updated on 13.10.2002
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orientalism, racism and sexism
genderkiller: queer, transgender and intersex issues
gender, work and migration
eastern and western europe
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 resistance.
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 self-responsibly.
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.
tents (!), plates, knifes, forks and spoons, insultating matress, one roll of toilet paper, your favourite video, material to make a spontanious workshop or presentation, instruments...
you could also support us with:
plastic sheets, benches, chairs, tables, extension cabels, multiple power points, lamps, torches, bicycles, paint, brushes, pencils, markers, dictionaries
there are a few busses leaving from the main train station ("Hauptbahnhof") and some more from the main bus station (Busbahnhof) to the camp. From the main trainstation you can get to the main busstation by foot or by tram. By foot: at the front side of the mainstation you turn left, cross the "Bahnhofsstraße" at the big cross and then walk this street down until you turn right in to the "Marienstraße". The main busstation is at the left side. By Tram: you take the tram number "1" with the direction "Schmellwitz" . It is leaving in front of the mainstation. You get of at the second stop called "Marienstraße". After you got of the bus at "Spreewehrmühle" you walk in the direction the bus goes. after a few hundred meters, before a hill you have to cross the road. there you will the see the entrance of the camp at the left. The last Bus unfortunately goes at 19h. If you miss the last bus call our infotelephone 0177 7577615 or walk to the Parzellenstraße 79 (at the map next to the green line, near the grey written number 23). There you might get a lift or a shelter.
"Busbahnhof" to "Spreewehrmühle" - it takes 9 minutes, busnumbers 77,29,21: 6.40h (Busnumber 77),7.00h (21),7.30h(29),7.45h(77),9.20h(77),10.50h(29),11.10(77),11.20(21),12.05(77),12.25(21)12.25(21),13.25(21/77),14.15(29),14.40,15.210,16.25,16.55,17.05,17.30,18.10,18.40,19.00 and on saturdays/sundays:6.10,8.10,9.10,9.50,12.10,12.15,14.15,15.00,18.10,19.00
"Hauptbahnhof/Parkplatz" to "Spreewehrmühle" - takes about 15 minutes: 10.45 (29), 14.05(29), 16.15(21), 16.45(21), 18.55(21) Saturdays/SUndays: 9.05(21), 12.05, 14.55,18.55
red arrow in map: camp site, off the b 97 from cottbus towards guben (direction north east), right after the sign that marks the city limits, large field on the left side. you can take buses no. 21, 22 and 77 from the central bus station, get off at stop "spreewehrmuehle".
green line: how to get to the camp from the central train station
blue arrow: the demo on saturday 10. august starts here.
info phone number for directions: +49-355-43090340
trains from berlin ostbahnhof to cottbus run hourly from 4:47 am to 10:47 pm, last train leaves berlin ostbahnhof at 0:23 at night. the trip takes about one and a half hours.
Start: 12 o'clock, in front of the City Hall ("Stadthalle", Berliner Platz in the center of town)
The focus of this demonstration is the interconnections of labor, gender and migration
In mainstream society, as well as in many currents of the Left, "work" is seen as a universal essence, something that is - supposedly - more or less the same thing in different societies and different historical periods.
In fact, what is usually called "work" - formal wage labor - is a historically specific, capitalist type of human activity. Dominant discourses work to obscure this.
What's more, by focussing attention on formal wage labor, the existence of many other kinds of activity and types of exploitation is sidelined: kinds of activity - unpaid house work for example - and types of exploitation - the exploitation of feminine "affective labor" for example - which are essential for the cohesion and re-production of society, but which are invisible socially.
By making the so-called sphere of reproduction appear as a-political, private and a-historical, the traditional left division of human activity into "production" and "reproduction" contributes to this "invisibility".
The term reproduction encompasses a wide variety of activities: from bearing children ("biological reproduction"), bringing up children, caring for the aged, the disabled and the sick, cooking, cleaning and other domestic work, to comforting, reassuring and listening ("emotional reproduction").
All these activities have a history - which is not simply dependent on the history of the "mode of production" - and are the subject of political struggles.
"Labor" is not - as many currents of the left would have it - the emancipatory antipode of capital.
But a specifically capitalist form of human activity: compulsory and compulsive, exploitative and alienated.
It's important to be clear about this in an international context. In Germany, a critique of labor is of particular importance.
Millions of people were exterminated in this country in the name of labor. Not only in the name of labor, of course, but also in the name of labor: of honest, clean, German work. It is significant that "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") was written above the entrance to one of the most important Nazi concentration camps.
In modern antisemitism, "the jews" stand for a powerful, intangible international conspiracy; for the antisemite, they represent abstract reason, abstract law, financial capital. In Nazi ideology the jews, as parasites on the body of the "Volk", were the antipode of concrete, i.e. good, clean, German labor.
Society has changed, but there are significant continuities with the Nazi past. Regarding the positive valuation of "work", for example. It is true that we live in a POST-fascist society, but it is also a post-FASCIST society.
