rather than a theory as such, “care” involves maintaining the world of, and meeting the needs of, ourself and others.”
- Care Ethics. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Some key readings
Carol Gilligan,2005.‘In a Different Voice’.Harvard University.
Nel Noddings, Caring: A Relational Approach to Ethics & Moral Education, University of California Press, 2013 .
Virginia Held,2006.‘The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global’.Oxford University.
Joan C. Tronto,2018.‘Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care’.Psychology Press.
Eva Feder Kittay,2009.‘Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependency’.Routledge.
Ranjoo Seodu Herr. “Is Confucianism Compatible with care ethics?: A Critique.” Philosophy East and West 53.4, 2003, 471-489.
Mijke van der Drift. “Nonnormative Ethics: the Ensouled Formation of Trans.” In: The Emergence of Trans. Cultures, Politics and Everyday Lives. Edited ByRuth Pearce, Igi Moon, Kat Gupta, Deborah Lynn Steinberg. London: Routledge. 2019.
Sandra Harding. “The Curious Coincidence of Feminine and African moralities: Challenges for Feminist Theory” in Women and Moral Theory, eds. Eva Feder Kittay and Diana T. Meyers. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1987.
Care of the Self
- André Spicer. “‘Self-care’: how a radical feminist idea was stripped of politics for the mass market.” The Guardian, 21 August 2019.
Some key readings
- Audre Lorde. A Burst of Light: and other essays. Mineola, New York: Ixia Press, an imprint of Dover Publications, 2017.
Winner of the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award, this path-breaking collection of essays is a clarion call to build communities that nurture our spirit. Lorde announces the need for a radical politics of intersectionality while struggling to maintain her own faith as she wages a battle against liver cancer. From reflections on her struggle with the disease to thoughts on lesbian sexuality and African-American identity in a straight white man’s world, Lorde’s voice remains enduringly relevant in today’s political landscape. Those who practice and encourage social justice activism frequently quote her exhortation, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Michel Foucault. The Care of the Self. Volume 3 of the History of Sexuality. New York: Pantheon Books, 1986.
Michel Foucault. “The Ethics of the Concern of the Self as a Practice of Freedom”, in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth. New York: The New Press, 1997. 281-301.
The risk of dominating others and exercising a tyrannical power over them arises precisely only when one has not taken care of the self and has become the slave of one’s desires. But if you take proper care of yourself, that is, if you know ontologically what you are, if you know what you are capable of, if you know what it means for you to be a citizen of a city… if you know what things you should and should not fear, if you know what you can reasonably hope for and, on the other hand, what things should not matter to you, if you know, finally, that you should not be afraid of death – if you know all this, you cannot abuse your power over others.
- Michel Foucault. “Technologies of the Self” in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth. New York: The New Press, 1994. 221-251.
There are several reasons why “know yourself” has obscured “take care of yourself.” First, there has been a profound transformation in the moral principles of Western society. We find it difficult to base rigorous morality and austere principles on the precept that we should give more care to ourselves than to anything else in the world. We are more inclined to see taking care of ourselves as an immorality, as a means of escape from all possible rules. We inherit the tradition of Christian morality which makes self-renunciation the condition for salvation. To know oneself was, paradoxically, a means of self-renunciation.
Richard Shusterman. 2000. “Somaesthetics and Care of the Self: The Case of Foucault.” Monist 83(4): 530–551.
Ahmed, Sara. Selfcare as Warfare, feministkilljoys blog, published on 25 August 2014
Michaeli, I. (2017). Self-Care: An Act of Political Warfare or a Neoliberal Trap? Development, 60(1-2), 50–56.
Keely Tongate, “Women’s survival strategies in Chechnya: from self-care to caring for each other.” openDemocracy, 29 August 2013.
AWID Forum’s Wellbeing Advisory Group and the Black Feminisms Forum. Webinar Summary: Self-Care and Collective Wellbeing.
Caring as a Way of Knowing
Some key readings
Donna Haraway,1988.‘Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective’., in Haraway, D. (ed.), Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, 183–201, New York: Routledge.
Maria Puig de La Bellacasa,2012.‘'Nothing comes without its world': Thinking with care’.
Isabelle Stengers. The Care of the Possible: Isabelle Stengers Interviewed by Erik Bordeleau.
Sandra Harding. The Science Question in Feminism, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986.
Sandra Harding,2008.‘Sciences From Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities’.Duke University.
Donna Haraway & Matthew Begelke,2003.‘The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness’.Prickly Paradigm Press.
Hilary Rose,2014.‘Love, Power, and Knowledge: Towards a Feminist Transformation of the Sciences’.Indiana University Press.
Isabelle Stengers. Another Science Is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science. Polity, 2018.
Maria Puig de La Bellacasa,2017.‘Matters of Care’.University of Minnesota.
Care Labour and Social Reproduction
Some introductory readings
Camille Barbagallo & Silvia Federici,2012.‘'Care Work’ and the Commons’.
Rada Katsarova. “Repression and Resistance on the Terrain of Social Reproduction: Historical Trajectories, Contemporary Openings.” Viewpoint magazine. October 31, 2015.
Celeste Murillo. “Producing and Reproducing: Capitalism’s Dual Oppression of Women.” Left Voice. September 11, 2018.
Nicola Yeates,0101.‘Global Care Chains’.
Some key readings
Mariarosa Dalla Costa & Selma James,1975.‘The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community’.Falling Wall Press Ltd.
Arlie Russell Hochschild. The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. University of California Press, 2012.
Leopoldina Fortunati. The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital. Autonomedia, 1995.
Silvia Federici. Wages Against Housework. Bristol: Power of Women Collective and the Falliing Wall Press. 1975
Silvia Federici. Caliban and the Witch: women, the body and primitive accumulation. Autonomedia, 2004.
Kathi Weeks,2011.‘The Problem with Work’.Duke University.
Nancy Fraser,2016.‘Contradictions of capital and care’.
Susan Ferguson at al. Historical Materialism Volume 24, Issue 2 (2016) Symposium on Social Reproduction.
Katie Meehan and Kendra Strauss (Editors), Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press. 2015.
Tithi Bhattacharya,2017.‘Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression’.Pluto Press.
Lise Vogel, “Domestic Labor Revisited”. Science & Society, Volume 64, Number 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 151-170
Annemarie Mol, The Logic of Care: Health and the Problem of Patient Choice, Routledge, 2008
Carolyn Merchant, Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World. Routledge, 2012.
Raj Patel and Jason W Moore: A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet. University of California Press, Year: 2017
Louis Althusser. On the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. Verso, 2014.
Michelle Murphy. Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience. Duke University, 2012/
Caring Labour: an archive. Website. This site was born as an attempt by students in the East Bay in California to understand our role in the fight to prevent the closure of a community college childcare center and the layoffs of eight childcare workers.
CareForce (film / public art project)
Initiated by artist Marisa Morán Jahn (Studio REV-) with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), the CareForce is an ongoing set of public art projects amplifying the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce — caregivers.
Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Manifesto for Maintenance Art. Proposal For An Exhibition “Care”. 1969.
The Reproductive Sociology Research Group, Cambridge University.
Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin,1902.‘Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution’.Knopf.
bell hooks. “Homeplace (A Site of Resistance)”. In: Yearning: Race, gender, and cultural politics. Boston, MA: South End Press. Chicago, 1990.
Susan Stall and Randy Stoecker. “Community Organizing or Organizing Community? Gender and the Crafts of Empowerment”. Gender and Society, Vol. 12, No. 6, Special Issue: Gender and Social Movements, Part 1 (Dec., 1998), pp. 729-756.
On the Crisis of Care
Some key readings
Fraser, Nancy. “Contradictions of capital and care." New Left Review 100.99 (2016).
David Graeber. “Caring too much. That’s the curse of the working classes.” The Guardian, 26 March 2014.
Miranda Hall. “The crisis of care.com” , openDemocracy.net, 11th February 2020.
Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America. Harvard University Press, 2010.
Uma Narayan. “Colonialism and Its Others: Considerations on Rights and Care Discourses.” Hypatia, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Spring, 1995), pp. 133-140.
Care work and care jobs for the future of decent work, ILO Report, 2018, by Laura Addati, Umberto Cattaneo, Valeria Esquivel and Isabel Valarino. This report takes a comprehensive look at unpaid and paid care work and its relationship with the changing world of work. A key focus is the persistent gender inequalities in households and the labour market, which are inextricably linked with care work.
Time to Care. Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis. Oxfam briefing Paper, January 2020.
Mensah, Kwadwo, Maureen Mackintosh, and Leroi Henry. The “Skills Drain” of Health Professionals from the Developing World: a Framework for Policy Formulation. London: Medact, February 2005.
Exercise: Spending Time with the Data
Here are some data on the global crisis of care:
The monetary value of women’s unpaid care work globally for women aged 15 and over is at least $10.8 trillion annually –three times the size of the world’s tech industry.
Taxing an additional 0.5% of the wealth of the richest 1% over the next 10 years is equal to investments needed to create 117 million jobs in education, health and elderly careand other sectors,and to close care deficits.
In 2015, there were 2.1 billion people in need of care (1.9 billion children under the age of 15, of whom 0.8 billion were under six years of age, and 0.2 billion older persons aged at or above their healthy life expectancy).
By 2030, the number of care recipients is predicted to reach 2.3 billion severe disabilities means that an estimated 110–190 million people with disabilities could require care or assistance throughout their entire lives.
Globally, 78.4 per cent of these households are headed by women, who are increasingly shouldering the financial and childcare responsibilities of a household without support from fathers.
Women perform 76.2 per cent of the total amount of unpaid care work, 3.2 times more time than men.
The global care workforce comprises 249 million women and 132 million men.
A high road scenario requires doubling current levels of investment in education, health and social work by 2030
Estimates based on time-use survey data in 64 countries (representing 66.9 per cent of the world’s working-age population) show that 16.4 billion hours are spent in unpaid care work every day. This is equivalent to 2.0 billion people working 8 hours per day with no remuneration. Were such services to be valued on the basis of an hourly minimum wage, they would amount to 9 per cent of global GDP, which corresponds to US$11 trillion (purchasing power parity 2011). The great majority of unpaid care work consists of household work (81.8 per cent), followed by direct personal care (13.0 per cent) and volunteer work (5.2 per cent).
In no country in the world do men and women provide an equal share of unpaid care work. Women dedicate on average 3.2 times more time than men to unpaid care work: 4 hours and 25 minutes per day, against 1 hour and 23 minutes for men. Over the course of a year, this represents a total of 201 working days (on an eight-hour basis) for women compared with 63 working for men.
Men’s contribution to unpaid care work has increased in some countries over the past 20 years. Yet, between 1997 and 2012, the gender gap in time spent in unpaid care declined by only 7 minutes (from 1 hour and 49 minutes to 1 hour and 42 minutes) in the 23 countries with available time series data. At this pace, it will take 210 years (i.e. until 2228) to close the gender gap in unpaid care work in these countries.
(These statistics are lifted from the ILO and the Oxfam reports cited above).
Questions to move from reflection to action
- How are those global data reflected in your institution, city, neighbourhood, region, state, etc.?
- If you don’t have access to this information, how would it be possible for you to find the relevant data around the crisis of care in your own context?
- To whom should you talk to? Institutions, activist groups, other agencies?
- Could you produce your own data, if they are not available? If so, what methods could you use? What skills and tools would you need? How much time?
The Criminalization of Care and Solidarity
ReSOMA (Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum), Crackdown on NGOs and volunteers helping refugees and other migrants. Synthetic Report. June 2019
Centre for Peace Studies. Criminalisation of Solidarity. Policy Brief. Zagreb, October 2019
Marine Buissonniere et al., The Criminalization of Healthcare. June 2018
Below are listed some recent examples of the criminalization of care and solidarity (mainly from the European and North American contexts):
Smith, H. (2018) ‘Arrest of Syrian ‘hero swimmer’ puts Lesbos refugees back in spotlight.’ The Guardian, 6th September
Spanish firefighters on trial for rescuing refugees at sea El Pais, 5th July 2018.
Amnesty International. Demand the charges against Sarah and Seán are dropped.
Eric Lundgren, ‘e-waste’ recycling innovator, faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs. Washington Post, 15th February 2018.
The Red Cross, The EU must stop the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants and refugees, Statement. 26th July 2019.
Justin Peters, The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet. Scribner, 2016.
Mediterranea Rescue. Mediterranea: the Court of Palermo orders the release of Mare Jonio. Our ship is finally free; the Safety Decrees have been invalidated. Tuesday 4 February 2020
In Tampa, Food Not Bombs activists arrested for feeding the homeless—again. CLTampa.com, January 2017.
