Alle Dieren Vrij! on Thu, 25 Jul 2002 19:48:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Crossover Summercamp Cottbus

It seems to be a summer of camps in Europe. On top of the No Border camp in 
Strasburg, there is another camp in Cottbus, Germany, 3-11 august. The 
manifest below describes what the organisation group has in mind, and how 
this camp differs from anything I ever heard about.

Herman van Wietmarschen
Werkplaats Linkse Analyse Biopolitiek

Manifesto of the Crossover Summer Camp Project

What we want:
Our starting point is the conviction that all the different relations of 
power and domination are inseparably bound up with one another, permeating 
and often stabilizing each other. We want to develop a practice that
reflects this.

Our aim is to contribute to the construction of a new constellation of 
political tendencies.
A "new constellation" would be one where, finally, anti-sexist positions 
would not have to be fought through by (pro-)feminists against the passive 
or active resistance of the majority anymore, but be a matter of course; 
and where, finally, men would, of their own accord, become active in the 
field of pro feminist politics.
We want an end to the dominance of a heterosexual culture within the 
radical left, for which gays are good for adding color and entertainment to 
the serious business of politics, in which lesbians are nearly invisible 
and for which hermaphrodites and transgender people are, at the most, 
objects of scientific curiosity.
Such a new constellation would be one where the presence of migrant and 
jewish people, people of color…(no matter where they've grown up) would be 
a matter of course; where the manners and the language of the majority 
would not constitute the norm and where white antiracists would deal with 
own racisms and make their own motives transparent, instead of only 
speaking for and about the "oppressed".

Last but not least, we want an alliance where middle class ways of talking 
and behaving are not the normal and taken-for-granted standard. This is not 
about idealizing or demonising any group, it's about questioning norms.

We don't believe we can change social structures simply by making some 
individual behavior changes. But becoming conscious of our ways of acting 
and speaking, and working on changing them is an important first step. We 
want to get together people who want to change themselves AND external 
conditions; we aim to not only attack networks of power but strengthen 
networks of resistance and construct new ones.
Who we are: The preparation group of the summer camp project was re-founded 
at the crossover conference, which took place in January in the northern 
German city Bremen. There are people in our network who joined at the 
conference, and also some people from the "old" summer camp project, who 
had originally planned an "anti-racist anti-sexist camp" for the summer of 
2001 and later co-organized the crossover conference. Many of us know each 
other from radical left and feminist circles in Germany. Most of us possess 
a German passport. At the moment about 90% of us are womenlesbians. We are 
from different
"political generations"; there are also differences among us regarding our 
social origins and current class position. But we are still not as mixed as 
we would like to be. "Crossover" - the new name of the summer camp project: 
At the conference in Bremen we agreed that the original name of the project 
("antiracist antisexist summer camp") does not express what we want so 
well, because it names only two relations of domination. With the new name 
"crossover summer camp project" we want to emphasize that relations of 
power and domination (patriarchy, capitalism…) can never be understood 
separately, but are closely linked. We prefer a positive and 
content-related definition of what we want, and a description of our 
strategies, to terms of pure rejection (all those "antis"). For example, we 
prefer the positive concept of (pro) feminism to the term anti-sexism. How 
we organize: The old project, which started in august 2000, met about every 
month, in different locations, mostly in Berlin and Bremen and once in 
Warsaw. In this new phase of the project, with participants in the network 
spread out across Europe from Spain to Poland, we rely more on local 
meetings and e-mail communication. We are open to the idea of a separate, 
coordinated organization of migrants/people of colour within the project 
network; we are just as open to closer cooperation.