Capitalist social relations are not gender-neutral, but completely imbricated with patriarchal social relations. There can be no abolition of capitalist social relations without the abolition of patriarchal social relations - because, for example, the exploitation of unpaid educational and domestic labor of women is an important base for the capitalist realization of value; because patriarchal structures delegate the task of turning children - in the course of the process of education - into individuals adapted to the needs of a market society (and thus reproducing the capitalist system) to women; because patriarchal structures are responsible for the fact that women continually reproduce men emotionally (and thus guarantee that they are able to function in the realm of capitalist competition)...
And vice versa, because, although patriarchal social relations have existed much longer than capitalism, modern "western" patriarchy is capitalist to the core. This could be illustrated by looking at the sex industry, in which the patriarchal objectification of women's bodies takes on a specifically capitalist form. Or by looking at the new masculinity of the emergent transnational elites, which is intimately coupled to success in capitalist competition.
This is not to say that patriarchal structures are always functional for capital, nor, that capitalist social relations always stabilise patriarchal structures. There are contradictions within as well as between different relations of power and domination.
We believe that it does not make too much sense to imagine "patriarchy" as a separate "system" that coexists with the other "system" capitalism and interacts with it. We think it's a better idea to think society as a contradictory ensemble of social relations that are simultaneously patriarchal, racist, capitalist - and more.
Over the last few years we have seen - in Prague, Seattle, Genoa - the first major mobilisations of people under the sign of radical, anticapitalist demands in many years. These are hopeful signs, but, in our eyes, they only underscore the necessity of criticising - from within the process of "globalisation from below" - some of the reductionist left ideas that circulate here, and of aiding the development of an emancipatory theory and practice that is up to the complexities of global relations of power and domination, and our implications in them.
An anticapitalism without a radical critique of the state, without a critique of the ideology of "progress", without a critique of labor is worse than useless. It can lead to authoritarian developments and can open the way to alliances with fascists - red-brown alliances "against globalisation" for example, or "national answers to the social question".
Modern antisemitism is a kind of pseudo-anticapitalism, that demonizes the abstract dimension of capitalism (finance capital), while idealizing concrete labor. We should bear in mind that sometimes the way from the reductionist anti-capitalism which many leftists espouse to antisemitic pseudo-anticapitalism is not too far!
It's just as important to point out that a non-feminist anticapitalism is based on a flawed analysis of capitalism and will therefore not be able to abolish capitalist social relations.
And an anticapitalism that treats antiracist struggles as a secondary contradiction also belongs on the garbage heap of history!
Let us not forget: In the soviet union an anticapitalism without critique of the state, critique of labor - let's not even mention a critique of patriarchy - led into a brutal industrialising dictatorship, that did not change anything essential about the form of labor, the form of technology, the reification of human relations, economic and emotional exploitation, etc. The soviet, chinese and other pseudo-socialisms brought the idea of socialism into disrepute all over the world, thus seriously harming left politics in general.
The value of capitalist labor is determined by patriarchal and racist social relations. Women all over the world are paid less than men. But "work" - in the sense of socially necessary tasks - is not just wage labor. As we mentioned before, women's unpaid work is essential but rendered invisible. Economic exploitation goes hand in hand with the emotional exploitation of women in public and private settings. The exploitation of "sexual labor" is not only gender-specific but also heterosexist. By "sexual labor" we mean the way in which personal capacities and emotions are integrated into the labor process; for example, certain ways of presenting oneself in terms of clothing and behavior, how someone conducts conversations, reacts aggressively or stays calm, etc. Sexual labor in a capitalist system organized around compulsory heterosexuality and gender binarism means the compulsion to present gender and heterosexuality in an unambiguous manner.
We want types of labor and kinds of exploitation that have been obscured and marginalized, in mainstream society as well as in the left tradition - from precarious waged labor, unpaid housework by majority society women, badly paid domestic work by migrant women (who are often illegalized), different kinds of sex work, to emotional labor in various kinds of relationships - to become more visible socially.
Not unlike the category "working class" in the history of socialist (i.e. anarchist, council communist, leninist, and other) movements, the idea of a unitary collective subject "women" has served, within feminist movements, to mask important differences of interest and relations of domination among women. This concept has been criticized sharply, particularly by black feminists and feminists from the "global south" and is no longer adhered to by any (pro)feminist current that we can take seriously. Global alliances of women can only be unities constructed across major differences; this process of construction is no simple task; and gender does not have to be the primary focus of political organising for all women at all times (whatever "woman" is supposed to mean exactly).
