Intercoll: Presentation of the Working Group “Internationalism and International Solidarity”

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The present situation is quite contradictory. More than ever, the major issues our future depends on come up at once worldwide (climate change and environmental crisis, worldwide impact of capitalist globalisation, overall rise of discriminations and so on). However, the collective « spaces » that could allow the progressive movements to co-ordinate their efforts have narrowed. The European Social Forum, for instance, is dead and the dynamics of the World Social Forum are substantially weakened. The organisations formed at the beginning of the 2000s have lost their relevance, though they haven’t been replaced by any form of cooperation that is both durable and more responsive to the present situation.

This observation applies extensively to the solidarity movements. The sense of community in regard to collective fate and struggle can be very powerful, as we saw in 2003 (before the war in Irak), with the occupations of places (especially after 2011) or with the feminist protest at the moment of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the US; however these tangible collaborative initiatives generally fall far short of what is needed and what is feasible (see in particular the Syrian crisis).

The working group on «Internationalism and international solidarity» will focus on these issues from the point of view of their development; it will also inform about ongoing social mobilizations and will present some alternatives.

It does not only approach associations whose activities specifically support international solidarity. Social movements and all citizens are actually concerned. Solidarity actions « at grass-roots level » should not be delegated to « experts » ; it should be a matter for all in order to be effective. Moreover, social movements are going to reappraise their strategies according to the current global situation and therefore, they cannot fail to address the international dimension and to translate internationalism into action.

The working group will take into consideration the complexity of the issues that come to hand but also the desire to include in this approach the demands of solidarity of all those who deal with discrimination, persecution and exploitation.

We will focus on the history of the Internationals and also on the history of internationalism in general (how did they appear over the time and in which form). Without taking into account only the international labour movements and the inter-union networks, we will focus on the different forms of collaboration or organisation that have existed, such as the conference of Bandoeng and the Tricontinental Conference for the decolonisation movements, the Via Campesina which coordinates peasant organizations and the feminist organisations.

This working group will consider the relationships between regional and global cooperation as well as the « most suitable » methods that these forms of cooperation could apply to the following fields of action: refugees and migrants, victims of humanitarian disasters (such as climate catastrophes, wars etc.), ongoing struggles for the emancipation and battles for fundamental rights (social, gender, democratic etc.).

A link will be created within this framework with other working groups of Intercoll whose subject integrates partially ours (armed conflicts, migrations etc.).

It will promulgate solidarity-based alternatives that have been developed by social movements and it will facilitate the communication between our collaborators.

There is already a rich body of literature about many of the issues that we are going to address. We will make it accessible as far as possible.

The subject of this working group requires itself that we operate along with various collaborators involved in different parts of the world.

An exhaustive account on this large amount of issues cannot be obviously given. Our purpose is mainly to incorporate this account into a collective reflection that is supported by both history and the reported experiences.

Pierre Rousset, Sally Rousset