Hungary’s rough sleepers go into hiding as homelessness made illegal, The Irish Times, 2018
La Via Campesina. Seed laws that criminalise farmers: resistance and fightback. GRAIN, 8 April 2015.
The becoming-police of civil servants
The criminalization of care and solidarity is accompanied by the parallel phenomenon of making social workers and public servants role act as police. Below, a few examples and resources from the UK context, narrated by the campaigns who are pushing back:
Rights Watch UK. Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism Policy In Schools. July 2016
National Union of Students UK. Preventing PREVENT Handbook 2017. The NUS Black Students’ Campaign have created this handbook to counter the PREVENT agenda on campuses.
Islamic Human Rights Commission. The PREVENT Strategy: Campaign Resources. June 21, 2015.
Note: This session is under construction. Below you will find a preliminary reading list.
On the concept of piracy
Amedeo Policante, The Pirate Myth.Genealogies of an Imperial Concept. Routledge, 2015. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/49ecca24-12bc-44f9-9c4c-ecafbd74b3e6
The image of the pirate is at once spectral and ubiquitous. It haunts the imagination of international legal scholars, diplomats and statesmen involved in the war on terror. It returns in the headlines of international newspapers as an untimely ‘security threat’. It materializes on the most provincial cinematic screen and the most acclaimed works of fiction. It casts its shadow over the liquid spatiality of the Net, where cyber-activists, file-sharers and a large part of the global youth are condemned as pirates, often embracing that definition with pride rather than resentment. Today, the pirate remains a powerful political icon, embodying at once the persistent nightmare of an anomic wilderness at the fringe of civilization, and the fantasy of a possible anarchic freedom beyond the rigid norms of the state and of the market. And yet, what are the origins of this persistent ‘pirate myth’ in the Western political imagination? Can we trace the historical trajectory that has charged this ambiguous figure with the emotional, political and imaginary tensions that continue to characterize it? What can we learn from the history of piracy and the ways in which it intertwines with the history of imperialism and international trade? Drawing on international law, political theory, and popular literature, The Pirate Myth offers an authoritative genealogy of this immortal political and cultural icon, showing that the history of piracy – the different ways in which pirates have been used, outlawed and suppressed by the major global powers, but also fantasized, imagined and romanticised by popular culture – can shed unexpected light on the different forms of violence that remain at the basis of our contemporary global order.
Martin Fredriksson, James Arvanitakis. Piracy: Leakages From Modernity. Litwin Books, 2014 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/302a5c74-bf61-4401-b9c5-1c900e2b1e31
“Piracy” is a concept that seems everywhere in the contemporary world. From the big screen with the dashing Jack Sparrow, to the dangers off the coast of Somalia; from the claims by the Motion Picture Association of America that piracy funds terrorism, to the political impact of pirate parties in countries like Sweden and Germany. While the spread of piracy provokes responses from the shipping and copyright industries, the reverse is also true: for every new development in capitalist technologies, some sort of “piracy” moment emerges. This may be most obvious in the current ideologisation of Internet piracy, where the rapid spread of so called pirate parties is developing into a kind of global political movement. While the pirates of Somalia seem a long way removed from Internet pirates illegally downloading the latest music hit, it is the assertion of this book that such developments indicate a complex interplay between capital flows and relations, late modernity, property rights and spaces of contestation. That is, piracy emerges at specific nodes in capitalist relations that create both blockages and leaks between different social actors. These various aspects of piracy form the focus for this book. It is a collection of texts that takes a broad perspective on piracy and attempts to capture the multidimensional impacts of piracy on capitalist society today. The book is edited by James Arvanitakis at the University of Western Sydney and Martin Fredriksson at Linköping University, Sweden.
Gabriel Kuhn. Life Under the Jolly Roger: Reflections on Golden Age Piracy. PM Press, 2010. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/2b9566b3-5575-47ea-8f64-e7e023bd7385
Dissecting the conflicting views of the golden age of pirates—as romanticized villains on one hand and genuine social rebels on the other—this fascinating chronicle explores the political and cultural significance of these nomadic outlaws by examining a wide range of ethnographical, sociological, and philosophical standards. The meanings of race, gender, sexuality, and disability in pirate communities are analyzed and contextualized, as are the pirates’ forms of organization, economy, and ethics. Going beyond simple swashbuckling adventures, the examination also discusses the pirates’ self-organization, the internal make-up of the crews, and their early-1700s philosophies—all of which help explain who they were and what they truly wanted. Asserting that pirates came in all shapes, sexes, and sizes, this engaging study ultimately portrays pirates not just as mere thieves and killers but as radical activists with their own society and moral code fighting against an empire.
Peter T. Leeson. The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates. Princeton University Press, 2009. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/549a0aa1-6b3f-4c96-a020-97667345b89e
Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss–it’s time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates’ notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & Bones? Why did they create a “pirate code”? Were pirates really ferocious madmen? And what made them so successful? The Invisible Hook uses economics to examine these and other infamous aspects of piracy. Leeson argues that the pirate customs we know and love resulted from pirates responding rationally to prevailing economic conditions in the pursuit of profits. The Invisible Hook looks at legendary pirate captains like Blackbeard, Black Bart Roberts, and Calico Jack Rackam, and shows how pirates’ search for plunder led them to pioneer remarkable and forward-thinking practices. Pirates understood the advantages of constitutional democracy–a model they adopted more than fifty years before the United States did so. Pirates also initiated an early system of workers’ compensation, regulated drinking and smoking, and in some cases practiced racial tolerance and equality. Leeson contends that pirates exemplified the virtues of vice–their self-seeking interests generated socially desirable effects and their greedy criminality secured social order. Pirates proved that anarchy could be organized.
Paul H Robinson. Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers: Lessons From Life Outside the Law. University of Nebraska Press, 2015. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/1cda6de9-7b34-4d0f-90b4-35e4f9cb15a4
It has long been held that humans need government to impose social order on a chaotic, dangerous world. How, then, did early humans survive on the Serengeti Plain, surrounded by faster, stronger, and bigger predators in a harsh and forbidding environment? Pirates, Prisoners, and Lepers examines an array of natural experiments and accidents of human history to explore the fundamental nature of how human beings act when beyond the scope of the law. Pirates of the 1700s, the leper colony on Molokai Island, prisoners of the Nazis, hippie communes of the 1970s, shipwreck and plane crash survivors, and many more diverse groups—they all existed in the absence of formal rules, punishments, and hierarchies. Paul and Sarah Robinson draw on these real-life stories to suggest that humans are predisposed to be cooperative, within limits. What these “communities” did and how they managed have dramatic implications for shaping our modern institutions. Should today’s criminal justice system build on people’s shared intuitions about justice? Or are we better off acknowledging this aspect of human nature but using law to temper it? Knowing the true nature of our human character and our innate ideas about justice offers a roadmap to a better society.
Janice E. Thomson. Mercenaries, Pirates, and Sovereigns: State-Building and Extraterritorial Violence in Early Modern Europe. Princeton University Press, 1996. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/c29893dd-d596-4434-8858-46878380df37
The contemporary organization of global violence is neither timeless nor natural, argues Janice Thomson. It is distinctively modern. In this book she examines how the present arrangement of the world into violence-monopolizing sovereign states evolved over the six preceding centuries.
Peter Linebaugh. Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures, and Resistance (Spectre). PM Press, 2014. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/c529dbe5-e7b8-4bd2-9d6c-b320733551d2
In bold and intelligently written essays, historian Peter Linebaugh takes aim at the thieves of land, the polluters of the seas, the ravagers of the forests, the despoilers of rivers, and the removers of mountaintops. From Thomas Paine to the Luddites and from Karl Marx—who concluded his great study of capitalism with the enclosure of commons—to the practical dreamer William Morris who made communism into a verb and advocated communizing industry and agriculture, to the 20th-century communist historian E. P. Thompson, Linebaugh brings to life the vital commonist tradition. He traces the red thread from the great revolt of commoners in 1381 to the enclosures of Ireland, and the American commons, where European immigrants who had been expelled from their commons met the immense commons of the native peoples and the underground African American urban commons, and all the while urges the ancient spark of resistance.
Valbona Muzaka. The Politics of Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Medicines. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/061b5434-b9dc-4dfe-b82e-9c7838175b07
This book shows why contests over intellectual property rights and access to affordable medicines emerged in the 1990s and how they have been ‘resolved’ so far. It argues that the current arrangement mainly ensures wealth for some rather than health for all, and points to broader concerns related to governing intellectual property solely as capital
Gaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski. Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property. Zone Books, 2010. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/45ea1328-3910-4ab6-87d1-53131065394c
At the end of the twentieth century, intellectual property rights collided with everyday life. Expansive copyright laws and digital rights management technologies sought to shut down new forms of copying and remixing made possible by the Internet. International laws expanding patent rights threatened the lives of millions of people around the world living with HIV/AIDS by limiting their access to cheap generic medicines. For decades, governments have tightened the grip of intellectual property law at the bidding of information industries; but recently, groups have emerged around the world to challenge this wave of enclosure with a new counter-politics of “access to knowledge” or “A2K.” They include software programmers who took to the streets to defeat software patents in Europe, AIDS activists who forced multinational pharmaceutical companies to permit copies of their medicines to be sold in poor countries, subsistence farmers defending their rights to food security or access to agricultural biotechnology, and college students who created a new “free culture” movement to defend the digital commons. Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property maps this emerging field of activism as a series of historical moments, strategies, and concepts. It gathers some of the most important thinkers and advocates in the field to make the stakes and strategies at play in this new domain visible and the terms of intellectual property law intelligible in their political implications around the world. A Creative Commons edition of this work will be freely available online.
Vandana Shiva. Protect or Plunder? Understanding Intellectual Property Rights. Zed, 2001.
Intellectual property rights, TRIPS, patents - they sound technical, even boring. Yet, as Vandana Shiva shows, what kinds of ideas, technologies, identification of genes, even manipulations of life forms can be owned and exploited for profit by giant corporations is a vital issue for our times. In this readable and compelling introduction to an issue that lies at the heart of the socalled knowledge economy, Vandana Shiva makes clear how this Western-inspired and unprecedented widening of the concept does not in fact stimulate human creativity and the generation of knowledge. Instead, it is being exploited by transnational corporations in order to increase their profits at the expense of the health of ordinary people, and the poor in particular, and the age-old knowledge and independence of the world’s farmers. Intellectual protection is being transformed into corporate plunder. Little wonder popular resistance around the world is rising to the WTO that polices this new intellectual world order, the pharmaceutical, biotech and other corporations which dominate it, and the new technologies they are foisting upon us.
Vandana Shiva. Biopiracy. The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. South End Press, 1999.
In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Vandana Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North’s ongoing assault against the South’s biological and other resources. Since the land, the forests, the oceans, and the atmosphere have already been colonized, eroded, and polluted, she argues, Northern capital is now carving out new colonies to exploit for gain: the interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants and animals.
Balasegaram M, et al. An Open source Pharma Roadmap. PLoS Med 14(4): e1002276. 2017.
Open Source Pharma https://www.opensourcepharma.net/
Charlotte Waelde and Hector L. MacQueen. Intellectual Property: The Many Faces of the Public Domain.Edward Elgar Publishing, 2007. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/c6bf5c11-dcc4-4329-ae40-85bc2b26a020
As technological progress marches on, so anxiety over the shape of the public domain is likely to continue if not increase. This collection helps to define the boundaries within which the debate over the shape of law and policy should take place. From historical analysis to discussion of contemporary developments, the importance of the public domain in its cultural and scientific contexts is explored by lawyers, scientists, economists, librarians, journalists and entrepreneurs. The contributions will both deepen and enliven the reader’s understanding of the public domain in its many guises, and will also serve to highlight the public domain’s key role in innovation. This book will appeal not only to students and researchers coming from a variety of fields, but also to policy-makers in the IP field and those more generally interested in the public domain, as well as those more directly involved in the current movements towards open access, open science and open source.
