The (Re)Construction of the World

Aid. Solidarity. Politics.

Online conference February 12-14, 2021, with Achille Mbembe, Susan Buck-Morss, Rita Segato, Ulrike Herrmann, Sandro Mezzadra, Jean Ziegler, among others.

A conference not only on the miserable state of the world, but also and above all on the possibilities of its reconstruction into a place that will finally be worth inhabiting. In lectures and forums, the aim is to determine the relationship between aid, solidarity and politics from the promise we made to ourselves in the Declaration of Human Rights: The promise of a global and social order in which the rights granted to us all would be fully realized. More ...



The program for February 12-14, 2021 will be continuously supplemented and updated. All times are in Central European Time (UTC+1). With your conference registration you will receive access links and details on the schedule. All events will be simultaneously translated into four languages: German, English, Spanish, French.

Friday, February 12, 2021

17:00 – 17:30

Opening and guide through the online conference
Anne Blum (Chairwoman, medico international, Frankfurt)
Anne Jung (Head of Communication, medico international, Frankfurt)

Perspectives on the world from the point of view of aid

"The (re-)construction of the world" deals with aid in so far as it opens up particularly powerful experiences and thus a deeper understanding of its present state. Haiti and Moria serve as examples to illustrate how our world is actually constituted today and what it could become tomorrow. These two islands are "hot spots" of present and future world history.

17:30 – 18:30

1. The case of Haiti

On the Haitian revolution and its disappearance from the idea of universality - reflections on a work of destruction

Mark Schuller (Anthropologist, Chicago)
Nixon Boumba (Activist, Port au Prince)
Katja Maurer (medico international, Frankfurt)
Facilitator: Andrea Steinke (Center for Humanitarian Action, Berlin)

With the revolution of 1804, Haiti is an essential part of the history of modernity. For this reason, an understanding of universalism freed from its Eurocentric character requires explicit remembrance of this revolution and of the long history of its suppression from the historical memory of the present.

18:30 – 18:45Break
18:45 – 19:45

2. The case of Moria

Disenfranchised and degraded to objects of humanitarian aid: Refugees at Europe’s borders

Maximilian Pichl (Legal scholar, Frankfurt)
Shirin Tinnesand (Communications officer, Stand by me Lesvos, Mytilini)
Jean Ziegler (Sociologist, Switzerland)
Facilitator: Ramona Lenz (Anthropologist, medico international, Frankfurt)

The now burned down refugee camp near Moria on Lesbos has become a symbol of Europe's misguided refugee policy. Refugees are systematically disenfranchised and then degraded to objects of humanitarian aid. In a woolly conglomeration of migration management, security policy and mercy, human rights fall short, while aid has hardly been able to improve the situation on the ground, even after years. Spaces without democratic and rule-of-law structures are created, where the aid regime takes control together with the security apparatus. But how can it be that NGOs across Europe are raising funds under the banner of "Moria" without any noticeable improvement in the situation of the few thousand people on the ground? What kind of aid could also counteract the disenfranchisement of refugees?

Virtual get-together

Saturday, February 13, 2021

10:00 – 10:30

Welcome note
Thomas Seibert (medico international, Frankfurt)

Lecture 1
10:30 – 11:05

The need to no longer be allowed to grow
On the world situation of capitalism before the planetary ecological collapse

Ulrike Herrmann (Author, taz, Berlin)

The ecological crisis can only be tackled in the transition to a post-growth economy. This transition, however, can only be an exit from capitalism, which must grow at the penalty of its and our demise. The exit and transition must therefore be sought and found also and especially in the global North: "If humanity is to survive, the industrialized countries must shrink their consumption. (Herrmann)

11:05 – 12:05

Ecology and Transformation
What the limits of growth and a transition to postal growth will demand of us

Ulrike Herrmann (Author, taz, Berlin)
Disha A. Ravi (Environmental Activist, Fridays for Future, India)
Nina Treu (Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Leipzig)
Facilitator: Florian Schwinn (Author, Hamburg)
Panel with audience participation

12:05 – 12:25Break
Lecture 2
12:25 – 13:00

The need and the desire to go and arrive
On the world situation of postcolonial capitalism

Sandro Mezzadra (political theorist, Bologna)

Global capitalism is "postcolonial" because it emerged from the colonial penetration of the world. Postcolonial is our world and our history, but also because they emerged from the polyphonic resistance to colonization and capitalization. In these experiences, "tense and conflict-ridden possibilities" open up, which in and out of their postcoloniality can open up paths "to a new habitability of the world. (Mezzadra)

13:00 – 14:00

Capitalist Globalization and Border Transitions
The globalization of the world, the provincialization of Europe and the decision, Europe has to take

Sandro Mezzadra(Political theorist, Bologna)
Moussa Tchangari(Human Rights Defender, Alternative Espaces Citoyens, Niamey)
Facilitator: Massimo Perinelli (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin)
Panel with audience participation

14:00 – 15:00Break
15:00 – 16:00

Change Aid – reflect unequal power structrures

Does aid have a stabilizing effect on our world order with its systemic risks? Is aid merely an expression of a global inability to implement the changes necessary for systemic transformation?

Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo (Activist, IBON international, Quezon City)
Barbara Adams (Policy adviser, Global Policy Forum, New York City)
Jason Rosario Braganza (Economist, AFRODAD, Nairobi)
Facilitator: Elisabeth Bollrich (Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Berlin)
Panel with audience participation

16:00 - 16:15Break
Lecture 3
16:15 – 16:50

The need and desire to be connected
On the world situation of patriarchal capitalism

Rita Segato (Anthropologist, Buenos Aires)

The feminist movements in Latin America are stronger than ever before. Their struggles broaden our understanding of the gender relations that dominate us and base the critique of global capitalism on a critique of global patriarchy that goes even deeper and more far-reaching. They thus not only open up the complexity of the crises that beset us, but also new "projects of connections" (Segato) in which we can overcome them and free ourselves from their embrace.
16:50 – 17:50

The contested feminist revolt
Capital, patriarchy and new steps into a “Revolution for life”

Rita Segato (Anthropologist, Buenos Aires)
Eva von Redecker (Political philosopher, Berlin/Brandenburg)
Facilitator: Uta Ruppert (Political Scientist, Frankfurt)
Panel with audience participation

Evening program
Virtual get-together

Sunday, February 14, 2021

11:00 – 11:30

Introduction and summary of the day before
Eva Wuchold (Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung)

Lecture 1
11:30 – 12:05

The need and desire to repair the world
On the conditions for a planetary consciousness

Achille Mbembe (Political Philosopher, Johannesburg)

If repair and reparation of the past are prerequisites for the "ascent to humanity", then politics is about a dialogue of equal subjects in the struggle for a world (Mbembe) "liberated from the burden of race" and thus also from capital. The path as well as the goal of such a politics lies in the globalization of rights, which historically have always been demanded as universal rights, but initially always exclusively, i.e., as a racialized privilege.

12:05 – 13:05

Repair and Reparation
Perspectives from the global South and the global North

Achille Mbembe (Political Philosopher, Johannesburg)
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Writer, Nairobi)
Sabine Hark (Sociologist, Berlin)
Facilitator: Anselm Franke (Senior Curator, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin)
Panel with audience participation

13:05 – 14:30Break
Lecture 2
14:30 – 15:05

The need and desire to make (again) world history
A historical-philosophical reason for the possibility of universalism

Susan Buck-Morss (Political Philosopher, New York City)

If a policy of universalizing rights cannot but make universal, i.e. world history, then the equality of all subjects worldwide that it strives for must not be conceived as equality of their "cultures". Instead, it must be made as world history, which goes through its own fractures, always ignites anew there, and therefore always progresses "despite the cultures and all their differences" (Buck-Morss): from fracture to fracture.

15:05 – 16:05

Revolutions today
A critical balance of the recent revolts

Susan Buck-Morss (Political Philosopher, New York City)
Pierina Ferretti (Sociologist, Valparaíso)
Saeed Al-Batal (Film director, Berlin)
Facilitator: Mario Neumann (medico international, Berlin)
Panel with audience participation

16:05 – 16:15Break
16:15 – 17:15

Human rights revolution
Attempt of a programmatic

Wolfgang Kaleck (Lawyer, ECCHR, Berlin)
Rodrigo Mundaca (Environmental activist, Valparaíso)
Facilitator: Thomas Seibert (Philosopher, medico international, Frankfurt)
Panel with audience participation

17:15 – 17:55

World society in the Making
Outlines of a Globalization based on Solidarity

Thomas Gebauer (Psychologist, medico international foundation, Frankfurt)

17:55 – 18:00Break
Closing panel
18:00 – 19:30

Europe’s responsibility
What here is to be done

Mark Heywood (Health activist, Johannesburg): More than fair distribution of the vaccine
Miriam Saage-Maß (Advocate, ECCHR, Berlin): Global law instead of corporate responsibility
Milo Rau (theatre-maker, Gent): The Political needs a different language
Vanessa Eileen Thompson (Sociologist and activist, Frankfurt/Oder): Abolitionism as (re-)construction of world
Facilitator: Katja Maurer (medico international, Frankfurt)
Panel with audience participation


All conference events will be simultaneously translated into four languages: German, English, Spanish, French


Aid. Solidarity. Politics.

"The political in our time must be based on the imperative to reconstruct the world together. For the idea of decolonization to have any value on a planetary scale, it cannot be based on the assumption that I am purer than my neighbour."
Achille Mbembe

Many crises are currently interlinking to form a global crisis, which is densified in the Corona pandemic. The collapse of the old world order and with it the disintegration of supra-state and multilateral structures, the intrusion of economy in every corner of life, the return of an authoritarian nation state, the climate crisis and the surrender of politics - all symptoms of this crisis are brought to the point by the virus.

The world crisis becomes inescapable and physical where the survival of thousands, sometimes even millions of people depend on the aid they receive or get refused. What kind of world do we live in when aid only stabilizes a world order that is becoming increasingly needy and desperate? And: What kind of world is this, where aid is only an expression of the inability to make the world different and better?

Aid today must testify about the world it encounters and give account to itself and others about its own experiences and deeds. We want to bring these experiences to the fore for political discussion.

But this cannot only be about the crisis, it must always be about its solution: at least about attempts for a solution. We do know from such approaches that they must be global, that there must be solutions for everyone without exception, if they are to be fair and therefore sustainable. And the first question to be answered by all of us is the one about the possibilities of ending a politics which mean the end of politics, because it gives up working on global problems and instrumentalizes aid as garbage collection for the global devastations of capitalism.

The discussion of the world experience gathered in the aid sector will trace the beginnings of a renewed politics in the practices of solidarity that appear in the global protests for climate justice, the transnational feminist and anti-racist movements, the local uprisings for democracy, human rights and a dignified life. From there, our conference "The (Re)Construction of the World" wants to define the relationship between aid, solidarity and politics from the promise we have made to ourselves in the Declaration of Human Rights: The promise of a global and social order in which the rights granted to us all would be fully realized.

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