Just as workers' struggles have to be waged against capital and for the rights of workers, but should, in the long run, exceed the pursuit of particular class interests, radical, feminist struggles target the oppression and devaluation of women, but, beyond this, they also criticize existing, lived kinds of femininity as patriarchal constructions. And radical, antiracist struggles are waged, in the first instance, for the rights of people oppressed and marginalized by racism, but in the long run the struggle is against the sorting of people into so-called races as such. Of course we are dealing here with the basic political question of what a useful approach to collective subjects (often also called "identities") ("workers", "women", "blacks") should look like, faced with the fact that people are always positioned in many relations of power and domination at the same time, that their identity is multiple, and what's more, it can be contradictory, change from situation to situation and be interpreted differently in different contexts... We don't have a short answer to this question. To deal with it theoretically and begin to answer it in practical terms is one of the main goals of our project.
A central point for a profeminist-anticapitalist-antiracist... and generally crossover kind of politics would have to be, as we suggested earlier, the question of the distribution and organisation of so-called reproductive labor: domestic work, caring for children, old people, sick people, cleaning, etc. Beyond this, of course, the goal must be the abolition of capitalist / patriarchal / racist exploitation and the transformation of the current organisation of socially necessary activity in general. The second wave of the women's movement in the "global north" demanded a redistribution of reproductive labor between men and women. This assault upon patriarchal privilege was, all in all, successfully beaten back. Like all movements that suffer a defeat, the feminist movement was, to large parts, integrated into the system and its impetus rerouted into a modernisation of the system. The social ascent of a certain group of mostly white women is now made possible by delegating so-called reproductive tasks to migrant, often colored women. The modernisation of patriarchal capitalism thus extends existing differences among women and partly even deepens them.
A related aspect of this modernisation of global patriarchal capitalism is the development of a new regime of migration, which we have been witnessing over the last 15 years. The global elites are attempting to push through the free movement of goods and capital while simultaneously restricting the autonomy of migration. There are first drafts for a General Agreement on the Movement of People (GAMP, analogous to the GATT, the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) that augur badly, while organisations like the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) and others try to get the international streams of migration under control. In the context of the process of european unification, meanwhile, a novel, supranational system of domination is taking shape. The european policy on migration creates a "migratory space" organized on the model of concentric circles. It is in the process of developing a graduated, cascade-like system of obstruction of migration, that is at the same time a selective immigration system. For the future, we can expect a migration management by way of flexible immigration quotas and -criteria, flanked by supplementary measures of control, integration and antidiscrimination.
There is a consensus among relevant political actors in Germany about the necessity of controlling migration according to criteria of economic utility. The row over the "Zuwanderungsgesetz" (so-called "immigration law") is primarily show biz, and the debate on migration that is being staged in the German media at the moment mainly serves to win points in the elections in september by mobilising popular racist feelings.
By abolishing the status of "Duldung" (a status where one's application for asylum has been rejected, but one's presence in the country is officially tolerated), the "Zuwanderungsgesetz" will drive even more people into illegality. This seems to be intentional.
Besides its catastrophic effects on the situation of refugees, the "Zuwanderungsgesetz" is particularly negative for migrant domestic workers. It seems to be intended that they continue to have no rights and thus be available extremely flexibly, that their work should continue to be treated as unqualified and remain invisible socially.
We object to a division of labor which distributes work according to sexist and racist criteria, and which relegates the activities of domestic workers at the lowest level of social valuation.
What we find especially hypocritical is that in recent years there have been an increasing number of actions against illegalised sex workers (police raids followed by deportations) under the pretext of "fighting the traffic in humans". Here certain elements of a feminist discourse (on the traffic in women) are being used to justify a racist policy. The term "traffic in women" must not be abused to legitimize strategies of migration control and repression against illegalized sex workers. The most important precondition for truly combating the traffic in women would be to give women more rights and to improve their economic position.
From what we have said up to now it should have become clear that we do not believe in a reformist improvement of the existing system, but that we are of the opinion that the fundamental revolution of all social relations in a drawn-out historical process of social transformation (towards the goal of a never-finished project of a society without domination) is the only real solution.
This in no way denies the usefulness of making concrete demands - as long as the longterm goal is not lost sight of, and as long as not too much energy, which could better be used to organize actual social movement, is put into institutions, parties and the like.
So, here are some demands - connected to some of the issues we touched upon in this text - that we find sensible:
That domestic labor be recognized as socially relevant work and made visible in the public shphere.
An end to sexist and racist ascriptions - on the labor market, and beyond that in relation to all socially necessary activities, including those not treated as commodities.
Human rights and labor laws must apply to all and legal action must be an option for everyone, independent of their residence status.
Access to health care, education and other social services for everyone.
The recognition of gender and sexuality based persecution as reasons to be granted asylum.
Legal residence status for female immigrants independent of their marital status.
Improvements in the legal situation of illegalized sex workers.
The legal right to recover lost wages for illegalized workers, too.
Equal pay for equal work!
Abolition of the residence restriction laws!
The right to legalization!
Reparations for the crimes of German colonialism (for example in the former German southwest Africa).
Reparations, to be paid by German corporations, for their role in stabilizing the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa.
Immediate payment of reparations to all forced laborers of the Nazi regime.
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 their 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)