Organising and rebuilding an effective Dutch labour movement

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Organising and rebuilding an effective Dutch labour movement,

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With an interesting collaboration between labor activists, cultural workers and academics, Casco is opening the new project “I Can’t Work Like This”, running from 1st of May to June 23th. On the first of May at 13.30pm we will kick things off with a much needed discussion about the current Dutch labour situation and the freshly proposed labor reforms. We will also briefly explain the project and the exciting art works involved. We hope you can make it!  
 
Casco May Day Debate:  
Organising and rebuilding an effective Dutch labour movement 
 
We are undoubtedly living through challenging but exciting times. The financial crisis has deepened the ongoing neo-liberal transformation of the Dutch economy. Whilst banks have successfully repositioned themselves to massively increase their state subsidies, the crisis is being deployed as a more refined weapon for enabling privatisation, austerity cutbacks and the re-appropriation of key resources (real wages, pensions, key funding) from workers across multiple sectors. The new series of cutbacks agreed upon by the Kunduz coalition is the latest manifestation of this problematic trend.  
 
Yet at a time when workers are under severe attack, conflicts and opportunities arise for rebuilding a strong and well-organised labour movement capable of enabling collective resistance. The successful fight of the Dutch cleaners for dignity and a living wage shows us, once again, what collective agency, organisation and class conflict is capable of achieving. It also provides us with a tangible example of how the ongoing struggles against austerity across the public and cultural sectors might be reoriented to successfully resist their appropriation and enclosure. 
 
It is within this context of effective resistance, with deepening austerity on the horizon, that we invite you to join us this May Day: to discuss the current situation of the labour movement in the Netherlands, to analyse the current trends and examine how various unions are responding to the challenge, to map the terrain of conflict to identify our key adversaries and potential interventions. What kind of new alliances and contemporary strategies (such as ‘community organizing’) are being developed now and to what effect? Why are some sectors unable to fight back whilst others articulate and win their demands? How can organising help workers in the cultural and public sectors to resist the cuts and undermine the ‘inevitability’ of austerity. How can stronger collaboration between labour and the arts sharpen our strategies and open new lines of resistance? 
 
Join the discussion 1 May 2012 with Merijn Oudenampsen (Sociologist and Political Scientist) and Valery Alzaga (labour organizer) at 13:30pm at Casco in Utrecht. 
 
Afterwards we will head over to the May Day evening event at the IIRE in Amsterdam. 
 
Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory 
Nieuwekade 213-215 
3511 RW Utrecht, The Netherlands 
T/F: +31 (0)30 231 9995 
info@cascoprojects.org

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