Subversive Citizens and Urban Battlefields

subversive citizens

In an interview with Open Citizenship, Srećko Horvat and CITSEE member Igor Štiks spoke about their work on the Subversive Festival in Zagreb and what it means for the city of Zagreb and urban citizenship in general, as well as about the complexities of subversion and activism today in Europe. As regards the Subversive Festival, according to Horvat and Štiks, it aims to combine academic conferences, traditional film festivals or activist gatherings “in order not only to reach a bigger and more heterogeneous audience, but also to productively merge these three aspects, which should anyhow be inseparable. For us the Subversive Festival is a platform for questioning what constitutes subversion today, what the nature of subversion is and what would be a productive and progressive subversive politics of our time. In today’s context, it also means determining what the possibilities of criticising and changing a society are and what preconditions are required for deeper institutional changes.”

Addressing the role of the city as a space for the mobilisation and staging of protests, Horvat and Štiks state: “As we can see from protests from Istanbul and Cairo, from New York and Rio de Janeiro to Zagreb and Ljubljana, the city is the main terrain of contemporary struggles. Today we are witnessing the realisation of theoretical insights by David Harvey, Negri and Hardt and Saskia Sassen. It is exactly the ‘Right to the City’ that is at stake in all these protests. A park in Istanbul is on the one hand the cause for massive mobilisation, and on the other it is a symbol of a more general fight for the Commons. The European city as such, if we remember Haussmann’s renovation of Paris, was always a fertile ground for staging protests and even more today when precisely around the struggles for commons we can see new progressive movements arising.”

You can read the whole interview here



Photo by Robert Crc.