That womenlesbians can organize separately in the project and at the camp 
also goes without saying. How we treat each other is an important issue, we 
think, and we definitely want something other than the activist-macho 
posturing so familiar to us from our experience in many left circles. We 
must hasten to add that this is not the only type of male dominance - or 
dominance of any kind - that we see as a problem. We are not so naïve to 
think we've found "the answer" to this; that is to say, we are open to new 
ideas and ways of dealing with one another. Language: We are aware that 
language can be the cause of distance and exclusion. We want to use 
language that is understandable for as many people as possible, to reduce 
difficulties of
communication and to avoid language-related hierarchies of knowledge and 
power. That's why we feel it is really important to create an atmosphere 
where it is easy to ask questions, comment and criticize. Transnationality: 
Language understandable for as many people as possible means that we would 
like to have many workshops at the summer camp in English and that we want 
to organize translations for all languages represented. Age and "special 
needs": We want a mixed age structure. That could
mean, for example, providing workshops "for beginners", and trying to find 
a place for the camp where other accommodation besides tents are available, 
for those who can't or don't want to sleep in tents for whatever reason. 
Best would be a seminar house with a big field or meadow next to it. What 
is it going to be about? We are striving for a great diversity in the 
issues addressed. For us, this means dealing with nation, patriarchy, 
antisemitism, heterosexism, capitalism and racism, among other issues.

We think it's essential to draw structural links between different 
relations of power and domination from the very beginning. For example, by 
bringing the intrinsic interrelatedness of masculinity, heterosexism and 
whiteness into focus. Which ones of the countless possible interconnections 
we will focus on at the camp crucially depends on your input. What all 
these catchwords refer to - in our understanding - is simply impossible to 
unfold in a short text such as this one. But we intend to put together a 
kind of reader with different types of texts. We don't want a summer 
university, nor a purely action-oriented camp,
but a crossover between 'theory' and 'practice' - after all, in the long 
run, our aim is the abolition of the distinction between intellectual and 
manual labor. We want a combinition of theory and practice of all kinds: 
from dance, self-defence training/wendo and creative writing to direct action.

Camp Culture?!?
We hope the summercamp will be a venue for performances (film, music, 
acrobatics, for example), subversive culture and cultural subversion. Not 
just because it's fun - which would be reason enough - but because we see 
culture as a space in which society, in many different ways, some fraught 
with conflict, (re)produces its stocks of knowledge, its norms and values, 
its structures of thought and feeling. Therefore, part of radical 
resistance is engaging in one's own cultural production - that the dominant 
modes of seeing, hearing and feeling may be
subverted! By now at the very latest, some will say that our program is 
definitely not realizable. We agree with this assessment insofar as we 
don't assume at all we will be able to realize everything we envision at 
the first summer camp already. We understand our undertaking to be a 
long-term project requiring some staying power, ample capacity to tolerate 
frustration and great persistence. Up to now, though, it's been fun, too. 
What does it mean to be part of the preparation network? Stress, hard work, 
providing services for participants who are just consumers…? We are not 
workaholics and that's not what we want to become, either. We want what we 
do to be satisfying for us. We will share the work according to our 
different areas of interest
and time capacities. Self organisation: At the camp we will count on the 
self-responsibility and self-organisation of the participants. That means 
that we (the preparation group) will disband on the second day of the camp. 
 From then on we will turn the organisational work in as many areas as 
possible over into the hands of the participants. We will support the new 
groups who take over the organisational tasks at the camp with our 
knowledge and experience. All of us will shape the camp and contribute to 
its success. Participate in the preparation network! With our current 
capacities we will only be able to realise a fraction of what we want. 
Also, we are still not as transnational and transethnic as we would wish. 
So, we hope for lively
transnational radical participation in the camp preparations. (It's never 
too late to join!) See you!