Kate Darling and Aaron Perzanowski. Creativity Without Law: Challenging the Assumptions of Intellectual Property. NYU Press, 2017. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/9c5320be-d313-407c-8938-4e7717fbda45
Intellectual property law, or IP law, is based on certain assumptions about creative behavior. The case for regulation assumes that creators have a fundamental legal right to prevent copying, and without this right they will under-invest in new work. But this premise fails to fully capture the reality of creative production. It ignores the range of powerful non-economic motivations that compel creativity, and it overlooks the capacity of creative industries for self-governance and innovative social and market responses to appropriation. This book reveals the on-the-ground practices of a range of creators and innovators. In doing so, it challenges intellectual property orthodoxy by showing that incentives for creative production often exist in the absence of, or in disregard for, formal legal protections. Instead, these communities rely on evolving social norms and market responses—sensitive to their particular cultural, competitive, and technological circumstances—to ensure creative incentives. From tattoo artists to medical researchers, Nigerian filmmakers to roller derby players, the communities illustrated in this book demonstrate that creativity can thrive without legal incentives, and perhaps more strikingly, that some creative communities prefer, and thrive, in environments defined by self-regulation rather than legal rules. Beyond their value as descriptions of specific industries and communities, the accounts collected here help to ground debates over IP policy in the empirical realities of the creative process. Their parallels and divergences also highlight the value of rules that are sensitive to the unique mix of conditions and motivations of particular industries and communities, rather than the monoculture of uniform regulation of the current IP system.
Elizabeth Alford Pollock. Popular Culture, Piracy, and Outlaw Pedagogy: A Critique of the Miseducation of Davy Jones. Sense Publishers, 2014. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/93e66264-526f-48e6-9b22-5a9fc9d6b093
Popular Culture, Piracy, and Outlaw Pedagogy explores the relationship between power and resistance by critiquing the popular cultural image of the pirate represented in Pirates of the Caribbean. Of particular interest is the reliance on modernism’s binary good/evil, Sparrow/Jones, how the films’ distinguish the two concepts/characters via corruption, and what we may learn from this structure which I argue supports neoliberal ideologies of indifference towards the piratical Other. What became evident in my research is how the erasure of corruption via imperial and colonial codifications within seventeenth century systems of culture, class hierarchies, and language succeeded in its re-presentation of the pirate and members of a colonized India as corrupt individuals with empire emerging from the struggle as exempt from that corruption. This erasure is evidenced in Western portrayals of Somali pirates as corrupt Beings without any acknowledgement of transnational corporations’ role in provoking pirate resurgence in that region. This forces one to re-examine who the pirate is in this situation. Erasure is also evidenced in current interpretations of both Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Obama’s Race to the Top initiative. While NCLB created conditions through which corruption occurred, I demonstrate how Race to the Top erases that corruption from the institution of education by placing it solely into the hands of teachers, thus providing the institution a “free pass” to engage in any behavior it deems fit. What pirates teach us, then, are potential ways to thwart the erasure process by engaging a pedagogy of passion, purpose, radical love and loyalty to the people involved in the educational process.
Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Petar Jandrić, Ana Kuzmanić. Knowledge Commons and Activist Pedagogies: From Idealist Positions to Collective Actions. SensePublishers, 2017. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/30ed59e8-7d95-47d5-b37f-73de3a2e2c0b
Max Haiven. Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power: Capitalism, Creativity and the Commons. Zed Books, 2014. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/79da1290-aa12-41d4-a5cd-895d91f45c4f
Today, when it seems like everything has been privatized, when austerity is too often seen as an economic or political problem that can be solved through better policy, and when the idea of moral values has been commandeered by the right, how can we re-imagine the forces used as weapons against community, solidarity, ecology and life itself? In this stirring call to arms, Max Haiven argues that capitalism has colonized how we all imagine and express what is valuable. Looking at the decline of the public sphere, the corporatization of education, the privatization of creativity, and the power of finance capital in opposition to the power of the imagination and the growth of contemporary social movements, Haiven provides a powerful argument for creating an anti-capitalist commons. Not only is capitalism crisis itself, but moving beyond it is the only key to survival.
James Boyle. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. Yale University Press, 2008. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/5c2bcb6e-53a1-465a-b975-e432c2ac8b1a
In this enlightening book James Boyle describes what he calls the range wars of the information age—today’s heated battles over intellectual property. Boyle argues that just as every informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment or civil rights, every citizen should also understand intellectual property law. Why? Because intellectual property rights mark out the ground rules of the information society, and today’s policies are unbalanced, unsupported by evidence, and often detrimental to cultural access, free speech, digital creativity, and scientific innovation. Boyle identifies as a major problem the widespread failure to understand the importance of the public domain—the realm of material that everyone is free to use and share without permission or fee. The public domain is as vital to innovation and culture as the realm of material protected by intellectual property rights, he asserts, and he calls for a movement akin to the environmental movement to preserve it. With a clear analysis of issues ranging from Jefferson’s philosophy of innovation to musical sampling, synthetic biology and Internet file sharing, this timely book brings a positive new perspective to important cultural and legal debates. If we continue to enclose the “commons of the mind,” Boyle argues, we will all be the poorer.
Patrick Burkart. Pirate Politics: The New Information Policy Contests. MIT, 2014. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/38c1541f-ffc0-4d19-9848-7c20f05d3a7a
The Swedish Pirate Party emerged as a political force in 2006 when a group of software programmers and file-sharing geeks protested the police takedown of The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing search engine. The Swedish Pirate Party, and later the German Pirate Party, came to be identified with a free culture message that came into conflict with the European Union’s legal system. In this book, Patrick Burkart examines the emergence of Pirate politics as an umbrella cyberlibertarian movement that views file sharing as a form of free expression and advocates for the preservation of the Internet as a commons. He links the Pirate movement to the Green movement, arguing that they share a moral consciousness and an explicit ecological agenda based on the notion of a commons, or public domain. The Pirate parties, like the Green Party, must weigh ideological purity against pragmatism as they move into practical national and regional politics. Burkart uses second-generation critical theory and new social movement theory as theoretical perspectives for his analysis of the democratic potential of Pirate politics. After setting the Pirate parties in conceptual and political contexts, Burkart examines European antipiracy initiatives, the influence of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the pressure exerted on European governance by American software and digital exporters. He argues that pirate politics can be seen as cultural environmentalism, a defense of Internet culture against both corporate and state colonization.
Gary Hall. Pirate Philosophy: For a Digital Posthumanities. MIT Press, 2016. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/9e4351ea-258c-4216-939b-24c7e6b05d47
In Pirate Philosophy, Gary Hall considers whether the fight against the neoliberal corporatization of higher education in fact requires scholars to transform their own lives and labor. Is there a way for philosophers and theorists to act not just for or with the antiausterity and student protestors – “graduates without a future” – but in terms of their political struggles? Drawing on such phenomena as peer-to-peer file sharing and anticopyright/pro-piracy movements, Hall explores how those in academia can move beyond finding new ways of thinking about the world to find instead new ways of being theorists and philosophers in the world. Hall describes the politics of online sharing, the battles against the current intellectual property regime, and the actions of Anonymous, LulzSec, Aaron Swartz, and others, and he explains Creative Commons and the open access, open source, and free software movements. But in the heart of the book he considers how, when it comes to scholarly ways of creating, performing, and sharing knowledge, philosophers and theorists can challenge not just the neoliberal model of the entrepreneurial academic but also the traditional humanist model with its received ideas of proprietorial authorship, the book, originality, fixity, and the finished object. In other words, can scholars and students today become something like pirate philosophers?
Jerome H. Reichman, Tom Dedeurwaerdere, Paul F. Uhlir. Governing Digitally Integrated Genetic Resources, Data, and Literature: Global Intellectual Property Strategies for a Redesigned Microbial Research Commons. Cambridge University Press, 2016. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/10e6d501-5cfe-4c3c-9851-9149adef9ef6
The free exchange of microbial genetic information is an established public good, facilitating research on medicines, agriculture, and climate change. However, over the past quarter-century, access to genetic resources has been hindered by intellectual property claims from developed countries under the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement (1994) and by claims of sovereign rights from developing countries under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (1992). In this volume, the authors examine the scientific community’s responses to these obstacles and advise policymakers on how to harness provisions of the Nagoya Protocol (2010) that allow multilateral measures to support research. By pooling microbial materials, data, and literature in a carefully designed transnational e-infrastructure, the scientific community can facilitate access to essential research assets while simultaneously reinforcing the open access movement. The original empirical surveys of responses to the CBD included here provide a valuable addition to the literature on governing scientific knowledge commons.
Lucy Finchett-Maddock. Protest, Property and the Commons: Performances of Law and Resistance, Routledge, 2016. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/2655af82-f155-4dd3-ae93-3f733c7fee31
Protest, Property and the Commons: Performances of Law and Resistance examines the occupation of space as a mode of resistance. Drawing on the phenomena of social centres, as radical political communities that use the space of squatted, rented, or owned property, the book considers how such communities offer an alternative form of law to that of the state. It then goes on to address the relationship between this form of law recent protest phenomena, such as the Occupy movement. How does the performance of an alternative law enact a e~commonse(tm)? How and why is this manifested in the legal occupation of space? And what does this relationship between space and the commons indicate about the criminalisation of the occupation of space? Contributing to an ongoing re-imagination of the law of property, Protest, Property and the Commons will be of interest to anyone concerned with the role of law in political protest.
Monica Horten. A Copyright Masquerade: How Corporate Lobbying Threatens Online Freedoms, Zed Books, 2013. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/762d1215-d3ad-4185-94e1-dd22318c1802
When thousands marched through ice and snow against a copyright treaty, their cries for free speech on the Internet shot to the heart of the European Union and forced a political U-turn. The mighty entertainment industries could only stare in dismay, their back-room plans in tatters. This highly original analysis of three attempts to bring in new laws to defend copyright on the Internet - ACTA, Ley Sinde and the Digital Economy Act - investigates the dance of influence between lobbyists and their political proxies and unmasks the sophistry of their arguments. Copyright expert Monica Horten outlines the myriad ways that lobbyists contrived to bypass democratic process and persuade politicians to take up their cause in imposing an American corporate agenda. In doing so, she argues the case for stronger transparency in copyright policy-making. A Copyright Masquerade is essential reading for anyone who cares about copyright and the Internet, and to those who care about freedom of speech and good government.
Hector Postigo. The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright. MIT Press, 2012 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/d2e09be0-7561-4452-bdb4-fc802fa6feb7
The movement against restrictive digital copyright protection arose largely in response to the excesses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. In The Digital Rights Movement, Hector Postigo shows that what began as an assertion of consumer rights to digital content has become something broader: a movement concerned not just with consumers and gadgets but with cultural ownership. Increasingly stringent laws and technological measures are more than incoveniences; they lock up access to our “cultural commons.” Postigo describes the legislative history of the DMCA and how policy “blind spots” produced a law at odds with existing and emerging consumer practices. Yet the DMCA established a political and legal rationale brought to bear on digital media, the Internet, and other new technologies. Drawing on social movement theory and science and technology studies, Postigo presents case studies of resistance to increased control over digital media, describing a host of tactics that range from hacking to lobbying. Postigo discusses the movement’s new, user-centered conception of “fair use” that seeks to legitimize noncommercial personal and creative uses such as copying legitimately purchased content and remixing music and video tracks. He introduces the concept of technological resistance–when hackers and users design and deploy technologies that allows access to digital content despite technological protection mechanisms–as the flip side to the technological enforcement represented by digital copy protection and a crucial tactic for the movement.
Joost Smiers and Marieke van Schijndel. Imagine There Is No Copyright and No Cultural Conglomorates too…. Institute of Network Cultures, 2009. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/d4d853ae-29b5-4a65-aecd-80bfcb11349e
Andrew Lison, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak, Rick Prelinger. Archives. Meson Press, 2019 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/73163bf4-4558-4ab3-ad3e-b17bc7e5f92f
Archives have become a nexus in the wake of the digital turn. This book sets out to show how expanded archival practices can challenge contemporary conceptions and inform the redistribution of power and resources. Calling for the necessity to reimagine the potentials of archives in practice, the three contributions ask: Can archives fulfill their paradoxical potential as utopian sites in which the analog and the digital, the past and future, and remembrance and forgetting commingle?
Adrian Johns. Piracy: the intellectual property wars from Gutenberg to Gates. University Of Chicago, 2009. https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/3b648669-6cdd-48ca-acca-f5b07b0ae101
The recording industry’s panic over illegal downloads is nothing new; a century ago, London publishers faced a similar crisis when pirate editions of sheet music were widely available at significantly less cost. Similarly, the debate over pharmaceutical patents echoes an 18th-century dispute over the origins of Epsom salt. These are just two of the historical examples that Johns (The Nature of the Book) draws upon as he traces the tensions between authorized and unauthorized producers and distributors of books, music, and other intellectual property in British and American culture from the 17th century to the present. Johns’s history is liveliest when it is rooted in the personal—the 19th-century renegade bibliographer Samuel Egerton Brydges, for example, or the jazz and opera lovers who created a thriving network of bootleg recordings in the 1950s—but the shifting theoretical arguments about copyright and authorial property are presented in a cogent and accessible manner. Johns’s research stands as an important reminder that today’s intellectual property crises are not unprecedented, and offers a survey of potential approaches to a solution.
