GGG Seminar: Globalisation, Gender, Genetech Seminar focussing on Eastern Europe
CESTA, Tabor, Czech Republic from 3-9 May 1999 


This goes out to all of you who are making visible our social, political, everyday problems with your activities and spoken word.

Languages: Russian and English
Please send applications to Tusovka or A. Kessi
Shortcut to the application form below
This and updated information is available from Tusovka Newsletter



How do I feel Globalisation on my skin? 
How does Gender shape my identity? 
Why should I believe in Genetech?

We would like to open a discussion which puts the three topics in relation to each other, focusing on the situation and struggles in Eastern Europe and the relation between Eastern and Western Europe. 

We would like to explore the topics on various levels: personal experience, political and economic analysis, struggles against the loss of autonomy of people, etc. 

We want to close the gap between discussions and action. 

We want to delegitimise the status of experts talking about other people's lives.  We are all experts of our own experience and this is the expertise on which we want to build. 

We want to disrupt the fatalism of the 'transition' from real-socialism to capitalism and from a 'soviet' union to a european 'union'. We do not want a 'transition' from A to B where B is defined by Western and global interests, but a collective search for new ways to shape our lives.


The personal is political

The seminar is part of a wider initiative to link up existing political and environmental projects within Eastern Europe. We do not say that either Eastern or Western Europe is one block, nor do we want to build up new barriers between east and west.  On the contrary, we aim to work out the inner structure and diversity and raise awareness about existing differences and "borders". 

The aim is to facilitate autonomous strategies of resistance.  These strategies should be adapted to the specific political and social situation of Eastern Europe.  We hope in this way to counterbalance the often biased power relations between Eastern and Western activist groups. It is closely related to our efforts of overlapping and  confronting political discussions in Eastern and Western Europe through our Russian-English newsletter Tusovka.

In the long run, the aim is to contribute to a culture of resistance - resistance against mechanisms which take away people's autonomy and prevent them from shaping their lives in interaction with their surrounding. There are various groups and individuals active in resistance in various fields of life: environmentalists, feminists, lesbian and gay movements, human rights activists, anti-racist groups, art-and-politics or media activists, and more.  If people from these various backgrounds come together, they may find out that they want to join their efforts and see their struggles as a common struggle towards more autonomy.

We hope this seminar will provide the opportunity for finding ways of collaborating -- collaborate and still keep the diversity of struggles. 

Struggle can also be subversive behaviour in your immediate surrounding

We think that mechanisms of oppression have something in common.  We have
chosen to explore the common ground between various mechanisms of oppression using the examples of Globalisation, Gender and Genetech.  Our experience is that GGG have separately come up repeatedly in recent seminars and discussions. 

We would now like to explore how they relate to each other.



What is the relationship between GGG?

Here are some thoughts and questions that have emerged in our discussions so far:

Globalisation, Gender and Genetech are three mediums of attack on personal autonomy.

Gender has had a central and constant role in histories of personal autonomy.  Globalisation and Genetech have made a more recent entrance. Are we experiencing the Globalisation and Genetech Revolutions?  Or, by granting them this title of  'revolution', are we giving credibility to their own hype?
 


We are the experts of our own experience

We propose that Globalisation can be seen as a manifestation of the interplay between
· gendered oppression in the form of patriarchy;
· economic oppression in the form of capitalism;
· racist oppression in the form of (neo-)colonialism, identity checks on the street, and a nationalist backlash. 

 Genetech can be seen as  · imposing the ideology of science and a patriarchal myth of progress globally; · imposing the legal concept of intellectual property rights through biopiracy (a phenomenon which nicely shows how property is theft).

 A few questions on Gender we ask ourselves:
· How do I experience patriarchy?
· Why do I want to struggle against patriarchy?
· Can we subvert compulsory heterosexuality?
· What could non-patriarchal behaviour look like?

Can we find the struggle against patriarchy in the struggle against Globalisation and Genetech?
What can other struggles learn from the struggle against patriarchy?


PRELIMINARY PROGRAM - WORKSHOPS (estimated 2 hours each)

(Note: this is a flexible working document. The aim is to give an impression of the seminar as we see it. No doubt changes will be made as we discuss the specific contents with the invited speakers. Please give us feedback on the program, so that we know your priorities when making changes.)