The organizers

PS: There is an e-mail discussion group in English, and an e-mail list for 
those who just want to get the latest news and information about the 
project. Send us an e-mail and we will subscribe you. Most of the minutes 
of the meetings of the old project are accessible on our web site in German 
and English. The address of our web site is:

Our e-mail address is: Our postal address is: summer camp c/o a6-laden, 
Adalbertstrasse 6, 10999 Berlin

LINK 1 What do we mean when we say "radical left"? Here's our provisional 
statement, a work in progress: (This link text under construction)

LINK 2 What do we mean when we say "feminism"? Here's our provisional 
statement, a work in progress: Our feminism is always linked with a 
critique of domination, of the existing social relations (capitalism, 
racism,… ), of oppression on the basis of skin color, origin, appearance, 
age… It is neither possible nor is it our goal to abolish only one form of 
oppression while leaving the totality of systems of oppression intact. 
There are x different strands of feminism. What unites them is the goal of 
getting rid ot the relations of domination between genders. We think the 
abolition of just one relation of domination wouldn't change the social 
conditions under which we are living. The feminism we subscribe to doesn't 
raise one sex over an other ("women are better than men".) This would be 
only a kind of reversal of current circumstances. It also doesn't want a 
assimilation of women to so-called male standards. Sex and gender 
categories are socially constructed. In the long run, they should be 
abolished. Because patriarchal sex and gender categories have dominated the 
lives of humans for a very long time, they can't be gotten rid of from one 
day to the next. This is why we see "strategic affirmation" of gender 
identity, in appropriate contexts, as important in making existing sexist 
power structures visible and tangible, thus opening them to attack. Radical 
changes of a (pro) feminist nature won't happen without groups that make 
gender an issue, in gender-separated as well as in mixed groups. LINK 3 
What do we mean when we say "identity politics"? Here's our provisional 
statement, a work in
progress: Just as there are different constructions of identity, there are 
different politics of identity. That is why we distinguish "essentialist" 
politics of identity, which, in most cases, function to gain or retain 
privileges or come to an arrangement with the given social conditions, from 
"strategic" politics of identity that function to sabotage relations of 
power and domination. By essentialist identity politics we mean politics 
that derive a common identity from a shared essence, for example, being 
female (understood as a "natural fact"). By strategic identity politics we 
mean politics that conceptualize common identity in a pragmatic way, as a 
constructed reality, as, for example, many women's/lesbian groups do. We 
don't want to reduce the complex discussions around identity politics to 
this distinction, though. At the summer camp, strategic identity politics 
will be a major issue. Within this problematic, the question that concerns 
us most is if and how it is possible to create political alliances across 
major differences of experience. Finding this out is first and foremost a 
social question. The question of whether it is possible to bridge 
differences - bound up with relations of power and domination - in 
thinking, physicality, feeling and acting only gets answered in actual 
encounters: Is it possible to establish a truly respectful and equitable 
way of dealing with one another (which requires a lot of sensitivity for 
different experiences, realities and vulnerabilities) or not?

crossover summer camp
cottbus, germany , 03.-11. august 2002

the program of the camp will include direct action, performances, 
discussions, theory workshops, cutting veggies, dancing, music, cleaning up 
and much more.

issues of the camp:
- orientalism, racism and sexism
- genderkiller: queer, transgender and intersex issues
- gender, work and migration
- eastern and western europe
- antisemitism
- anticapitalism and globalisation
- internationalism and solidarity
- feminist movements and histories
- power, domination, violence and the law
- pornography and representation
- critiques of science, technology and reason
- body norms and body politics
- the social nature of nature
- reproductive technologies and population politics

one basic idea of our project is that all relations of power and domination 
are interconnected and that the struggle against them needs new alliances 
and new forms.

the crossover camp strives to break the dominance of white, heterosexist 
culture within the radical left.
through international profeminist alliances, we wish to to subvert the 
norms of majority society, and to build up and strengthen networks of 
the crossover camp will take place in cottbus.
there will be womenlesbian, womenlesbiantransinter and other areas, as well 
as groups offering assistance for disabled people, childcare and translations.
good food - vegan and vegetarian - will be provided by a camp kitchen.
the preparation group will disband at the beginning of the camp.
from day two on, it will be your turn to organize all necessary work 

costs: 2 € (superconcession price) to 5 € (solidarity price) per day, 20 € 
(superconcession price) to 50 € (solidarity price) for the whole camp. no 
one turned away for lack of funds.

please register for the camp!

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