Jonas Andersson. For the good of the net: The Pirate Bay as strategic sovereign. Open Humanities Press, 2009 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/599d21af-fc40-4e36-8b30-3f3808ce4873
In this essay I will argue that as peer-to-peer (p2p)-based file-sharing increasingly becomes the norm for media acquisition among the general Internet public, entities such as The Pirate Bay and associated quasi-institutional entities such as Piratbyrån, Zeropaid, TorrentFreak, etc. have begun to appear less as a reactive force (i.e. ‘breaking the rules’) and more as a proactive one (‘setting the rules’). In providing platforms for sharing and for voicing dissent towards the established entertainment industry, the increasing autonomy gained by these piratical actors becomes more akin to the concept of ‘positive liberty’ than to a purely ‘negative,’ reactive one. 1 Rather than complain about the conservatism of established forms of distribution they simply create new, alternative ones. Entities such as The Pirate Bay can thus be said to have effectively had the ‘upper hand’ in the conflict over the future of copyright and digital distribution. They increasingly set the terms with regard to establishing not only technical protocols for distribution but also codes of behaviour and discursive norms. The entertainment industry is then forced to react to these terms. In this sense, the likes of The Pirate Bay become – in the language of French philosopher Michel de Certeau (1984) – strategic rather than tactical. With this, however, comes the added problem of becoming exposed by their opponents as visible perpetrators of particular acts. The strategic sovereignty of sites such as The Pirate Bay makes them appear to be the reason for the wider change in media distribution, not just an incidental side-effect of it.
Caren Irr. Pink Pirates: Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright. University of Iowa Press, 2010 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/3c065cd2-f1f2-440b-80ce-64f7948b4b7a
Today, copyright is everywhere, surrounded by a thicket of no trespassing signs that mark creative work as private property. Caren Irr’s Pink Pirates asks how contemporary novelists—represented by Ursula Le Guin, Andrea Barrett, Kathy Acker, and Leslie Marmon Silko—have read those signs, arguing that for feminist writers in particular copyright often conjures up the persistent exclusion of women from ownership. Bringing together voices from law schools, courtrooms, and the writer’s desk, Irr shows how some of the most inventive contemporary feminist novelists have reacted to this history. Explaining the complex, three-century lineage of Anglo-American copyright law in clear, accessible terms and wrestling with some of copyright law’s most deeply rooted assumptions, Irr sets the stage for a feminist reappraisal of the figure of the literary pirate in the late twentieth century—a figure outside the restrictive bounds of U.S. copyright statutes. Going beyond her readings of contemporary women authors, Irr’s exhaustive history of how women have fared under intellectual property regimes speaks to broader political, social, and economic implications and engages digital-era excitement about the commons with the most utopian and materialist strains in feminist criticism.
Margie Borschke. This Is Not a Remix: Piracy, Authenticity and Popular Music. Bloomsbury, 2017 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/14675205-bc62-4797-8876-6e9400b2b30e
Widespread distribution of recorded music via digital networks affects more than just business models and marketing strategies; it also alters the way we understand recordings, scenes and histories of popular music culture. This Is Not a Remix uncovers the analog roots of digital practices and brings the long history of copies and piracy into contact with contemporary controversies about the reproduction, use and circulation of recordings on the internet.Borschke examines the innovations that have sprung from the use of recording formats in grassroots music scenes, from the vinyl, tape and acetate that early disco DJs used to create remixes to the mp3 blogs and vinyl revivalists of the 21st century. This is Not A Remix challenges claims that ‘remix culture’ is a substantially new set of innovations and highlights the continuities and contradictions of the Internet era. Through an historical focus on copy as a property and practice, This Is Not a Remix focuses on questions about the materiality of media, its use and the aesthetic dimensions of reproduction and circulation in digital networks. Through a close look at sometimes illicit forms of composition-including remixes, edits, mashup, bootlegs and playlists-Borschke ponders how and why ideals of authenticity persist in networked cultures where copies and copying are ubiquitous and seemingly at odds with romantic constructions of authorship. By teasing out unspoken assumptions about media and culture, this book offers fresh perspectives on the cultural politics of intellectual property in the digital era and poses questions about the promises, possibilities and challenges of network visibility and mobility.
Boatema Boateng. The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana.University Of Minnesota Press, 2011 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/803364ab-a23b-420f-8f86-32f6ef05f0bc
In Ghana, adinkra and kente textiles derive their significance from their association with both Asante and Ghanaian cultural nationalism. Adinkra, made by stenciling patterns with black dye, and kente, a type of strip weaving, each convey, through color, style, and adornment, the bearer’s identity, social status, and even emotional state. Yet both textiles have been widely mass-produced outside Ghana, particularly in East Asia, without any compensation to the originators of the designs. In The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here, Boatema Boateng focuses on the appropriation and protection of adinkra and kente cloth in order to examine the broader implications of the use of intellectual property law to preserve folklore and other traditional forms of knowledge. Boateng investigates the compatibility of indigenous practices of authorship and ownership with those established under intellectual property law, considering the ways in which both are responses to the changing social and historical conditions of decolonization and globalization. Comparing textiles to the more secure copyright protection that Ghanaian musicians enjoy under Ghanaian copyright law, she demonstrates that different forms of social, cultural, and legal capital are treated differently under intellectual property law. Boateng then moves beyond Africa, expanding her analysis to the influence of cultural nationalism among the diaspora, particularly in the United States, on the appropriation of Ghanaian and other African cultures for global markets. Boateng’s rich ethnography brings to the surface difficult challenges to the international regulation of both contemporary and traditional concepts of intellectual property, and questions whether it can even be done.
Adrian Johns. Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010
Johns, an expert in the field of intellectual property and piracy, walks us through the history of pirate radio. Pirate radio stations were most famously a British phenomenon (although many other countries had their own versions of these outlaw broadcasters); they operated from offshore sites, usually a boat, skirting the British regulations regarding license fees, broadcast rights, etc. The BBC saw them as illegal and disreputable, but the pirate broadcasters and their listeners (and even many artists) thought they were exciting and indispensable. The end of British pirate radio came soon after a partnership between two colorful station owners, Oliver Smedley and Reg Calvert, ended in violence, property theft, and death.
Noam Chomsky. Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World. Haymarket Books, 2015 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/54b6baaa-fe93-4b2e-b6cc-4453bd8db1dd
This updated edition of Noam Chomsky’s classic dis-section of terrorism explores the role of the U.S. in the Middle East, and reveals how the media manipulates -public opinion about what constitutes “terrorism.” This edition includes new chapters covering the second Palestinian intifada that began in October 2000; an analysis of the impact of September 11 on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East; a deconstruction of depictions and perceptions of terrorism since that date; as well as the original sections on Iran and the U.S. bombing of Libya. Chomsky starts by tracing the changing meaning of “terrorism,” examining how it originally referred to violent acts by “governments designed to ensure popular submission.” He calls its current application “retail terrorism,” practiced by “thieves who molest the powerful.” Chomsky argues that appreciating the differences between state terror and nongovernmental terror is crucial to stopping terrorism, and understanding why atrocities like the bombing of the World Trade Center happen. In comparing the “war on terror” launched by George W. Bush to that of his father and Ronald Reagan’s administrations, Chomsky recalls Winston Churchill’s summation of the terror by the powerful: “The rich and powerful have every right to demand that they be left in peace to enjoy what they have gained, often by violence and terror; the rest can be ignored as long as they suffer in silence, but if they interfere with the lives of those who rule the world by right, the ‘terrors of the earth’ will be visited upon them with righteous wrath, unless power is constrained from within.” Pirates and Emperors is a brilliant account of the workings of state terrorism by the world’s foremost critic of U.S. imperialism. An internationally acclaimed philosopher, linguist, and political activist, Noam Chomsky teaches at MIT. International Terrorism in the Real World
Rodolphe Durand, Jean-Philippe Vergne. The Pirate Organization: Lessons From the Fringes of Capitalism. Harvard Business Press, 2012 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/0164f5ee-5a34-47a3-82f7-97d35cb1c1a5
When capitalism spread along the trade routes toward the Indies…when radio opened an era of mass communication . . . when the Internet became part of the global economy…pirates were there. And although most people see pirates as solitary anarchists out to destroy capitalism, it turns out the opposite is true. They are the ones who forge the path. In The Pirate Organization, Rodolphe Durand and Jean-Philippe Vergne argue that piracy drives capitalism’s evolution and foreshadows the direction of the economy. Through a rigorous yet engaging analysis of the history and golden ages of piracy, the authors show how pirates form complex and sophisticated organizations that change the course of capitalism. Surprisingly, pirate organizations also behave in predictable ways: challenging widespread norms; controlling resources, communication, and transportation; maintaining trade relationships with other communities; and formulating strategies favoring speed and surprise. We could learn a lot from them—if only we paid more attention. Durand and Vergne recommend that rather than trying to stamp out piracy, savvy entrepreneurs and organizations should keep a sharp eye on the pirate space to stay successful as the game changes—and it always does. First published in French to great critical acclaim and commercial success as L’Organisation Pirate: Essai sur l’évolution du capitalisme, this book shows that piracy is not random. It’s predictable, it cannot be separated from capitalism, and it likely will be the source of capitalism’s continuing evolution.
Peter Ludlow. Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias. MIT Press, 2001 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/46519a68-0abc-404a-9598-641a9251649b
In Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias, Peter Ludlow extends the approach he used so successfully in High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, offering a collection of writings that reflects the eclectic nature of the online world, as well as its tremendous energy and creativity. This time the subject is the emergence of governance structures within online communities and the visions of political sovereignty shaping some of those communities. Ludlow views virtual communities as laboratories for conducting experiments in the construction of new societies and governance structures. While many online experiments will fail, Ludlow argues that given the synergy of the online world, new and superior governance structures may emerge. Indeed, utopian visions are not out of place, provided that we understand the new utopias to be fleeting localized “islands in the Net” and not permanent institutions. The book is organized in five sections. The first section considers the sovereignty of the Internet. The second section asks how widespread access to resources such as Pretty Good Privacy and anonymous remailers allows the possibility of “Crypto Anarchy” – essentially carving out space for activities that lie outside the purview of nation states and other traditional powers. The third section shows how the growth of e-commerce is raising questions of legal jurisdiction and taxation for which the geographic boundaries of nation-states are obsolete. The fourth section looks at specific experimental governance structures evolved by online communities. The fifth section considers utopian and anti-utopian visions for cyberspace.
Pirates and Publishers: A Social History of Copyright in Modern China Authors: Fei-Hsien Wang Publisher: Princeton University Press Series: Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute Year: 2019 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/557fb350-fbe2-4236-81cc-64e55f9fb196
A detailed historical look at how copyright was negotiated and protected by authors, publishers, and the state in late imperial and modern China. In Pirates and Publishers, Fei-Hsien Wang reveals the unknown social and cultural history of copyright in China from the 1890s through the 1950s, a time of profound sociopolitical changes. Wang draws on a vast range of previously underutilized archival sources to show how copyright was received, appropriated, and practiced in China, within and beyond the legal institutions of the state. Contrary to common belief, copyright was not a problematic doctrine simply imposed on China by foreign powers with little regard for Chinese cultural and social traditions. Shifting the focus from the state legislation of copyright to the daily, on-the-ground negotiations among Chinese authors, publishers, and state agents, Wang presents a more dynamic, nuanced picture of the encounter between Chinese and foreign ideas and customs. Developing multiple ways for articulating their understanding of copyright, Chinese authors, booksellers, and publishers played a crucial role in its growth and eventual institutionalization in China. These individuals enforced what they viewed as copyright to justify their profit, protect their books, and crack down on piracy in a changing knowledge economy. As China transitioned from a late imperial system to a modern state, booksellers and publishers created and maintained their own economic rules and regulations when faced with the absence of an effective legal framework. Exploring how copyright was transplanted, adopted, and practiced, Pirates and Publishers demonstrates the pivotal roles of those who produce and circulate knowledge.