Summary followed by descriptions of individual workshops.............

Monday, 3 May
Why GGG? Why in this way?
Perceptions of Gender Relations: Personal Stories I
History of the Perception of Gender Relations in Eastern Europe The Neoliberal Globalisation Attack Against the Autonomy of People

Tuesday, 4 May
Women's migration: Personal Stories II
Patriarchal Structures in State and International Institutions
Border Identities and 'GastArtBeiter': Personal Stories III
Planning Session I: Eastern European Participation in the ICC

Wednesday, 5 May
History of the Perception of Gender Relations in Western Europe
Dealing with Sexisms in So-Called Progressive Groups
Mechanisms of Media Bias
Playing with the Media

Thursday, 6 May
Perestroika and Forced Transition
Ethnicising Society: The War in Yugoslavia
Strategies in Gender Relations: Personal Stories IV
Planning Session II: Press Work

Friday, 7 May
GGG Interlinked: The Modernisation of Agriculture and the Destruction of Subsistence
Struggles against the Introduction of Genetically Modified Crops
What Images Are Used when Speaking about Genetic Engineering?
Planning Session III: Critical Review of Current Strategies

Saturday, 8 May
EU and NATO Enlargement
New European Migration and Fortress Europe
Activism Under Conditions of Survival in Russia, the Ukraine, Byelorussia:
Personal Stories V
Planning Session IV: Cologne 1999

Sunday, 9 May
The Global Financial Casino and the Russian Crisis
What Could a Non-Patriarchal Economy Look Like?
Nature for Sale: Travelling Scientists Looking for 'Usable' Plants
Planning Session V: Genetech Watch Eastern Europe

Time slots:

7:30  Wake-up call
8:00  Breakfast
9:00-11:00 Workshop I
11:15-13:15 Workshop II
13:30  Lunch
14:45-16:45 Workshop III
17:00-19:00 Workshop IV
19:15  Dinner
20:30(-21:00) Discussion

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF WORKSHOPS:

Monday, 3 May
 


WHY GGG? WHY IN THIS WAY?

What is our motivation to organise this seminar? What is our personal experience with Globalisation, Gender and Genetech? Why a personal approach? Discuss concepts that we have used in describing our approach to GGG: Autonomy, Dependency, Struggle, Subversion, (De-)Legitimising, Personal and Group Identity, Categorisation.


PERCEPTIONS OF GENDER RELATIONS: PERSONAL STORIES I

When did you first find out that there were men and women in your society? How did you perceive the difference? Did you perceive it as unjust? How did this perception and your analysis of it change along your life? Starting from the personal experiences of women and men from Eastern and Western Europe with gender relations, we would like to develop and discuss various possible analyses. What are the stereotypes involved (in the East; in the West) in describing men's and women's roles in society, and how did they evolve? How do these stereotypes give rise to gendered power relations?


HISTORY OF THE PERCEPTION OF GENDER ROLES 
IN EASTERN EUROPE

Women and the Women's movement and state-imposed "equality". The taboo imposed by the Communist party on discussions of gender relations and sexuality. The state's reintroduction of the traditional family as the cell of the society. Role of the family in perpetuating gender stereotypes, in contradiction to the "equality" doctrine.
Women, jobs, nursery schools - benefits and coercion. What influence did the post-WW II "fatherless generation" have on the perception of gender? Negative attitude towards "feminism" - where does it come from? The development of the Lesbian movement and its difficult relation to feminism. NGO funding and its influence on feminism in Eastern Europe.


THE NEOLIBERAL GLOBALISATION ATTACK AGAINST 
THE AUTONOMY OF PEOPLE

The basic assumptions of neoliberalism. Globalisation does not just happen, but is made. Headquarter economy and the new role of cities. The trap of nationalism in the struggle against globalisation and against EU enlargement. Transition economies in a global context.


Tuesday, 4 May
 


WOMEN'S MIGRATION: PERSONAL STORIES II

Forced and planned migration. Different possibilities and perspectives for staying in a target country: bars, sex work, marriage, house work. Dependencies involved, and space for shaping one's life against these dependencies.


