Activism

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.

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,

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? - The Role of the Writer as an Engaged Citizen

Nick Holdstock
Writers and political engagement

I can’t pretend that the aesthetic dimension of a writer’s work isn’t the most important thing, nor that being a writer and an activist are the same kinds of role. But if we don’t want to influence people’s thoughts and beliefs, why do we bother to write? Isn’t there always a degree of didacticism? I don’t think it’s superfluous or redundant to pose that old question: what is literature for?

Recently I have been wondering whether writers should care about suffering.  I ask this neither flippantly, nor as some existential query: what I want to know is whether writers — by which I mean fiction writers; I doubt the kinds who don’t make up their worlds have much choice in the matter — should be trying harder to engage with global events.

CITSEE discussion: Varieties of Citizenship in a wider Europe

citizenship in Europe

‘Varieties of citizenship in a wider and more territorially differentiated Europe’ was a panel discussion organised as part of the CITSEE symposium ‘Varieties of Citizenship in Southeast Europe’ (6-7 June, 2013) in Edinburgh. 

Varieties of citizenship in a wider and more territorially differentiated Europe’ was a panel discussion organised as part of the CITSEE symposium ‘Varieties of Citizenship in Southeast Europe&rs

Urban struggles: Activist citizenship in South-East Europe II

Karlo Basta
Sarajevo protests

While the divisions in civil society tend to reflect those in the political sphere, the events of the past several weeks could be cause for cautious optimism. Each ‘wing’ of the civil society might make a difference in its own domain (entity or canton). In order to do this, they need to sustain this level of activism, not only via protests, but through continuous organisation, awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy. It is through such activism that they can hope to make politicians in their own sub-units more accountable. In the circumstances facing Bosnian citizenry, democratisation of the state must start at the local and entity (or cantonal) level.

Bosnian Protests: Between Post-Ethnic Revival and a Stillborn Civil Society

Urban struggles: Activist citizenship in South-East Europe I

Ljubica Spaskovska
Skopje 2014

Regardless of the context-specific background of Skopje’s urban battles, there is a trans-national story of urban activism to be told, from Istanbul to London, in particular targeting undemocratic practices of usurpation of public/green spaces either by authoritarian leaders or private investors. A wave of neo-conservative politics, tendencies of desecularization, corruption, control over media and growing social and economic gaps actually form the background of public discontent, creative activism and urban sociality and cross-ethnic solidarity. Mapping a new historical narrative onto the capital’s face has come at the cost of hundreds of millions of Euros of public money (official figures are at 208 million) and without a wider public debate and transparent decision-making. Political elites seem to willingly overlook the fact that “the past cannot give us what the future has failed to deliver”.

The Battle for Skopje – urban citizenship and the legacy of the past

People make cities, but cities make citizens.

Richard Rogers

‘The reassertion of the political’- an interview with Tariq Ali on the future of European citizenship

The reassertion of the political

I think the European Union promised a great deal and delivered very little.  Voting rights seem to have become totally irrelevant because whoever you elected, it didn’t matter which party, they were carrying out the same elite policies. Greece has made a difference and this will inspire people.  But in order for that to happen you do need to have political instruments and political parties.  It can’t just happen by occupying public spaces.  You know, you need politics for that. And so what we are witnessing in Greece is, in a way, the reassertion of the political and I think that will be extremely important in saying ‘yes, we are citizens; we don’t just have, you know, basic rights.  We have political rights and we want to exercise these political rights and link them to social and economic rights.'

Tariq Ali is a novelist, journalist and political campaigner whose most recent books include Protocols of the Elders of Sodom and Other Essays (2009), Night of the Golden Butterfly (2010) and The Obama Syndrome (2010). In May 2012 he spoke at the Zagreb Subversive Forum, where he was interviewed by Nick Holdstock.

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