Low Power to the People: Pirates, Protest, and Politics in FM Radio Activism Authors: Christina Dunbar-Hester Publisher: MIT Press Series: Inside Technology Year: 2014 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/8cc5ce44-31e5-4e58-b6c6-66d5c5e21c78
The United States ushered in a new era of small-scale broadcasting in 2000 when it began issuing low-power FM (LPFM) licenses for noncommercial radio stations around the country. Over the next decade, several hundred of these newly created low-wattage stations took to the airwaves. In Low Power to the People, Christina Dunbar-Hester describes the practices of an activist organization focused on LPFM during this era. Despite its origins as a pirate broadcasting collective, the group eventually shifted toward building and expanding regulatory access to new, licensed stations. These radio activists consciously cast radio as an alternative to digital utopianism, promoting an understanding of electronic media that emphasizes the local community rather than a global audience of Internet users.Dunbar-Hester focuses on how these radio activists impute emancipatory politics to the “old” medium of radio technology by promoting the idea that “microradio” broadcasting holds the potential to empower ordinary people at the local community level. The group’s methods combine political advocacy with a rare commitment to hands-on technical work with radio hardware, although the activists’ hands-on, inclusive ethos was hampered by persistent issues of race, class, and gender. Dunbar-Hester’s study of activism around an “old” medium offers broader lessons about how political beliefs are expressed through engagement with specific technologies. It also offers insight into contemporary issues in media policy that is particularly timely as the FCC issues a new round of LPFM licenses. Title: Creativity and Its Discontents: China’s Creative Industries and Intellectual Property Rights Offenses Authors: Laikwan Pang Publisher: Duke University Press Year: 2012 https://library.memoryoftheworld.org/#/book/70653f2d-22b6-4496-be92-05ea7d449ad0
Creativity and Its Discontents is a sharp critique of the intellectual property rights (IPR)–based creative economy, particularly as it is embraced or ignored in China. Laikwan Pang argues that the creative economy—in which creativity is an individual asset to be commodified and protected as property—is an intensification of Western modernity and capitalism at odds with key aspects of Chinese culture. Nevertheless, globalization has compelled China to undertake endeavors involving intellectual property rights. Pang examines China’s IPR-compliant industries, as well as its numerous copyright violations. She describes how China promotes intellectual property rights in projects such as the development of cultural tourism in the World Heritage city of Lijiang, the transformation of Hong Kong cinema, and the cultural branding of Beijing. Meanwhile, copyright infringement proliferates, angering international trade organizations. Pang argues that piracy and counterfeiting embody the intimate connection between creativity and copying. She points to the lack of copyright protections for Japanese anime as the motor of China’s dynamic anime culture. Theorizing the relationship between knockoffs and appropriation art, Pang offers an incisive interpretation of China’s flourishing art scene. Creativity and Its Discontents is a refreshing rejoinder to uncritical celebrations of the creative economy.
On the concept of Civil Disobedience
Beyond Doing Good: Civil Disobedience as Design Pedagogy Authors: Hannah Rose Mendoza Publisher: The MIT Press Year: 2011
In Praise of Disobedience: The Soul of Man Under Socialism and Other Works Authors: Oscar Wilde Publisher: Verso Year: 2018
Works of Wilde’s annus mirabilis of 1891 in one volume, with an introduction by renowned British playwright. In Praise of Disobedience draw on works from a single miraculous year in which Oscar Wilde published the larger part of his greatest works in prose — the year he came into maturity as an artist. Before the end of 1891, he had written the first of his phenomenally successful plays and met the young man who would win his heart, beginning the love affair that would lead to imprisonment and public infamy. In a witty introduction, playwright, novelist and Wilde scholar Neil Bartlett explains what made this point in the writer’s life central to his genius and why Wilde remains a provocative and radical figure to this day.
Carl Cohen. “Seven Arguments Against Civil Disobedience”. Chapter 6, Civil Disobedience: Conscience, Tactics, and the Law. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.
Critical Art Ensamble. Electronic Civil Disobedience and Other Unpopular Ideas. 1995.
Hannah Arendt. “Civil Disobedience” , in Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics, Civil Disobedience, on Violence, Thoughts on Politics and Revolution. HMH, 1972.
“Civil Disobedience” examines various opposition movements, from the Freedom Riders to the war resisters to the segregationists.
A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil Authors: Candice Delmas Publisher: Oxford University Press Year: 2018
What are our responsibilities in the face of injustice? How far should we go to fight it? Many would argue that as long as a state is nearly just, citizens have a moral duty to obey the law. Proponents of civil disobedience generally hold that, given this moral duty, a person needs a solid justification to break the law. But activists from Henry David Thoreau and Mohandas Gandhi to the Movement for Black Lives have long recognized that there are times when, rather than having a duty to obey the law, we have a duty to disobey it. Taking seriously the history of this activism, A Duty to Resist wrestles with the problem of political obligation in real world societies that harbor injustice. Candice Delmas argues that the duty of justice, the principle of fairness, the Samaritan duty, and political association impose responsibility to resist under conditions of injustice. We must expand political obligation to include a duty to resist unjust laws and social conditions even in legitimate states. For Delmas, this duty to resist demands principled disobedience, and such disobedience need not always be civil. At times, covert, violent, evasive, or offensive acts of lawbreaking can be justified, even required. Delmas defends the viability and necessity of illegal assistance to undocumented migrants, leaks of classified information, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, sabotage, armed self-defense, guerrilla art, and other modes of resistance. There are limits: principle alone does not justify law breaking. But uncivil disobedience can sometimes be not only permissible but required in the effort to resist injustice.
Civil Disobedience: Protest, Justification and the Law Authors: Tony Milligan Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic Year: 2013
Civil disobedience is a form of protest with a special standing with regards to the law that sets it apart from political violence. Such principled law-breaking has been witnessed in recent years over climate change, economic strife, and the treatment of animals. Civil disobedience is examined here in the context of contemporary political activism, in the light of classic accounts by Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Gandhi to call for a broader attitude towards what civil disobedience involves. The question of violence is discussed, arguing that civil disobedience need only be aspirationally non-violent and that although some protests do not clearly constitute law-breaking they may render people liable to arrest. For example, while there may not be violence against persons, there may be property damage, as seen in raids upon animal laboratories. Such forms of militancy raise ethical and legal questions. Arguing for a less restrictive theory of civil disobedience, the book will be a valuable resource for anyone studying social movements and issues of political philosophy, social justice, and global ethics.
Civil Disobedience Authors: William E. Scheuerman Publisher: Polity Year: 2018
What is civil disobedience? Although Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King helped to bring the idea to prominence, even today it remains unclear how we should best understand civil disobedience. Why have so many different activists and intellectuals embraced it, and to what ends? Is civil disobedience still politically relevant in today’s hyper-connected world? Does it make sense, for example, to describe Edward Snowden’s actions, or those of recent global movements like Occupy, as falling under this rubric? If so, how must it adapt to respond to the challenges of digitalization and globalization and the rise of populist authoritarianism in the West? In this elegantly written introductory text, William E. Scheuerman systematically analyzes the most important interpretations of civil disobedience. Drawing out the striking differences separating religious, liberal, radical democratic, and anarchist views, he nonetheless shows that core commonalities remain. Against those who water down the idea of civil disobedience or view it as obsolescent, Scheuerman successfully salvages its central elements. The concept of civil disobedience, he argues, remains a pivotal tool for anyone hoping to bring about political and social change.
Act Up. Civil Disobedience Training Manual.
Occupy: Three Inquiries in Disobedience Authors: W. J. T. Mitchell, Bernard E. Harcourt, Michael Taussig Publisher: University of Chicago Press Year: 2013
Mic check! Mic check! Lacking amplification in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street protestors addressed one another by repeating and echoing speeches throughout the crowd. In Occupy, W. J. T. Mitchell, Bernard E. Harcourt, and Michael Taussig take the protestors’ lead and perform their own resonant call-and-response, playing off of each other in three essays that engage the extraordinary Occupy movement that has swept across the world, examining everything from self-immolations in the Middle East to the G8 crackdown in Chicago to the many protest signs still visible worldwide. “You break through the screen like Alice in Wonderland,” Taussig writes in the opening essay, “and now you can’t leave or do without it.” Following Taussig’s artful blend of participatory ethnography and poetic meditation on Zuccotti Park, political and legal scholar Harcourt examines the crucial difference between civil and political disobedience. He shows how by effecting the latter—by rejecting the very discourse and strategy of politics—Occupy Wall Street protestors enacted a radical new form of protest. Finally, media critic and theorist Mitchell surveys the global circulation of Occupy images across mass and social media and looks at contemporary works by artists such as Antony Gormley and how they engage the body politic, ultimately examining the use of empty space itself as a revolutionary monument. Occupy stands not as a primer on or an authoritative account of 2011’s revolutions, but as a snapshot, a second draft of history, beyond journalism and the polemics of the moment—an occupation itself.
Art, Disobedience, and Ethics: The Adventure of Pedagogy Authors: Dennis Atkinson Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Year: 2017
This book explores art practice and learning as processes that break new ground, through which new perceptions of self and world emerge. Examining art practice in educational settings where emphasis is placed upon a pragmatics of the ‘suddenly possible’, Atkinson looks at the issues of ethics, aesthetics, and politics of learning and teaching. These learning encounters drive students beyond the security of established patterns of learning into new and modified modes of thinking, feeling, seeing, and making.
Cyber Disobedience Authors: Jeff Shantz Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Year: 2014
Few activities have captured the contemporary popular imagination as hacking and online activism, from Anonymous and beyond. Few political ideas have gained more notoriety recently than anarchism. Yet both remain misunderstood and much maligned. /Cyber Disobedience/ provides the most engaging and detailed analysis of online civil disobedience and anarchism today.
The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet Authors: Molly Sauter Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic Year: 2014
What is Hacktivism? In The Coming Swarm, Molly Sauter examines the history, development, theory, and practice of distributed denial of service actions as a tactic of political activism. The internet is a vital arena of communication, self expression, and interpersonal organizing. When there is a message to convey, words to get out, or people to unify, many will turn to the internet as a theater for that activity. As familiar and widely accepted activist tools-petitions, fundraisers, mass letter-writing, call-in campaigns and others-find equivalent practices in the online space, is there also room for the tactics of disruption and civil disobedience that are equally familiar from the realm of street marches, occupations, and sit-ins? With a historically grounded analysis, and a focus on early deployments of activist DDOS as well as modern instances to trace its development over time, The Coming Swarm uses activist DDOS actions as the foundation of a larger analysis of the practice of disruptive civil disobedience on the internet.
Walden and on the Duty of Civil Disobedience Authors: Henry David Thoreau Publisher: Emereo Year: 2012
Encompassing aspects of autobiography, spiritual treatise, political declaration, and historical commentary, Henry David Thoreaus Walden is one of the classic greats to be revisited by all audiences as an example of achievement in both breadth and beauty. Thoreau masterfully blends his personal opinions on topics from economy and education with elegant prose describing his peaceful paradise at Walden. Walden makes the rare presentation of an idealist viewpoint in a far from ideal world.
Civil Disobedience in Focus Authors: Hugo Adam Bedau Publisher: Routledge Year: 1991
Although the issue of civil disobedience has been discussed as early as 399 B.C., this topic continues to be at the center of much recent debate in the wake of events such as Tiananmen Square and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. “Civil Disobedience in” “Focus” assembles all the basic materials, both classic and contemporary, needed for the philosophical assessment of this controversial subject. The first part of this work explores the three most influential classic arguments: Plato in the “Crito,” Thoreau in the 1840s, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s. The second part of this book shifts to a contemporary philosophical discussion setting forth the most important reflections by a number of today’s leading thinkers. Included is John Rawls’s definition and justification of civil disobedience in liberal democracy which has provoked much dicussion. The other essays, written by contemporary British and American thinkers, bring into sharp relief the issues – conceptual, normative, and political – raised in the classic arguments. A stimulating edition, “Civil Disobedience in” “Focus” will be invaluable to students of ethics, social/political philosophy, and philosophy of law, as well as to activists.
- > Myth busting!
- > Collective memory writing by criminalized activists
- > Call out cops! Call out the system!
- > Don't be an asshole!
- > Read & Disrupt
- > Challenge the rulings!
Understanding whys and hows of criminalization of solidarity
Keywords: criminalization, police, state, governmentality, crimmigration, migrants, refugees, Police (cops) violence/coercion
When Cédric Herrou was handcuffed and taken to jail by a few police officers, the news worldwide portrayed him as a criminal. One didn’t even have to ask why but assumed that helping illegal crossings of migrants from Italy to France was terribly wrong. The mere fact that he helped an illegal migrant move justified the ways the repressive apparatus of the state treated him - publicly handcuffed and subjected to further punitive procedures. Accused of smuggling and taken into four-month custody, Herrou was brought to a trial. The trial was turned against Herrou both in the courtroom and publicly as helping the illegal crossings of refugees was strongly condemned. However, a few months later, the principle of fraternity enshrined in the French constitution lead to Herrou’s release, as it conferred the freedom to provide humanitarian assistance and help others regardless whether they were legally or illegally present on the territory.