PATRIARCHAL STRUCTURES IN STATE AND 
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Army. Police. State administration and bureaucracies in general. Higher education. Court system and treatment of sexual abuse. Asylum and reasons for fleeing specific to women. Development aid and population control.
GATT/WTO. World Bank and implementation of gender concepts. How are which types of masculinities legitimized and strengthened through these institutions (see Connell, Masculinities)? And what kind of image of women do they convey? In which institutions are women present in what positions, and what does this have to do with the gender stereotypes conveyed by those institutions?
(A selection of the topics mentioned here will be made with the speaker(s). This list is intended rather as a brainstorming.)


BORDER IDENTITIES AND 'GASTARTBEITER': 
PERSONAL STORIES III

Identities in transition. Western interest for Eastern contemporary art. Explicit and hidden relations of power - Western curators on eastward trips.


PLANNING SESSION I: EASTERN EUROPEAN 
PARTICIPATION IN THE ICC

The ICC -- The Inter-Continental Caravan (ICC99) is a project originally proposed by the KRRS, the Indian Karnataka State's peasants' organisation, in which 600 peasants and other activists from India and all over the world will come to Europe, in May/June 1999, and protest against the neoliberal policies, and make contact with local peasant and activist groups.


Wednesday, 5 May
 


HISTORY OF THE PERCEPTION OF GENDER ROLES 
IN WESTERN EUROPE

>From Virginia Woolf and Mary Woolstonecraft to Simone de Beauvoir. The French critics -- Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva (what influence did the latter's Bulgarian background have?). 
Public vs. private space - "the personal is political". Production and reproduction work. Double burden through reproduction work and "career". 
The critique of the "difference feminist" approach by Lesbians and other women who were not middle class, white and western. 
The emergence of "gender feminism" and the challenge to the very categories of "men" and "women". Triple oppression -- the relationship between sexisms, racisms and classisms. 


DEALING WITH SEXISMS IN SO-CALLED PROGRESSIVE GROUPS

Using recent examples from Zurich as a starting point, look at the attempts of men to come to grips with gender concepts and with sexisms and sexual violence within their political groups.  How do political groups deal with, or avoid dealing with, blatant cases of sexual violence, and how do they deal with everyday sexisms?  What strategies could we develop to create greater awareness of, and an effective struggle against, stereotypes, sexisms and sexual violence?


MECHANISMS OF MEDIA BIAS

The invention of advertising and its effect on the media landscape. The scissors in the head - self-censorship.   Writing between the lines - state censorship and strategies to counter it.  Monopolies and transnational media corporations. Alternative media and other attempts at reaching out. Sympathetic journalists in the mainstream media. Selling a product, not information.


PLAYING WITH THE MEDIA

Telling "the truth" is not enough -- taking cultural grammar into account. Subverting discourses -- tactics of communication guerilla. The internet -- real chances and delusions.


Thursday, 6 May
 


PERESTROIKA AND FORCED TRANSITION

The actors and motives of perestroika. 
Different approaches in different countries -- Poland and Bulgaria. Forced transformation of the economies and political regimes in Eastern Europe -- the role of governments, international institutions, transnational corporations. How did people in various Eastern European countries perceive the process, and what did it mean for their everyday life?


ETHNICISING SOCIETY: THE WAR IN YUGOSLAVIA 

Discussion among people from different backgrounds on origins of conflict and on interests and strategies of the various parties involved, including international interests. What strategies did progressive, anti-war movements develop? How did the ethnicising make solidarity difficult, and how did people try to counter this? Nationalist tendencies within activist groups.


STRATEGIES OF GENDER RELATIONS: PERSONAL STORIES IV

Build upon Personal Stories I, the two historical presentations on the development of gender relations in East and West, and other related workshops. Discuss in more detail strategies of power, or of solidarity and cooperation, of men and of women using or subverting gender stereotypes. How are dependencies created, and what strategies do we use to preserve or win back our autonomy?


PLANNING SESSION II: PRESS WORK

For the various events planned, and also in the long run, it would be useful to build up a network of sympathetic journalists in the various countries of Eastern Europe, and activists who can contact them and spread information.


