Sunday, June 17, 2007

Civil Rights, Liberties and Disobedience - Alternatives to Governance in the 21st Century

Where: Loughborough University

When: July 27-28, 2007

In conjunction with: The Centre for the Study of International Governance, Loughborough University; the PSA Anarchist Studies Network; Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC); Trident Ploughshares/Faslane 365;
NASPIR; the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers,

The curtailment of our civil liberties, the repression and criminalisation of protest and the steady encroachment of the state into civil society challenges the very notion of liberal democracy. Numerous grassroots movements a rising to challenging these developments. Conscious of the spiral of insecurity and paranoia that serves only to deepen repression and resistance, this two day workshop seeks to discuss political trajectories, the campaigns and movements that seek to counter them, and alternative ideologies and practices that might divert us from this illiberal course.

The workshop will bring academics, campaigners, civil liberty groups and lawyers together to discuss transformations in the nature of governance in contemporary global political community. Moving away from traditional discourses of state power, we will look at community actions; global networks, campaigns and actions that seek to affirm collective autonomy; actions in which individuals and groups hold a mirror to the illiberal forces in our society.

How do we impact upon our own governance in these situations?

Who is responsible for fighting for our freedoms when our elected governments are eroding them? Can the legal process provide an adequate response?

How do we understand these processes in a global context?

These are questions engaged with by the campaigns of CAMPACC, Trident Ploughshares, and other civil liberties and direct action groups. We need to evaluate the effectiveness of these campaigns, and the structures of global power that oppose them, so that future strategies can be more effective and the core issues can be made transparent. Our aim in bringing these diverse groups together is so that strategies and visions can be exchanged, that openness and trust can be fostered, and so that action can be more effective.

Many of today’s political movements, while not avowedly anarchist are left-libertarian. Our aim is to bring the ideology of anarchism centre stage to see where and how it might contribute, and what its weaknesses are in this regard. Can anarchism help us to see these issues more clearly? Does anarchism provide better blueprints for action? Does anarchism have an adequate conceptualisation of ‘the global’? Or is anarchism outmoded and irrelevant? We will discuss these issues in relation to the anarchist movement in the UK and globally.

Confirmed plenary Speakers
Professor Bill Bowring (Birkbeck) author of The Degradation Of The International Legal Order: The Rehabilitation Of Law And The Possibility Of Politics (2007);
Dr Ben Franks (Glasgow), author of Rebel Alliances: The Means and Ends of Contemporary British Anarchisms (2006); Professor Simon Tormey (Nottingham), author of Anti-Capitalism: A Beginners Guide (2006);
Angie Zelter, founder of Trident Ploughshares and Faslane 365.

Call for workshop or paper proposals:
If you have ideas for papers or workshops that engage with any of the above topics and including the role of academia therein, please contact Alex Prichard (Loughborough University):

Plans are in place to publish the conference proceedings in a leading journal. This event is funded by a number of bodies, conference fees will therefore be nominal but places will be limited.

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