A recently published report Humanitarianism: the unacceptable face of solidarity discusses prosecution of more than 40 individuals who dared to assist migrants and refugees in crossing the sea or land borders irregularly. It covers case studies that speak to the rigidity of migration management and regulation of civic disobedience-in-solidarity with migrants and refugees. A recent case of a war veteran Dragan Umičević of Are You Syrious, who helped a group of refugees including six children freezing in winter at the Croatian-Serbian border, or Scott Warren of No more deaths in Arizona who helped two undocumented migrants along the US-Mexico border, or a volunteer and Syrian refugee Sarah Mardini of Emergency Response Centre International, who was arrested for her humanitarian work in Moira camp, or a ship captain Carola Rackete of Sea-Watch, who docked the migrant rescue ship in the port of Lampedusa without authorization, or a mayor of Riace Domenico Lucano, who was arrested under accusation of aiding illegal immigrants - all those events speak strongly of clampdown on solidarity actions with migrants and refugees. These people and their organization, just as numerous others that stay invisible and hidden from public sight, have come under state prosecution instrumentalizing the rigid anti-smuggling legal provisions. Fekete notes that “The emergence of autonomous migrant and refugee solidarity movements and the lengths individuals were prepared to go to help were perceived by states as a threat to their control of borders.”
The border control and the security obsession as coined by Mattelart (2010) have been strongly inscribed in the current European, American and global migration regimes. They have been labelling migrants and refugees as threats and creating an industry enemizing them and those who identify and solidarize with them.
Illegal or irregular crossings of migrants represent one of the most serious violations of entering foreign sovereign territory within the complex web of punitive technologies entailed in the migration management regimes. Both migrants who are perceived as bodies carrying the culture of criminality (cf. Harvest of Empire) and helpers, whether they help crossings for the intrinsic reasons or for the extrinsic reason of money, are represented as criminals. The current migration regime treats them all as smugglers and criminals alike so that the logical and only next step is incarceration and punishment. That representation is perpetual due to its productive spread - it is not only centralized in state actors but among the public too. We sure can notice the spill-over effects within societies, where the fear of danger and unsafety stoked by intense propaganda we have been exposed to in our everyday lives (remember Viktor Orbán or Matteo Salvini’s political agendas) mobilized defence mechanisms. Drawing on the Foucauldian approach, the governmentality of criminalization of migration (i.e. crimmigration) and criminalization of solidarity has permeated different spaces.
Criminalization of solidarity through humanitarian assistance represents violation of the international humanitarian law and international human rights law as well as a violation of constitutions and legislations of liberal democracies. It is also deeply counter-human and counter-social. Yet, the production of fear and danger has been extremely pervasive, thus deteriorating social trust and deepening the harm perpetuated against refugees and migrants.
Such political tendencies call for anti-hegemonic counter-actions that can create openings for envisioning possibilities of creating solidarity and radicalizing both political spaces and our responses. The sessions that follow offer a pedagogy that invites people and groups who are willing to act locally in this transnationally connected political space to reconsider how to tackle the complexities of criminalization of solidarity. The pedagogical ideas here are calling for a critical shift and a politicization of these troubled realities.
Sessions in this topic include:
- Myth busting!
- Call out cops! Call out the system!
- Challenge the rulings!
- Don't be an asshole!
- Read & Disrupt
- Collective memory writing by criminalized activists
mythbusting, collectivememorywritingbycriminalizedactivists, calloutcopscalloutsystem, dontbeanasshole, readanddisrupt, challengetherulings
Reports and Press Releases
- Are You Syrious: When governments turn against volunteers
- Centre for Peace Studies: Criminalisation of Solidarity in the EU International Federation for Human Rights: Joint statement: The EU must stop the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants and refugees
- Institute of Race Relations: When citizens won’t be silenced: citizens’ solidarity and crimminalization
- 87 European organisations call on Hungary to withdraw proposed laws targeting groups working with migrants and refugees
- Emilie Aho & Jonatan Grinde,2017.‘Shrinking space for civil society - challenges in implementing the 2030 Agenda’.Forum SYD.
- Lina Vosyliūtė & Carmine Conte,2019.‘Crackdown on NGOs and volunteers helping rfugees and other migrants: Final synthetic report’.Research Social Platform on Migration and Asylum.
- Polly Pallister-Wilkins,2018.‘Criminalising Αssistance and Solidarity: The ERCI Case and Beyond’.Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean.
- Emmaüs Roya - https://defendstacitoyennete.fr
- Border Angels - https://www.borderangels.org
- Docs not Cops - http://www.docsnotcops.co.uk
- Patients not Passports - https://patientsnotpassports.co.uk
- Migrants Organise - https://www.migrantsorganise.org
- Shapshots from the borders - http://www.snapshotsfromtheborders.eu/criminalization-of-solidarity/
- Institute of Race Relations - Inside Racist Europe
- Inderpal Grewal,2017.‘Saving the Security State: Exceptional Citizens in Twenty-First-Century America’.Duke University.
- Sergio Carrera, Gabriella Sanches, Lina Vosyliūtė, Stephanie Smialowski & Jennifer Allsopp,2018.‘Fit for purpose?: The Facilitation Directive and the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants: 2018 update’.Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs, Directorate General for Internal .
- Liz Fekete,2018.‘Migrants, borders and the criminalisation of solidarity in the EU’.
- Martina Tazzioli,2018.‘Crimes of solidarity: Migration and containment through rescue’.Radical Philosophy.
- Understanding what and how crafts public perceptions of certain groups in certain times, and how moral panic informs our daily actions
- Disrupting common ways of perceiving and representing migrants, refugees and volunteers who solidarize with them
Barometer is often used method when we want to question our and others’ positionality and attitudes towards a problem or an issue that arises and pertains to our socio-political context. This method is not a debate or an argument but rather a personal positioning and reflecting. Deploying this method requires focus and good facilitation (it can be facilitated by one or more people or by the group itself, although that might be a challenge for those involved).
Barometer is an activity that requires an action coordinating body and mind. It is a physically drawn line in the space with two ends that represent a spectrum agree-disagree. The participants are asked to position themselves along the line in reference to the level of their (dis)agreement with the statement that facilitator(s) reads. Statements are usually provocative and critical, and they might be painful for some participants. Facilitator(s) can decide whether they will go with one or more statements, depending on where the group is at.
In this activity, participants are asked to position themselves and explain their positionality, reflect on their decisions and actions, question their own way of seeing things. They are asked to articulate their thoughts. They are asked not to respond to others but rather use others’sresponses to think about their own repositioning.
Once a statement is read, participants are asked to position themselves, and that is when the “conversation” starts. Facilitator(s) should remind participants not to respond to others. Also, facilitators should ask, after a few people have talked, if someone changed their mind and would like to reposition. It is crucial in this activity to hear voices along the whole spectrum.
Time: 30 minutes to 120 minutes
Legal is ethical!
Solidarity is crime!
Cops are just doing their job!
- Documenting and reflecting on the experiences of criminalization
- Building a community of trust and healing
Method: Collective memory writing
Collective memory writing is a method developed by Frigga Haug, a German philospher and feminist. Haug gathered women facing political violence after the fall of the Berlin wall and facilitated the process of reminiscing and writing memories. The method has been widely used in activist and academic spaces ever since and has been modified to fit the needs of various groups.
Haug’s method is structured around a few parameters (see below). However, the method can and should be adjusted to different contexts and situations. The method is a process of writing down personal stories and experiences that are later on shared with the whole group that takes on the process of analysis. Sharing and collaborative analysis is a space of healing as well as of critique of the structures and systemic oppression.
Groups can decide whether they want to publish the work, present it through academic or artistic forms or keep it as an internal tool that will define further political actions.
Time: 2 - 4 hours a week individually & 2 - 4 hours a week in a group for a month or more (groups can define the length of the process)
- Providing critique to policing migrants and refugees and those who solidarize with them
- Deconstruct the systemic justification of the punitive and repressive actions against the illegals who are construed as a threat and an enemy
Method: Direct action
Organizing direct action is both a common and uncommon way of addressing police violence and coercion many citizens/volunteers are subjected to. There are various examples when people/activists went out in the streets and protested against police and state violence. Lately, many activists, priests, firefighters, doctors and others were criminalized because they helped undocumented migrants or refugees in different ways. Those coercive and often violent actions provoke counter-responses by local or translocal/national groups.
- Creating and handing out a booklet intended for citizens, teachers, medical workers focusing on migrant and refugee rights and local systems of solidarity that act in opposition of police and state violence
- Creating and publicly displaying (i.e. on buildings, on the street, on billboards) a local map and timeline of police activity against solidarity actions
- Making stickers and placing them in public places such as public transport, hospitals, schools, parks etc.
- Walking through the town with banners and leaflets
- Protesting on a larger scale (there are a number of online resources on how to organize a protest)
Time: 2 days and more…
- What/Whom do we need to address?
- How will we address it? What is the way we want to deliver our message?
- Whom do we collaborate with?
- How will we prepare the scenario/choreography?
- What do we need?
- What are the repercussions for those who we solidarize with? What are the repercussions for us and myself?
- How will we cope with repercussions and provide an on-going critique?
- Critical understanding of one’s own complicity in criminalizing others
- Finding one’s own way to support and solidarize with those subjected to dehumanization and criminalization
- Challenge common legal and institutional practices of criminalization
‘A little prison in the Hedgehog’s land’ is a picture book addressing the criminalization of the so-called illegal migrant/refugee wandering through the woods and running from danger. The book was inspired by the tale Ježeva kučica (Hedgehog’s Home) in which a hedgehog is in search of a home. The title and the story were modified to tell the story of the detention centre in Ježevo (“Hedgehog land”) near Zagreb, the Croatian capital. The book was made by the group of students and a mentor at the Centre for Peace Studies in Croatia. The book consists of two parts, one that is a story to read, reflect on and discuss, and the other that represents a game. The booklet can be used in both ways or separately, depending on the specific purpose and time frame.
Note: The booklet is in Croatian language only and is not accessible online for now.
Time: 90 to 120 minutes
- Pausing and taking time for reading and unpacking the texts that grapple with the complexities of criminalization of solidarity
- Building one’s own and group’s methods of solidarizing with migrants and refugees, and resisting state control and violence
Method: Reading group
Time: 2 hours biweekly (or any other preference)
- Taking time to comprehend and rethink our complex realities
- Joining others in a meaningful discussion
- Finding and becoming part of a space that creates different realities
- Expanding the list of readings and ideas on how to read and discuss critically
- Possible creative responses beyond reading to the outer context
- Understanding ways how the criminalization of solidarity operates through state and judicial practices
- Sharpening personal lenses to recognize state and police violence
- Reading legal texts with confidence and disrupting the inaccessibility of legalese
(in a human rights organization, in a classroom, at a coffee shop, round table, workshop, conference…) based on the analysis of a court ruling
Time: 90 minutes and possibly more
- A court ruling
- Aliens Act
- video of Are You Syrious’s reaction at the European Parliament
Guiding Questions for Analysis
Questions of Comprehension
- What are the facts entailed in this ruling?
- How this ruling relates to the Aliens Act and its provision on the criminalization of solidarity?
- What is hidden in the ruling? What can we not read here? (personal motivation of Dragan, for instance)
- Why does the Aliens Act not protect Dragan Umičević? What kind of message are the courts delivering with this ruling?
- How does the criminalization of solidarity look like in this particular case? What are the consequences Dragan and Are you Syrious must bare?
- Why is the criminalization of solidarity harmful broadly and not just for Dragan and Are You Syrious?
- What are the ways to stand against such criminalization?
- What are the ways that more groups and individuals can act similarly to Dragan and support migrants on their perilous journeys?
- > Pirates of the Central Mediterranean
- > We are all on the same ship, aren’t we?