Friday, 7 May
 


GGG INTERLINKED: THE MODERNISATION OF AGRICULTURE 
AND THE DESTRUCTION OF SUBSISTENCE

The story of the Great Plains, the "Green Revolution" and the "Monsanto Revolution" as attacks on the autonomy of subsistence agriculture. The price of higher yields -- greater dependency on industrial input. The myth of "feeding the world". 
The real-socialist project of industrialising the agriculture in the Soviet Union -- who wins, at whose expense? Lyssenkovshina and the rejection of genetics -- breeding programs gone astray.


STRUGGLES AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF 
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

Monsanto's problem -- continuing to reap profits even after the Roundup patent expires. 
Eastern Europe -- a testing field for genetically modified crops.  Collaboration between Monsanto and Ukrainian genetic research institutions. The labeling campaign and the failure of Greenpeace in the Ukraine. Polish peasants against genetically modified crops. GenetiX Snowball, "Cremate Monsanto".


WHAT IMAGES ARE USED WHEN SPEAKING 
ABOUT GENETIC ENGINEERING?

How do people speak about genetic engineering? What is left out of the picture? 
Genetic code -- computer code. Cross-legitimation of discourses from technology and nature.


PLANNING SESSION III: CRITICAL REVIEW 
OF CURRENT STRATEGIES

How do networks like EYFA, A SEED, CEE Bankwatch, Social-Ecological Union, PGA work? What lessons can be learned? Critical discussion of the concepts used (sustainability, civil society, public participation, etc.).


Saturday, 8 May
 


EU AND NATO ENLARGEMENT

Myths and expectations. Real prospects. 
Motives of politicians in Eastern Europe. 
The humiliation of Schengen and visa regimes. Accession promises as leverage to force changes. Agenda 2000.


NEW EUROPEAN MIGRATION AND FORTRESS EUROPE

New borders. Historical humiliation and lack of perspectives -- a whole generation on the lookout for opportunities to "get out of here". Why do people from Eastern Europe want to migrate? Perceptions of "the West" in Eastern Europe. Would asylum still exist without the "human traders"? Who has the possibility to migrate "legally"? Who has the power to define what is "legal" migration? Solidarity movement with migrants in Western Europe. Specific conditions of migration for women. Fortress Europe, Schengen and reasons for the changes in migration policies of Western European countries.


ACTIVISM UNDER CONDITIONS OF SURVIVAL IN RUSSIA, 
THE UKRAINE, BYELORUSSIA: PERSONAL STORIES V

How do the difficulties of everyday life influence activism? "How do you expect people to be active if they are worried about remaining hungry?" How can we overcome lethargy and fatalism? "It's easy for people in Western Europe: they can just be on social welfare and do political work." Political activism at a zero budget. Strategies of survival of an Eastern activist at a meeting in Western Europe at which the organizers have no idea what it means to have no money to buy even a sandwich in an expensive country. Condition of dependence on Western activists' goodwill.


PLANNING SESSION IV: COLOGNE 1999

In June, two major summits will take place in Cologne: the EU summit and the G8 summit. There will be actions in Cologne on both occasions, and worldwide actions on 18 June against financial centers on the occasion of the G8 summit. Discuss possibilities of doing actions in Eastern Europe.


Sunday, 9 May
 


THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CASINO AND THE RUSSIAN CRISIS

What are the direct effects of the "Russian crisis" on people's lives in Russia and neighboring countries? What local conditions made the crisis possible? How are international institutions, governments, transnational corporations, speculators involved? How is the "Russian crisis" linked to those in South-East Asia, Japan, Brazil?  Conflicts between the World Bank and the IMF. Foreign investment -- short-term benefits and long-term dependencies. How can these dependencies be decreased? Byelorussia -- where does the isolationist variant lead?


WHAT COULD A NON-PATRIARCHAL ECONOMY LOOK LIKE?

What is patriarchal about capitalism, and about its 'Soviet' state-capitalist variant? Is capitalism more patriarchal than a feudal system? How can a struggle against capitalism be combined with a struggle against patriarchy? What alternatives to capitalism can we think of, and in what way would they be patriarchal? Look at LETS, different systems of barter propagated as alternatives, or developed as strategies of survival.