- > From an affinity group to an activist organization
- > Undoing the division carer / cared for
Sea Rescue as Care
Piracy in the early eighteenth century was, at bottom, a struggle for life against socially organized death.1
This definition of piracy, however, was surely not the one that former Italian minister of interior Matteo Salvini had in mind, when he proclaimed “yet another act of Piracy by an outlaw organization”, in June 2019, after the crew of Sea-Watch 3 had rescued 52 people from a rubber boat in distress.2 And yet, the struggle that has been going on for five years in the central Mediterranean Sea is just that: a struggle for life against socially organized death. European states have created a zone at their margins, where all their proclaimed values, their human and civil rights are suspended; a state of exception that reduces the sea to a weapon, people to bargaining chips – and the fluid southern frontier of EUrope to the deadliest border in the world.3
The European activists who oppose this state of exception are of course neither pirates in the historical, nor in the legal or ideational sense: If, according to Markus Rediker, historical piracy was a (class) struggle for the pirate’s own life, which presupposed sheer defiance of death itself4, then civil sea rescue activism is primarily a fight in solidarity, starting off from the privileged position that it is not the activist’s own life that is at stake. Nonetheless, the parallels that Matteo Salvini’s repeated accusations of piracy unintentionally point to can’t be ignored when looking at civil sea rescue as an act of pirate care: “the term pirate has been highly ideological from antiquity forward, functioning more or less as the maritime equivalent of barbarian—that is, anyone who was an enemy of the Romans."5
While the sea rescuers were surely declared public enemy Numero Uno in Rome, at least in the first half of 2019, the question arises; does their intervention represent a modern act of symbolic piracy (in the best sense)? Or, in other words: can humanitarian emergency aid also be an act of political resistance? The state’s reaction surely suggests so. While the Atlantic pirates of the golden age – a tellingly short time from 1716 until 1727 – were quickly faced with a campaign of terror by “royal officials, attorneys, merchants, publicists, clergymen, and writers who created, through proclamations, legal briefs, petitions, pamphlets, sermons, and newspaper articles, an image of the pirate that would legitimate his annihilation”6 the modern nation states of the EU undertook their very own campaign to ‘cleanse the seas’. But let’s start from the beginning.
From Illegal Immigration to Humanitarian Border Management
After heavily relying on low-cost migrant labour in the years after the second world war, due to reconstruction and a lack of ‘manpower’, the Oil Shock in 1973 turned the tables and brought the economical boom to an abrupt end. One of the reactions of the countries affected was to restrict labour immigration7. The tightening of the visa regime not only laid the foundation for today’s European border policy – and thus the so-called “refugee crisis in the Mediterranean” – but also set its constitutive dispositif: illegality. As Philippe Fargues summed it up for the International Organization for Migration (IOM): “It is common sense to state that illegality is a product of how legality is defined and the law enforced, and this applies to migration just as to any other phenomenon.”
The illegalisation however, didn’t stop the migratory flow, for reasons which Italian journalist and human rights activist Gabriele del Grande tried to explain to former Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, in simple capitalist terms: “[T]here are two market laws that continue to be ignored. The first is that demand generates supply. The second is that prohibition supports the mafias. In other words, as long as someone is willing to pay to travel from Africa to Europe, someone will offer them the opportunity to do so. And if the airlines won’t do it, the smugglers will."8
Consequently, since the mid 1970s far more than 2.5 million 9 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea “illegally” on three main routes: The Western Route, with only 15 kilometres from northern Morocco to southern Spain. The Eastern Route, from Turkey to Greece, particularly busy between 2014 and 2016, when over a million refugees, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, beat their way towards central Europe. And the Central Mediterranean Route, which actually includes a number of long-distance routes through the Sicilian Channel, with Libya as the main hub of embarkation. 10
The Central Mediterranean route is by far the most dangerous passage, with more than 15.900 official reported deaths, since 2014, compared to 3.476 in the west and east, making it the deadliest border crossing in the world. 11 (At the same time, there are indications that the unknown number of lives lost in the Sahara, on the way to the Mediterranean Sea, could be even higher.12)
The EU’s reaction to the mass dying on their southern border changed over time, as Paolo Cuttitta outlines: “until 2013 state authorities in the Mediterranean used to systematically discourage all seafarers – mainly fishing boats and cargoes – from accomplishing their duty to rescue people in distress at sea, in the frame of what has been called the ‘governing of indifference’"13. By the end of 2013 however, a few days after the shipwreck of October 3, which left around 390 dead off Lampedusa and sparked international concern, Italy launched its own large-scale sea rescue operation. Named after an ancient Roman term for the Mediterranean – Mare Nostrum: Our Sea – it was “the most significant step in the process of institutional humanitarianization of the EU sea border, in whose framework humanitarian arguments are deployed to support exclusionary policies and practices.” 14
Due to major success – the efforts of the Italian navy and coast guards led to the safe arrival of over 150.000 people within the first year – the operation was quickly cancelled and replaced with a less efficient successor (Frontex Triton).
From Depoliticisation to Repoliticisation
For many people within the sea rescue movement, and many observers, the past five years have been a constant revelation about the EU states’ intentions: whereas initially, from the tragic boat accident in October 2013 until the “refugee crisis” in 2015, one could still assume incompetence of European institutions, the developments in the years since have patently shown that supposed accidents and catastrophes were no accidents and catastrophes whatsoever. Everything from boats sinking, over thousands upon thousands dying on the externalized EU-borders,15 to further thousands held captive on Greek islands; all of that was intentional or, at the very least, accepted with approval. “It should act as a deterrent for other refugees; it should stop them from fleeing. Europe is using dead refugees to shield itself from refugees."16
The civilian sea rescue didn’t change this policy. In fact, it might have even assisted it, in so far as it provided operational support and – before it started to be criminalised – it provided a humanitarian and de-politicising legitimation to the very border regime it sought to criticize.17 However, from the very beginning there have also been re-politicising, resistant elements in the NGO’s modus operandi. Cuttitta concretely names their constant role as uneasy witnesses, Sea-Watch’s long-time refusal to take people in distress aboard their own ship, and instead only secure the scene and wait for state actors to do their job, finalize the rescue and bring the survivors to land.18 The re-politicising tendency prevailed particularly in the first half of 2019, in the form of a constant and open confrontation with authorities and repeated breach of the Italian port entry restrictions.
Forensic Oceanography in its inquiry Blaming the Rescuers reached a less ambivalent conclusion. It suggests that the resistant character of sea rescue is already inscribed in the act itself, irrespective of its discursive implications – in so far as this act keeps the Mediterranean route open.19
Both Cuttitta and Forensic Oceanography’s inquiries, however, disregard the symbolic aspect: a ship, as Michel Foucault argued, can not be reduced to its functional aspect. It also offers “the greatest reserve of the imagination."20
Relatively independent from how de-politicising the embedding of civilian sea rescue into a - what might have at the time seemed humanitarian - border management regime, the image of the rescue ship was nonetheless seized upon by a number of re-politicising movements. As Beppe Caccia and Sandro Mezzadra of Mediterranea write: “Our ship has been appropriated and somehow reinvented from a wide range of standpoints that go from occupied social centers to parishes, universities and schools, from small town circles to metropolitan assemblies."21
The most recent culmination of that story, the arrest of Carola Rackete, added a strong, rebellious-feminist layer to the projection screen, as Georg Seeßlen outlined in Jungle World: First, it was a man who fared the seas and ventured into the world, leaving his docile and lamenting wife back home on firm land. But now it is men that stay back lamenting […] Vile, hysterical men that barricade themselves up with their followers in ever narrower confines and that understand less and less of the world that surrounds them the more they get worked up by it – the world of far-travelled, brave, cool and autarchic women-captains. For sure, the reality is more complicated than that, and after all it is the bad guys that mostly win. But at least we again have a story that instils hope and awakens the spirit of rebellion to life.22
Ships such as Aquarius, Mare Jonio, Iuventa or Sea-Watch 3 have not only served as vessels for people but also as a vessel for an idea of another Europe – a Europe of solidarity. As such they hold enormous significance and resistant character, or in Foucault’s words: “in civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.” 23
- Pirates of the Central Mediterranean
- We are all on the same ship, aren’t we?
- From an affinity group to an activist organization
- Undoing the division carer / cared for
Eros Moretti & Eralba Cela,2014.‘A brief history of Mediterranean migrations’. , p. 120 f
Marcus Rediker,2004.‘Villains of all nations: Atlantic pirates in the golden age’.Verso. p.153 ↩︎
globalist,0101.‘Salvini senza freni sulla Sea Watch: "sono pirati fuori legge"’. , author’s translation (Accessed: 06.01.2020) ↩︎
Philippe Fargues,2017.‘Four decades of cross-Mediterranean undocumented migration to Europe: a review of the evidence’. , p.1 ↩︎
Rediker, p.148 ↩︎
Ibid., p. 174 ↩︎
Gabriele Del Grande,0101.‘Lettera al Ministro dell'Interno Matteo Salvini... - Gabriele Del Grande’. (Accessed: 02.05.2020) ↩︎
Philippe Fargues,2017.‘Four decades of cross-Mediterranean undocumented migration to Europe: a review of the evidence’. , p. 9 ↩︎
Tom Miles & Stephanie Nebehay,2017.‘Migrant deaths in the Sahara likely twice Mediterranean toll: U.N.’. (Accessed: 10.12.2019) ↩︎
Paolo Cuttitta,2018.‘Repoliticization Through Search and Rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and Migration Management in the Central Mediterranean’. , p. 642 ↩︎
Ibid., p. 638 ↩︎
Heribert Prantl,0101.‘Asylpolitik - Warum die EU Flüchtlinge tötet - Politik - SZ.de’. (Accessed: 13/10/2019) ↩︎
Cuttitta 2018, p. 639 ↩︎
Ibid., p. 643 f ↩︎
Caccia & Mezzadra, 2018 ↩︎
Foucault 1984, p. 27 ↩︎
Session 1: Pirates of the Central Mediterranean
The European states have created a zone at their margins, where all their proclaimed values, their human and civil rights are suspended: A state of exception that reduces the sea to a weapon, people to bargaining chips - and the fluid southern border of the European Union to the deadliest migration route in the world. This is where activists organized to respond immediately in a solidary way. What can we learn from the brief history of thousands of years of migrations in the Mediterranean and that of six years of civil sea rescue?
Let’s learn together
Step 1: Words we think with (30 mins)
Hand out post-it papers (the bigger ones). Ask participants to write words or phrases that come to their mind for each of the following concepts: piracy, migration, duty to rescue, socially organized death, freedom of movement, humanitarian crisis, solidarity; one after another, giving them 3 minutes for each. Assemble papers by theme (concept), sticking them to a wall.
Step 2: Let’s watch and read (70 mins)
Chris Grodotzki,2019.‘What Does the Sea Say?’.
Some paragraphs from the “Who will Go “a Pyrathing”, chapter 3 in Marcus Rediker,2004.‘Villains of all nations: Atlantic pirates in the golden age’.Verso. , starting with “Who became a pirate after the War of Spanish Succession?” and ending with “Men who went “upon the account” were familiar with a single-sex community of work and the rigors of life—and death—at sea.”
And watch the following videos:
Step 3: New meanings? (45-60 mins)
Repeat the process from Step 1. Then look back at two sets of post-its (those made before reading and watching, and those made after); give participants 15-20 minutes to reflect and discuss these concepts and how their thinking about them has been changed by the reading, in small groups. Have the groups report to the full group (sitting in a circle if viable). Randomize who is speaking by using a speaking-ball, if viable. Let the speakers freely pass the ball to whomever wants to add on what is being said; moderate the discussion in terms of relevance but allow personal accounts if they happen.
Session 2: We are all on the same ship, aren’t we?
At their very best, responses to a problem perceived as external to particular (individual or group) agency - in origin at least, and possibly of such a scale that it gets called a “crisis” - include intensified emphasis on community organizing. It is one of this charged words, rich in history yet elusive in its contemporary forms in capitalist societies: a community. (Mostly reduced to the following prefixing contexts: indigenous, gated, activist.) A community can be conceptualized as an ongoing process/action of co-producing relationships, values, material resources, infrastructures, needs, preferences, commitments, identities, and beings. In the words of John A. Schumacher ( John A. Schumacher,1998.‘Communal Living: Making Community’.nothingness.org. ), making community is never over: community is the making of it. On a search and rescue ship, with crews of 22 most of whom change for each mission - every three weeks or so – there is a strong overlap between missions and communities. So-called virtual communities, on the other hand, can stretch longer in time but lack a connection to a place and sustenance and are perhaps always affinity groups rather than communities.
Let’s Learn Together
Step 1: Introduce ourselves
Step 2: Let’s read (30 min.)
Participants take turns reading aloud a paragraph each of the introduction to the Camille’s stories in Donna Haraway,2016.‘Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene’.Duke University. (pages 137-143). The facilitator reads out the following statements of the interviewees from Morana Miljanović,2020.‘To Care like a Pirate, to Pirate Care: Ethics of Confrontational Search and Rescue, Practiced by Sea Watch’.:
Sea Watch crews see abuses of people in Lybia (torture, slavery, rape, etc.) as intolerable, human life and freedom of movement as valuable irrespective of race, and it runs the ship in their own way, operating “outside of the wishes of the states, not outside of the law.” (Kim)
It is exactly the common goal and common cause that has also led to failure of crew care in some cases, according to Ruben, “because we always put the mission first, and sometimes we should say crew first”, not as regards safety on board but giving time off to hard-working volunteers.
In the words of Daniel: “Without the ship being in good order, we’d be in trouble. That focuses people on being a good community, cleaning, being responsible.” There is a common understanding that consequences of lack of care for the ship can mean a “a bad rescue, where our actions could contribute to people dying” (Daniel), or inability to stay operational, if the organization fails to comply with legal standards regarding the condition of the ship.
(Kim) pointed out that everyone’s voice is heard – although whether one would voice an opinion is up to an individual crew member – and that this has been “built into the organization from the beginning, and not something that grew organically on the ship. It was consciously decided to have as flat a hierarchy and as inclusive environment as possible.
(Lorenz) observed that opinions and proposals of crew members who are shy or disliked are less likely to be heard. Lorenz also noted that skill-sharing acts as an equalizing mechanism: everyone is invited to learn new skills.
Due to the large number of people participating in the weekly teleconference call, which is the decision making forum, discussions are difficult and decisions are de facto made about ideas that had been discussed first in small circles of friends.
Step 3: Vessels of the times past (30 min.)
Ask participants to map out their experience that comes closest to their notion of community along the vectors of relationships, values, material resources, infrastructures, needs, preferences, commitments, identities and beings. Ask them to discover what was missing in each plane, where they overlap, and what alternative ways of connecting these planes exist. Guide participants in the analysis of the above concepts that enables mapping to be as concrete as possible. Ask how features internal to the community (e.g. size of the community, communication structures, decision-making structures) and those external to it (e.g. place where it was situated, climate, political context) shaped the experience.
Step 4: Ce ci n’est pas un bateau (45 min.)
Ask participants to imagine a community that would come closer to a functional community along the same vectors as mentioned above, and to map them out one by one, without reference to others. Then, ask them to put these mini maps together. Guide a discussion around what has happened.
Bring back the maps made in the Step 2 and contrast them with new maps. Solicit observations and thoughts on this process as well as what participants find as interesting discoveries in their maps, guide a discussion. Examine the choices of each of internal and external features of community making/maintenance and ideas underlying those choices.
Step 5: Who are we (45 min.)
Ask the participants to list those who would be excluded or have trouble accessing their imagined community, as well as grounds and modes of exclusion/limited access. Then, ask them to revisit the maps and identify spaces where exclusion originated.
Session 3: From an affinity group to an activist organization: maintaining community
As a small group of activists formalizes their work in organizational terms, and grows in regard of persons and resources involved, difficulties arise from that growth. In particular, ways of doing that were tied to friendships among the small group of activists no longer apply. In this session, organizational mechanisms of care, communication, and decision-making used by Sea Watch are explored critically, to learn and inherit useful mechanisms of continually structuring a growing community of care.
Let’s Learn Together
Step 1: Introduce ourselves
Step 2: Care on the ship (2 hours)
Explain (1) the buddy system, (2) psychological briefings, (3) knowledge/skill sharing among crew, (4) the cleaning routine and other work of ship maintenance, and (5) care for the guests. Guide a discussion for each, asking participants to connect these mechanisms to their experiences.
(1) The buddy system: Each member of the crew of 22 is paired up with another person (of their choice or random, decided prior to pairing up among and by specific crew members) for the duration of the mission, to check on daily on each other in terms of psychological well-being, especially regarding how they are dealing with stress.
(2) Psychological pre-briefing and de-briefing: Before each mission, the entire crew meets for the first time, joined by an external psychologist, who facilitates their introduction to each other and tackles the topic of stress related to their care work. After the mission, the crew meets again in plenum to share reflections and feelings that came out of what happened during the mission.
(3) Skill sharing: Whereas skills that are vital to performing search and rescue are systematically trained on board within a strict schedule, other skills related to the maintenance of the ship, seamanship, and skills of interest to particular crew members are scheduled upon demand when ship is underway and not engaged in search and rescue. The ones related to the ship contribute to the equalizing effect among the crew composed of professional seafarers, non-professional seafarers, and persons with no/little prior experience on the sea.
(4) Morning cleaning and maintenance jobs: Crew vacuums, mops, and scrubs the common spaces, to maintain the working routine as much as to maintain tidiness. Based on their function on the ship, crew members belong to one of the three “departments” (deck, engine room, bridge) and are given maintenance jobs by the person responsible for the department when appropriate and necessary. Maintaining the ship in the good shape is seen as a prerequisite for being able to sail and undertake effective missions.
(5) Guest care: After a rescue, crew participates in cooking, handing out food, watches, crowd mood observing, and other tasks distributed and coordinated by the so-called Guest Coordinator. Every crew member enters into relationships with guests according to own capacities and guidelines set by the Guest Coordinator (for example: do not give a blanket to a person if you cannot give it to everyone, unless there is a specific valid case for it). There is a crew member (Cultural Mediator) who does the work of preparing referrals with and for the guests, so that they have access to adequate and professional care once on the land.
Step 3: Modes of communicating, knowing, aligning, strategizing, choosing action, (re)acting, coordinating, overseeing, intervening, questioning, collaborating (2 hours)
Explain (1) the weekly teleconference call, (2) the morning meeting on Sea Watch 3, (3) the Mission Support group. Guide a discussion for each, asking participants to connect these mechanisms to their experiences.
(1) The weekly teleconference call, so-called Monday telco: The decision-making body of the organization, where all its formal members have a voice and voting rights. Decisions made are ones that belong to the ‘greater picture” level, whereas operational questions get delegated to departments. Teleconference is facilitated/moderated by the Organization Coordinator, who has no voting rights.
(2) The Mission Support group: Is one of such departments to which specific decision-making is delegated. What happens during a mission affects not only the ship and Logistics but also departments such as Media and Advocacy. The MSG includes representatives from relevant departments and decides autonomously on mission relevant issues. Like the Monday telco, it has a coordinator.
(3) The morning meeting: Every morning on the ship, the entire crew (except 2 persons on watch at that moment) meets in a mess room. Captain, the chief engineer, and the bosun give updates concerning the mission and the ship. Any crew member can add on and/or take a word on any issue of interest to the whole crew.
(4) Discourse: Online platform where everyone who has participated in SW missions, shipyard times, or is otherwise volunteering or working for SW, and the organization members, have a voice. There is no decision-making power.
Step 4: Compost (2 hours)
Ask participants to design mechanisms of sharing information and acting upon it that integrate care, for an organization of a given and changing size. Guide them working in small groups. Discuss the results.
Session 4: Undoing the division carer / cared for
In this session, we look at the strategies used by Sea Watch to make visible own biases in terms of latent sexism and racism as well as their influence on organizational practices and structures. We reflect on the potential pitfalls of power implicit in the giving and receiving different kinds of caring, restraints and limits to undoing of the division between care givers and recipients, and available ways to puncture and dilute these diving lines.
Let’s learn together
Step 1: Lets’s read
Participants read aloud:
The chapter “Talking Race and Racism”, starting with last paragraph on the page 29, from Bell Hooks,2003.‘Teaching community: A pedagogy of hope’.Psychology Press.
The paragraph “And we learn-teach” from Morana Miljanović,2020.‘To Care like a Pirate, to Pirate Care: Ethics of Confrontational Search and Rescue, Practiced by Sea Watch’.
Pages 120-127 from Starhawk,2011.‘The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups’.New Society Publishers.
Statements from Virginia Held,2005.‘The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global’.Oxford University.:
“An aim of the ethics of care is to promote the responsible autonomy of the cared-for where this is appropriate.” p.84
“Ethics of care…demands that meeting the needs of the vulnerable be seen as valuable” p.132
Step 2: Let’s talk about how we talk
Share mixed experiences, lessons learned, and strategies of the activist group / organization as well as those of the activists, related to sexism and racism. Look into:
(1) unstructured, spontaneous or ad hoc conversations around sexism and/or racism,
(2) internal organizational mechanisms for responding to denounced instances of sexism/racism on the ship,
(3) conversations among carers (crew) and cared for (guests) that touch issues of sexism/racism,
(4) interventions of the carers (crew) in situations of sexism/racism among cared for-s (guests), and
(5) working groups active on the issues of sexism/racism. Give examples. Open for discussion.
Step 3: Guests and hosts
Explain the constraints on the undoing of the carer/cared for division. On the Sea Watch 3, these are:
(1) temporal dimension of the relationship between the crew and the guests on board – short time spans, at least before the times of long stand-offs,
(2) logistical, skilled workload, security and safety issues that are basis for control mechanisms (e.g. taking away lighters from guests, not allowing them to certain spaces in/on the ship, not including them in work that requires specific skills) and coordination mechanisms, and
(3) issues of psychosocial and physical vulnerability – different survivors need different care, all carry traumas, some require specific medical care…
Think which of these, and to what extent, should and can be undone or modified in a way that introduces more mutuality, and which should not and/or cannot. Examples of challenging the clean division of recipients and givers of care on the ship: including guests in the searching for boats in distress with binoculars, in ship maintenance tasks and preparation of meals.
- > Debt and Housing Struggles
- > Struggles for Social Housing
- > Housing and Maintenance Struggles
- > Rent Struggles
- > Squatting
- > Criminalization of Housing Struggles
- > Tech and Housing Struggles
- > Bad Housing Makes Us Sick
Housing today constitutes a new terrain for expansion of financial capital and financial speculations. These changes have brought about an increase in the prices of housing and land and, as a consquence, an unprecedented rise in household debt. Due to speculation, the number of empty flats waiting to be sold only when the price is right has been growing. In this situation housing has been increasingly changing function from someone’s home to a place for investment, savings, or collateral for someone’s pension. Some of the consequences of such a system have been a growing housing precarity, an army of evicted and homeless, and entire generations unable to attain home of their own. In our opinion, as long as housing continues to be treated as an asset these problems will prevail.
We believe that the housing question can be understood only in dialectical relation between economy and grassroots struggles. It is about unlearning the mainstream cynical narratives and relearning housing from the perspective of the struggles. We want to connect knowledge around housing to power relations. Our aim is to create grounds for a collective learning process about housing that could lead to better understanding how to take constructive action and bring about necessary change towards a universal access to housing.
In this topic, sessions have been organized around two focuses: critical perspective on certain issues related to housing and examples of organizing. The issues that we have chosen are just some of the building blocks that make a complex story about housing.
We have organized this topic in eight sessions:
- Debt and Housing Struggles
- Struggles for Social Housing
- Housing and Maintenance Struggles
- Rent Struggles
- Criminalization of Housing Struggles
- Tech and Housing Struggles
- Bad Housing Makes Us Sick
The sessions are organized around a basic question: Is the housing issue an issue of collective care or a means of profit? It is clear for us. Housing is a form of collective care that has to be fought for through mutual aid and in constant disobedience to neoliberal privatization tendencies. We hope that we have managed to make that argument and that those of you who will be working with this topic will feel the same.
How do we challenge the shame of housing debt?
We have been led by states and financial institutions to believe that it is natural to enter into personal debt in order to have a home. The easy access to credit has been equated with the right to housing. Narratives, politics and practices about home have become, at different paces, in different places, a question of individual property through which we mortgage our future, our pensions, our education. As Raquel Rolnik puts it in her book Urban Warfare: “Through the finance of private home purchase, global capital market expansion was based on private indebtedness, establishing an intimate link between individuals’ biological lives and the global process of income extraction and speculation”. Since the 1990s mortgage became one of the main driving forces of financial market operations. The push towards housing debt economy was global, while the responsibility became individualized. Those that could not pay instalments were deemed lazy and incompetent. This created a feeling of shame and a sense of personal failure in life. One of the main victories of the people affected by mortgages in Spain was to assign guilt and shame where they are due - in financial institutions and states.
- Read about the role of housing debt in the construct of dominant economy: Raquel Rolnik & Gabriel Hirschhorn,2019.‘Urban Warfare’.Verso..
- Read about the toxic housing debt in the ex - socialist countries: Petra Rodik,2015.‘The Impact of the Swiss Franc Loans Crisis on Croatian Households’.Palgrave Macmillan UK.
- Read about the struggles around housing and debt in Spain: Ada Colau & Adrià Alemany,2014.‘Mortgaged Lives’.Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press/Herbst.
- Watch the film about struggles in Spain: Si se puede: seven days with PAH in Barcelona
How to learn together
Read the proposed articles before you come to the session. Watch the film together. Organize a discussion round. Use a mind map to collectively organize your thoughts. Feed in as much detail as you can. Use critically what you have read. Include your personal experience. Share your mind map with other Pirate Care Syllabus users by downloading it on the web page.