NATURE FOR SALE: SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITIONS 
LOOKING FOR 'USABLE' PLANTS

Early expeditions of Linne at the service of commercial use. Globalising the plunder: Vavilov and his global view on exploiting biodiversity. Current biopiracy expeditions and struggles against them. Expeditions into the body: the human genome project and the interests behind it.


PLANNING SESSION V: GENETECH WATCH EASTERN EUROPE

Plan and coordinate a continuous working group on genetic engineering in Eastern Europe, with the aim of setting up a database of information about genetic engineering in the various countries (policies of TNCs and governments, legislation, field tests, media, awareness, struggles, etc.), which can serve to develop analysis and further campaigns.


END OF PROGRAM


APPLICATION FORM

As we have a limited amount of money for travel reimbursement PLEASE FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING APPLICATION AS COMPLETELY AS POSSIBLE, this will greatly increase your chances of being selected for reimbursement. 
DEADLINE.  Return faxes and e-mail before April 1st (postal mail accepted until the 3rd), or else we will not have enough time to send you your invitation (required for several countries, stamped by the foreigners' police, need to be sent to you by postal mail).

1. Contact details
Full Name:
Passport Number (needed for invitation):
Address where you are registered (needed for invitation):
Postal address (if different from registration address -- for sending
invitation!):
e-mail address (if applicable):
Tel:
Fax:
Name of organisation (if applicable):

2. Logistics
Please try to stay for the full program, and not just for the workshops you feel are most interesting for you, since the aim is to link different
struggles.  Please tell us when you plan on arriving in Tabor, and when you plan on leaving (the seminar is from 3-9 May; best to arrive on 2 May in the evening, and leave on 10 May in the morning; you can also come early to participate in 1 May activities in Prague, contact Zeme Predevsim

3. Motivation and expectations
Specifically explain your MOTIVATION to attend the GGG seminar -- why do you want to come & what do you want to gain?  (Please write more than the usual "meet people, exchange experiences, learn more" -- we are looking for clear, concrete motivation and expectations which can help us in preparing the seminar).

4. About yourself
In order to facilitate contacts between participants to the seminar, we
would like to prepare a BOOKLET with a brief description of each
participant's interests and areas of activity, which we will distribute to all participants when they arrive in Tabor. Please describe (not more than 1000 characters) in what way you are dealing with, or plan to deal with, Globalisation and/or Gender and/or Genetech, with an emphasis on the struggle/resistance aspect. We want a mix of people, so we do not expect you to be an expert in the topics.

5. Contributing
Would you like to contribute to the seminar by participating in organising one of the workshops? Several of the workshops will be prepared by a group of people rather than individual speakers. Please indicate which workshop(s) you are interested in contributing to, and briefly describe in what way.

6. Travel reimbursement
Partial travel reimbursement (around 50%) can be given, but wait for our confirmation before you're sure you will get it!!! In case you cannot possibly pay the other 50%, we can discuss this individually. If on the other hand you have a sufficient income, please consider leaving the travel reimbursement to someone else. In order to allow a maximum of people to come, the idea is to pay only the cheapest way of transport (no airplane fares if possible).  IF YOU APPLY FOR REIMBURSEMENT, GIVE AN ESTIMATE OF THE TRAVEL COSTS (indicate with what means of transport).

Send the form as quickly as possible -- BY THE DEADLINE.  We'll let you know by April 3rd if you are selected for travel reimbursement, and we'll send travel directions, and in case you need it (depends on the country), an invitation. Don't forget that invitations have to be sent by postal mail, which can take several weeks from the Czech Republic depending on the country of destination.

Contact us at Tusovka <tusovka@bitex.com> or A. Kessi <kessi@bitex.com>, or by telephone or fax at ++359-2-980 96 52. Applications by postal mail can be sent to GGG Seminar, PO Box 122, 252187 Kiev-187, Ukraine (note that postal mail may take several weeks -- e-mail or fax are preferable if you have this possibility). Updated information on the seminar is available from Tusovka
visiting http://www.savanne.ch/tusovka/seminar.html.

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